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AUGUST - SEPTEMBER 2011
North West Journal INSIDE
Determination and risk needed for global competition Minister shares thoughts on career challenges with youths at dialogue session. By Eunice Loh
Chong Pang Brisk Walking Club sees an increase of participants over the past year. EVENTS | page 3
Happy 46th Birthday Singapore! Find out more about how Singaporeans celebrated our nation’s birthday. SPECIAL | page 4, 5
Minister Khaw Boon Wan said that youths must be prepared for strong job competition during a forum held at Woodlands Community Club on 29 May. The forum titled “Career Challenges Youths Face!” was jointly organised by the Youth Executive Committees (YEC) of Sembawang Group Representation Constituency (GRC) and People’s Association’s Youth Movement (PAYM). It aimed to educate youths on the problems they would face when they enter the workforce. A dialogue session was held at the end with newly elected minister for National Development, Mr. Khaw, and two guest speakers. An audience member asked how the huge stream of foreign workers would affect employment rates among youths in Singapore. “We will always need foreign workers, but the question is how many,” said Mr. Khaw. He said if the government stopped bringing them in, the move will slow down economic growth. As a result, youths looking for employment must be ready to accept a lower starting pay and a higher competition for jobs. Mr. Khaw also said that in the last few years, there have been “too many” foreign workers. However, Mr. Khaw emphasised that youths can excel if they have the “right attitude”.
PHOTO BY EUNICE LOH
Mr Khaw (centre) addressing the crowd of about 350, which resulted in some participants having to be seated on stage and on the steps.
In relation to the increase in foreign labour, a participant asked what is the government doing to equip youths with the skills needed to compete with foreign workers. In response, Mr. Khaw brought up
“We will always need foreign workers, but the question is how many.” Mr. Khaw Boon Wan Minister for National Development
the issue of global competition and said that Singaporeans are not only competing with other Singaporeans and foreign workers, but they are also competing on a global scale. He said multinational corporations (MNCs) will start to turn to other cheaper countries with higher productivity.
Guest speaker, Ms. Amelia Kang said, “If you are going to become a global citizen, you need to take a lot more risk… you need to move out of your comfort zone.” Mr. Khaw said choosing a career path based on interest and skills, could help youth perform well. “Know yourself… what are you good at?” he said. William Martin, an organiser from Sembawang YEC said the turnout proved that youths were starting to take action for their career. “This actually shows that youth nowadays… want to do something in life, they want to be somebody,” he said. A participant, Yong Kie Yie, 23, said that the speeches set her thinking about her own career and that she found the event “quite helpful”.
Youths played major roles in Gentarasa 2011 Students initiate a Community Involvement Programme (CIP) trip to help HIV-infected children in Vietnam. PEOPLE | page 7
PHOTO BY ERMAN KASUANDI
Youths in a futuristic performance that combined Silat and moves from the “Matrix” movie.
Inspired by the historical architecture of Singapore, Diana Francis reminds us of our rich culture. LIFESTYLE | page 8
Youths committed three months and juggled between school and trainings to showcase their talents in a Malay performing arts event. By Erman Kasuandi
Youths made up the majority of over 200 performers in Gentarasa, with hopes to raise awareness and appreciation of the Malay culture at NUS University Cultural Centre on 28 May. The hall was filled with mostly youths and young adults. All 3,000 tickets were
sold within a month, with many who came to show support for friends and family members who performed that evening. Gentarasa, an initiative by Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, aims to highlight the Malay culture in our society. According to the organisers, MESRA, there has been an increase in the number of youths who are keen to be part of it. Auditions were held, with many youths making the cut for most roles. Gentarasa director and scriptwriter Ms. Haryani Othman, 32, said youths “have been waiting for this event” since last year. She said they were “passionate and committed to finish the production” despite difficulties faced prior to the show. She said the shortage of time and venues to train performers forced her to “pull everyone’s strengths together”. Production manager, Mr. Hamzah Zulkifli, 28, said youths wanted to join CONTINUED ON PAGE 3
North West Journal
August - September 2011
More than just family learning Residents under the Sembawang GRC Family Learning Program participants are receiving the help and support they need from one another. By Natalie Ang
The Learning Family Program, held monthly at Admiralty Community Experience (ACE) The Place Community Centre, not only teaches parents skills, but it also forms a support group for those who need it. Both Chinese and Malay participants attend separate sessions held every last Sunday of the month to learn life skills related to topics such as financial management and leadership skills. Besides learning such soft skills in the form of advice from group facilitators, participants are also provided with the necessary emotional support they need. In fact, this is why participants such as Mrs. Ang Siew Ling, a regular participant, “look forward to this program”. The support these participants receive made them feel that they have people to call on whenever they need the help, as well as “not feel as isolated as before... when
PHOTO BY NATALIE ANG
Participants of the Learning Family Program during their monthly sharing session with their support group.
they know that other people have the same problems”, said Mr. Vikram Nair, current Member of Parliament (MP) of Sembawang Group Representation Constituency (GRC). What they were most happy about is the fact that the setting is an open one, which
Bukit Timah Community Club celebrates annual Dumpling Festival Dumpling Festival Celebration activities aim to engage more senior citizens. By Gwee Yi Xuan
The Bukit Timah Women Executive Committee (WEC) organised a Dumpling Festival Celebration at Bukit Timah Community Centre on 29 May. Mr. Lim Soon Hock, Chairman of Bukit Timah Community Club (CC) Management Committee, was Guest-ofHonour for the event. The highlight of the event was the dumpling wrapping competition. The dumplings were judged based on the overall presentation, how many they made within the given period of time, and how well-wrapped they were. Mdm. He Xian Fang, an organiser from Bukit Timah WEC said that this event
PHOTO BY GWEE YI XUAN
Senior citizens moving to the beat during the line-dancing segment of the celebration.
PHOTO BY GWEE YI XUAN
Senior citizens wrapping dumplings at the Bukit Timah CC Dumpling Festival Celebration.
was targeted at senior citizens, and aimed to engage them. “Nowadays people are so busy they do not have time to wrap dumplings anymore. They will usually resort to buying them from outside where they do not have to go through so much trouble,” she said. There were also line-dancing activities for the senior citizens, where they danced to songs such as ‘Nobody’ by the Wonder Girls. “Line-dancing is definitely for people of all ages, not only for the old. I have taught classes as young as primary schools,” said Jonathan-Winston Yew, the dance instructor. The event, held at the Bukit Timah CC Hall, included performances by students from Yuhua Secondary School, and qigong activities by senior citizens.
allows for honest sharing, and no one needs to feel shameful about what they are saying, Mrs. Ang said. She also found the advice given to her by the facilitators, who have become their friends throughout the program, “useful and applicable to their daily lives”.
Other participants are also free to comment and give their own suggestions as well, as the whole session is open and everyone is given a chance to speak. This helps facilitate learning from each other’s problems, as “everyone has different problems”, said Mrs. Ang. This program is now under the supervision of Mr. Vikram, who sees the importance of having such activities for the community as it has “built up… strong bonds”. The purpose of this program, started by previous MP of Sembawang GRC, Dr. Mohd Maliki bin Osman, is to equip families with life skills and build bonds in the community. On 29 May, the program’s event participants, mostly parents whose children receive tuition subsidies, attended the monthly group session to learn more about being a good leader in the family. Some issues that were brought up during the session were common problems such as the concerns over childrens’ grades and homework. What the facilitators advised were for parents and grandparents to continue being good role models and teach their children the importance of doing their work.
August - September 2011
North West Journal
Students contribute to Singapore’s vision In Pre-University Seminar 2011, students play their part in shaping a vision for Singapore through parallel presentations, engaging discussions and creative hands-on activities. By Joey Ong
Students from Pre-University Institutions all over Singapore gathered for the annual seminar, where they were given various platforms to contribute to the vision of Singapore. The seminar was a five-day residential event, held from 30 May to 3 June at the National University of Singapore. “Re-imagining Singapore” is the Seminar’s theme for this year. Mr. S Iswaran, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry, graced the Opening Ceremony on 31 May with a keynote address. “Imagination propels us to move to unchartered territories and realms of possibilities,” he said. Mr. Iswaran encouraged all 525 participants to utilise the platforms created for them to re-imagine Singapore’s future, without limiting themselves. During Parallel Presentations, participants were given opportunities to air their views and pose intellectual questions to the presenting team. Republic Polytechnic student Kan Mei-li Sherilyn, 17, said: “I like the platform created for us, where we can voice out our vision and our hopes and dreams for Singapore.” Participants engaged in meaningful
dialogue with ministers and leaders from the public and private organizations on how Singapore’s success can be ensured, and how the younger generation can contribute to the society. Panellists also shared their personal experiences and expertise, providing different perspectives for the participants. An informal environment was created for participants, where they bonded through special activities such as sculpturing, video making and skits. Participants had to work together as a
team, to materialize their vision for Singapore in creative and innovative ways. Angle-Chinese Junior College student, Nigel Tan Bow Hong, 17, said: “We get a say in how we want our future to be like … Our ideas may spark off small changes, that may have a greater impact later on.” Pre-University Seminar 2011 was jointly organized by Temasek Junior College and the Ministry of Education, with 27 participating institutions from junior colleges, integrated programme schools, polytechnics and the Millennia Institute.
North West Journal EDITOR
SUB-EDITOR Eunice Loh
Lee Ker Yuan Natalie Ang
REPORTERS/PHOTOGRAPHERS Erman Kasuandi Gwee Yi Xuan
North West Community Development Council
Gentarasa Concert 2011 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
PHOTO BY ERMAN KASUANDI
The main hosts of Gentarasa 2011, putting up a mini stand-up comedy to entertain the crowd.
the show to gain the “feeling of satisfaction after the production” apart from the “monetary benefit they earn as a token of appreciation”. He said youths showed their dedication throughout the entire production process and saw this as “a platform to achieve their goals in life”. Performer and student Fazli Bin Ahmad, 24, said his involvement in the event was “fulfilling” and it “widen (his) social circle beyong university”. He started performing when he was 12 and said that he wanted to form a performing arts group to “impart knowledge and reach out to Malay youths to embrace their culture”. Another performer, Mohammad Nazree Bin Nasrol, said it was difficult juggling studies and training sessions for the event. He said youths committed three months of weekends to pull off yesterday’s gala show and they were “proud
of their achievements”. Audience were pleased with the show. Dancer, Irdawati Roslan, 23, said the show changed common perceptions that cultural and traditional performances are “boring and irrelevant”. She said the organisers were able to showcase different elements of Malay culture together smoothly and it was “tastefully done”.
PHOTO BY ERMAN KASUANDI
Two singers closing the show with a duet during a colourful grand finale.
Setting the pace for a healthy lifestyle Chong Pang Brisk Walking Club sees a rise in participants over the past year. By Lee Ker Yuan
Chong Pang Brisk Walking Club has seen an increase of active participants in their monthly event from 200 to around 2,000 within one year. In the early morning of 29 May, around 2,800 residents from Chong Pang turned up for their monthly Brisk Walking event held at an open field in Yishun. Mr. K Shanmugam, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Law, graced the event as Guest-of-Honour. Mr. Or Teck Seng, chairman for Chong Pang Brisk Walking Club, said that the increase was aided by group work from the residential community members and staff from the Chong Pang Community Club. He also said that a lot of effort was placed into promoting the event since last year. To date, there is about a total of 5,000 registered members in the club, and 19 events held so far..
“But for this year, we try not to push them too hard, because we want to get the participants naturally,” said Mr. Or. Many of the residents heard about this event through family or friends who actively participate in the Chong Pang Community Club’s events. There are also other perks of participating in the event. Residents can look forward to other activities such as games and a lucky draw. Ms. Ganga, a participant, said her main reason for attending was the $50 NTUC voucher that will be given out after attending 12 consecutive sessions. However, Mr. Or said that lucky draws and vouchers given for participation “was just an add-on”, and not the main incentive . Residents interviewed were satisfied with the event, but said that it got too crowded due to the lack of organization in crowd control when it came to lucky draw queues. Tan Xiu Hui, 15, a young participant and resident from Sembawang, said that there should be more staff to
PHOTO BY LEE KER YUAN
Chong Pang residents geared up for an early morning of warm up exercises, brisk walking and lucky draws on an open field in Yishun.
control the crowd. “Sometimes for the lucky draw, everybody just goes up to snatch the prize,” she said. Mr. Or said that their original intention
was to have young to old participants, and brisk walking is the best way as people of all ages can take part in it. The Brisk Walking event is held on the last Sunday of every month.
North West Journal
August - September 2011
The making of a National Day dinner Details were mulled over a span of 8 months to bring about a dinner event to celebrate National Day 2011 in Admiralty. By Erman Kasuandi
Residents from Admiralty Grassroots Organisations (GROs) celebrated Singapore’s 46th National Day over an eightcourse dinner. Mr. Vikram Nair, Member of Parliament (MP) for Sembawang Group Representative Constituency (GRC) and the Adviser to Admiralty GROs, graced the occasion. The cultural ethnic performances amongst schools in Admiralty showcased
Workers secu and cables. ring the tentage
Singapore’s racial harmony and diversity. The national anthem was also sung by residents. Mr. Adrian Lim Kim Hoe, 37, organising chairman of the event, has been planning since early January 2011, after being appointed the post to lead the event. “I have to put on my thinking hat and think of all ways to make sure the event surpasses the benchmark the 2008 National Day Dinner has set,” said Mr. Lim. Mr. Lim was referring to the 2009 People’s Association Special Community Award that was conferred to Admiralty for its National Day Dinner event in 2008. North West Journal went behind the scenes to see how everything was put together for the residents to enjoy a night full of patriotism.
to banana ing packed in Cooked rice bence the aroma and taste. leaves to enha
A volunteer and a worker preparing the stage for the Guest-of-Honour.
Workers sc alin
g fish for th
An audio visual technician setting up the equipment.
Celebrations Bukit Panjang Community Club (CC) organised a photography session to build anticipation for National Day. By Eunice Loh
Around 40 participants from a photography workshop gathered at Marina Bay to shoot the National Day Preview fireworks on 30 July. The “Fireworks Photography Tour” was organised by the Youth Executive Committees (YEC) of Bukit Panjang Community Club and is the first event of its kind that has been held. Chairman for Bukit Panjang CC YEC, Mr. Bernard Ngo, 29, said that it was a very “unique way” to celebrate National Day. “It’s not engaging enough if you sit at home and watch the parade on TV,” he said. Mr. Ngo hoped that through this workshop, participants would be able to learn good photography skills and continue to take part in such future events. He also said that the CC encourages participants to upload their photos on the CC’s Facebook page. “This would bring up the National
Day atmosphere on Faceb ple will also be proud of when others ‘like’ their ph Mr. Ngo. A participant, Clarice L dent said that she joined shop as she thought it w interesting experience. “It’s a good opportun the atmosphere, and if I photos to share on social sites, it would build exci National Day itself,” she s
“This is the best N show in the las
Clarice Lee, a participant, sets he on her tripod to prepare for the sh in the evening.
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Residents anticipating the commencme of the dinner.
PHOTOS BY ERMAN K
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The actual pe School dancerrformance from Woodgrove s, portraying vib Se rance and vig condary or.
August - September 2011
North West Journal
ng the Singapore Spirit!
s in a different light
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O BY EUNICE LOH
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Majulah means onward in malay, reflecting our strength and determination to move towards a better future.
One of the organisers, Mr. Ang Chao Peng, 35, said that he wanted to use the National Day Preview fireworks as a “setting point” for such future events as it would be “an immersive experience for photographers”. “This (Marina Bay) is a good spot as participants will also be able to capture beautiful sunset shots and the helicopters flying overhead.” said Mr. Ang. The workshop included a 30-minute crash course on camera
National Day firework st four to five years.”
The Singapore Spirit is
PHOTO BY JOEY ONG
Stanley Wong Photography Trainer
technicalities and skills to capture fireworks. Participants then proceeded to Marina Bay to set up their cameras for the fireworks show. The trainer for this workshop, Stanley Wong, 44, said that he hoped that out of this event, photographers would know more people who share similar interests, and be able to bring home “nice shots”. He said, “How often do you have a chance to shoot fireworks?” Mr. Wong also said that the workshop was more of a “sharing session”
The theme for this year’s National Day is “Majulah! The Singapore Spirit”.
as participants took Fireworks lit up the night sky, colourful atmosphere. the in ked soa photographs and
and not a lesson on photography. “When there’s too much technicality, there is no fun. Just enjoy yourself and learn through trial and error… It’s also more fun to go as a group,” he said. Another participant, Lim Ping Hwee, 21, felt that it was a good experience overall. “It’s quite special… One year, one time,” said Mr. Lim. “This is the best National Day firework show in the last four to five years,” said Mr. Wong.
“the determination that makes us press on” in the face of tough times and the confidence that Singapore will prevail. PM Lee Hsien Loong
Adapted from the Official NDP 2011 Website
Stop, Reflect and Write Singaporeans take a moment to reflect on what is the Singapore Spirit to them at various Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Stations. By Joey Ong
Reflection cards were collected at Admiralty MRT Station on 22 and 31 July, in conjunction with National Day’s 2011 Reflections on the Singapore Spirit Campaign. The public was encouraged to reflect on what this year’s National Day theme, “Majulah! The Singapore Spirit”, meant to them. A booth was set up at the main entrance of the MRT Station, and there were also ambassadors situated at the area to give out reflection cards. “Although this is a very simple thing, every Singaporean should celebrate the spirit of nationality,” said Mr. Andrew Lim, 70, who penned down his reflection for the campaign. Maverick Lim, 20, one of the ambassadors for the campaign said that members
of the public showed the Singapore Spirit when they stopped and took time to reflect. “The Singapore Spirit is a unity of people from different races, different walks of life coming together as one, “ said Bryan Goo Wai Kiat, 21, an ambassador for the Reflections on the Singapore Spirit Campaign. This year, reflections were collected at 9 MRT Stations situated in the heartlands from 4 July to 31 July, between 10 am to 4 pm. “Placing it (these booths) in the heartlands is better. Everyone has a chance to participate as it is no longer just in central areas,” said Khoo Yen Ling, 15, student, who was one of those who wrote down their reflections. Each person received a limited edition NDP 2011 collar pin for each reflection they wrote. The public also participated by uploading photos, videos or captions onto the Online Reflections Wall or the Mobile App. Approximately 500 reflection cards were collected at Admiralty MRT station.
Mr. Andrew Lim, penning down his thoughts on a reflection card.
young boy as or assisting a An ambassad e box. felction into th he drops his re
The Reflections on the Singapore Spirit Campaign booth set up outside Admiralty MRT station.
PHOTOS BY JOEY ONG
North West Journal
August - September 2011
A Friend to Nee Soon Residents Every two months, Mrs. Sng organises brisk walking events, as it is one of the favorite pastimes of the residents. Their latest event was a 3 kilometres long brisk walk from Nee Soon to lower seletar reservoir. A committee member, Mdm. Wang By Lee Ker Yuan Mei Zi, 63, has known Mrs. Sng for over Mrs. Sng Shu Fen has been serving her ten years. community for more than thirteen years, “Mrs. Sng is a person full of love and and is a personal friend to many elderly knows how to take care of the elderly. We like to meet up for coffee whenever she’s residents. As the Resident Committee (RC) free,” she said in Mandarin. Chairperson of Nee Soon Central, her role “It is inconvenient for us elderly to go requires her to interact personally with resi- to these places by ourselves, and transport is arranged for us during the events. Furtherdents and help them with their problems. Mrs. Sng spends more 10 hours a week more, it is more fun to go with friends from volunteering and attending meetings at the the RC,” said Mdm. Yeo Chew Hong, 60, Nee Soon Central Community Centre (CC) in Teochew. PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID KENNEDY CHANG Mrs. Sng recalled a memorable brisk in Yishun. A group of participants during an RC brisk walking event at Marina Bay. “Being with the elderly residents makes walking event at MacRitchie Reservoir a me understand how they feel, and it makes few years ago, where the group accidentally “These are residents above the age of treasurer in the committee. me grow at the same time. The old folks took the wrong route back and they ended 60. Some even worn out the soles of their Just three years ago, she was elected shoes that day. Still, they didn’t mind be- and took over the role of RC Chairman in actually contributed a lot to their families, up walking more than 7 kilometres. Nee Soon Central. and they should be appreciated for it,” “ Being with the elderly residents makes me understand “It was a challenge to juggle between said Mrs. Sng. how they feel, and it makes me grow at the same time.” the committee, work and family. I almost She also ensures the smooth running of had to quit at one point because my work the RC centre where she organises activities Mrs. Sng Shu Fen RC Chairman of Nee Soon Central was too taxing,” said Mrs. Sng, who is also and events for her members. cause they enjoyed each other’s company a full time aerospace engineer and a mother of one. throughout,” said Mrs. Sng. Mrs. Sng is a representative of the Ultimately, it was her love for the resiCommunity Care Endowment Fund (Com- dents that made her stay on. Care), that has been set up by the govern- Currently, Mrs. Sng is busy taking care ment to address the social econommic needs of a 53-year old committee volunteer who suffered a stroke in April. of needy Singaporeans and their families. On behalf of Nee Soon Central, she Married without children, her husreviews the applicants’ case sheets and per- band is 62 years old and the sole breadsonally visits their homes to observe their winner of the family. They are currently experiencing financial difficulties due to living environment. This gives her a chance to interact with the medical fees. the household members before giving a re- Mrs. Sng regularly visits her at the hosport back to the ComCare welfare. So far, pital to encourage her not to give up, and she has reviewed more than ten households. also helps her with hospital administration Mrs. Sng initially joined the RC in forms. 1998, with the intention of getting the “They are staying in Nee Soon East which is not my zone, I am trying my best Grassroots Leaders Priority Scheme. This gave her an advantage in balloting to help them by drafting a letter to their MP. Hopefully, he will be able to look into the for a slot for her son’s primary school. PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID KENNEDY CHANG areas which they require help and provide However, she did not expect to end up The Nee Soon Central Resident Committee Members led by MP Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim (bottom row, centre) and RC Chairman Mrs. Sng Shu Fen (bottom row, second right). staying for more than thirteen years as a assistance,” said Mrs. Sng.
RC Chairman provides events for the elderly residents to participate in and ensures they are being cared for.
Is Community Service part of your schedule? Youths nowadays lead hectic lifestyles and have little time for other activities such as community service, but Shermaine Lau believes otherwise. By Natalie Ang
Shermaine Lau, 19, is a youth who engages herself in various community service activities and programmes, reaching out to troubled youths in the community. Despite finding it difficult to manage her time, Ms. Lau says that it is the knowledge that she “can make a difference in peoples’ lives and knowing that they will someday appreciate what you did for them” that enables her to press on as she juggles her commitments in community service activities and the stress of schoolwork. One programme she is currently in-
volved in is a mentoring programme under Nanyang Polytechnic’s Co-Curricular Activity, held at Yishun Secondary School, which was started in 2010. She interacts with Secondary One and Two Normal Academic and Normal Technical students during mentoring sessions held every Saturday from 9 am to 12 pm after the students’ Mid-Semester tests, until their Final Year exams. One of her mentees in the past had told her that she was like her “older sister” who she looks up to for help and advice on personal problems. This programme is different from usual tuition programmes, as the volunteers are required to tap on the emotional aspects, by coaching students and providing advice. Neo Jun Sheng, 14, is a mentee under Ms. Lau, whom he said had helped him “understand some personal things in life”. He also described Ms. Lau as someone who
is a “best friend” to him. On days the mentors meet up with their mentees, they engage in activities such as sports-related games for an hour to bond with the students. Mr. Neo also said that the games during his mentoring sessions gave him a chance to “escape from his stress and yet still learn and enjoy” himself. He also added that he has so much fun as it gives him “something to look forward to every week”. Another of Ms. Lau’s mentee, Ann (not her real name), shared that she was extremely grateful she signed up for the mentoring programme in her school, despite being reluctant at first. She said that she was afraid of sharing her personal problems with a stranger, but found herself naturally opening up to her assigned mentor after a friendship between them had emerged. Ms. Lau was able to see this change in
her mentee, as she observed her week after week. After three months of weekly sessions, Ann felt comfortable enough to talk to Shermaine about her parents’ divorce, which had been affecting her and her studies for some time. After going through the programme, Ann’s grades and social skills had improved tremendously. It is success stories like these that keep Ms. Lau motivated to continue committing herself to doing community work even as she tackles her Final Year Project in Nanyang Polytechnic this semester. Ms. Lau has also been involved in other community service works such as being a facilitator for MCYS foster parent programme. She has also helped out at a Toa Payoh senior citizens’ workshop, and has even gone to Malaysia to interact with the senior citizens and the dyslexic patients and the orphans there.
North West Journal
August - September 2011
Young volunteers with big hearts PHOTO BY EUNICE LOH
Meng Hui (third from left) and members from the SN Volunteer Club entertaining the elderly through song and dance during a music therapy session.
A volunteer at a nursing home aspires to get the public to be more participative in community service. By Eunice Loh
A young Volunteer Recruitment and Training Officer introduces activities and initiatives to help youths in Singapore be more involved in volunteering.
generation. He believes that the underprivileged should not be excluded from the country’s growth. “It does not make sense for the economy to grow and not share,” he said. Mr. Lim believes that volunteering plays an important role in the lives of the elderly. He said, “The staff and amenities provide the physical health benefits… volunteers can provide them with personal touch and care.”
“Love is also a language. Your love and care for the elderly is a language itself.” Lim Meng Hui, 26, who volunteers at the Sree Narayana (SN) Mission Home for the Aged Sick feels the need for more participation, especially from the younger
Lim Meng Hui Volunteer Recruitment and Training Officer
In a bid to involve the younger generation, the SN Volunteer Club has partnered with different schools to get youths to be more interested in volunteering.
One project they have worked on is the road show ‘YOUth Got Heart’, which they collaborated with Raffles Junior College’s Interact Club. The exhibition held at the National Library Building aimed to promote community service by encouraging youths to explore the different areas of volunteering that might interest them. As a Volunteer Recruitment and Training Officer, Mr. Lim is responsible for all recruitment and orientation activities for new volunteers at the home. Since taking over the programme, he has introduced a “buddy and mentoringsystem”, where new volunteers are paired up with seniors to help them adapt to the environment. Mr. Lim thinks that the problem of language barrier should not be an obstacle for young volunteers to communicate with the elderly. “Love is also a language. Your love and care for the elderly is a language itself. Touch need not be translated into actual words,” he said. Chairman of the SN Voulnteer Club Jordy Neo, 26, shared similar sentiments and said, “actions speak louder than words. Its not about how you say it, but how you express it.” The SN Volunteer club organises weekly activities for the elderly such as physiotherapy, games, festival celebrations, handicraft sessions, music therapy, and outings to the nearby food centre.
Overcoming obstacles to support HIV-infected children National Junior College students initiated a Community Involvement Programme (CIP) trip to Vietnam, raising awareness for HIV-infected children. By Joey Ong
A group of student volunteers overcame obstacles in hopes of raising awareness for the HIV-infected children in Vietnam. Nguyen Vo Tuong Vi, 19, is a Vietnamese Scholar in National Junior College. She led the student-initiated overseas CIP trip, Project Sugar, which was first held in 2010. “We did not want this trip to be a onetime thing, just to interact and play with the children there. We wanted to make a lasting impact and difference to their lives as much as we can,” said Ms. Nguyen. In 2008, she visited the HIV-infected children in Mai Hoa Centre, a home for HIV patients, with a group of students from Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) during their overseas CIP trip as a VietnameseEnglish translator for the group. Since then, she felt a burden and a heart for the HIV-infected children there. She then suggested to the class to do community work in Vietnam. Their objective was for the children to be socially accepted, increase public aware-
ness of the HIV-infected children in Vietnam, and eradicate fear. As it was a student-initiative, they seeked the school’s endorsement for their project to be a school overseas CIP trip. However, Ms. Nguyen said that the school felt that the risk was high as the trip involved interaction with HIV-infected children, therefore they could not support it. “We all felt very sad,” Ms. Nguyen said, “I thought that if the school does not endorse it as a school trip, my classmates would not want to go anymore.” Her classmates and friends’ response were a pleasant surprise to her. They encouraged her to go ahead with the project externally, assuring her that they would be able to plan it on their own. In this project, student leaders had to take up greater leadership responsibilities and be more independent, as compared to an overseas CIP trip organised by the school. Ms. Nguyen contacted the Mai Hoa Centre in Vietnam, and a student leader there was appointed to head a group of Vietnamese volunteers to begin interacting with the children. Their main programme, AbunDANCE, was a one day public awareness event in Ho Chi Minh City on 2 June 2010, which included a HIV talk to educate the public, performances put up by volunteers and HIV-infected children, and a dance party where the public and the HIV-infect-
ed children learnt a mass dance together. Other activities were held, such as a photography exhibition, a pledging booth and a candlelight memorial ceremony to pay tribute to those who died of HIV infection. “(Through this event), more people know about HIV, and that the (HIV-infected) children are just like normal children. They are less afraid, having more knowledge on the risks of transmission,” said Ms. Nguyen. A second trip was held this year in June, with a new group of volunteers heading the project. The AbunDANCE event took place on 12 June 2011.
Unsung hero’s dedication to serve Edna Tan’s contribution is key to foster community as one. By Erman Kasuandi
PHOTO COURTESY OF ACE THE PLACE
Mdm. Tan (centre) planning out the routes to take for house visits.
Edna Tan, 48, former Admiralty Resident Committee Chairperson, stepped down on 10 July, after overseeing 10 years of service to bring the community together. Mdm. Tan has contributed with passion, initiated and supported programmes that she felt would bring the community closer together. She said one of the roles, as chairperson, is to seek a deeper understanding of the needs of the residents and support them. For example, she asked an active remote control racing interest group to come up with a competition for the residents. The competition, held in May, saw avid racers and novices pitting their racing skills at a link hall, and also brought parents and children together. Mdm. Tan said that it was “comforting to see residents smiling” throughout the events. Under her recommendation, the committee has since planned other similar events with other interest groups towards the later part of the year for the residents. She has also conducted regular dialogues at void decks and view it as a platform for residents to voice out their opinions . She once brought in a mediator from a counselling centre to settle a neighbourly dispute over cleanliness along their common corridor left her with satisfaction as the neighbours “became close friends after the mediation”. Mdm. Tan finds house visits essential to create ties that bind, as it is a “face-to-face encounter with a personal touch”. She will be taking over as treasurer in Admiralty’s Citizens’ Consultative Committee. “Grassroots leaders are, at the end of the day, servants to the community,” she said.
PHOTO COURTESY OF PROJECT SUGAR
Ms. Nguyen Vo Tuong Vi (left) hosting Vietamese Psychologist Professor, Mr. Phan (centre), and “the Asian Heroine“, Ms. Pham Thu Hue, a HIV-infected lady, during the HIV talk at the abunDANCE event.
North West Journal
August - September 2011
Dance and drink to your heart’s content Attitude Performing Arts Studio has six studios as well as a cafe incorporated in it.
By Gwee Yi Xuan
PHOTO BY LEE KER YUAN
Other than in-house dining, Appetite75 also provides catering services for Peranakan food.
PHOTO BY LEE KER YUAN
Appetite75 Cooking Studio will conduct lessons starting from September this year. PHOTO BY LEE KER YUAN
Cafe, Appetite75, not only aims to serve good food, but teaches its customers how to cook.
The cafe offers a range of local to peranakan to western food.
Ms. Seow’s daughter who is also running the cafe. The cafe also has a cooking stuBy Lee Ker Yuan dio upstairs called Appetite75 Studio, which will open in September for Appetite75 Cafe Appetite75 is a peranakan cafe situated demonstration lessons. Block 2, Pandan in Pandan Valley Condo, which serves au- “The objective of the Valley cooking studio is Condominium #01-206 thentic peranakan dishes. to make cooking simple enough and attainSingapore 597626 Located along Ulu Pandan Road, it able for everybody,” said Ms. Seow. 6pm Daily opened on April 18 this year by owner, Ge- These 10.30amcooking classes specially target newly weds, nevieve Seow. For Ms. “Cooking must come from the heart.” d o m e s t i c Seow, qualhelpers, new Genevieve Seow ity and taste Owner of Appetite75 Cafe mothers and matters the students who most when it comes to serving food, so that are planning to study overseas, the classes customers can leave the cafe with a good will enable them to learn how to cook simple and nutritious dishes. experience. “Cooking must come from the heart,” Award winning chefs will be hired to conduct the lessons. The recipes taught she said. Some of Appetite75’s specialty dishes will be unique as they are the chef ’s include authentic Peranakan Beef Ren- personal creation, and cannot be found dang, Yong Tau Fu, Nasi Lemak and Ayam in cookbooks. Buak Keluak. “I love their Beef Rendang, it’s so soft Appetite75 Cafe and tender. And they really treat me well whenever I eat at their cafe,” said Phoebe Block 2, Pandan Valley Condominium Yee, a regular customer at Appetite75. #01-206, Singapore 597626 “Peranakan dishes are my mother’s speciality, and she wanted to recreate some Opening Hours: 10:30 am to 6:00 pm dishes from her childhood”, said Beth,
Nonya Chicken Tempra Ingredients ½ chicken, chopped, seasoned with salt and pepper 1 large onion, sliced 1 green chilli, sliced lengthwise 1 red chilli, sliced lengthwise 4 cloves of garlic Handful of shallots, sliced, fried then pounded Gravy Ingredients ½ cup of water 1 tablespoon dark soya sauce 1 tablespoon vinegar 1 tablespoon cornflour Salt and sugar PHOTO COURTESY OF CHINA DOLL BAKING DIARY
Directions 1. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a pot and fry the chicked. Set aside when done. 2. Fry the onions and chilli. Add the pounded fried shallots and gravy. 3. Place the chicken back in the pot and simmer till tender. RECIPE COURTESY OF APPETITE75 CAFE
Attitude Performing Arts Studio (APAS), located at Bukit Timah Plaza, not only houses dance studios, but also a café called Fringe. Co-founder of APAS, Aldo Gan, said, “There was a demand for a café and with my F&B background, it happened naturally.” APAS aims to promote an active and healthy lifestyle by conducting classes for yoga, pilates, hip hop and body combat in its six mirrored studios. With glass panels separating the dance studio and the cafe, patrons of Fringe can satisfy their viewing pleasures with the studio’s rehearsals and practices, that at times, have intrigued themselves to take up the dance or fitness lessons.
PHOTO BY GWEE YI XUAN
Enjoy a cup of coffee at Fringe Cafe, or dance away at Attitude Performing Arts Studio.
ATTITUDE Performing Arts Studio / Fringe Cafe No. 1, Jalan Anak Bukit Bukit Timah Plaza #01-29 & 16 Singapore 588996 Opening Hours: 9:00 am to 9:30 pm (closed on Public Hoildays)
Painting Singapore’s History
PHOTOS BY NATALIE ANG
With new developments happening every second, the face of Singapore is an ever-changing one, but Diana Francis aims to preserve its heritage through her artworks. By Natalie Ang
Originally from London, England, Diana Francis is an expatriate here in Singapore whose art is inspired by the sights and sounds of Singapore streets. “My art aims to reflect the everyday life of Singapore culture and…its unique architecture both past and present,” said Francis, who owns her own art studio at Chip Bee, near Holland Village. Mrs. Francis hopes that through her paintings, people will be reminded of what Singapore used to be. The aim of her paintings are as such as it became apparent to Mrs. Francis that the
new generation has become increasingly “ignorant and oblivious” to the past of this nation. “It is important to remember your roots,” she said. which is why her works all focus on bringing forth the forgotten stories of Singapore. Mrs. Francis also works with the National Heritage Board, selling postcards with her paintings printed on them. These works have a simple mission, which is to remind and educate buyers of Singapore’s national heritage.
Diana Francis Studio Workloft @ Chip Bee Block 43, Jalan Merah Saga #12-74, Singapore 278115 Opening Hours: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (closed on Mondays) 10am-6pm (closed on Mondays)