Drills for Discipline
SJAM has always been regarded as a paramilitary organisation, despite being a voluntary organisation. It originated as a military Order and its early activities were related to the British Armed Forces in Malaya and North Borneo. St. John Ambulance follows the marching style of the Armed Forces. Army instructors are invited to train our officers and members in foot drill at camps and to judge foot drill tests in First Aid Competitions. All SJAM members and officers are required to have basic proficiency in foot drill. Cadets are usually trained in foot drill during weekly meetings. All officers are also required to go through basic foot drill training conducted by Army instructors and to pass the foot drill test during the Officers’ Training Course. Malay has been used since the early sixties as the medium of instruction for foot drill.
In 1990, SJAM changed its style of saluting officers. Instead of showing the palm at the
forehead, the salute now requires the raising of the right hand, held flat, to the right eyebrow with the hand canted forward, so that the palm is not visible to the one being saluted. After the amalgamation of the Brigade and the Association, SJAM adopted the Armed Forces designations for its senior officers’ positions to reflect the paramilitary nature of the organisation. SJAM members practice foot drill and are indeed proud of this tradition that reflects their discipline and spirit of cooperation.
In the Parade We March.......
St. John Ambulance parades are usually conducted during annual reviews, visits by dignitaries, National Day celebrations, launching of buildings, trooping of colour and anniversary celebrations. Of all the parades, Annual Reviews are the most important. Reviews not only show the strength of the organisation during a particular time but also celebrate the achievements of the movement.
The annual reviews of St. John Ambulance units started in England and spread together with the Brigade movement to Malaya. As a paramilitary organisation, St. John parades follow the style and formation similar to the Armed Forces. The early parades were directed by the Armed Forces or Police officers. The Brigade Ceremonial Manual published by the London Headquarters was used. As the movement grew, Malaysian Armed Forces instructors were consulted on the style and formation of a parade. The local format is a slight deviation from the format specified in the manual but generally retains the form of the parade in British Commonwealth. The reviews in Malaysia are normally held at National, State, Area and Divisional levels. The main objective of a Review is to examine the efficiency of the members of a unit. All SJAM members and officers must take part in a parade to fulfil their annual efficiency requirement. The parades are inspected by an inspecting officer and normally accompanied by first aid and nursing demonstrations to show the public SJAM’s ability to provide good service to the community.