Monday, April 7, 2008

1st Tahan Expedition, part 28.... We were on TV !!!

1st page of my 1969 diary. Did you notice the telephone numbers...only 6 digits back then!

I started keeping a simple diary since Primary 6. Those early years proper diaries were hard to come by. Most of us had no money to buy such a luxury. I recall using unwanted, old exercise books or a discarded notebook for such purposes. In the mid 60's, as I was then working, a free diary or two will somehow land on my desk yearly.

Here is the cover page of my 1969 personal diary. The page is also from this same diary dated May 24th 1969....barely a month after we had returned from our Tahan expedition. After the story of our exploits broke in the newspapers of the day, RTS [ Radio and TV Singapore ] contacted us. TV programmes and shows back then were all in black and white. No colour yet until 1974, I think. RTS were eager to feature all 10 of us in a special 30 minute programme they named " THE RUGGED 10 ". The recording and filming were done in their studio at Caldecott Hill.

From the May 8th to 29th 1969, I was attending the full 22 day OBS course # 15 at Pulau Ubin Outward Bound School. About 14 of us from TTC were chosen for this course, fully sponsored by the local British Army Hqrs. We were the 1st batch of teachers from TTC so honoured [ I will have a post about this OBS thing later].

So, on the 24 May, as can be seen from my diary notes, my OBS watch "Tensing" had just returned from the land expedition. I had a message waiting for me and was passed over by OBS Chief Instructor then....Henry Sng. I was told that our RTS special feature will be on air at 3 pm that day. Since my group was back, I asked for permission to see it"live" with my watch members. There was a TV set at the Meeting room and we gathered there, together with many other OBS instructors and also members of other groups.

That was the very 1st time[ not the last though ], that I appeared on national TV. That 30 min programme entitled, " The Rugged Ten" was shown a few times back then. But alas, none of us possessed the technology then for recording it. VCR did not exist at our level yet. Before 1999, that will be 30 years after our Tahan success, I did inquire from then SBC whether they still have an archived copy of the original programme. A friend there told me they most likely do....but it would not come cheap to get a copy made, provided clearance is approved. The figure quoted was frightening!!!

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