Over 500 Outward Bound Singapore alumni to reunite on its 50th birthday
Outward Bound Singapore's homecoming event will be held tomorrow
More than 500 Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) alumni will reunite at Pulau Ubin for the first time tomorrow in a homecoming event held in conjunction with the institution's 50th anniversary.
Among them will be Ms Wee Ah Yong, 60, a semi-retired real estate agent, who will be taking part in activities such as tri-yaking, the iconic jetty jump, abseiling and the flying fox.
Ms Wee was a Secondary 4 student at First Toa Payoh Secondary School when she attended a 21-day women-only adventure course with OBS.
"I remember on the first day of camp, we lay in the hot afternoon sun in a big field. We also walked across a 6m-high suspended rope tied across two trees. We had to do it. Back then, fear was not in our minds," she told The New Paper.
When her husband's niece, who works in OBS, asked her if she would be willing to be part of the promotional video for OBS' Homecoming Day celebrations, she readily agreed.
Last month, she found herself having to negotiate the suspended rope in Pulau Ubin again.
Ms Wee said: "From the ground up, it did not look so daunting. But when I got up there, because it was drizzling, the platform was slippery, which made it quite scary.
"I told myself, 'Since I am already up, I might as well just finish the course'."
OBS, which is part of the National Youth Council, was established in 1967 by New Zealanders Hamish Thomas and Al Cameron to build a "rugged society" that was ready to meet challenges and help ensure Singapore's survival as a newly independent nation at the time.
Since then, more than 500,000 Singaporeans have undergone its courses and from 2020, all Sec 3 students here will have to take part in a five-day OBS expedition-based camp.
The first OBS course was on Feb 17, 1968.
Those who have taken part since include Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, who will be the guest-of-honour for Homecoming Day, where the time capsule buried in 1997 will be dug up.
Mr Edvan Loh, deputy director of capability and sector development in the National Youth Council, attended the OBS course in 1985.
He said: "In the first 25 years, the school was situated on a granite quarry. Now, we are working towards expanding into Coney Island. It is exciting.
"With the expansion, 40,000 Sec 3 students will have the opportunity to attend OBS annually. Currently, 14,000 Sec 3 students attend OBS annually."
On her return to OBS after 45 years, Ms Wee said: "Everything is so modern now; the dormitories used to be 'rugged'.
"Our abseiling was done off an actual cliff - now they have a concrete wall."