A Fun Day at the Metta Charity Walk Cum Family Carnival

Written by: Migs C. Bravo-Dutt (Guest contributor)

Normally serene, the Metta Welfare Association compound was unusually buzzing with excitement last March 23, 2014 during the annual Metta Charity Walk cum Family Carnival day. Promising fun for the whole family, the day-long event was packed with a variety of activities, ensuring there was something for everyone, including health buffs, foodies, crafters, hobbyists, kids, bookworms, and those who simply wanted to be entertained by performance arts.

The event started off with the 3-km leisure walk in the morning, led by Guest-of-Honour, Mr. Lim Swee Say, Minister from the Prime Minister’s Office. An impressive turnout of about 900 participants joined the walk, which aimed to encourage a healthy lifestyle. Walking, after all, is possibly the simplest and most inexpensive form of exercise, and yet provides significant benefits such as maintaining healthy weight, and helping prevent various diseases.
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Returning back to Metta building, Minister Lim and Venerable Shi Fa Zhao sounded the gong to officiate the opening of the event after their speeches.

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Meanwhile at the Metta compound, hundreds of visitors dropped in, excitedly hopping from one stall to another. Navigating through a fair with so many stalls can be tricky, but fortunately this was not a problem at the Metta Family Carnival as stalls were grouped by zones of interests making navigation easier: Food Zone, Craft Zone, Stage and Program area, Uncle Ringo play area for kids at the basement. With 133 stalls catering to a wide array of interests, there surely was something for everyone who dropped by at Metta that day!

Some highlights of the Family Carnival:

  1. Food being key to the success of any celebration, the Food Zone was fittingly the biggest area in the carnival, easily transforming the Metta compound into a foodie’s paradise, with an incredible variety of sumptuous local delights from these participating stalls:
    • A1 Bubble Tea, Bakery House, Buddhist Life Mission, Chilli Api Catering, Coffeehock (2006) Pte Ltd, Crowne Plaza Changi Airport Hotel, Di Zang Lin – Kueh Tutu (嘟嘟糕), Gan Teck Kar Investment Pte Ltd, Genki Popiah (元气薄饼), Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre, Jessica’s Delight, JOJO Coffee, JOJO Pancake, Kampung Café, Lao Ban Soya Beancurd (老伴豆花), Lim Family, Mahakaruna Buddhist Society, Metta School, Pop and Floss, Rainbow Fruit Stall, Roma’s Deli, SIA 5C, Singapore-Hong Kong International Restaurant Trade Friendship Association, Super Bean, Tan Lee Seng confectionery, The Sukha House, Xi De Li Pte Ltd, Yi Kou Wei, Yummilicious Fritters, Yummy Treats, Yuniku Na Café, Zi Yean Restaurant, 亲规 (Hamburger & Kebab), 和盛饼家, 大悲院, 家乡小吃, 心莲心, 惜缘, 慈爱 – Lok-Lok, 法华寺, 济心壇, 观音斋, 饼屋

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  2. In the Craft Zone, handicraft lovers and hobbyists had a choice from several workshops like pottery making and batik printing, while kids enjoyed getting face or body paints. Many stalls were also selling art pieces and handicrafts:
    • Metta’s very own Arts@Metta offered an “eclectic array of serendipitous finds” made by Metta beneficiaries, including tumblers, mugs, batik-printed shirts, among others. These products are also available on a regular basis at the Metta Shop;
    • There were also stalls of jade and other semi-precious stones;
    • A good selection of flowers and potted plants were likewise on sale, with a dainty flower arrangement going for as low as $5;
    • Ceramic art that went for $1, including an alphabet art that my seven-year old daughter purchased, and which now stands proudly in one of our corner tables;
    • Wire art and others
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  3. The booklovers were not overlooked as Tampines Regional Library brought in a massive on-site book borrowing facility, which included several types and genres, from picture books to fiction and non-fiction. The latter featured a gamut of categories like health & wellness, parenting, cookery, children’s titles and a lot more.blog-5
  4. Discover Prata Journey – Prata Journey was an interactive, hands-on, insightful and fun-filled experience on the art and science of Prata, conducted by Kampong Group Pte Ltd. Participants were encouraged to enjoy prata making, and explore creativity in the fun and unique workshop.
  5. FREE Breast Self-Examination Training for All Ladies Only – In between the fun workshops, there was also a free clinic to help generate awareness for breast cancer. Brought by experienced breast health trainer from SingHealth, the session showed how to do Breast Self-Examination, gain knowledge on Mammogram screening, and much more. During the self-examination training, ladies were taught to protect themselves against breast cancer by doing monthly breast self-examination to keep them aware of any changes in their breasts.
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  6. At mid-day, the audience was treated to a variety program, showcasing the talents of several groups of performers, ranging from singing, playing musical instruments, to dancing. This program gave students from Metta School a chance to demonstrate their performing skills onstage as they performed a high energy percussion number.In true Singaporean spirit, there was also Xinyao, characterized by a medley of songs, and a gathering of memories. Courtesy of TCR Music Station, the stirring performance likely left some audience members nostalgic – Xinyao was at its pinnacle in the 1980s and was popularized by the Chinese Singapore youth who gathered together in schools to write and compose songs just for the love of music.blog-6
  7. One of the most awaited segments was the lucky draw – attractive prizes were awarded to ten lucky winners, with Mdm Tham winning first prize! Some of the prizes given away included:
    • First Prize: New iPad Mini with Retina Display + On Cheong Jewellery Vouchers total worth over $1000
    • Second: Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 + On Cheong Jewellery Vouchers total worth over $600
    • Third: Asus Memo Pad + On Cheong Jewellery Vouchers total worth over $ 500
    • Fourth: Vincent Watch worth $250
    • Fifth: Vincent Watch worth $250
  8. But even if one did not win in the lucky draw, one still had a chance to feel like a winner with the savings that could be had from the other stalls that sold basic items like Milo, noodles, diapers, among other things, at reduced prices.
  9. Kids had utmost fun at Uncle Ringo’s at the basement, which was transformed into a colorful play area with bouncers and an inflatable pool that looked so inviting it was a perfect foil against the sweltering heat outside that day.

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Metta is indeed most appreciative of the support from the stallholders, donors, carnival goers, walk participants and volunteers who have contributed significantly to the event. A special mention to the following for their wonderful support to the event: Singapore Pools, Tote Board, JP Nelson Equipment, TES-AMM (Singapore), Changi Simei Grassroots Organisations, Lian Yick Metal Tents, Kampong Group, MDIS, Standard Chartered Bank, UPS Singapore and PTC Systems.

It was clearly a fun and fruitful Sunday for everyone made even more so by the knowledge that all the fun was for a good cause – proceeds from the event will benefit Metta Welfare Association’s many services (http://www.metta.org.sg). I can imagine it took a huge amount of effort for the organizers to stage such an exciting, big-scale endeavor. If only it does not take herculean efforts to have this event, it would be so great to have it more often than just once a year!

Our new wing at Metta School was officially opened on 26th April 2013

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26 April 2013 marked a new chapter of Metta School – the Official Opening of the New Block. It was a joyous occasion for all staff as it was not just an event, or a new building completed. Indeed it was a new milestone for Metta School. The new block was officially opened by Minister for Education , Heng Swee Keat.

Key officials from the Special Education Branch of MOE, Principals & key personnel of SPED Schools, SMC, MWA, community and corporate partners of Metta School joined in the ceremony to share the joy with us ,while others sent their sincere congratulations.

At 9:00am, the arrival of the Minister was greeted by the thunderous beating of drums by our percussion group. He was then received by our school Principal, Ms Melison See, Venerable Shi Fa Zhao, President of MWA, Venerable Shi Pu En, 1st VP of MWA and School Supervisor, Mr Ee, Deputy Executive Director of MWA, Ms Felicia, Assistant Executive Director of MWA, Mrs Loke, Director, Education Services Division MOE, and Mdm Phyllis Chua, Deputy Director SEB MOE. Following the theme of the opening ceremony, ‘Soaring To New Heights’, all distinguished guests marked their presence in this ceremony by signing in using the Interactive Projector.

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To create the ‘feel’ of street entertainment, our dance group performed a short item to set the mood as the Minister made his way up to the multi- purpose hall where the official opening ceremony will be held. More ‘street entertainers’ greeted him en route to the hall. Four of our stilt walkers from the Sparks group performed a short routine to welcome the Minister.

The ceremony began with an opening speech by our School Principal. In her speech, Ms See outlined the programmes which the school has put in place to fulfil its mission of providing a holistic education for its students and to challenge students to soar to new heights. Her speech also highlighted that the school makes every attempt to infuse the meaning of ‘Metta’ – loving kindness and compassion and the 3 core values of the school – compassion, openness and respect into the hearts of its students. In line with the theme of the opening ceremony, ‘Soaring To New Heights’, the speech by the Minister highlighted the achievements made by the school, especially in the area of vocational training whereby students have the opportunity to attain nationally recognized certification. The Minister emphasized that the training facilities which the new block is able to offer would certainly enhance the quality of the school’s vocational training programme. He also pointed out that classrooms in the new block are equipped with interactive projectors to further enhance teaching and learning. The new block also has spaces which allow for flexible use for a range of activities conducted by the school. In essence, the facilities in the new block will enable students in Metta School to soar to new heights of learning.

In his speech, the Minister also reiterated on the school’s strong emphasis on character-building and applauded the school for the numerous opportunities given to the students to develop leadership qualities, teamwork and the spirit of sharing. In both speeches, the key role played by stakeholders such as parents, school partners and members of society was also mentioned as one of the factors that contribute to the success of Metta School students.

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The official opening of the new block was symbolized by the opening of a ‘door’ that was constructed on the stage. Students from the V and ASD programme who occupy the classrooms in the new block, together with a group of our young B Programme students, came out of the ‘door’ in excitement. It was a simple ceremony, but a significant one for Metta School as it signifies a new milestone in our school history.

After this ceremony, the guests were given the opportunity to view the different training facilities in the new block. The tour enabled them to see our students in action in the Baking and Food Preparation kitchens, in the Hotel and Service-Apartment training rooms as well as the skills training room for students in the ASD Programme. The tour ended with our guests witnessing the last stage of the record creation event. The Minister and his entourage had the opportunity to put the finishing touch on the last 8 pieces of batik art that will complete the whole project – 1000 pieces of batik art depicting the school values – compassion, openness and respect. School was awarded the record creation of “Largest Handpainted Batik”, which was received by Shi Pu En on behalf of the school. Our students cheered with excitement and joy upon hearing the good news.

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Refreshments were served for all guests, staff & students and the whole event ended in a joyous, celebrating atmosphere. Thanks to all staff who have been working hard in front and behind the scene, supporting and contributing to the success of the event.

By Siti Masita & Liu Ho Pui Han
(extracted from Metta School blog. http://www.mettaschool.edu.sg/)

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Project CIP @ Batam by V4 & Stomp Warriors

End of last year, I was planning for some activities that I can do with my class. Coincidentally, I was watching a documentary about orphans in Indonesia.I thought to myself: In 2013, my class had served the school well, as well as, did CIP at a local level. IF, they were able to serve the school and some others well, why not serve some under-privileged others from overseas

Hence, I had decided to share this meaningful activity with my class and 6 Warriors.

The Sharing
During one of my English / PVA lesson, we brain stormed this topic together and decided to help an orphanage at Batam.

They were excited to hear about the orphanage and the kids there. Once I knew the students were all enthusiastic about this community service activity, I shared with Ms Yvonne (HOD, V Program) my students’ enthusiasm and I was told to immediately proposed it.

I feel happy and much thanks goes to Ms Yvonne and Mr Anuwar for not only being supportive but also both of them believed that our students have the abilities and skills to do a wonderful job at the orphanage.

As this is a CIP, I did not want to rely on the school or SMC for the full funding. Instead, I wanted the students to learn “Compassion”, “Respect” and “Openness” the hard way, that is, through service- learning. Service learning is for students to use the skills and knowledge they already have and use it to further improve for e.g, baking cakes for donor, teach them dancing/games so the children will learn a new dance and some new games, and use the skills they learnt in school like housekeeping to clean up the orphanage. Also, when they are doing community service work, they will be able to apply our school values like caring for the kids, respecting their culture and openly talking to the kids and not putting them down.

The Fund-Raising
The total cost for the Batam trip cost $4158. We got an approval of $2800 from the school. The balance $1358 was raised through our V café earnings, some donations and through our own garage sales.

The Gratitude
I like to thank these special people:

  • Ms Pritam for her continuous support for V café and for helping the team get some donations. She helped in guiding the Ice-Breaking group (Ramdan, Rui Cai, Wei Li & Crystal) with games and activities.
  • Mr Rick for preparing the song sheets and discussing with the Song & Dance group (Hakim, Kiefer & Khairul) on the song choices. He also helped set up the computer corner and fixed the light bulbs at the orphanage.
  • Ms Valerie for her generous donations and food to feed the orphans as well as to feed us too.
  • The 3 other wonderful donors who helped make this trip possible for me and my students. They each received a loaf of butter cake for their generous donation.
The Reflections
As it was my first attempt, glitches and hitches were expected. But I learnt and grew from these small hiccups.All 16 students who went had done me and the school proud because they did their part zealously and without complaints. Students shopped for all the items needed to make sandwiches and for housekeeping. Students participated in counting money in rupiah (counting skills) and they also worked as a team to load and unload all the stuffs from the van.

At the hotel, students were paired up and each pair checked into their own room. They were told to keep track of the time to meet for breakfast and dinner. Students were well-disciplined and they were able to report on time for breakfast and dinner without being called by the teachers. Also, they gathered together during breakfast and dinner to chat and share some jokes. Ms Selina took the opportunity to brief students and also seek their feedback on the activities and discussed the next activity.

While at the orphanage, we had the same food as what the orphans had – rice, 1 egg, some vegetables and a tiny little piece of meat. We did not request for better food, we ate simple food too for all our 3 lunches so that our students are able to see for themselves that when we have little we are contented with whatever is offered to us (no complain for this and that).

My Cook & Bake group (Xue Fang, Kia Yi, Irwan and Gerald) also did a great job with the simple peanut butter sandwiches and potato salad with corn. All the kids enjoyed the snacks prepared by the group. It was indeed an ‘eye-opener’ for our students to watch the kids enjoying a simple snack.

During the housekeeping, it was raining heavily, but these did not deter the students from going about their work. Though it was muddy outside the home, students were not bothered by it as they moved about throwing rubbish, getting water to mop, clearing the storerooms despite being so dusty and above all, they worked hard as a team. Everyone helped each other.

At the orphanage, all 16 of the students worked really hard. Therefore, at the end of each day, the students got to enjoy their days with a little shopping, coffee and donuts break and soccer time too. In the shopping mall our students were divided into groups and they did their shopping on their own (Yes, in Rupiah). Students brought along some money and they were able to see for themselves that making purchases required good planning with the little money they had. Mr Rick was kind to bring Koon Wee and Rui Cai to buy some clothes. He thought them ‘how to convert Rupiah to Singapore dollar’ using a calculator so they can compare the prices. Instilling in them, “if they work hard, they can play hard” too so that they learn to balance their life between work and leisure (as our school mission-holistic development of our students to lead a meaningful and independant life)

Even though the Sports & Games group (Shaiful, Ariff, Shi Yang, Koon Wee & Wee Kiat) did not manage to carry out their activities because of the rain, they helped out in the other groups zealously as well.

Reflecting on our journey, I realized we have learnt a great lesson on “how not to take for granted some things” and I am very sure, for our next follow-up trip, all of us will be well prepared and minimized any hiccups.

All of us would like to thank our principal, Mdm So, who encouraged us to go ahead with our trip (we were worried about the haze) and she gave us very valuable tips on how to keep ourselves safe should the haze reached an unsafe level. She personally made sure we bring along the masks.

For more photos, click here.

Written By: Ms Pritam & Ms Selina
extracted from Metta School blog (mettaschool.edu.sg).

A new lease of life for the plastic bags…

Recycled Plastic Art Workshop

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I went for a Recycled Plastic Art workshop held by the National Arts Council at a Public Library. Ms Rene Ong was the instructor that day, having a sense of humor, the workshop was fun and easy to follow.

Plastic bags are everywhere, and based on my knowledge, it takes many many years for it to disintegrate. Coupled with my mission to save Gaia for our future, I listened attentively, the steps to give plastic bags a new lease of life!

The materials are easily available and steps are amazingly simple.

The steps:

  1. depending on the size of the plastic bags, fold it into 2 or 4 parts, cut off the top and bottom part.
  2. cut off the sides of the plastic bags
  3. ensure there are a minimum of 6 layers of plastic bags, maximum of 8.
  4. put whatever patterns you like on the top.
  5. place a transparent layer of plastic bag on the top of the design to ensure the patterns (from the plastic bags) does not get transferred to the paper.
  6. put a piece of paper each on the top and bottom of the plastic bags
  7. and the ironing start

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The heat will fused up the layers of plastic bags. But do not place the iron on 1 spot for too long as the heat will crumple up the plastic bags…even burning through a hole.

This recycled plastic art is all about timing. As long as you are able to grasp the heat part, the fused plastic really looks like a piece of art. Ideas fly through my head as I was ironing it..I can use that piece to either sew it up together to make any wallet, ipad sleeves, bookmarks and even as a piece of art itself. Amazing! You should Try it!

A warm smile, a big heart

Do you still remember the time we requested for food items for our low-income families?

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I had always wanted to go together with the driver to deliver the groceries to the low-income families. I wanted to see the whole process from appeal to food collection and distribution.

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It was a hot Monday afternoon and on our list, we had 3 families from Metta Hospice Care to deliver the donated food items.

Our 1st stop: Tampines.

The beneficiary is a 40plus divorcee with 2 children, he stays with his mother and sister’s family in a 4-room flat. He does not feel well and stays in bed most of the time. Our driver explained the food items to the mother and a young chap carried the food into the house. I caught a glimpse of the beneficiary, he looks very thin, I can only see his bone structure. It was a heart wrenching sight. With a smile, we wave them goodbye.

Next stop: Marine Parade

The beneficiary is a divorcee living with her daughter and youngest sister, her daughter has an intellectual disability and is unemployed. The beneficiary’s youngest sister was reported to have mental illness and is unemployed as well. Upon reaching her unit, the beneficiary opened the gate, welcoming us with a warm smile. She was happy to see us. After explaining to them the food items they are receiving, they carried it into the house.

On our way to the 3rd beneficiary’s home, he called to say he was feeling unwell and on his way to the hospital. We were unable to meet him but would come back another day to make the delivery.

I went with a curious mind but after the experience, came back with a warm heart. I am glad to share that those donated food items you have donated to us, could help, in some way, to these low-income families. Thank you for your contributions!

We have conquered Hong Kong and back!

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Our journey began on 16th March 2014 as10 pupils and 6 staff took a flight to Hong Kong for a 5 days 4 night learning journey. After bidding farewell to the pupils’ parents who came to send us off, we went through the immigration and had our lunch at Burger King. The plane took off at 3.05 pm. and landed in Hong Kong slightly after 7pm. Everyone was excited and looking forward to the upcoming learning experience in Hong Kong.

Upon arrival, our tour guide Ms Catherine, took us to an Indian Muslim Restaurant for dinner. Our pupils were attracted by the performance at the restaurant and some went up to learn to play the drums while we were having our buffet dinner. After dinner, we had our check-in to Kimberley Hotel at Tsimshatsui (Kowloon). Our vice-principal, Mrs Liu, who took an earlier flight to Hong Kong to prepare the logistics with the Principal of the school, met us at the Hotel.

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Early the next morning, we went to CCC Kei Shun Special School. They welcomed us with a drum performance and we took a group photo together. After that, they brought us around to show us the facilities and activities of the school. We were impressed by the creativity of the school as every single space is occupied with the work of the pupils, and as we turned every corner, there are ‘surprises’ such as relax corner, gymnastics corner, reading corner and so on. The walls were decorated by the free drawing of the special pupils whose artistic potential was demonstrated. The pupils of Kei Shun School and our pupils interacted and made friends with one another as we gathered in the school hall. Metta School circus arts and sparks groups performed and shared the skills with them. We were taught how to make maltose biscuits and had a great time interacting with one another.

As exposure is one of the objectives of the trip, arrangements for our circus arts and Sparks group to learn new tricks from others were made. In the evening, we headed towards the famous Hong Kong Victoria Park to have a practice session with the Hong Kong Instructors. They were very friendly and willing to teach our pupils. Our pupils were so motivated to do better and to try new skills after the practice session with them. It was wonderful experience as they were aware that circus arts is cross-cultural, cross-societal and borderless among people anywhere.

On the third morning, we went to Hong Kong Baptist Convention Primary School, the school which invited us to perform, share and mingle with their pupils. The principal of Hong Kong Baptist Convention Primary School, Ms Wong, welcomed us. The pupils from Hong Kong Baptist Convention School brought us around the school and performed for us a song item and a dance item. It was lively and the atmosphere was so warm and friendly, and that our group was encouraged and motivated to perform with great confidence. After bidding farewell, we went for lunch at the busiest area in Kowloon – Mong Kok. In the late afternoon, we had the experience of riding on the ferry to cross the harbour – an unique and memorable experience for our pupils. At the Peak, we were amazed at the night scenery.

The fourth day was an exciting day for all of us after two consecutive days of practising and performing. After having lunch, we set off to Hong Kong Disneyland. Initially, some of the pupils were hesitant as they had no previous experience of taking the rides. However, after some time, all of them were having fun taking the rides. We were also mesmerized by the fireworks outside the Sleeping Beauty Castle.

On the fifth day morning, we packed our luggage and the pupils were guided to purchase some souvenirs for their families at the supermarket before setting off to Hong Kong International airport. We did have a good time in Hong Kong. This trip in Hong Kong was indeed an enjoyable, meaningful and fulfilling learning journey for all of us.

 

By Ms Dawn Tan
(article extracted from Metta School website, http://www.mettaschool.edu.sg)

Our 17th Metta Charity Walk cum Family Carnival.

w1It was a bright and sunny morning, we are honoured to have Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office as our Guest-of-Honour to join us in the walk. After the Zumba warm up lead by our Metta School teacher and students., we were off to walk the new route with less traffic, more greenery and cool breeze.

Our Metta building and Metta School was converted to trade, food and kids’ playground for a day.

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We have dances, live band, songs and even prata flipping demonstration at the stage.

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Our 2nd level was a art & craft heaven for both children and adults!

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Our basement was converted to a children’s playground for a day!

 

Click at our official facebook page for more photos we took during that eventful day! See you all again in Year 2015!

 

Camp I M Possible – A Reflection by Lim Xia Ling

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From 17 November to 20 November, Metta School Scout Group participated in Camp Possible at Sarimbun Scout Campsite. As soon as we arrived at the campsite, we were brought to our “A” huts, which was where we would be sleeping for the next 3 days.

Our first activity was to design our name tags. Ms Zaza told us that it was a competition but I did not believe her until the organizer told us. Joeina’s name tag design and mine were selected for the competition. It was like a dream come true. My design won first prize. After the competition, we went around the campsite to play games at the different stalls. The Opening Ceremony of the camp started later that evening. We sat around the campfire and sang songs. We had a fun time! When it was time for bed, I wanted to cry because I missed my parents.

The next morning, we went to the Gardens By The Bay where the most important thing my friends and I learnt was that “Dragonflies like clean water.” So if you see dragonflies near water, it means that the water is clean. We used a tablet and a code reader to scan and find information.

In the afternoon, we went to the Singapore Zoo. We watched 3 different shows but my favourite was the “Animals of the Rainforest” because I learnt about many animals. I did not like the Elephant Show because the elephants “did their big business” in front of us and it was so smelly. Nevertheless, I appreciate all animals because they are living things like us.

After dinner that evening, we had to share our reflections on the day’s activities with the cub scouts and the other extension scouts. Nabilah was brave to stand in front of the group to share her reflections. I hope to have the courage to share my thoughts aloud next time.

On our third day at camp, we went to the Jurong Frog farm. It was my first time feeding the frogs. The male frog is fatter and darker than the female frog. I hope I can have a chance to feed turtles the next time.

Later that morning, our group went to Bollywood Veggies. We planted a plant in a pot. The teacher who taught us to plant was Ms Zaza’s former school teacher. They took pictures together. I used the “cangkul” and “parang” to clear the weeds and plant fruit trees & vegetables. All the fruit trees & vegetables were organic. We then put the weeds into a machine to make natural fertilizers for the farm. We were also given organic banana cake to eat for tea break.

After lunch, our scout group & cubs from Poi Ching Primary School and River Valley Primary School played many different games like hula hoop hockey, sit down soccer, hula hoop chain and finding sweets in a plate on the floor. I did not want to play this last game, but since Ms Zaza was looking, I felt I had no choice but to get my face covered with to get the sweets.

The closing ceremony was held that evening. We all dressed up in different traditional clothes. I wore a pink Baju Kurung and we performed our “Chamak Chalo” dance. I was feeling shy when we danced but when the teachers said we did a good job, I was happy.

Before we went to bed that last night at the Sarimbun Scout Campsite, our scout group had a chit-chat session and light snacks. We all said we enjoyed ourselves and then went to sleep.

The next morning, after breakfast & strike-tent, it was time to go home. It had been a wonderful and happy Camp Possible!

for more articles, click on to http://www.mettaschool.edu.sg/index.php

Great Expectations – Finding Hope In Complementary and Alternative Medicine

In this continuing segment on complementary and alternative treatments, we extract the facts from the panacean promises of holistic and natural remedies.

Text: Flora Yong, Senior Nurse Manager, Cancer Education & Information Service,National Cancer Centre Singapore; Photo: stock.xchange

This article is reproduced from “A Guide For People With Cancer – Complementary And Alternative Medicine”, published by the National Cancer Centre Singapore (last updated in June 2006). Copyright © National Cancer Centre (S). All rights reserved.

Alternative Systems of Medical Practice

These are healing systems and beliefs that have evolved over time in different cultures and parts of the world. Some examples are:

  • Ayurvedic medicine: A system from India emphasising balance among body, mind, and spirit.
  • Chinese medicine: Base on the view that health is a balance of two forces called ‘yin’ and ‘yang’. Acupuncture is a common practice in Chinese medicine that involves stimulating specific points on the body to promote health, or to lessen disease symptoms and treatment side effects.
  • Homeopathy: Uses very small doses of substances to trigger the body to heal itself.
  • Naturopathy: Uses different methods that help the body naturally heal itself.

Manual Healing Methods or Manipulative and Body-Based Practices

Manipulative and body-based methods in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) are based on manipulation and/or movement of one or more parts of the body. Some examples include chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation, and massage. Manipulative and body-based practices focus primarily on the structures and systems of the body, including the bones and joints, the soft tissues, and the circulatory and lymphatic systems. These are based on working with one or more parts of the body. Some examples are:

  • Massage: Manipulation of tissues with hands.
  • Chiropractic care: A type of manipulation of the joints and skeletal system.
  • Reflexology: Using pressure points in the hands or feet or special tools to affect other parts of the body.

Pharmacological or Biologically Based Practices

Pharmacological or biologically based therapies in CAM include but are not limited to substances found in botanicals, animal derived extracts, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids, proteins, prebiotics and probiotics, whole diets, and functional foods. These include dietary supplements and herbal products. Some examples are:

  • Vitamins
  • Herbs
  • Foods
  • Special diets

A note about nutrition: It is common for people with cancer to have questions about different foods to eat during treatment. Yet it is important to know that there is no one food or special diet that has been proven to control cancer. Too much of any one food is not helpful, and may even be harmful.

Herbal Medicine

Herbal medicine is a booming industry. The use of herbs and plants to treat medical conditions dates back thousands of years. More than 120 commonly prescribed drugs are derived from plant sources. Cancer drugs such as Paclitaxel continue to show the usefulness of plants in anti-cancer treatment.

The interest in herbal remedies stems from the use of “natural” products and to avoid the side effects and toxicities of more conventional medication. However, “natural” does not necessarily mean “safe”. Herbs taken in wrong dosages or by people with conditions for which their effects are contraindicated can cause serious side effects and even death.

For example, ephedra (or麻黄 ma huang) contains ephedrine that can cause headache, dizziness, palpitations, and possibly strokes and heart attacks. The consumer must interpret claims made by manufacturers and prescribers of herbal medicines carefully.

The safety of many herbs is unknown. Healthcare professionals need to be aware of the growing use of herbs by the general public to treat various ailments. Individuals who choose to use herbs for specific ailments are strongly advised to speak with healthcare professionals in order to evaluate any potential contraindications associated with medication that they may be taking or potential side effects of the herbs.

Treatments Focusing on Diet and Nutrition in the Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Diseases

Much has been written about diet and its effects on health and disease. Alternative or special diets have evolved out of concerns about more and more people eating saturated fat laden foods, nutrient-depleted foods and diets high in protein and carbohydrates. The optimum level for nutrients is controversial.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is designed to provide a basis for evaluating the diet of groups, not individuals.

The use of special diets should not be taken lightly or undertaken without expert guidance. The potential for negative consequences always must be a consideration. Some examples of alternative or special diets include:

  • Vegetarian Diets: Focus on the practice of not consuming meat, fish or poultry. Some vegetarians eat eggs and dairy products. Research has shown that a properly followed vegetarian diet can reduce the risk of colon, breast, prostate and other forms of cancer, as well as heart disease and other illnesses. A 1989 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that vegetarians eat more essential nutrients and absorb them better than non-vegetarians.
  • Macrobiotic Diets: Macrobiotics by definition means “large life”. It is based on the Eastern philosophy of ‘yin’ and ‘yang’, which is incorporated into all aspects of the macrobiotic theory and lifestyle.
    Taking responsibility for individual health through a more balanced, natural way of life is the goal of macrobiotics. The basic macrobiotic diet consists of 50%-60% whole cereal grains, 5% soup, 25%-30% vegetables, 10%-15% beans and sea vegetables, and 5%-10% fish, shellfish, seasonal fruits and nuts.
  • Gerson Therapy: Is a dietary programme consisting of large amounts of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables and emphasising low salt intake and high amounts of potassium. The goal of this diet is to produce positive cellular change through diet and detoxification. The primary principle is the balance of sodium and potassium on the cellular level.
    Food preparation is the key of the Gerson diet. Foods are cooked over low heat and with very little water. Cooking utensils should be stainless steel, cast iron, glass, porcelain or tin. Aluminium pots and pans, microwave ovens and pressure cookers are not allowed. Coffee enema is given for detoxification. Participants are expected to follow the regimen for 2 years.

Disclaimer: The National Cancer Centre does not endorse or promote the use of any product mentioned here. The information is resented in a summary to provide understanding and knowledge only. It does not recommend the self-management of health problems or replace consultation with your doctor. You should never disregard medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read here.