Metta e-Newsletter: Vol 19 Issue 3

A SG50 Special: Celebrating the Nation’s Milestone

president2015 marks a special milestone for Singapore as she turns 50 this year. Throughout the goliath challenges yet meaningful moments in the last half century, it is a good time for us to reflect on who we are and how far we have come together. Just as turning 50 is about looking ahead as it is about looking back, the achievements of our pioneer generation and diligence of our younger generation will propel our nation’s stability to even greater heights.

While we celebrate the joyous moment, we should never forget the community at large, especially the less privileged and disadvantaged sections of our society.

To mark this special occasion, our various centres have come up with their own initiatives to spread the joy with our beneficiaries as we commemorate Singapore’s 50th anniversary since independence.

I like to take this opportunity to thank our pioneer generation staff, volunteers and donors who have devoted their time, efforts and dedicated contributions to Metta. We are motivated to create a bigger impact on the many who are with us on this meaningful journey. Together, let us engender a more inclusive society in our community.

With Triple Gems Blessings
Venerable Shi Fa Zhao BBM


UPCOMING EVENTS

LUNAR 7TH MONTH CHARITY AUCTION 2015

auction

The Lunar 7th Month Charity Auction 2015 is an annual cultural fundraising event of Metta to raise funds for the programs and services for its various nine welfare centres.

The highlight for this year’s auspicious centrepiece is the “Vessels of Double Blessings” (“欢喜壶”) intricately carved out of Liu Li and a symbolism that all good things should come in a pair.

For more information or to purchase the “Vessels of Double Blessings” (“欢喜壶”), please visit www.metta.org.sg/hq/index.php/lunar-7th-month-charity-auctions/

METTA CHARITY RUN 2015
5 September 2015
East Coast Park (Big Splash)

runThe Metta Charity Run dashes into its sixth year in support of charity and community bonding while promoting a healthy lifestyle with a non-competitive run. The run which comprises of a 10km, 5km and a Parent and Child 1.5km Fun Run category will test the endurance of adults and entertain the little ones with fun and games. This year, we are honoured to have Siemens Pte Ltd joining us as our Platinum Sponsor to raise funds for the development and enrichment of our disability, medical, special education and early intervention programmes in aid of some 1,000 beneficiaries from various races and religions.

Look out for attractive goodie bags and exciting lucky draw prizes during the carnival. This is a healthy family sporting event not to be missed!

If you have a passion for running and like to run for a good cause, register with us at: www.metta.org.sg/hq/index.php/metta-charity-run-2015/

Can’t join to run for us but want to do your part for charity? Now you can when you help us fundraise for the Metta Charity Run 2015 at: https://www.simplygiving.com/event/mettarun2015

We’ll see you on the big day!!golf


HEALTH WISE

5 Tips to A Healthy Diet After 50

After the age of 50, the goal of one’s diet is to maintain weight, consume heart-healthy foods and, above all, stay strong!

Use the following 5 tips to live your 50s in fabulous health and avoid age-related illnesses.

  1. Add B12 to your daily supplements
    health1B12 supports healthy nerve and blood cells needed to make DNA. B12 is primarily found in fish and meat. As we age, our stomach acid decreases, making it more difficult to absorb nutrients such as B12.
  2. Really cut back on salt
    health2A high salt diet puts us at risk for hypertension which is a danger for cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Most salt in the average diet comes from processed foods. Cut back and eventually forego processed foods to aim for 1500 mg or less sodium per day.
  3. Check your multivitamin for Iron — and toss it if it has
    health3The average woman experiences menopause at age 50. After menopause, the need for iron decreases to 8 mg of iron a day. And excess of iron leads to toxicity because the body doesn’t have a natural way to excrete iron; too much can cause liver or heart damage and even death.
  4. Pay more attention to calcium and vitamin D
    health4Due to gastric and hormone changes, vitamin D levels (which is needed to absorb calcium) and calcium absorption tank around age 40. Postmenopausal women have an increased risk of osteoporosis because of their lack of estrogen. The body after 50 will break down more bone than it will build. Ideally, it’s ideal to consume adequate calcium before age 30.
  5. Eat like a Greek!
    health5When researchers looked at the populations in the world that had the most people over the age of 100, they noticed a common theme: the Mediterranean diet. A 2000 study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that the Mediterranean diet (which includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, moderate wine consumption and olive oil) was associated with longer survival.

Original articled extracted from: http://health.clevelandclinic.org/2013/05/5-tips-to-stay-fit-after-50-2/


NURTURING TIES

Parenting a Child with Global Developmental Delay
Contributed by Ms Evania Yeo, Metta Preschool Educational Psychologist

parenting

Children younger than 5 years old who fail to meet expected developmental milestones in multiple areas of motor, speech and language, cognition, social functioning, and activities of daily living are described to be having Global Developmental Delay (GDD). In this article, we share with you on strategies for parenting a child with GDD.

Children with GDD often experience difficulties with academic work. They may also face challenges in social skills and poor daily living skills such as feeding or dressing. If left untreated, this may contribute to behavioural problems such as task avoidance, low self-esteem or depression.
To help your child with learning difficulties, it is important for you to understand his current level of functioning. Learning is more effective when adults use multiple modalities (visual, auditory, tactile, and kinaesthetic) to guide them.

For example, when teaching a child to recognise an alphabet, parents can use the following methods:

  • Visual learning: use Flashcards that show the letter A, read books and look for words that contain the letter.
  • Auditory learning: Play songs that reinforce letter A, such as the ABC song, or phonics songs.
  • Tactile learning: Practice writing letter A on paper, chalkboard, sand or finger paint the letter. Or create the letter with clay.
  • Kinaesthetic learning: Find letter A in a child’s environment, such as on car plates and posters.Play games like freeze game or dance to the YMCA song.

Parents can read up more about the stages of communication from the book “More Than Words”, by Fern Sussman. The book provides practical strategies for each stage, increasing their understanding of activities so that they can respond to what their parents say.

Parents are encouraged to plan activities before carrying them out with their child, and think about their own teaching methods and interaction to better improve on them.

Parenting is never an easy job, so remember to reward yourself and your child at the end of the day for the good effort!


MAKE A WISH

Metta Hospice Care Make-A-Wish: Fulfilling the Dreams of Our Beneficiaries
Contributed by Mr Tay Jia Sen, Metta Hospice Care Counsellor

make-a-wish

As part of the Singapore Ireland Fund’s philanthropic initiative, Metta Hospice beneficiaries, Mr Koh Howe Chua and Mdm Zaleha Bt Syed Sidek got the chance to experience the Tulipmania Floral Display on 24 April 2015 for their first trip to the Gardens by The Bay.

Due to the onset of their medical condition, Mr Koh and Mdm Zaleha spend most of their time indoors as they tire easily if they travelled long distances. This is in contrast to the active lifestyle led by the two beneficiaries prior to their illnesses. Unfortunately, the opportunities for them to experience more outdoor activities were limited as their family members found it logistically challenging to take them out.
The two beneficiaries enjoyed the sight and smells of the flowers’ sweet aroma in the cool atmosphere of the flower dome. It was truly an outing not to be forgotten!


COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Kite Flying with The Associates & Advisors’ Clique
Date: 25 May 2015
Location: Marina Barrage
Contributed by Ms Eilynn Chin, Community Partnership Executive

community1

An energetic team from Advisors’ Clique, a group of financial consultants representing Great Eastern Financial Advisers, together with their participants from The Associate program, came together at the Marina Barrage to make it a special and enjoyable day for 26 clients of Metta Home Day Activity Centre.
The energetic volunteers guided the clients on the simple craft of kite-making before letting their kites soar into the clear blue skies. Despite the hot weather, our clients enjoyed the cool and vast spaciousness of the Barrage while learning how to fly their kites with the volunteers. It was truly a fun-filled Monday morning to start the week for everyone!

Breathing in Nature for Metta’s IDAC Clients
Date: 12 June 2015
Location: Gardens by the Bay
Contributed by Ms Eilynn Chin, Community Partnership Executive

community2

26 clients of Metta Day Activity Centre for the intellectually Disabled spent a lively eventful day at the Gardens by the Bay with 40 volunteers from Siemens Singapore. The helpful and caring volunteers partnered each client as they toured the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest, taking in the colourful sights of the kaleidoscopic flora in the theme, Flowery Fun Times with Nursery Rhymes, during the outdoor befriending outing.
It was an enjoyable day for all as our clients got close to nature and Siemens volunteers gained exposure in team planning for a large group while learning to interact with Metta’s intellectually disabled clients.

Paint for Home & Hope
Date: June 2015
Location: Metta Day Activity Centre for the Intellectually Disabled

community3

The Nidana Youth Group initiated a community project to help refurbish the worn premises of Metta Day Activity Centre for the Intellectually Disabled in Hougang.

The centre, started in 1995, serves individuals with intellectual disabilities. Over two consecutive weekends in June, the Nidana Youth Group put together their time and effort into giving the centre a brand new look with a fresh coat of paint. They hope that with their efforts, the interior would offer Metta’s clients a more conducive and comfortable environment for learning and interaction.

About the Nidana Youth Group: A youth wing of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, the group is started by passionate youths with the vision that aims to create an impact on youths by being the hub where Buddha’s teachings (Dharma) are shared through meaningful activities.

If you like to volunteer your time or join us for a CSR activity with our clients, you may enquire more at events@metta.org.sg


SG50 Special

Tribute to Our Pioneer Generation Staff and Volunteers

As Singapore turns 50 this year, we would like to take this opportunity to thank and honour our pioneer generation staff and volunteers who have contributed to Metta in their own unique ways.

Thank you for your contributions and being a part of Metta’s achievements and success. We wouldn’t have done it without you!

sg501

Janet Tang, 66 years old
Therapist Aide with Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre for the Elderly since 2000.
“I love working with the elderly and they enjoy my presence. They even try to look for me when I am on leave!”

 

sg502

Lim Kim Chwee, 84 years old.
Volunteer with Arts@Metta since 2013.
“I believe the answer to be healthy in mind and body is to be constantly active. Volunteering lets me keep fit and meet many people from all walks of life.”

 

sg503
Tan Ah Choo, 71 years old.
Volunteer with Metta Welfare Association since 2001.
“Helping out at Metta allows me to return back to society what was given to me”


MY STORY

Love of A Family is Life’s Greatest Blessings.
Name: Mr Lim Sim Lin
Age: 53 years old

mystory

The old adage, blood is thicker than water, holds true for most of us, especially in the case of Mr Lim Sim Lin, a client of Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre for the Elderly. Ever since the 53-year old was struck with a partial right stroke in late 2013, his family have been his pillar of support to his daily needs.

Things was never that glum for Mr Lim who runs a ladies apparel store with his wife in Ang Mo Kio. They were a typical happy Singaporean family who loves holidaying in Thailand and Hong Kong; going to the beach frequently and shopping together. But all this changed when Mr Lim was struck with a sudden stroke in the midst of a family dinner. He was rushed to Changi General Hospital and diagnosed with stroke. Mr Lim spent 3 months in St Andrew’s Community Hospital before he was referred to Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre for The Elderly for rehabilitative physiotherapy.

There, Mr Lim receives strengthening exercises like skater board and hand cycle with the guidance of Metta’s physiotherapists and therapy aides. Gait training, stairs and step climbing are administered to improve his balance and strengthen his lower limbs.

In a matter of 14 months, Mr Lim made tremendous improvements with his mobility and is now less dependent on his family. It is their endearing support that made Mr Lim determined to regain at least at least 70% of his mobility. Looking forward, Mr Lim hopes to re-join his wife in their family business and proudly attend his son’s O Levels graduation without a walking stick.



mission

 

Metta e-Newsletter: Vol 19 Issue 2

Of Compassion and Charity

shifuAs we move ahead in our quest for growth and improvements, we should never forget our roots and return to society what was heaped unto us. This issue focuses on the essence of true charity and compassion. True charity is to give something without expecting anything in return for the gift and Compassion is to show benevolence to earth’s living things and respect for life.

The meritorious deed of charity is highly praised by every religion. Those who have enough to maintain themselves should think of others and extend their generosity deserving cases. Among people who practise charity, there are some who give as a means of attracting others into their religion or creed. Such an act of giving which is performed with the ulterior motive of conversion cannot really be said to be true charity.

The Buddhism views charity as an act to reduce personal greed which is an unwholesome mental state which hinders spiritual progress. A person who is on his way to spiritual growth must try to reduce his own selfishness and his strong desire for acquiring more and more. He should reduce his strong attachment to possessions which, if he is not mindful, can enslave him to greed. What he owns or has should instead be used for the benefit and happiness of others: his loved ones as well as those who need his help.

Whenever somebody is in trouble and needs help, they should respond if they are able to. Furthermore, they should extend the same loving-kindness to society at large, to people of all races and creeds. They can donate liberally according to their ability to worthy causes or they can start nearer to home by extending compassion and aid to their elderly neighbours or helping someone in need. Only by adopting a pure heart with a broad attitude will serve to make one’s life meaningful and rewarding.

Yours in the Dharma
Venerable Shi Pu En
Executive Director
Metta Welfare Association


Lunar New Year Lou Hei Buffet Luncheon 2015
28 February 2015
Metta Building

louhei

In appreciation to our donors, volunteers and supporters from all walks of life, Metta held its annual Lunar New Year Lou Hei Buffet Luncheon in recognition for their dedicated service to the organisation as well as to usher in the New Year.

The lunch isn’t complete without our God of Fortune mascot who popped in for a surprise visit and entertained everyone with upbeat Lunar New Year songs and tossing of ‘luck’. Metta’s Executive Director, Venerable Shi Pu En, officiated the ceremony with a blessing ritual prior to lunch of which commenced with the auspicious starter, tossing of the yu sheng. Everyone eagerly grabbed their chopsticks as they tossed the delectable ingredients as high as they could go, peppered with auspicious Chinese idioms, words and phrases in a symbolism of wealth and luck.

Metta Charity Walk Cum Family Carnival
22 March 2015
Metta Building and Metta School

carnival

The recent ended annual mega Metta Charity Walk cum Family Carnival 2015 proved to be another success as more than 5,000 participants and visitors joined us in the merry making in celebration of the nation’s SG50 anniversary.

In its 18th year, the Metta Charity Walk cum Family Carnival is not complete without the endless choice of delish vegetarian delights and snacks; kiddy rides and games; foodstuff and wares and exciting stage performances to attract anyone.

The event preceded with Ms Jessica Tan, MP for East Coast GRC, flagging off the charity walk at 9am. The hour-long 3km walk commenced from the entrance of Metta Building and looped behind East Point Mall. Participants were greeted with the appetizing smells of foods and the cheery bustle of the crowd when they returned.

Our engaging emcees, Hui Si and partner entertained the crowd with their witty jokes and playful bantering as dance and song performances from Metta School students, various schools and volunteers, enthralled the audiences.

Everyone went off with satisfied happy bellies and cart home bagfuls of  shopping hauls for that day. It was yet another successful carnival for Metta!


Keppel Offshore & Marine-Metta Charity Golf Tournament 2015
15 and 16 July 2015
Tanah Merah Country Club
Title Sponsor: Keppel Offshore and Marine

golf2014

8-1

Into its 16th year, Metta’s annual flagship event enjoys yet another long-time support from its title sponsor, Keppel Offshore and Marine. This year, the event is held over two days at the Tanah Merah Country Club with Metta having the first flights on the first day, and subsequently with Keppel Offshore and Marine having 36 flights on the second day.

Gracing the event for Keppel as the Guest-of-Honour is Senior Advisor of Keppel Corporation Limited, Mr Choo Chiau Beng.

A gala dinner bash for the two-day tournament will expect entertaining acts from our talented students from Metta School who will display and enthral the audience with their magnificent performances.


A Volunteers Tribute Special
This issue plays tribute to the remarkable people who have generously donated their time, expertise and energy to supporting and contributing to Metta Welfare Association. Read on as we uncover two angels who believed in paying it back to society in their own special ways.

Life’s Greatest Lesson

Retiree, Mdm Doris Foo, diligently commutes to Metta Welfare Association every Monday and Wednesday. The eloquent 65-year old senior who used to work as an administrator in a consultancy firm is a volunteer with Arts@Metta since 2013. On other days that she isn’t volunteering, Doris take turns to helps to look after her young grandchild.

5-2Doris is an active and feisty lady. She believes the happiness to active ageing is keeping a healthy mind and body without being an idling retiree. Flexible schedule, a comfortable environment with great like-minded folks, excellent leadership from Alumni Executive, Ms Catherine Wong, are among the many reasons that Doris has continued to be a regular volunteer with Metta.

 

“Keeping a healthy active lifestyle and mind is the answer to active ageing and there’s no better way to it than to give back to society through volunteering.”

Doris Foo, regular volunteer at Arts@Metta

Through her volunteering experience at Arts@Metta also brings about new craft skills and the art of batik painting for Doris. Some of her adhoc duties includes framing the canvas cloths for the alumni youths to create their wonder pieces of batik art.

Doris added that volunteering opportunity allows her to improve on her well-being. Many times, the carefree schedule of being a volunteer makes her less anxious in life as she enjoys what she does. Volunteering also taught Doris new things she never knew before: learning to communicate with youths with special needs. As she shared,

“I never knew much about autism until I volunteered at Metta. This experience opens up my knowledge on how to communicate with people with autism.”

The experience also trains Doris to be a less anxious person and understand the importance of a good teamwork.

An advice that Doris would dish out to younger folks on the volunteerism spirit is to see that society can be more caring, giving and helpful. This way, the world would be a much betterplace to live in.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Filial Piety Beyond Borders
Hairstylist, Li Hui, makes it a point to drop by Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre for the Elderly during his off days to offer free haircuts to the elderly clients because it brings joy and happiness to the 39-year old. A regular volunteer, Li Hui has been volunteering at Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre since July 2014.

5-1At Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre, Li Hui could relate to the elderly clients, many of whom reminds him dearly of his aged parents. Using his hairstyling skills, Li Hui trims the hairs of the elderly clients as each took turns in queueing up for the free haircut.

A quiet man, Li Hui shares that by offering his free service to the elderly clients, he is reminded of his parents back in China. He relates in Mandarin,

 

“I enjoy giving free haircuts to the elderly as this reminds me greatly of my aged parents back home.
Through my simple efforts, I feel this is the best that I can do to honour them in my absence.”

Li Hui, regular volunteer at Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre

Hailing from Hubei, China, Li Hui came to Singapore in 2008. Like most foreigners, Li Hui sought to seek a better prospect for his future.

In a span of 7 years of working in Singapore, Li Hui, has grown to embrace Singapore as his new home. However, the distance and time away has also made him miss his family in China. It wasn’t till a customer of Li Hui introduced the young man to Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre that he found a whole new experience in volunteering.

Li Hui’s volunteer stint at Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre is only the beginning. He hopes to do more for society through other means of volunteerism if he had more time away from work. In the meantime, Li Hui continues to work hard at his dream of opening his own hair salon while returning to society the
blessings that he has been given.


Altruism May Help Shield Teens From Depression

Teens who like to help others may be less likely to develop depression, a new study suggests. The study included 15- and 16-yearolds who were given three types of tasks: give money to others, keep the money for themselves or take financial risks with the hope of earning a reward.

altruismThe researchers monitored activity levels in a brain area called the ventral striatum, which controls feelings of pleasure linked to rewards. The teens were checked for symptoms of depression at the start of the study and a year later.

Activity in the ventral striatum in response to the different types of rewards predicted whether the teens would have an increase or decrease in depression symptoms, according to the study published online recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“If they show higher levels of reward activation in the ventral striatum in the context of the risk-taking task, they show increases in depressive symptoms over time. And if they show higher reward activation in the pro-social context, they show declines in depression,” study author Eva Telzer, a psychology professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said in a university news release.

“This study suggests that if we can somehow redirect adolescents away from risk-taking or self-centered rewards and toward engaging in these more pro-social behaviors, then perhaps that can have a positive impact on their well-being over time,” she added.

Previous research has shown that teens tend to have higher levels of ventral striatum activity, suggesting that they experience the pleasure of rewards more intensely than adults or younger children, according to the news release. Most of that research has focused on the link between ventral striatum activity and risk-taking by teens.

This study shows that  ventral striatum activity may also have a positive effect in teens, Telzer said.

Original article extracted from: http://news.health.com/2014/04/29/altruism-may-helpshield-teens-from-depression-study/

My Story – Finding Strength in Adversity

6While most teenagers his age are engaged in the latest pop music and trends, Metta School student, Nazri, who has mild intellectual disability, spends most of his youth in KKH (Kandang Kerbau Hospital) battling acute leukaemia.

Nazri was first diagnosed with the condition two years ago during Hari Raya celebrations at home. He fell extremely sick for many days and was referred to the hospital for further checks. At 16, the unfortunate news was a great blow to the boy and his parents. Nazri had to stop attending classes at Metta School and spent the next year at KKH for chemotherapy sessions under close observation. During his hospitalisaion, Nazri was not able to go out of his ward for fear of an infection that might worsen his condition.

Despite his condition, Nazri remains an optimistic teen. He is not saddened by his condition and in fact, accepts it. Thankfully for Nazri, his friends and Metta school teachers and social worker visits him at the hospital regularly. Metta School social worker, Ms Jobina Chia, even brought a laptop for Nazri to play some computer games as he spends his time recuperating. But most of all, Nazri brightens up whenever his mother visits him at KKH. Nazri is immensely grateful to his mother for saving his life when she donated her blood cells to him for his treatment.

As he puts it,

“Without my mother, I wouldn’t have survived. I wouldn’t be here right now.”

Through his personal experience, Nazri hopes to be able to help and counsel other young people who have similar illnesses to overcome their grief and pain. With his cancer gradually in remission, Nazri also dreams to be able to be a commercial pilot one day; flying passengers all over the world and being able to visit less privileged countries to help the less fortunate.


7 Ways To Teach Your Child About Charity

It is said that a family that practices giving and charity inculcates children who will carry on the good habit into their adulthood. While most young people are living in the technological age of the latest electronic smart devices, it is a common sight to see young commuters not giving up their seats to the elderly and needy while on their smart gadgets leading to social media public shaming. How do we evolve from a nation of uncaring citizens to a gracious society where altruistic selflessness could be the next trend in Singapore?

Charity and the spirit of giving have been elevated to a new level in the past few years, following terrible natural disasters, wars, anarchic unrest in other countries, and terrorist attacks around the globe. After
witnessing the horrific images of pain and suffering streaming steadily across their TV sets, more people than ever before have dipped deeper into their own pockets to offer much needed relief to the survivors of unprecedented tragedies.

Some parents are using the destruction delivered by these catastrophes as an opportunity to help children learn about charity and the importance of reaching out to others in their time of need. They have made generous family donations, often involving their children in picking out the charity, writing the cheque, preparing and mailing the envelope or simply to help out at a church service or a welfare organisation as a weekend family activity. They have allowed their children to witness how fortunate it is to be born in an average Singaporean family and not to take life for granted.

Clearly, recent disaster provide an opportune time to teach children about charity. How do parents teach their children to make charity an everyday affair? What if they want the spirit of giving to be a way of life for their children? How do they make charity become a habit?

7

Family Charity Ideas
To help your children acquire the habit of charity, consider implementing the following tips as a family:

  1. Donate clothes and toys
    Periodically go through your closets rooting out clothes you haven’t worn in a while, which can be given to charity organisations. Encourage your children to do the same. Allow them to select which clothes or toys they wish to donate. The value of this activity is diminished greatly if you go through their closets for them without their presence. For maximum benefit, get your children involved in choosing the appropriate items. Take your children with you when you drop the items off at the charitable destination.
  2. Help neighbours
    Regularly engage in a service-oriented project. Offer to clean the house/corridor of an elderly
    neighbour; perform little acts of kindness such as holding the door for others as they enter the
    lift, or even assisting an elderly neighbour if they are struggling with heavy loads.
  3. Give blood
    Take your children with you so they see you as a model for giving. Talk to them about why you choose to donate blood and how a little small effort can save a life.
  4. Make birthdays charitable
    Set up birthday parties as a time for giving to others. At your child’s first school-age birthday party, ask guests to bring a gift of a book (new or used) to be donated to a local charity. Talk to your son about the books he has and about children who have no books. Explain that one way to celebrate a birthday would be to give to those who have less. Involve the birthday boy in the decision of whether not to give the books to charity. When you deliver the books with your child, record it on camera, and revisit that movie (or those pictures) on future birthdays as a remembrance that a birthday is never about oneself, but about sharing the joy and privilege with those who have less.
  5. Include pets
    At regular intervals, buy dog or cat food and take it to the pet welfare centres. Allow your children to spend some time with the recipients of the gift. And if it may be possible, adopt a pet to save a life. Letting your child partake in the caring and looking after a pet gives him a sense of responsibility.
  6. Change for a difference
    Create a charity jar to be used by the family when allowances are distributed. Invite children to share some of their allowance with others through donating to the jar. As the jar fills, decide as a family where to contribute the contents. You may choose to save a stray, buy food supplies for a needy low-income person, or contribute to a charity among others. Read about various charities
    on the Internet and share this information with your children to help them make an informed
    decision.
  7. Help elders
    Do things for the elderly that they have trouble doing for themselves. Mop the floor for grandma. Teach grandpa how to use the Internet. Clean their windows or simply help them to plant flowers

By implementing some of these ideas or others like them, you will be teaching your children that charity is not reserved only for emergencies. You will be helping them appreciate that reaching out to others in need is a way of life, rather than a moment in time when a catastrophic disaster occurs. Remember, while you are giving to others, you are giving your children important messages about your beliefs concerning the spirit of giving.

Metta e-Newsletter: Vol 19 Issue 1

Soaring Ahead with Times

shifuThe past years have seen Metta take bigger strides in its advancements towards better governance and  management development. Into its 23rd year in serving the needs of the community, I am heartened to add that our presence has made a difference to society since our inception.

Keeping up with our quest to get ahead with changing times, we have embarked on the Singapore Quality Class (SQC) journey to upgrade our organisation model for managing business excellence. Through its progress, this has helped us to identify and upgrade new existing processes towards a quality and holistic improvement to our centres and programs.

Among the varied betterments of our progress and keeping in line with our core values, we have adopted a new tagline for Metta: Caring for Our Communities. This is our dedicated commitment to provide welfare services to meet the needs of the community at our centres by working closely with our clients, donors, partners, suppliers and community organisations. This year, we look forward to further cultivate closer ties with our corporate donors and volunteers as an appreciation to their continuous efforts and contribution.

Looking back at 2014, I am heartened that twenty-two Metta staff volunteered in giving Metta School in Chiang Rai a brand new look. Metta School in Chiang Rai provides supplementary education to children from local ethnic groups in their rural country side. As part of our community involvement, the staff cleaned and painted the school building such that the students would have a more conducive environment for their studies.

In the practise of dana paramita, the spirit of generosity is an important foundation of practice. Being grateful for the generosity shown to one self is another fundamental belief of the practice. Similarly, I like to express my heartfelt gratification to the donors, sponsors, volunteers, and staff who have contributed to the development of the association in the last two decades. All that we have achieved would not have been possible if not for your continuous unwavering support. With this, I appeal to everyone to keep your faith and walk with us to weather challenging obstacles as we put our passion together to care for our communities.

With Triple Gems Blessings,
Venerable Shi Fa Zhao BBM


Metta Café Re-Opening
31 March 2014

mettacafe

Metta Café was refurbished last March to create employment opportunities for Metta School graduates aged 18 and above, with mild intellect disability and/or autism by providing them with F&B vocational training. Armed with the ITE Skill Certificate (ISC), these graduates start their apprenticeship at Metta Café prior to finding employment in the commercial sector.

Metta Café rotates its weekday daily lunch specials on a biweekly basis. Diners are spoilt for daily choice specials of the popular Olive Fried Rice, to the western non-vegetarian Roast Chicken with Fries. The Cafe’s specialty lies in their art of patisserie and churning out beautiful eggless cakes and confectioneries.

Metta Café is open daily from 7am to 5pm, except on public holidays.

Keppel Offshore & Marine-Metta Charity Golf Tournament 2014
4 July 2014
Photography and article contributed by: Migs C. Bravo-Dutt (Guest contributor)

charitygolf2014

Metta’s 15th Annual Golf Tournament was held at the Raffles Country Club with title sponsor, Keppel Offshore & Marine. We were privileged to have Mr Choo Chiau Beng, Senior Advisor to Keppel join us as the Guest-of-Honour of the golfing event. As with previous years, the tournament saw a good game with healthy competition and camaraderie amongst golfers.

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.

Playing a Green Part for the Environment
August 2014

gardeningMetta 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.

Years of staff and clients’ active participation in flourishing our community garden paid off when we were recognised by NParks to be one of the best environmental and bio diversified gardens in Singapore.

The Community in Bloom (CIB) programme started in May 2005 aims to kick-start a contribution to a green and unique landscape of Singapore by creating gardening communities with residential estates and institutions.

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

Baxter-Metta School Master Chef Competition 2014
8 November 2014

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Baxter held its fifth CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activity with Metta last November. The Master Chef 2014 pits Baxter staff and Metta School students from the Food Preparation and Baking course against one another in a culinary test.

Prior to the competition, Baxter staff engaged in a friendly cooperation with Metta School students in unleashing their inner creativity by decorating cupcakes.

The judging panel for the competition came from chefs of various restaurants: Chef Fok of Zi Yean Restaurant, Chef Ah Chye and Chef Adrian from Huo Yow Cook’s Association. The dishes prepared are judged based on their Taste, Creativity, Presentation, Team Building efforts and Hygiene.

To wrap up the event prior to lunch, Baxter presented Metta with a cheque of $50,800 in support of Metta Café to fund its training program for its Alumni youths.

Metta Charity Run 2014
6 September 2014

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East Coast Park In its fifth year running, the annual Metta Charity Run 2014 saw over 1,000 participants joining in the  run to fulfil their passion of running and in support of charity.

We were honoured to have Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, Minister of State, Ministry of National Development & Ministry of Defence and Mayor, South East District grace our high-adrenaline event and flag off for all race categories: the 10km Run, 5km Run and the 1.5km Parent and Child Fun Run.

Food and game stalls operated by corporate volunteers and staff from UPS and Lagardere were thronged by the crowd of participants as stage performances entertained the rest.

This was another successful well-executed running event with favourable weather conditions. If you missed our last marathon charity run, stay tune for the next one coming up on 5 September 2015.

Metta Charity Bowling 2014
29 November 2014

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Metta held its inaugural charity bowling competition at the Orchard Country Club. We are delighted to have Minister for Manpower, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin as our Guest of Honour, who gamely bowled with our top student bowlers from Metta School and 19 other competing teams for the title of grand champion. Among the teams are beneficiaries from the Metta Day Activity Centre.

The inaugural charity bowling competition turned out a success and we look forward to hosting a consecutive tournament in the following year and thereafter.


Coming to Terms with Your Child’s Autism

childautismWorld Autism Awareness Day is celebrated on 2 April 2015. Every year, autism organizations around the world celebrate the day with unique fundraising and awarenessraising events. However, despite the acknowledgement of the condition in society, it is a stigma that is still not widely accepted by most parents.

If your child is diagnosed as having autism you will probably be overwhelmed with the decision. You will probably go into some form of denial. It can be very difficult to come to terms with the fact that there is something wrong. The first thing that you might want to do is to contend the findings. The earlier that you accept that the diagnosis is correct, the quicker you will be able to receive help and advice on what care is available for you and your child.

Of all the emotions that can strike you after receiving the diagnosis, the worst is anger. You may be angry with yourself, your doctor, or even with parents who have seemingly healthy children. You have to realize that this is not anybody’s fault. The best thing to do is to seek out other people who are in situations like yours and share experiences.

After anger there is grief. You may have had lots of hopes and dreams for your child, and now feel they have all changed. You may also have the fear that your child may experience difficulties from other children because they are different. You must not let grief takeover your parental role. Try to focus on the positive and not the negative of the situation, and adapt accordingly. If you are having problems it might be a good idea to seek out some form of therapy to help you pass the grieving process.

An autism diagnosis is not made by scientific means such as drug tests and genetic make up, but purely on the observation of certain aspects of behaviour. This is because there are no common factors in a person’s make up that causes autism. Sometimes a diagnosis can be made when the child is about one-year-old, though some do not show signs of the disorder until they are nearly 18 months.

It is natural to compare your child’s behaviour to other children of the same age. This is because the speed of development of children varies according to certain circumstances. Just because they are not matching your friends’ children with regard to speech ability or motor control, do not assume that there is a problem. If you do have concerns, it would be wise to contact your physician, who will observe your child’s behaviour against a predetermined checklist.

Sometimes it is years before the child is  diagnosed as being autistic, because they are on the higher level of the autism spectrum. It is also true that just because your child shows certain mannerisms, such as temper tantrums and not wishing to communicate, they are not necessarily autistic. This is because they have a developmental disability or inadequate social skills.

It could take some time to come to terms with the fact that your child is autistic. Nevertheless, you are now a parent, and now must concentrate on helping your child in whatever way possible. Join a group that relates to your problems, and if there is not one in your neighbourhood, why not form one. Support line that is going to be a tremendous help to the child, and you, in the future.

Original article extracted from: http://social-psychiatry.com/coming-terms-result-childs-autismdiagnosis/


Tai Chi – The New Rehabilitation Exercise

taichiIt used to be that Tai Chi is synonymous with an Asian senior citizens’ sport. However, western doctors and occupational therapists are beginning to embrace this traditional Chinese art form as one of the best effective activity for cardiac and post-stroke rehabilitative therapy.

Tai Chi is often described as “meditation in motion,” but it might well be called “medication in motion.” There is growing evidence that this mind-body practice, which originated in China as a martial art, has value in treating or preventing many health problems. And you can get started even if you aren’t in top shape or the best of health.

Among the many benefits of Tai Chi ranges from normalising blood pressure, aids in strength, mobility and flexibility, prevents arthritis,helps regulate one’s immune system, improves the body’s circulation, posture and back aches and promote better balance and coordination.

The movements of Tai Chi are effective in improving both intrinsic motor control and functional status. They increase aerobic capacity and sensorimotor function, and improve the timing of muscle activation and strength, cardio respiratory fitness, mobility, coordination, balance and most importantly one’s circulation.They also calm the mind. Tai Chi has a favourable effect on the prevention of recurrent stroke and cardiovascular episodes.

This low-impact, slow motion exercise involves movements without pausing through a series of motions. But Tai Chi differs from other types of exercise in several respects. The movements are usually circular and never forced, the muscles are relaxed rather than tensed, the joints are not fully extended or bent, and connective tissues are not stretched. Tai Chi can be easily adapted for anyone, from the most fit folks to those confined to wheelchairs or folks recovering from surgery. And the best news of all? There is no need for gym memberships just to be healthy and get in shape with Tai Chi.


Metta Hospice’s Make-A-Wish

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The story of Madam Aminah: From Dream to Reality Living life to the fullest is the ultimate goal for all of Metta Hospice palliative care team’s dreams for their patients. Yet, fulfilling it is another matter. As of April 2014, Metta Hospice introduced the Make-A-Wish program for its patients to fulfil their final wishes to their heart’s content. This program aims to bring across the message to our clients that regardless of where we come from, who we are or what we have become, no one should deserve anything less in our final moments.

“I wish to spend a day at the zoo with my family.”
– Mdm Aminah, 77 years old, Metta Hospice patient

hospice2For 25 years, Mdm Aminah, has not stepped into the Singapore Zoo due to her busy lifestyle as a housewife and subsequent poor health in her later years that rendered her immobile in moving around freely.

Mdm Aminah is a patient with Metta Hospice since July 2011. She suffers from end stage renal failure and is wheelchair bound as a result of her condition. Due to this, Mdm Aminah has not been able to go outdoors to enjoy nature’s beauty with her family.

However, on 17 December 2014, Metta palliative care team made that dream come true for Mdm Aminah. The palliative care team, together with Mdm Aminah’s family and herself, took a day trip to the Singapore Zoo. The occasional bumpy terrain of the pavements did not deter Mdm Aminah from having her spirits dampened. Mdm Aminah’s adrenaline surged sky high as she was instantly energised by the excitement of having her dream realised. Her favourite attractions of the excursion was the primate sanctuary, spectacular polar bear and elephant show that brought laughter and a big smile to Mdm Aminah. So happy was she that she had a hearty lunch despite her usual small appetite.

It was a fruitful day of fun and joy for Mdm Aminah and her family as they got to spend quality family bonding time together. It was a day which Mdm Aminah could cast aside her worries and illness to relive her dreams of re-visiting the zoo. Mdm Aminah and her family thanked the palliative care team for making it a special and memorable day for them to remember.

To the Metta Hospice palliative care team, it was another fulfilling and contented day that they were able to fulfil the wishes of those under their care.

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”
– Winston Churchill

The Metta Hospice Make-A-Wish program is sponsored by The Singapore Ireland Fund.

 Green rooms

11 Apr 5:50 AM

Indoor gardens take pride of place at several organisations, with both corporates and institutions bringing the community garden concept a step further. BT Weekend takes a walk in the park.

 Article extracted from http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/lifestyle/design/green-rooms

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FOR staff of the Metta Welfare Association, creating green spaces within its Simei building is not so much about aesthetics but a therapeutic activity to benefit both themselves and students of the Metta School.

“Our students with mild intellectual disability, special needs or autism enjoy growing things with their own hands and experiencing the joy of taking care of other living beings, instead of always having others take care of them,” says Ee Tiang Hwee, deputy executive director of the Buddhist charity organisation. “It is very good for developing their self esteem.”

Founded in 1992 by Venerable Shi Fa Zhao, abbot of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum, the association’s six-storey building was opened in 2002 and has always been adorned with plants and greenery. Today, apart from housing its special education school, offices, art studio, cafe and retail store for vocational training, it boasts multiple green spaces – from an indoor garden located in an airwell of the building and butterfly garden that flanks the carpark, to a herb garden corner and offices filled with potted plants.

The school’s special needs students tend to the gardens and paint or create batik artworks featuring butterflies or blooms inspired by the plants that they see around them. Mr Ee would also pick up caterpillars from “host plants” – plants that attract the insects to lay eggs, and keep them in netted laundry baskets so students could observe the stages of metamorphosis before releasing the butterflies.

And it isn’t just the children who engage in gardening. Every Friday evening, staff members are encouraged to engage in recreational activities such as brisk walking or badminton. Around 20 staff would attend workshops on gardening or tend to the greenery. Mr Ee personally conducts workshops on various aspects of the pastime, from planting orchids to creating terrariums. In fact, most of the office cubicles resemble miniature gardens with pots of plants lining desks and shelves.

“My office is really a nursery,” reveals Mr Ee, who lovingly cultivates young plants, saplings and terrariums in his office before transferring them to the gardens when the plants are more developed. “I also like to give our guests of honour and VIPs a potted plant. They already have so many acrylic mementos from various organisations. So they will always remember us when they see my plant.”

From a tender age, Mr Ee would help his parents tend the garden in their Serangoon Gardens home. His mother was a fan of orchids while his father enjoyed the fruits from their own fruit trees – Mr Ee recalls climbing up jackfruit trees to retrieve the pungent-smelling fruit. He even sold cuttings of African violets to nurseries to earn extra pocket money as a pre-university student. Asked if he has green fingers, he remarks: “You don’t need to have green fingers. Even my plants die. It’s all trial and error.”

Among the plethora of plant species found at the Metta Building is a wide range of edibles, including fruits like pomelo, starfruit, rambutan, longan and jambu. Its Metta Cafe, which provides food and beverage vocational training for the school’s graduates, also harvests the produce from this mini farm – especially its curry and laksa leaves, and other fresh herbs. Mr Ee, who stashes a plastic bag in his pocket on his jogs, keeps a lookout for seeds which he collects. Through a Skype chat, he announces his newest acquisitions to Metta’s gardening group and passes them on to any takers. These budding gardeners also help themselves to soil and gardening tools kept in the pantry.

“There is no grand master plan,” admits Mr Ee, who recommends indoor gardening newbies start with growing money plants. “Sometimes I wonder if I am gardening or working here.”

By May Yip

Overseas CSR Project 2014: Values In Action @ Metta School Chiang Rai

Photography and article contributed by: Service Quality Department (Metta Welfare Association)

Metta Welfare Association (MWA) held it’s very first overseas Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project from 28th November to 4th December 2014. A total of 11 Metta’s staff, 11 Metta School teachers and two volunteers participated in this project aptly named as “Values In Action”. This project aims to give Metta School in Chiang Rai a refreshing face lift and a new computer lab.

Introduction

Metta School Chiang Rai is a privately-run supplementary school incepted in May 2008 as a means to provide supplementary Traditional Chinese education to children aged 6 to 16 years old, from local ethnic groups so that they would have the opportunity to advance in higher education for entry into Taiwanese universities. The school is located in the village Huaynamyen of the town Wawee. At 800 metres above sea level, it lies in the district, Mae Suai, in the western part of Chiang Rai Province, northern Thailand.

This CSR project was identified in June 2014 when a recce team consisting of Metta School’s (Singapore) Deputy Executive Director, Mr Ee Tiang Hwee and Service Quality team, Ms Ann Ng and Ms Jaslyn Chang, visited Metta School Chiang Rai. During the trip, we noticed that the classroom walls, pillars, ceiling, and podium were covered with stains, molds and peeling paint. The school had no painting maintenance carried out since it was incepted many years ago. Hence, a proposal was put forth for staff of Metta Welfare Association to help repaint the school as its CSR project.

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Two different groups departed Changi International Airport on 28th November 2014 and 29th November 2014 respectively. Upon arrival at Chiang Rai International Airport, we took a two-hour land transfer and arrived at our accommodation “Lao Lee Hill Resort”. The owner of this Resort was a friendly and hospitable lady. Every morning, the resort’s staff and owner would prepare our daily meals of breakfast and dinner. We had a variety of locally cooked dishes and fresh fruits.

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For our transportation between Metta School Chiang Rai and the Resort, we had fun riding in their local vehicle called the “Song Tiao” which is a cross between a taxi and a pickup truck. The traveling time from our Resort to Metta School took about 45 minutes. However, daily traveling on this “Song Tiao” was not an easy feat due to the winding roads, dust and huge pot holes on the road. Nonetheless, we all enjoyed each other’s company in the snug cabin of the vehicle.

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For three days, all 24 of us worked hard in painting the school. Painting commenced with the Teacher’s Block followed by Classroom Blocks. Each block consisted of five rooms. We shifted furniture, dusted, swept, painted and cleaned the rooms to the best of our abilities.

Many of us were first timers but this did not deter us in picking up paint brushes and rollers to paint with the rest. Those who were unsure followed and learnt from those who knew. Within a few minutes, we saw “painting teams” emerging as each one of us took the lead and responsibility in a particular painting task. There was great teamwork among all of us as we helped each other in whichever areas that needed extra hands.

A. Exterior Walls & Ceiling

B. Interior Walls & Ceiling

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 D. Doors, Windows & Door Frames

On the first day of the week, some of us finished up on the final touches of painting, while the others started cleaning the window grills, frames and dusting the walls.

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We were very fortunate to be able to complete all the painting within three days due to extra helping hands from 23 Tes-Amm Thailand staffs who joined us. They were indeed an immense help as they painted the classrooms, exterior walls and the outdoor stage.

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By day end on 1st December 2014, we were all tired but happy and proud to present evidences of our hard work:

Outdoor Stage

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 Exterior Walls

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Toilets

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Classroom Interior

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Interior Walls

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Besides helping us with the painting work, Tes-Amm also sponsored the cost to revamp one empty room into a computer lab for the students. The new computer lab is fully functional with laptops, keyboards, monitors, projector and screen. Additional lighting were installed and some patching work was also done to the ceiling.

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A Token of Appreciation was presented to Mr. Luc Scholte van Mast, Managing Director of TES-AMM Thailand, by Mr Chuang Wan-Neng, principal of Metta School Chiang Rai. All Metta School students and teachers, Metta staff and Tes-Amm staff from Thailand came together for a group picture.

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The Project ended with a farewell party on the 3rd December 2014 where Metta students from Chiang Rai and Singapore put up various stage performances, dancing and singing for us. Under the moonlit starred night, everyone danced, clapped & joined in the performances.

Many exchanges and friendships were forged in that short span of three hours. It was indeed a night to remember! The party ended with gifts exchange among the students and souvenirs for everyone.

Our first Overseas CSR project was a success! We received many positive feedback and suggestions to organise another trip in 2015.

The organising team would like to express our heartfelt thanks and deep appreciation to all the 22 staffs and two volunteers who participated in this project. The project’s success is attributed to each and everyone’s effort, time and teamwork.

We look forward to the next 2015 overseas CSR project!

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Revamping To A Brand New Start

Without change, there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. And constant change is what drives Metta to continually upgrade itself for the betterment of its beneficiaries and the community.
The revamp of the new Metta Café is just one of the association’s latest moves in keeping up with the times.

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With its inception on 31 March 2014, Metta Café resides within the compound of Metta Welfare Association. Branding a fresher and brighter look from its predecessor, Happy Arts Café, Metta Café was refurbished to create employment opportunities for Metta School graduates aged 18 and above, with mild intellect disability and/ or autism by providing them with F&B vocational training. Metta Café’s mission is to provide an avenue for these youths to acquire vocational, work and life skills through its comprehensive training and development programs. This in turn, opens up employment opportunities for them to achieve economic independence, self-reliance and build confidence.

Metta School graduates with ITE Skill Certificate (ISC) who were not ready for open employment will be recruited as Metta Café apprentices. These apprentices’ skills will be further honed in a commercial setting which entails the development of their specific skill sets through on the job training.

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Metta Café’s specialty lies in the art of patisserie and baking. With careful and skilful yet creative piping dexterity, Metta Café trainees churn out professional-looking cream cakes that could rival commercial bakeries in upmarket establishments. Among the Café’s signature fares are its vegetarian eggless cake series and eggless mushroom pies.
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The mushrooms are braised in a delectable secret recipe cream sauce that makes you want to have more than just a pie after one bite. All of Metta Café’s pastries and cakes are baked every morning by the trainees to ensure quality and freshness of their produce.

Metta Café neophytic apprentice, Shirley Heng who now excels in the café’s tau sar piah confectionary range.

Metta Café neophytic apprentice, Shirley Heng who now excels in the café’s tau sar piah confectionary range.

Among the pool of apprentices is 23 year old Metta School graduate, Shirley Heng, who underwent the Food Preparation course in Metta School. The many years of food preparation skills taught has helped Shirley to cope in the real-life setting of Metta Café.

Every day is a progress that holds a new learning experience, according to the young trainee. But after several months at the Café, one of Shirley’s confectionary strengths lie in the entire process creation of the café’s tau sar piah, otherwise known as mung bean pastry.

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Of her vocation and experience at Metta Café, Shirley is elated to be working alongside the team of young trainees like herself, under the caring supervision of her trainer. In spite of the challenges that she has faced, Shirley has only one simple ambition: she hopes to be able to train new apprentices in future.

Helming the kitchen to the young trainees is 38 year old Pastry Chef cum Trainer, Ms Chye Hui Fun.

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With over 10 years of experience as a baker under her belt, Ms Chye is no stranger to the baking industry, having had worked previously in bakery establishments like Angie the Choice. Ms Chye trains Metta’s young apprentices with special needs in creating aesthetically pleasing cakes and pastries that taste as heavenly as they look. Being  a trainer at Metta Café is a fulfilling role for Ms Chye when she sees trainees under her guidance overcome their challenges to excel in their work.

Metta Café rotates its weekday daily lunch specials on a bi-weekly basis so that there would always be a new palate almost every day. Diners are spoilt for daily choice specials of the Asian Vegetarian Nasi Lemak, to the western non-vegetarian Fish and Chips. Among the Café’s popular item is the Vegetarian Hor Fun. No mock meat is used in the dish that is topped generously with mushrooms and green leafy vegetables and smothered in a smooth and savoury thick broth. Other must-try foods are Olive Fried Rice, Lontong, Prawn Noodle, Curry Chicken with Rice (Non-Veg) and the Roast Chicken with Fries (Non-Veg).

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Joining in the festive cheer, Metta Café also whips up seasonal confectionaries to match every major festive occasion, such as the delectable log cakes and gingerbread cookies for Christmas, pineapple tarts and various local cookies for Lunar New Year, and traditional baked and snowskin mooncakes for the Mid-Autumn’s festival, among others.

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Making up the bulk of the Café’s customer base are office workers from neighbouring business complexes and residents living around the vicinity of Metta Welfare Association.

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Apart from just having your meals and snacks at the Café, you may browse through the Café’s mini grocery section and pick up a whole range of hearty organic food stuff such as grains and oats, soya beancurd, brown rice, and low-fat granola bars, etc… to complement a healthy diet.

The prices of Metta Café’s food and beverages ranges from an affordable $1 to $9.90 . Prices of cakes are dependent on the size ordered.

Metta Café is open daily from 7am to 5pm, except on public holidays.

Baxter-Metta School Master Chef Competition 2014

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Baxter held its annual CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activity for the 5th year with Metta on 8 November 2014. Aptly named the Master Chef 2014, the gastronomic competition saw over 50 Baxter staff and over 30 Metta School students teaming up for a grand competition that puts their culinary skills to the test. As with previous community engagements, the Master Chef competition aims to raise funds for Metta’s various welfare centres. This year, the competition will fund-raise for Metta Café.

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Two Metta School students aged 17 to 19 years old from the Food Preparation and Baking course, together with 3 other Baxter staff, formed a team of 5 participants to pit against 16 competing teams to clinch the prestigious title of Master Chef. Each team were given unique team names of values that encompass the beliefs of Metta and they are: Integrity, Compassion, Caring, Peace, Loyalty, Humble, Kindness, Happiness, Responsible, Victory, Openness, Honesty, Loving, Creativity, Respect and Joy.

Each competing team are segregated into 3 respective kitchens in Metta School.

Each competing team are segregated into 3 respective kitchens in Metta School. (Click to enlarge)

On top of walking away with the Master Chef title, teams are also given the chance to bag home other novelty prizes such as the Best Chef, the Motivated Chef and the Sexy Chef titles.

The CSR started with the Baxter committee joining a group of Metta Rehabilitation Centre for The Elderly clients for breakfast in the Metta Café VIP room. Some of the other Baxter staff adjourned to the Metta School bakery room for a cupcake decoration competition with our students as an ice breaking activity.

Careful piping skills from a Metta School student that  requires sheer concentration and dexterity.

Careful piping skills from a Metta School student that requires sheer concentration and dexterity.

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A student creating that finishing touch of sprinkling colourful jimmies to the cupcakes.

A student creating that finishing touch of sprinkling colourful jimmies to the cupcakes.

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A kaleidoscope of colourful cupcakes in a plethora of candy colours and creative designs.

It was truly an ice-breaking moment as Baxter staff and Metta School students took the opportunity to mingle with one another as they unleash their inner creativity for the competition. The fun session ended with a group shot of the participants posing with their pretty, candied cupcakes which were packed for all participants to be brought home.

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The proud sense of achievement from everyone’s hard work.

The proud sense of achievement from everyone’s hard work.

The much-anticipated Master Chef competition commenced shortly after. All competing participants adjourned to the kitchens within Metta School’s premise to fire up their stoves for the big match. The culinary criteria for the competition consist of 3 main categories which include a dish of carbohydrates, a meat protein and a vegetable-based dish.

And the competition starts NOW!

And the competition starts NOW!

A Baxter staff joins a Metta School student in chopping the raw ingredients required to create their master piece.

A Baxter staff joins a Metta School student in chopping the raw ingredients required to create their master piece.

The lone ranger. A Metta School student single-handedly took to the chopping board all by himself.

The lone ranger. A Metta School student single-handedly took to the chopping board all by himself.

The judging panel for the competition came from chefs of various restaurants. Chef Fok of Zi Yean Restaurant joins Chef Ah Chye and Chef Adrian from Huo Yow Cook’s Association in determining the champions of the competition.  The dishes prepared are judged based on their Taste, Creativity, Presentation, Team Building efforts and Hygiene.

Similar to reality TV cooking shows, our panel of judges moves around the kitchen’s workstation to check on food preparation and hygiene techniques of the contestants.

Similar to reality TV cooking shows, our panel of judges moves around the kitchen’s workstation to check on food preparation and hygiene techniques of the contestants.

The two-hour competition saw Baxter staff working hand-in-hand with our Metta School students to pit against one another for the grand prize.

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The competition ended near lunch time and every competing team had to stop their work and present their winning entries to the judges.

Be delighted by all 16 teams’ master pieces.

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Our panel of judges went around to every table to taste and evaluate the dishes presented by the participating teams.

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Chef Ah Chye dishing out a helpful advice on preparation of the vegetarian platter.

Chef Ah Chye dishing out a helpful advice on preparation of the vegetarian platter.

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And then it came down to the intense and stressful judges’ deliberation. The three judges had a hard time deciding on the champion and runner-ups as many of the competitors were equally good that day.

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To wrap up the event prior to lunch, Baxter presented Metta with a cheque of $50,800 in support of Metta Café to fund its training program for its Alumni youths.

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The event ended with a hearty lunch served with the contestants’ creations. Everyone had thorough fun with the eventful, exciting and challenging participation that morning.

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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