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Rites of Passage


Rites of Passage

11 Jul - 15 Aug 2019

4H Kinnia Cheuk

Historically, a rite of passage is a ceremonial event existing in all known societies that marks the passage from one social or religious status to another.  In the summer, the SPCC Rites of Passage programme has taken me both forwards and backwards in two starkly different aspects of my life respectively.

To hike 63.2 km in four and a half days, with a backpack larger than my torso across a stretch of mountainous terrain had seemed impossible to me before we set off, and on the first morning of Expedition 3 we were joking about how we would all end up in hospital after the expedition. 

The actual expedition was every bit as difficult as we had expected.  Even to this moment, the ghost of the weight of my expedition backpack on my spine and the monotonous squawking of ravens in the morning haunt me still.  When I think about it now, I definitely would not have survived the 5 days by myself, with all my clumsiness and poor physical abilities – I owe it to our group for keeping me alive and intact during the hardest parts of the journey.  I often reminisce the heartwarming moments of sharing packets of oreos amongst ourselves in 5-minute-breaktimes and lending each other a helping hand across the obstacle-filled creeks; the exhilarating moments after a 7-hour long hike, when we sprawled on the soil and congratulated each other on arriving the campsite before dusk; and the delightful moments of hot chocolate and solving riddles under the starry Australian sky.  We really worked together as a team, giving each other our mental and physical support whenever we could and doing our very best to contribute, no matter it be planning our schedule, encouraging the group or navigating. 

It was only after RoP that I truly understood the meaning of the quote, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.”  RoP has taken me forward in the development of my communication and leadership skills, and I indeed learnt a lot about the importance of teamwork during the programme.

In Hong Kong, we are so occupied with our busy schedules that we usually do not have time to reflect on our past experiences and plan for the future.  In the 28 days in Australia, we had countless opportunities such as the daily DEAR (Drop Everything and Reflect) times and the 2-hour Solo time to consolidate our experiences in the RoP and write our findings down for future reference, so I gradually developed the habit of careful reflection before future action and got rid of my tendency to rush into tasks without a clear vision of what to do.  Apart from taking me a step back to reflect on my daily activities, RoP has also given me the chance to truly appreciate how beautiful nature is (although just for 28 days).  When I look at the pictures we took in Australia, I not only remember the lush greeneries and rolling rivers we had trekked through, but also the fresh smell of misty air at dawn and the comfort of a faint breeze after dusk.  RoP has taught me the importance of stepping back and pausing for a moment to appreciate our surroundings, even amongst the hustle and bustle in Hong Kong.

For me, RoP marked the passage from my junior form life to my senior form life.  In the face of increasing stress and responsibility, I pray that I can recall the moments of hardship and eventual triumph during the RoP, and that they can provide me with encouragement and consolation during the years to come.


4C Jocelyn Tsang

Unlike the majority of my classmates, I was not looking forward to the Rites of Passage as much as I should have been. The prospect of doing strenuous outdoor activities almost every day was enough to make any couch potato faint. Added to the fact that our precious mobile devices were pried from our loving grasps, thus brutally severing our connection with the outside world, I felt like I would never make it through the month without at least two mental breakdowns and an ugly sobbing session.

To my surprise, these sour musings took a 180-degree turn. Yes, the activities were the epitome of physical torture; yes, we all felt like keeling over to faceplant in the cowpats from sheer exhaustion at some point or another, but what kept us going was the continuous support and encouragement from the duty staff, instructors and most importantly, the group. From timidly asking for names and receiving stone cold replies, to being the most tight-knit group I’ve ever seen. Despite the numerous setbacks (injuries, cramps, bruises in the most unlikely places after mountain biking), there was always someone hauling you back up after you have taken a nasty fall; always someone supporting you from behind; always multiple helping hands when you were bombarded with problems.

Successfully getting up at the crack of dawn to hike 17km at godspeed, a thousand puns and assigning new nicknames to nearly every member, to going nuts smearing paint on each other’s face, these are only meagre examples of the fond moments. Even our failings have become an integral part of our collective memories, getting lost while orienteering, hearing the wails of the damned souls of hell from those who were afraid of heights while abseiling/climbing… to this day I can still recall the chilli con carne so spicy that my tongue was numb for the rest of the day when we dumped the whole packet of dubious red sauce in.

RoP is a one in a lifetime chance of living out an adventure worthy of being compared with the likes of Bilbo Baggin’s quest. I can state with complete confidence that if given the chance, a vast majority of us would seize this chance gladly.


4B Jolie Cheung


Since RoP started till now, I am so proud to be part of Binda. Our group name “Binda” refers to deep water. Just as water with high polarity, there is a strong bonding among us.

As a physically weak person, RoP had been my nightmare for the past years. We had to walk a total of 63 km for the last expedition. In the daytime, we had to ensure that we could arrive at the campsite every day before night came. At night, there were animals like possums who took away our food. In my group, one of us was afraid of heights, but with our encouragement, he completed abseiling and leap of faith eventually. For me, I was afraid of mountain biking and I cried because I failed to do the attack position. As I started to panic, one of my instructors shared his biking experience with me. He also told me to believe in myself and cheered me up with jokes. With his guidance and patience, I finally succeeded to perform the attack position and overcame the mountain bike obstacles.

As the batch with the greatest number of illnesses and injuries, it had not been an easy journey. I had a fever on the day of rock climbing. With my instructors and friends leaving Mary Valley, I felt lonely and depressed. Fortunately, Ms Lau was very caring. She came to my room for six times that day, just to check my temperature, bring me food and comfort me. I was so grateful for that.

The most memorable experience to me would be the last campfire. With 1 day left before our departure, one of our instructors joined us and played the song “Perfect” with his guitar. “Baby, I’m dancing in the dark, with you between my arms… You look perfect tonight.” Every one of us in Binda cried. The song was touching. It showed us the true colors of Binda. Very often, when we face people, especially those we are not familiar with, we tend to hide our emotions and may even wear a mask to cover our original expressions and thoughts. But with Binda, there is no need to do so. We have gone from complete strangers to friends we cannot live without, hence we are not afraid to show our true side to others. And by doing so, I have received support and encouragement during my downtimes.

“Life was meant for good friends and great adventures.” Indeed, RoP was tough - there were times when we felt homesick, there were times when we struggled with activities. However, with mutual support, we have learnt to step out of our comfort zones. Being courageous is not only one of the SPCC student attributes, but also an attitude that we have to work on in our lives. RoP has definitely transformed me into a better person.