Friday, September 18, 2009

Smile that disregards whether you're a scout, a Muslim, a Malaysian or a no-no extraordinary.

I saw that she is a scout from the back of her shirt. But it wasn't easy registering the fact by the look of her face. Morose. Black. Void.

When she left the car, her brother - also a very good friend of mine - confirmed the truth. And it's not her thing to smile he added. But to be fair to her, she has dark skin complexion for a Chinese. My brains were fazed - a scout, who doesn't smile frequently? Awkward sure it is if you were to ask me.

What does smiling got to do with scouting (and guiding)? Good question my friend. 'We scouts uphold and appreciate smiles a lot.' And it turned out to rhyme like Stephen Hawking has just said that the world is flat by the sound of his smirks.

But the focus it not really about the sister that prompts the birth of this note. At the end, you will see that it is not really about scouting too.

It is just that scouting and smiling are both things that are knitted so closely and delicately, like the threads in a piece of cloth, it forms one of the building blocks for the movement that somewhat makes us scouts so benevolent and believeable in ourselves, our abilities and in the community. And in the vision of Lord Baden Powell, its founder and ours, scouting exists to help the soul of every man in every way and time that we can.

We believe in the virtues of helping regardless of the outcome and reward because we have firm faith in what humanity should be and will be. It does not matter whether it is a school uniformed body or an ex-scout leader like myself and some. Being a scout actually means bigger - way whole lot bigger than this. We define ourselves by actions and principles - not on skin colours, the badges, the ranks nor the uniform we don.

Gandhi is a scout by definition. Thus, every scout can (I won't say 'is') be Gandhi, or Buddha. Every man who fight for the rights and lives of others, every selfless souls out there is a scout. A Mother Theresa. A St. John Ambulance cadet. Or even a our beloved Yasmin Ahmad. Soon when maturity begets humanity, one will realise that all these labels and boundaries are meaningless and trivial.

So, how does help begin? By smiling. We never know to whom it is intended for, but the good-feeling curve is surely a powerful ray stronger than the sun - and it's contagious too. It's never specific, but if it can brighten the day of even only a dampened soul, it serves its job well and can definitely be greater with confidence.

With our principles, it's hard for a scout to forsake smiling. Though we can't be smiling all the time and have facial cramps thereafter, but at least we won't return home pulling a long face or being in the public instiling hostility in the environment. So let this be a call for every scout in heart to continue smiling when you thought the good old scouting days have long gone.

The other half of my smiling lesson comes from being a Malaysian, especially the fact that I cherish most is that my parents made the decision to have me educated in a national (so-called Malay) school. I have nothing to lose not knowing my mothertongue well for the smile it taught me to see the beauty of living in this country that is overruled with diversity. Maybe our politicians can learn a thing or two from there by kicking them back to their primary school.

That's why smiling is the first step - and it is sometimes just all that we need. It binds us all no matter who we are. Whether you are a scout, the Red Crescent, you are an Indian, a Malaysian; by smiling you will realise you will be all in what you believe and dream can be - you are everyone and everything.

"A Scout smiles and whistles under all circumstances." _Robert Baden-Powell

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