New books mark 100 years of Guides

The books, by teams from (clockwise from bottom left) Methodist Girls' School, Holy Innocents' Primary School, River Valley High School and Haig Girls' School, mark the 100th anniversary of Girl Guides Singapore.
The books, by teams from (clockwise from bottom left) Methodist Girls' School, Holy Innocents' Primary School, River Valley High School and Haig Girls' School, mark the 100th anniversary of Girl Guides Singapore.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Brownies and Guides at schools here will get to read storybooks penned by their peers to mark the 100th anniversary of Girl Guides Singapore (GGS).

The four books - each with a different plot - touch on the history of the organisation, as well as themes of moral courage and kindness.

Picked from 30 entries submitted last year by Brownies and Guides from various schools, the tales were written by Brownies from Haig Girls' School and Holy Innocents' Primary School, and Guides from Methodist Girls' School and River Valley High School.

Reflection questions and a glossary are included, so the books can serve as teaching tools in class.

At their launch during the GGS centennial awards ceremony on July 21, GGS council president Chang Hwee Nee said they would "drive a spirit of creativity and advocacy in our Guides and Brownies".

Brownies are a uniformed group for primary school girls, while Girl Guides are for those in secondary schools. Part of the guiding movement under GGS, both are offered by 55 per cent of primary and secondary schools here as co-curricular activities, with 9,000 members.

The ceremony at the Istana was attended by GGS patron and wife of the President, Mrs Mary Tan, who penned the foreword for one book. Those for the other three were written by former patrons Puan Noor Aishah, wife of Singapore's first president Yusof Ishak, Mrs Wee Kim Wee and Mrs S R Nathan.

 

For Holy Innocents' pupils Zoe Chua, Kung Yun Ting and Lyvia Choo, all aged 12 and in Primary 6, the plot came to them quite naturally. Their story, Centurion Lady, is a condensed history of GGS told through the eyes of the organisation as though it were a person.

As Brownies, they sat the Chief Commissioner's Award test, so they knew the movement's history here and could easily identify significant events for the narrative.

For 16-year-olds Kimberly Peh, Ashleigh Low, Foo Li Ann and Alyssa Kee, all in Secondary 4 at Methodist Girls', Acts Of Kindness was inspired by their school culture, which often sees students doing simple good deeds for one another.

Kimberly cited an example: "During the weeks leading up to the examinations, people went around pasting encouraging Post-it notes on everyone's lockers."

The team said they hoped to spread the message through the book that people need to be kind and not judge others.

The other storybooks are Lend A Hand by Brownies from Haig Girls' School and Campfire's Burning by Girl Guides from River Valley High School. All the books were illustrated by local illustrators.

The 3,000 sets of books printed - comprising the four storybooks and an information book about GGS - were funded through a grant from the Ministry of Education and the National Arts Council.

Schools with a Brownies or Guides unit will each receive two sets of the books. GGS said it would make the books available through the public libraries as well.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 31, 2017, with the headline 'New books mark 100 years of Guides'. Print Edition | Subscribe