Kids must experience some discomfort

A photo showing a group of students pulling hiking trailers behind them while on an Outward Bound Singapore expedition sparked debate.
A photo showing a group of students pulling hiking trailers behind them while on an Outward Bound Singapore expedition sparked debate.PHOTO: COURTESY OF DELANE LIM

I read with disappointment about the secondary school students using trolleys while on an Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) expedition in Pasir Ris (Student campers with trolleys spark debate, March 17).

A key objective of OBS is to build strength, resilience and perseverance in students in an outdoor environment. This would be totally defeated if students are equipped with trolleys instead of being made to carry their own backpacks and mats. Those who cannot endure carrying a backpack while hiking should not be participating in OBS activities.

An OBS expedition is a rugged adventure that builds strength as well as character. If everything at an OBS expedition is made comfortable and easy for students, why have it in the first place?

If this continues, we might even see our young men expecting things to be made much easier for them when they are conscripted for national service. Will they be properly trained and able to adjust to rugged battle conditions?

We must be careful not to raise a generation that expects comfort and ease in everything it undertakes. Some hardship or lack of comfort under appropriate events or conditions is sometimes necessary.

Susan Tan Lin Neo (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 20, 2019, with the headline 'Kids must experience some discomfort'. Print Edition | Subscribe