CSR Batik Painting Activity with RSS Vigour

A group of staff from the Republic of Singapore Navy gets their first taste in attempting the skillful mastery of batik painting while being patiently coached by Metta’s talented Alumni youths with special needs.
Read on as I join in the fun to bring you the insights on the art of batik painting.

Contributed by Jasmine Ong
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39 staff from the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSS Vigour) came down to Metta on the morning of 25 November 2014 for a community engagement batik painting session. The batik painting workshop enables corporate volunteers to have a feel of the complexity and difficulty of handling the entire batik painting process; what’s more from our Alumni youths with special needs, trained in this skilful field for many years to become almost an expert in the art of batik painting despite their challenges.

The class is coached by our team of Alumni youths who are well-versed in the complicated art of batik painting

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Alumni youth, Jie Wei, demonstrating to the RSS Vigour staff on how to wax a batik painting.

Batik painting is a traditional Javanese folk art of decorating fabrics by the application of hot wax and permanent dyes to create creative patterns to an otherwise plain fabric canvas. It is a slow and tedious process that requires plenty of patience, a deft hand and extreme concentration to create a flawless masterpiece.

Introduction of our Alumni youth, Fadhil, who will be among the coaches for today’s CSR program.

Introduction of our Alumni youth, Fadhil, who will be among the coaches for today’s CSR program.

Sure looks easy peasy.

Sure looks easy peasy.

One of the “teachers” giving guidance and instructions.

One of the “teachers” giving guidance and instructions.

Intense concentration from the crew of RSS Vigour.

Intense concentration from the crew of RSS Vigour.

Alumni youth, Chee Meng, overseeing and ensuring that everyone’s waxing is properly outlined.

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What looked easy and simple wasn’t as simple as it appeared. Hence, I took the opportunity, together with a blank batik artwork, to try my hand at batik painting. The last time I ever touched on any batik craft was back in Primary 5 when we had waxing and tie-dying of random pieces of unwanted plain cloths in the Arts and Craft module. It was an easy feat back then, it must be an easier feat now, I thought to myself. Or so I thought.

I joined the horde of RSS Vigour in queuing up to eagerly dip our canting (pronounced as Chanting) into a pot of hot molten wax for outlining the pencilled marks on a plain cotton cloth fitted firmly over a rectangle wood frame.

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Fine little details such as the method to scoop the molten wax and wiping the base of the canting against the side walls of the wax pot needs to be observed to prevent excess wax stains on the art piece.

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Alumni youth, Qiqi, explaining to me the rationale behind applying a layer of wax for the outline to prevent colour paint seepage.

Alumni youth, Qiqi, explaining to me the rationale behind applying a layer of wax for the outline to prevent colour paint seepage.

I must have two left feet. My wax lines were uneven with blotchy wax patches on my canvas. So much for a self-confessed arts person. I guess I’ll have to re-examine my ‘flair’ for the arts after today.

My butterfly has got blotchy eyes, no thanks to me.

My butterfly has got blotchy eyes, no thanks to me.

On account of a colleague’s goodwill, Alumni staff, Ms Catherine Wong, teaching me all about the blending of colours and partially salvaging my badly coloured batik leaves with her timely intervention.

On account of a colleague’s goodwill, Alumni staff, Ms Catherine Wong, teaching me all about the blending of colours and partially salvaging my badly coloured batik leaves with her timely intervention.

As if my waxing wasn’t bad enough, my painting didn’t do me any justice either.

The other parts of my batik drawing didn’t fare any better. Ink blobs bled beyond the poorly waxed lines and leached into neighbouring segments of my butterfly design. Much as I tried my best to apply the ‘right’ amount of pressure, picking up the ‘right’ amount of water and paint, I just couldn’t seem to get the colours to retain within the waxy outlines. Looking on the bright side, I pride myself on being one of the fastest to complete half the painting when the rest were still barely starting. It certainly is no easy feat for RSS Vigour staff who are engineers by profession, to be attempting the task of an artist.

My artwork compared to the others. All is not over yet; I hope I can salvage the unpainted sections. Let’s cross our fingers!

My artwork compared to the others. All is not over yet; I hope I can salvage the unpainted sections. Let’s cross our fingers! 

On the other hand, the RSS Vigour staff next to me and some of his fellow colleagues did a very good job in controlling their wax lines and colour. Some were vivid with accurate colours such as this Tiger Butterfly design created by a RSS Vigour staff.

Heard of the Tiger Barb fish? Meet the Tigerfly.

Heard of the Tiger Barb fish? Meet the Tigerfly. 

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A striking butterfly that roams the Night Safari.

A striking butterfly that roams the Night Safari.

RSS Vigour staff, Hui, with his beautiful batik masterpiece. 

As quoted by a RSS Vigour staff, Hui, on his experience of the batik painting activity today,

“It is much challenging than I (had) expected. I never knew
it was that difficult to handle batik painting until today. But the overall experience was fun to say the least.”

And what’s further more for Metta’s Alumni youths who overcame their disabilities and self doubts through Metta’s Alumni’s cultivation of their individual strengths to emerge as talented young artists in their own right.

And finally here’s my truly forgettable batik piece. 

Through hands-on experience on batik painting, I have learnt a valuable lesson that morning:

1) The difficulty at such a ‘simple’ art work for an abled person like myself is easily attempted by the Alumni youths with special needs who face greater challenges in mastering the skill to near perfection. This shows that with strong determination and perseverance, nothing is impossible.

Nonetheless, it was a fun and memorable experience for all RSS Vigour crew and Alumni youths who equally enjoyed playing the roles of teachers in the morning’s activity.

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Sense of self-satisfaction achieved by all.

Sense of self-satisfaction achieved by all. 

If you like to explore a similar CSR art activity with us or if you have any enquiries, you may write in to: events@metta.org.sg

A boy named Jack*

Have you wonder the inner feelings of someone with autism? Why do they react different? Does helping them do their daily stuff help them?

Let’s take a moment to read, to learn how Jack* handles with his daily routines.


“I was always aware that I was different, that something was wrong with me. In kindergarten, I would stare out of the window or touch walls, oblivious to the people around me. I could barely speak, except for repeating, for example, MRT announcements – “for your own safety, please stand behind the yellow line”. When my mother took me to church, I could not tell her that the loud music and flashing lights made me feel sick (sensory overload), so I ended up hitting other children.

The autism diagnosis came at age six – too late for early intervention. My father refused to acknowledge my condition. He sometimes caned me until I cried so loudly that the neighbours could hear and my own wailing gave me sensory overload. My mother tried to protect me from the real world. Seeing me struggle to open food packets and tie my shoelaces (due to poor motor skills), she had the maid do everything for me, even though I did want to learn these tasks. There were many arguments between my parents, who eventually stopped talking to each other. I knew it was my fault.

At home, I was often alone, but with my books and computer by my side, I was never lonely. Encyclopedias shared fascinating facts about fish, stars and dinosaurs. Storybooks transported me to faraway worlds full of fantasy creatures or friendships between normal schoolchildren. The computer let me type out thoughts and introduced me to numerous puzzle games. I had fun fighting battles on chessboards and filling numbers on Sudoku grids. Exploring Control Panel, I figured out how to fix common software problems and tweak settings to make the computer faster. Once I could travel to the library alone, I constantly borrowed and devoured books about software development, puzzle games and other interesting topics.

Through these intellectual pursuits, I found order in chaos and meaning in my existence. In fact, I treated school examinations as puzzle games and they were the only enjoyable part of my mainstream primary education. During lessons, I could not concentrate, so I hid in the cupboard at the back of the classroom. When my classmates picked on me, I would throw books or chairs at them. They were glad that I could not aim properly! Physical Education lessons were pure torture. I was so bad at ball games that my classmates invented a new ball game – trying to injure me with the ball. I repeatedly failed my NAPFA test and repeatedly had to retake, to no avail. In my quest to develop social and life skills, I made many blunders. When announcements ended with “thank you”, I replied “you are welcome”. When my teachers told me to return my plates and utensils after eating, I threw them into dustbins.

One teacher made lessons come alive with interesting stories and activities. She ensured I was not left out. After lessons, she offered me guidance and encouragement. Finally, I felt that someone valued me. Inspired, I studied hard and did well for my PSLE, but secondary school would have its own challenges…”

Jack


*The writer does not want his real name to be published, thus he share his inner feelings with us under the pseudonym of Jack.

Keppel Offshore & Marine- Metta Charity Golf Tournament 2014

Photography and article contributed by: Migs C. Bravo-Dutt (Guest contributor)

Contrary to earlier predictions of rain and thunderstorms, July 4 turned out to be a relatively clear day – a perfect Friday afternoon for the 244 golfers who trooped to the panoramic Raffles Country Club for Metta’s 15th Annual Golf Tournament, with Keppel Offshore & Marine as the title sponsor for the sixth year in a row.

The Metta staff and volunteer team were at the club early that day to set up and prepare for the tournament in advance, such that everything was in place when the first participant arrived before mid-day: staff and volunteers were at several points to welcome the players who were then ushered to the registration counter. Metta personnel facilitated the registration, distribution of tournament kits, tagging of golf equipment, and helping ensure that the right bag went into the right buggy.

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At about 1 pm, players headed to their buggies, and excitedly waited for the first shotgun tee-off, which promptly came at 1 pm for Lake Course – 26 flights were assigned to this course, for a total of 104 players. The shotgun tee-off at Palm Course followed at 1:30 pm where 140 players joined the tournament, grouped into 36 flights. The players happily applauded upon hearing the shotgun tee-off, and immediately scooted away to their first hole thereafter.

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I volunteered to take photographs of the golfers at Palm Course, and for this I was stationed at Hole #1, beside a refreshment kiosk manned by a group of cheerful Metta Alumni youth –they would clap and get excited every time a buggy would approach, which happened every 10 minutes or so, and their enthusiasm never wavered throughout the afternoon. The students would eagerly hand out bottled water, apples, and brownies and muffins to the delight of the players. Some golfers jokingly requested for beer. At times, the weather indeed called for an ice-cold beer but the cheerfulness of the Metta team more than made up for the lack of it.

When I approached each batch of golfers for a group photo, the golfers would happily oblige, sauntering over to the designated “photo-booth” – the spot beside the tournament banner. Without prompting, the sporting golfers took care on not to cover the Guest of Honour’s photo on the banner, an indication that many looked up to Mr. Choo Chiau Beng-  Senior Advisor to Keppel.  The players were very cooperative, holding their smiles for as long as it took me to get my camera ready (even when I took a bit longer on a few occasions when I forgot to set my camera in advance). I did not really have a hard time capturing everyone nicely in the frame. Some golfers clowned around a little bit, adding to the fun of the photo session. It was an amusing time for me, seeing how excited the players were to pose for the camera –in turn, the snaps were immediately printed by the Metta team and were included in the souvenir items distributed to the participants later that evening.

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Once their group picture was taken, the golfers would set up their tee, and test their swings, before they would finally hit the ball. After every player had his/her turn, they would then hop back into their buggies and would be off to the next hole.

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The game ended at approximately 5 pm, giving time for the players to freshen up before dinner at the Stamford Suites. Dinner’s programme started with the welcome speech by Metta’s Deputy Executive Director, Mr. Ee Tiang Hwee; followed by wonderful performances from Metta School’s students. Three students in elaborate harlequin costumes performed one of the more challenging acts I’ve seen so far: walking on stilts while juggling at the same time! Another group of jolly children rendered a well-choreographed dance number in the spirit of the World Cup, which clearly engaged the diners.

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Another highlight of the dinner program was the announcement of the tournament winner. Golfer, Joseph Yapp came in as the overall champion, with a gross of 75. The much-awaited Lucky Draw, awarding wonderful baskets of gifts to the winners, followed this segment:

First Prize – Yilai Abalone Prosperous Box Set, $200 RISE F&B voucher, and a Complimentary flight for 4 at the Raffles Country Club worth $2,600 (Sponsored by Harvest Resource Supply (SG) Pte Ltd, MBS and RCC).
Winner: Juha Kuntola from ABB Pte. Ltd.

Second Prize – Yilai Abalone Prosperous Box Set and a $100 Dining voucher at Xin Cuisine Chinese Restaurant worth $2,000 (Sponsored by Harvest Resource Supply (SG) Pte Ltd).
Winner:  Chan Ka Heng from Univenture Technologies Pte. Ltd.

Third Prize – Samsung Galaxy S5 worth $1,068 (Sponsored by M1)
Winner:  Cheng Tian Hock.

 

More prizes were also given away, including Grand Hyatt dining vouchers, Tupperware hampers, $500 NTUC cash vouchers, Aerogaz electrical appliances, Mitsubishi fans, Honey hampers, among others.

While not everyone could go home with the top prizes, each participant received a goodie bag from our wonderful partners and generous donors/sponsors:

  •  Singapore Pools – Towels
  • Oh Guan Hing- Sesame oil
  • Gan Teck Kar – Organic Tea
  • Gan Teck Kar – 2 tubs of California Creamery Nacho Cheese Sauce
  • Gan Teck Kar – Granola bar
  • Chiropractic Clinic- Complimentary massage Tui Na vouchers

It was overall a productively fun Friday, albeit some golfers having to rush through dinner to catch an important World Cup match that night!

The Metta staff did an amazing job coordinating the daylong event seamlessly, from registration in the morning to awarding of prizes after dinner.

The fun and engaging tournament and dinner generated about $232,000 for Metta Charity. Clearly, it was another successful event and partnership for both Metta and Keppel teams as everyone was effectively a winner that night, having fun while helping with a great cause.

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Opening of Metta School V Café cum Eye Dotting Ceremony

Metta School opened its newly renovated V Café at the Metta School premises on 18 August 2014. The opening started off with an impressive dragon dance performance by the students of Metta School‘s Lion Dance Club and subsequently officiated by Venerable Shi Fa Zhao; first with the eye-dotting ceremony.

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The eye-dotting ceremony ‘opens’ up the eyes of the lion.

         The eye-dotting ceremony ‘opens’ up the eyes of the lion.

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     The dragon with its eyes burning brightly after the eye-dotting.

Another pair of lively lions awaited us at the V Café as they welcome of Venerable Shi Fa Zhao to perform the ribbon cutting ceremony.

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Venerable Shi Fa Zhao cutting the ribbon to the opening of the V Cafe.

Venerable Shi Fa Zhao cutting the ribbon to the opening of the V Café.

With the new V Café, our students from the ISC Hospitality & ISC Baking Practices class had the opportunity to practice their cooking, baking and customer relations skills at the cafe. Not just an ordinary school café, the V Café also incorporates the students’ competency from leadership skills, menu planning and budgeting know-how. At Metta, we believe that our students will survive in the working world with additional skill set earned through their experience and vocational training.

(Photo taken from Straits Times)

                                    (Photo taken from Straits Times)

The setting up of V Café was a real challenge to our teachers and students who had to present the concept to the school management for its approval. Their diligence paid off when the proposal was approved and the teachers and students immediately went about to materialize the dream with eager enthusiasm.

Securing the location for the V Café proved to be a second challenge. The small but cosy cafe setting was to have a conducive dining environment for the teachers and students to have their meals, chill and relax at the same time.

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One of the yummy platter spread prepared by Metta School’s students  from the ISC Hospitality & ISC Baking Practices class.

One of the yummy platter spread prepared by Metta School’s students
from the ISC Hospitality & ISC Baking Practices class.

Venerable Shi Fa Zhao’s appreciation speech for bringing  Metta School to new heights with the opening of the V Café.

Venerable Shi Fa Zhao’s appreciation speech for bringing
Metta School to new heights with the opening of the V Café.

A heartwarming moment as two Metta School’s vocational students  gave a Thank You speech to the guests.

A heartwarming moment as two Metta School’s vocational students
gave a Thank You speech to the guests.

Kudos to the 11 Metta School students of V4 who worked hard together as a team with their teachers to see the café to fusion.

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Mr Chairul Anwar, Trainer of F&B and Customer Service at Metta School  led the students from the ISC Hospitality & ISC Baking Practices class  in hospitality at the V Café.

Mr Chairul Anwar, Trainer of F&B and Customer Service at Metta School
led the students from the ISC Hospitality & ISC Baking Practices class
in hospitality at the V Café.

At Metta School, we believe in paying a good deed forward. As part of our social responsibility initiative and making the V Café project more worthwhile and meaningful, earnings from the V Café by the students were donated back to society.

Read more about our Batam CIP project here .

Metta School's Batam CIP project

                      Metta School’s Batam CIP project

On 15 to 17 March 2014, Metta School paid it forward by performing our values in action to an orphanage in Batam by utilizing the skills learnt. The students and teachers cleaned up the orphanage, cooked for them and organized fun and interactive games for the less privileged orphans. A little act of kindness does go a long way to bring about the smiles to the young children.

With the introduction of the V Café, more students can carry out what has been taught and learnt from Metta School’s ISC Hospitality & ISC Baking Practices course in a live setting. All this would not have been possible without the support of Metta School’s Principal, Madam So Kah Lay; Vice Principal, Mr Anuwar; Head of Department of Vocational Skills Training, Ms Yvonne; and Metta School teacher, Ms Selina Teo, in making the dream come true.

From left: Mr Chairul Anwar, Ms Yvonne and Ms Selina Teo.

       From left: Mr Chairul Anwar, Ms Yvonne and Ms Selina Teo.

Playing a Green Part for the Environment

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Metta Welfare Association is proud to be among the four chosen recipients out of 700 community gardens to attain the prestigious Environmental & Biodiversity Award in NParks’ Community in Bloom Awards 2014 .

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                                        Metta Welfare Association’s green team

For several years, our staff and clients have taken to actively participate in flourishing our community garden, attracting a kaleidoscope of living species from butterflies and birds, to micro-organisms and plant species variants. Our hard work has paid off this year when we are recognised by NParks to be one of the best environmental and bio diversified gardens in Singapore in their Community in Bloom programme.

An Olive-backed Sunbird baby spotted in our Metta garden.

                       An Olive-backed Sunbird baby spotted in our Metta garden.

A wasp that paid us a visit too.

                                                          A wasp that paid us a visit too.

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The new herbs we planted.

                                                       The new herbs we planted.

Metta Welfare Association’s Deputy Executive Directive, Mr. Ee Tiang Hwee, helming the green team.

Metta Welfare Association’s Deputy Executive Director, Mr. Ee Tiang Hwee, helming the green team.

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Introduced in May 2005, the Community in Bloom (CIB) programme was spearheaded by NParks to kick-start a contribution to a green and unique landscape of Singapore.

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The programme aims to create gardening communities within housing estates, educational institutions and organisations in Singapore by partnering various stakeholders including residents, government agencies, grassroots organisations, schools and organisations.

Apart from just being a green city, the CIB programme promotes community involvement in gardening by recognising the good efforts in creating and maintaining them. The community also encourages the interactive sharing of creative gardening ideas.

Today, NParks have more than 700 CIB gardens in Singapore.

 

CIB Award Judging Criteria

Judging Criteria

 a) Level of Community Involvement

  • Planning, setting up, maintaining and managing the garden.
  • Activities and events (gatherings, celebrations, talks, training, learning, outings, etc) related to the garden programme.
  • Support for the garden programme – Partnerships with other communities, resources, and strategies to sustain the garden.

 b) Garden Quality

  • Garden Design – General appearance (aesthetic), landscaping creativity / originality and practical use of garden layout.
  • Plants and Hard Landscape Elements – Use of ornamental plants, suitable plant selection, health of plants, state of soil and use of suitable hard landscape elements (paving, trellises, sculptures, retaining walls, lightings, pots etc).
  • Maintenance – Quality of up-keep and environmental safety.

 c) Environmental & Biodiversity Quality

  • Plant Variety – The number of different plants that increase biodiversity.
  • Reduce, Reuse & Recycle where possible to create a positive impact on the environment.
  • Habitat Creation – Creating a suitable environment to attract local fauna.

 The awards ceremony took place on 23 August 2014, Saturday at the Singapore Garden Festival held at Gardens by the Bay.

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Mr. Ee Tiang Hwee receiving the award at the Singapore Garden Festival.

          Mr. Ee Tiang Hwee receiving the award at the Singapore Garden Festival.

With this wonderful achievement as a strong motivation, we will no doubt continue to uphold our gardening efforts, high quality and standards to serve as a beacon and inspiration to other community gardeners in our neighbourhood and around Singapore.

For more photos of our bio-diverse flora and fauna, please visit our Metta Welfare Association Facebook.

Photography PVA @ the Zoo

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Article shared from Metta School blog (www.mettaschool.edu.sg). For more photos, please click at this link >> http://www.mettaschool.edu.sg/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=362:photography-pva-the-zoo-11th-june-2014

The photography club had the opportunity to visit the Singapore Zoological Gardens on the 11th June 2014 as part of the school’s Holiday Busy Programme. This activity was kindly sponsored by Canon Singapore who took care of all the planning and logistics at the zoo.

It was a bright and sunny day. Each child was paired up with a friendly volunteer from Canon and the students are tasked to search and take pictures of the animals listed on the activity worksheet.  Once they’ve completed their tasks, the students are to complete a http://www.animoto.com project back at school.

The activity at the zoo ended with lunch at KFC. The students mingled and took photos with their new friends from Canon. Everyone had a great and enjoyable time.

The students also managed to complete their http://www.animoto.com projects that very afternoon. They added captions or titles to each photo that they have taken. Finally, when they have completed, their works were showcased in front of the entire class.

The following are the web links of video by some of our students:

  1. Main
  2. Shi Yang
  3. Kiefer
  4. Afiq
  5. Al Khair
  6. Farid
  7. Hakim
  8. Khairul
  9. Wen Hao

I hope you will enjoy the above clips as much as the students have enjoyed creating them.

A special thanks to Mr Edwin Low for volunteering in this activity.

On behalf of Metta School Photography PVA and teachers (Mr Zahid, Ms Mi Li and Ms Ivy Yeo), we would like to thank Canon again for always keeping Metta School in your heart. Till next time…

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!