Boys Who Got Lost in MacRitchie Forest to Find Shrine Were Found by Soldiers


Teenagers sometimes do dumb things.

Much like having a crush and eating too many McSpicys at one sitting, doing dumb things is a part of growing up.

While some teenagers ride PMDs on the expressway even though it’s illegal, others go looking for the remnants of a World War II Japanese shrine in the forest.

Image: Giphy

Exploration Gone Wrong

Broadrick Secondary School students Soo Xiang Lin and Richard Goh went on an ill-advised adventure on 18 Oct.

Goh, 14, found out about the Syonan Jinja shrine while scouring the net for interesting places to explore, reported The New Paper.

He told his classmate, Soo, also 14, and the pair decided to go looking for it at MacRitchie Reservoir.

The only problem was that they didn’t inform their parents, nor did they bring along food or water because they assumed there would be vending machines there.

Mistake 1: Not telling their parents

According to TNP, the pair met at the Lornie Road entrance at 3pm.

They took the Terentang Trail suggested by Apple Maps and then entered an opening, which led them to the forest.

Mistake 2: Using Apple Maps instead of Google Maps

At around 5pm in the forest, they met a man who was also looking for the shrine, but he soon gave up his search.

This should have deterred the two boys, but they kept going.

Mistake 3: Perseverance?

Got Lost & Called The Police

At 6.45pm, the boys followed pieces of orange plastic tied to surrounding trees in an attempt to get back, but this only led them deeper into the forest.

It was then that they realised they were lost.


Without food or water, the pair decided to call the police for help at 7.15pm.

They were told to download what3words – a location finder app – to determine their exact location.

They were also told to stay put and remain calm if they see any animals.

“I was scared of wild boars and other animals, and I did not want to get eaten,” Goh said.

“I was more scared of getting scolded by my mother,” said Soo.



Nearly an hour later, it was so dark that the pair couldn’t see their hands. They both texted their parents about the matter.

Soldiers to the Rescue

Finally, at around 10pm, the teenagers heard some shouts and shouted back.

Six soldiers then emerged.

Image: Giphy

They were part of a team of about 50 that included police officers and SCDF personnel. Drones were also employed.

After they were found, the soldiers checked the boys for injuries and took them to a boat where they were given water.


The boat then conveyed them to the main entrance, where paramedics treated the minor cuts on their legs.

Waiting for them at the entrance were Goh’s parents and Soo’s mother, who feared the worst.

“I was worried about the bad things that would happen based on my imagination. I am happy and thankful to the Singapore Police Force for finding my son,” she said.

It was nearly 11pm when the pair reached home.

Stay On Designated Trails

Everyone loves a good adventure, but one must take the necessary precautions to prevent getting lost or worse.


Dr Adrian Loo, group director of conservation at National Parks Board, advised visitors of nature areas and reserves to wear comfortable shoes and bring along a water bottle.

Most importantly, he urged visitors to stay on designated trails for their own safety.

Moreover, it’s actually illegal to veer off designated trails, and punishable by a fine of up to $2,000.

You should also plan your route in advance, and avoid walking further if you are lost.