(A field that is bigger than the school building area and holds a 400-meter track, 2 football fields, basketball court and still had more space to spare. Image source: Google Earth)
When I was in my secondary school (the good old La Salle Brickfields), I was in the Boy Scout (aka Pengakap) – in fact, I ended up as the Boy Scout troop leader at the end of schooling days. And one of the highlights of being in the Boys Scout is going camping at the edge of the school field.
La Salle Brickfields was well known for its huge field (it had 2 football fields with extra space to spare, a basketball court and a complete 400-meter athletes track). We will have our camping starting Friday night and ending on Sunday afternoon sometimes after lunch (sometimes because by this time, some are already feeling homesick) under the hot sun.
An interesting story on the school field:-
LSB then had no field for its sports activities. The land in front of the school was still a swamp. Once again, sometime in 1957, the lorries rolled in with their loads of rubbish and the bulldozers set to work to convert the swamp into a playing field.
The field was ready for use in 1958. Engineers from the government’s Survey Department measured the field and succeeded in fitting an eight-lane 400-metre running track on it, thus making LSB the only school in KL other than Victoria Institution to possess such a facility.
Prior to LSB having its own field, all sports activities were conducted in nearby “Chan Ah Tong Stadium”, a small playground adjoining Chan Ah Tong Street and a Brickfields landmark.
I still recall the first camping day – I was just a junior in the group but the seniors allowed a camp for a group of us juniors and decided to see how we measure up. There were 4 of us in the group and we had to share one tent – so we took turns sleeping (it was not comfortable though).
On Friday evening, we arrived in school and gathered in front of the field. We got our camping gears and walked toward the end of the field – away from the school building. Not knowing how to set up the tents, we were clumsy at first but then a senior showed us the way and we soon had a tent up. Another buddy of mine was busy lining up raffia string around the tent to mark the “borders”.
When everything been done and well setup (including stacking up our bags in the tent), there was one important thing to do – throw sulphur on the grounds around the campsite. This is to keep snakes away – ha, the snakes – we often see them floating when the field gets flooded.
Aside from these activities, we have our usual drills and marching – just to work out the weak joints. The finale of the day has to be cooking our dinner.
We had our water canteens and a friend who is staying nearby brought cooking utilities and more importantly brought a simple recipe from his mom – recipe to cook simple chicken curry. It was not hard to collect cash to buy the ingredients (seniors chipped in more) and off we went to the supermarket opposite the road.
The seniors cooked the rice whilst we took care of taking the main dish – hot spicy chicken curry. The dish did turn out to be so good that we had to cook another round.
After dinner – it was time for night patrol (or rather “wee hour” patrol). We walked around the school and certainly at certain places, we felt cold and a raise of the hair at the back. Something else was present. Turning back to the campsite, we were greeted by hot coffee and a warm campfire. We sat around it, warming up our hands. Someone started to sing and soon we were singing around the campfire with canteens of coffee in our hands.