Boy Scouts and Girl Guides from Thailand's southern border provinces recently joined counterparts from Indonesia and Malaysia for an Islamic scouting convention in the Thai city of Hat Yai .
Dubbed the "Fifth Islamic Private School Jamboree", the event took place for the first time at the Hat Yai Municipality Scout Camp in Khohong District, Songkhla Province, from August 23rd to 27th.
"This is my first time attending the jamboree. It's been fun, but some of the activities are pretty tiring," said scout Phiraphat Kaewdeang.
He was part of a contingent of 16 scouts and eight Girl Guides that travelled to Hat Yai from Darunsat Wittaya School in Pattani Province's Saiburi district.
"Today, we did traditional sports such as chakaiyer (ten-a-side tug-of-war). They have provided all the Halal food for us, and it is quite good," he told Khabar Southeast Asia.
Students slept in tents and weren't allowed to leave the campground without permission.
As many as 1,900 people participated, Nopdara Peungkusol, Jamboree public relations director, told Khabar.
"Some 90% are Thais from the five southern border provinces (Songkhla, Satun, Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat ). There are also 100 scouts and girl guides each from schools in Malaysia and Indonesia," she said, adding that a Bruneian contingent was unable to make it.
"The objectives are to demonstrate our dedication and abilities as Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, perform acts of merit and social service in the scouting tradition, review and practice outdoor camping techniques, and to exchange information and ideas with other scouts, including those from abroad who have travelled here to take part," Nopdara added.
Each scout or guide was given an identification badge, which he or she used to collect stickers after completing six activities. These were labelled as "adventure", "pioneer", "Thai tradition", "ASEAN", "creative" and "trekking".
For those who found the activities too strenuous, cots were set up as a makeshift medical centre, and a nearby ambulance was on standby.
Heng Eow Chew, a Malaysian contingent leader from Kedah, said participants collaborated in the scout tradition to sort out a system of translators so students could communicate with one another.
The facilities' large area and the hilly expanse of Khohong Hill Range impressed fellow Malaysian leader Hussain Mat Hassan.
"The facilities for trekking and pioneering are better than anything we have in Malaysia," the Kelantan state resident told Khabar.
"Along the way, the scouts and guides can enjoy the view from the large pagoda at the top and even tour the astronomical observatory up there."
Scout leader Andy Sapta, who headed a group of five Indonesian scouts from Medan, North Sumatra, agreed.
"It has been fun, even though not all of our scouts have been able to communicate with their Thai counterparts, because the Indonesian Malay is very different to that spoken by Malay Muslims in the Deep South of Thailand,” he said.