#RaleighPassItOn featuring Victor Toh
Let’s hear from Victor, a veteran volunteer who advises on new Raleigh expeditions and is active in guiding mangrove tours on weekends, kayaking and other coastal activities in Singapore waters.
Q: How and when did you hear about Raleigh? A: In Summer 1996, I befriended Khairol and Denise during Outward Bound Australia. They shared about Raleigh expeditions and encouraged me to try it out.
Q. Tell us all about your Raleigh experiences and your motivations. A: I enjoy being part of an enthusiastic team of like-minded people to plan and execute meaningful projects to help others. I have been on these projects and expeditions:-
Chile 98A, South America, Raleigh International, Summer 1998, Venturer
Operasi Bertam, Indonesia's island, Raleigh Singapore, 1998, Logistics
Operation Mingalaba, Myanmar, Raleigh Singapore, 1999, Logistics
Operation Tashi Deleg, Tibet, Raleigh Singapore, 2001, staff (kitchen)
Project Climb On, Singapore/Krabi, Thailand, Raleigh Singapore, 2002, staff (Climbing project working with students, teachers and staff from Boys’ Town and ITE East)
Project Relieve, Raleigh Society, 2011, Volunteer (in conjunction with Raleigh Society's 10th anniversary), a Raleigh-led expedition team went to the highlands near Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India and was involved in the construction of toilets in the village.
Q. Any memorable moments and precious lessons from your Raleigh experiences? A: We have to be ready to improvise and stay resilient. Although many months of endless nights can be spent planning our expeditions in detail, things can go down south during the execution and we have to adapt. In Myanmar, we were told that we had to abort our project when our advanced party was on the way to the country. Our liaison staff came knocking on our doors abruptly late at night, informing that we had to leave the village immediately.
In Tibet, more than half of the expedition members were affected by altitude sickness and we had to evacuate to a lower elevation to rest for a few days before proceeding with our mission. We learnt not to get too comfortable and plan too much. We just need to be prepared and adaptable.
These projects also allowed me to befriend students from the Institute of Technical Education, Boys’ Town and the Assumption School, and witness their growth in character and strength over the years as they were doing their part to help others.
While we are not here to change the world, overseas expeditions allow our youths to see the harsh realities of life and be humbled by experiences abroad, realising our privilege and how we can help others.
Through my years of volunteering with Raleigh, it has opened my eyes. Those valuable experiences doing logistics for expeditions also allowed me to explore beyond our comfort zone. I was privileged to serve in humanitarian and medical missions to Sri Lanka for Tsunami relief in 2004, and for the Pakistan Earthquake in 2005, as well as Haiti Earthquake 2010 and the Philippines Tacloban Typhoon in 2013.