Year 2009

Raffles Town Club Pledges Support

Having adopted the Metta Welfare Association as its designated charity, the Raffles Town Club (RTC) held a tea party at the Metta Home for the Disabled on 31 December 2009.

Graced by Hawazi Daipi, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Manpower and Health, the event was a befitting celebration of the recent renovations that were carried out within the premises to enhance accessibility, safety and ergonomic health benefits for its ageing residents.

Besides enjoying a sumptuous buffet tea prepared by RTC’s culinary wizards, everyone regaled in dance performances delivered by nursing staff and residents from the home and the melodious singing of Huang Yue from RTC.

In the presence of over 140 guests, including representatives from the club, grassroots organisations and An Nur Mosque, RTC’s Finance Manager Moh Siang King presented a cheque for $2,184 to Metta’s Deputy Executive Director Ee Tiang Hwee. The sum was raised through the sale of greeting cards made by the Metta School Alumni and gingerbread cookies produced by Metta’s social enterprise arm, Happy Arts Vegetarian Café.

The club also raised $1,000 separately in its New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner & Dance through a silent auction of a batik painting, a pottery piece and a mosaic artwork crafted by the alumni and students of Metta School.

Metta School Shines In Cross-Cultural Arts

Launched in 2003 in celebration of their talents and achievements, the Metta Shine Night has since been an annual showcase of our students’ aspirations and endeavours to transcend learning and cultural barriers to master the performing arts.

Over the years, they have attained greater virtuosity, versatility and spontaneity to enthrall audiences with their uplifting showmanship.

Heading into its sixth anniversary this year, the extravaganza was co-hosted with the ITE College East (ITE CE) on 21 November 2009 for the fourth year running.

Since the two parties inked a community partnership in September 2006, Metta has had the privilege of holding the event at the college auditorium on a complimentary basis, with logistical backup rendered by its staff and student cohorts.

Depicting the magnificence of an ancient battlefield, the opening performance was a stirring tune delivered by the school’s flagship Chinese orchestra troupe.

Students of different races were seen coming together as one, with over 20 Malay and Sikh players spotted in the 69-member ensemble.

Besides singing and dancing by ITE CE students, adding sparkle to the line-up was an eclectic musical piece by NC Prakash and Dr Klaus Goepel from Rohde and Schwarz Singapore, who weaved harmonious music using a cardboard cajorn, washing machine tubing and the middle-eastern darbuka drum.

The second half of the evening featured a dazzling 40-minute assemblage of contemporary and traditional arts put up by 253 student performers.

Marking the largest and liveliest musical staged by the Metta School to date, “Together We Shine” portrayed scenes of the students rehearsing for a concert during the holidays.

Stringing together some of its finest performing arts groups – including music and drama, percussion, wushu, handbell, Indian dance, choir and guitar – the show garnered positive reviews from the audience.

The event’s success was also attributed to local enterprises SMJ Furnishings and Ngai Heng Book Binder, both of whom have been its philanthropic stalwarts for the past few years. This year, the Shaw Foundation joined them in underwriting the cost of holding the event.

In addition, multi-national corporations JPMorgan Chase Bank and Rohde & Schwarz Singapore, along with Changi Simei Grassroots Organisations and other well-wishers, also sponsored and promoted the sale of complimentary tickets for school parents to witness their children’s performances.

Lending luminance was Guest-of-Honour Ms Jessica Tan, MP for East Coast GRC, whose presence personified the warm relations between Metta and the Changi Simei Constituency.

Sweetened with the kids’ exuberance, intensified by the buoyant atmosphere and characterised by cultural infusion, the event sealed its identity as a vibrant melting pot.

Certainly a rite of passage for all the student performers, it proved to be a remarkable test and manifestation of their abilities.

Metta’s President Venerable Shi Fa Zhao lauded: “My utmost gratitude goes to the teachers and instructors whose immense dedication and patience have made tonight’s show a great success! I commend you for your hard work. Thank you!”
Metta School Yields Pioneer Batch of ITE-Certified Graduates

Speech Day 2009 on 18 November marked another milestone in the history of Metta School, as the ITE Skills Certificate Programme launched by the school in 2008 yielded its maiden batch of graduates.

Most encouragingly, 21 among the 29 graduates who received their certificates from Guest-of-Honour, Mark Winterton, General Manager of Crowne Plaza Changi Airport, had secured employment for the following year.

Overall best performers in baking, housekeeping and food preparation as well as outstanding achievers for on-the-job training in these areas were commended with additional awards. Their juniors fared well, too, with over 80 students nominated for best progress in academics, co-curricular activities and conduct.

The prize presentation came to a heartwarming close, as graduates Azrin Bin Kamsani and Steven Jackson delivered heartfelt speeches on their learning journeys with earnesty and eloquence.

Besides witnessing the graduates’ coming of age, over 200 visitors and parents of existing students and new enrollees had the rare opportunity of experiencing the depth and breadth of the school’s pre-vocational, performing and visual arts curriculum through students’ demonstrations during guided tours led by staff members.

Conveying their gratitude for the care and mentorship that the school had showered upon them over the years, the graduates, along with several staff members, performed a moving rendition of “Thank You for the Music” at the end of the ceremony.
Skip For My Lou

15,381 skips in 10 minutes – that was the feat chalked by 40 students and staff of Metta School as well as representatives from South East Community Development Council (CDC) and Lam Soon Singapore at the launch of the South East Skipping Challenge on 3 November 2009.

Organised by the South East CDC, the campaign was supported by Lam Soon, which pledged to donate one bowl of Naturel Organic Brown Rice to the less fortunate in exchange for every 20 skips.

Pressing on with its two-day effort following the launch in its home ground, the Metta School encouraged all of its 441 pupils to contribute more skips.

The community drive, which lasted over a month, attracted 12,000 individuals from more than 30 bodies in the South East District – including schools, grassroots and voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs), government agencies and private corporations – to skip for a good cause while achieving fun, fitness and friendship.

It culminated with an overnight 12-hour skipping challenge on 20 December, accumulating a whopping 2,018,524 skips in total.

The rice donated by Lam Soon was channelled to needy residents through the grassroots organisations and VWOs in the South East District.

TES-AMM Delivers Cheer to Special Needs Children

Recycling solution provider TES-AMM plugged the gap between Children’s Day and yuletide festival with its string of treats for over 150 Metta School students on 3 November 2009.

The enterprise, which supports education for underprivileged children besides environmental causes, has been contributing towards the Metta School Student Welfare Fund since April 2009.

To raise awareness of the learning and developmental needs of students with special needs, it encouraged its staff to take time off to volunteer at the school.

Undeterred by the long trip from their Tuas office to Simei, the staff volunteers were clearly ebullient upon arrival.

Many of them even expressed keen interest in the school’s visual and performing arts programmes while touring the school premises. Together with several crew members from McDonald’s, they kicked off the celebration with an entertaining relay game, which had them engaging in spirited interaction with the students.

Following the rousing session, the staff volunteers stepped into Santa’s role by distributing Happy Meal sets and stationery packs to the kids, who beamed with elation as they receive the treats.

The company’s thoughtful gesture was reciprocated by Vice Principal Anuwar Abdul Wahab’s presentation of the students’ batik painting to its Chief Executive Officer Terence Ng.

An avid proponent of corporate social responsibility, the company partners Metta Welfare Association in an ongoing green charity drive that encourages the public to give of their used electronic items and IT equipment, so as to achieve the twin goals of saving the Earth and helping the less privileged. For every second-hand item collected, it makes a donation in kind of corresponding value to Metta.

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TES-AMM Green Charity Drive

Keyboard Magic

Highly engaging and functional, information and communication technologies promote the learning interest of children with special needs.

With this aim in mind, the ITE College East conducted four workshops for 12 Metta School students between 9 October and 6 November 2009 to impart them with simple keyboard operating skills.

Besides learning how to type simple sentences and paragraphs, the children had fun with online vocabulary games at the end of every session.

Their enthusiasm and learning pace remained encouraging throughout, thanks to one-to-one coaching by teachers and students from the college, whom, apart from offering sweets and souvenirs, taught them how to make balloon sculptures in the last session.

Among the pupils, Zabir Bin Malik from C2-1 charted the highest typing speed of 15 words per minute.

Metta Charity Banquet Raises Over $240,000

It was a homecoming of sorts for the Metta Charity Banquet, as the soiree took place in the Metta Building on 24 October 2009. Choosing its home ground over renowned hotels for the first time, Metta’s prudent move not only reduced overheads but also fostered a welcoming sense of familiarity and spirited bonhomie among its guests.

In tandem with the theme ‘Soaring to New Heights’, the spacious hall was elegantly embellished with flowing drapes and variegated kites, creating an elegant yet convivial atmosphere for the annual fundraiser.

Gastronomic standards were boosted by LingZhi Vegetarian – one of Tung Lok’s flagship epicurean establishments – which regaled the diners’ palates with its signature haute cuisine.

The evening’s highlight was a series of rousing auctions that garnered over $72,000. Flourishing Peonies, an exquisite batik painting created by the Metta School Alumni portraying the splendour of efflorescent peonies elicited an $8,000 bid from Apollo Food Industries (M) Sdn Bhd.

Fetching $14,440 and $50,000 respectively were Platter of Abundance – an 18-inch pottery plate crafted by Metta School Alumni instructor Teo Boon Gim, and Ashtamangala – a vibrant collage of the eight auspicious symbols of Buddhism produced by the Metta Day Activity Centre for the Intellectually Disabled.

The staggering bids were offered by John Hay of Hay Dairies Pte Ltd, who also donated $5,000 for Venerable Shi Han Min’s spontaneous rendition of ‘Shanghai Bund’ on the flute.

Among the multi-cultural performances that deserved mention was an eclectic medley of local compositions performed by a youth quintet using various traditional musical instruments.

Graced by Guest-of-Honour Ms Jessica Tan, MP for East Coast GRC, the event raised more than $240,000 at curtain call.

Crowne Plaza Changi Airport to Train Teens with Special Needs

Exemplifying the true spirit of hospitality, Crowne Plaza Changi Airport took special needs students under its wings as it inked a formal partnership with the Metta School on 23 October 2009.

The milestone was unveiled following eight months of amicable collaboration, during which the hotel provided work attachments in support of the school’s pre-vocational training programme.

Expressing gratitude in his speech, Principal Yong Soo Cheng remarked: “Our teachers noted that the graduating students had all benefitted, matured and were ready to take on full-time employment. We are also extremely thankful that the hotel staff came over to our school and shared their expertise with us.”

The agreement will see the hotel playing a more active role in imparting relevant industry knowledge and skills sets to both the students and staff of the school through training opportunities in its pastry, culinary and housekeeping departments.

In his address, General Manager Mark Winterton said: “Not only do we want to develop people internally, we also want to work with other organisations and be able to bring people in from all walks of life. So, it’s no surprise that the moment we were given the opportunity to bring the students into our ‘school’, we jumped at the chance to give them a new outlook at life and work.”

“The programme has been even more rewarding for us, when one of the seven students, Steven Jackson, recently joined us full-time as a Commis Cook in our pastry department. His enthusiasm to learn is very encouraging for all of us here, affirming the hotel’s belief to give people room to grow. Steven will be a great role model for his peers and we look forward to seeing a lot more joining our ranks full-time in the future,” he added.

Hotel with a Heart

Proving that swanky facades are not all there is to the hospitality sector, the newly refurbished Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre distinguishes itself as a ravishing beauty with a heart through its active engagement in corporate social responsibility.

Hot on the heels of a National Day celebration at the Metta PreSchool on 7 August, 38 of its staff conducted two community outreach programmes at the Metta Student Care Centres on 10 September and 20 October 2009.

Both visits saw the volunteers regaling close to 100 children with goodie bags and entertaining line-ups comprising icebreakers, games, quizzes and competitions. In appreciation of their ardent support, the Samaritans were presented with souvenirs and thank-you cards.

The hotel, formerly known as Holiday Inn Park View Singapore, recently underwent a $25 million facelift.

A member of the Enabling Employers Network that advocates the employment of persons with disabilities, it currently hires three graduates from the Metta School as full-time staff.

Automation in Action!

The ITE College East conducted a “Fun with Robotics” workshop for 11 students on 16 October 2009.

Each duo was given a LEGO NXT Robot and taught how to affix sensors to it before applying the user-friendly MINDSTORMS software to activate the automaton in terms of kinetics, trail following, sound and light detection.

With guidance from lecturers and class aides, the students had a whale of a time getting the robots move in a square, pause to the sound of a clap, detect light and darkness and march in a line. The kids even competed to be the first in activating their device.

Riveted by the session, the students enthused that “I would like to learn some more” and “I hope to save enough money to buy a robot”.
Metta Home Blood Donation Drive

In Singapore, at least 15 units of blood are needed every hourly to save lives.

To contribute to this life-saving cause, the Metta Home for the Disabled held its annual blood donation drive on 11 October 2009 together with Singapore Red Cross, Singapore Civil Defence Force, Fuchun Community Centre Management Committee and the Civil Defence Executive Committee and Grassroots Organisations from Marsiling.

For the first time, a booth was set up for members of the public who were interested in donating their bone marrow.

Accompanied by grassroots leaders, Guest-of-Honour Mr Hawazi Daipi, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Manpower & Ministry of Health, graced the blood drive at the Fuchun Community Club.

Drawing a total of 124 participants, the drive rounded up 95 eligible donors, surpassing last year’s crowd of 80.
To contribute to this life-saving cause, the Metta Home for the Disabled held its annual blood donation drive on 11 October 2009 together with Singapore Red Cross, Singapore Civil Defence Force, Fuchun Community Centre Management Committee and the Civil Defence Executive Committee and Grassroots Organisations from Marsiling.

Hearts and Crafts Resonate In General Insurance Day

The Metta School’s thriving arts curriculum and its students’ prodigious mastery of the arts moved the General Insurance Association of Singapore (GIA) into promoting their learning needs through its General Insurance Day.

Held at the Metta School on 3 October 2009, the celebration – themed “Hearts & Crafts at Metta School” – feted their talents through an aesthetic showcase of visual and performing arts.

A resplendent-looking and celestial-sounding gamelan reception put up by the students marked a promising start to the ceremony.

Addressing at the launch, President of GIA Mr Derek Teo thanked the guests for supporting the worthy cause, which aimed to foster greater understanding and acceptance towards children with learning disabilities.

Delivering his appreciation speech Mr Ee Tiang Hwee, Deputy Executive Director of Metta Welfare Association remarked that the collaboration was an inspiring platform for the students to demonstrate and take pride in their artistic expressions.

During the souvenir presentation, Guest-of-Honour Low Kwok Mun, Executive Director, Insurance Supervision Department, Monetary Authority of Singapore, received a batik panting from GIA, who was in turn presented with a pottery replica of its logo from Metta.

Both artworks were produced by the Metta Alumni.

Buoyed by exuberance and delight, the sprightly atmosphere was galvanised by Chinese orchestral, wushu and percussion performances by the students, a retro dance item from the QBE Insurance (International) Limited and a medley of campfire tunes ebulliently delivered by Executive Director of GIA, Mark Lim.

Strumming the tunes along with student guitarists, he and Metta School teacher Salamah Yusof sang the songs with gusto.

Inspired by the infectious camaraderie, Mr Low made an impromptu speech as the performances drew to a close, praising the students for their talents and the Metta School for being a very special place indeed.

The crowd then adjourned to a carnival where they tried their hands at calligraphy, batik painting, pottery and mosaic framing at individual arts booths manned by the students.

In line with the overall East Asian Insurance Congress (EAIC) General Insurance Day celebrations, the event attracted over 150 insurance practitioners from GIA member companies, most of whom contributed to brisk sales and orders of ready-made crafts produced by the Metta Alumni.

GIA even pledged a $10,000 donation to the Metta Welfare Association and distributed goodie bags containing stationery and sweets to 100 students.

What a Ride!

Over 150 Metta School students reached for the sky in the Singapore Flyer on 30 September 2009, courtesy of Prudential Insurance Company.

Organised by its staff volunteers and the school’s event committee in celebration of Children’s Day, the 30-minute lift-off filled the kids with anticipation and excitement, as it marked the maiden trip for many of them.

Following the ride, they were treated to snacks and bagged home fun packs filled with gifts jointly sponsored by Prudential, the school and their teachers.

Chai Chee Noodle Village Lends Support

In tandem with the launch of his new eatery at 382 East Coast Road on 19 September 2009, proprietor of Chai Chee Noodle Village, Patrick Tan donated $5,000 to Metta in support of its welfare initiatives.

Having witnessed the capabilities of its special needs students in various performing arts during a visit to the Metta School, Patrick attributed his cause of giving to the uplifting care that Metta provides to its beneficiaries.

At the opening ceremony of his joint, he presented a cheque donation to Metta’s Executive Director, Venerable Shi Pu En.

The veteran food operator famed for his delectable minced pork noodle is raring to making a comeback after an eight-month hiatus following a lease expiry of his former premises.

Diners who sorely missed its presence in the foodie stretch of East Coast can now relish its signature al dente noodles drizzled in deliciously spicy gravy that are topped with generous servings of ingredients (dried mushrooms, pig liver, fried wonton, lean meat, minced pork, dried cod, lettuce and fried shallots), and washing all of it down with a tasty bowl of soup for just the price of $3.80.

What’s more, with the eatery operating 24 hours daily, customers can satiate their palates anytime, taking their pick from its mouthwatering selection of abalone noodle, pork chop noodle, fried dumpling noodle, laksa, handmade fish cakes, vegetables in oyster sauce, dumpling soup, etc.

To Sir, with Love

It was a night of stirring moments, as teachers and support staff of the Metta School received a moving tribute at the inaugural Metta School Staff Nite.

Timely and befitting of Teachers’ Day, the thanksgiving dinner – held at the Marina Mandarin on 31 August 2009 – had staff and volunteers alike basking in a close-knit atmosphere. The evening began with teacher Salamah Yusof’s touching rendition of “A Moment in Time” in dedication to everyone.

In his speech, Executive Director of Metta Welfare Association, Venerable Shi Pu En said: “Education is the most precious gift to our children. It’s not just a matter of putting together the resources and people; it’s finding the dedication, the commitment, the team, setting the right goals for the school and motivating and inspiring our teachers and staff to give of their best, make it happen and change the lives of our students.”

“I commend you for your hard work and vision in making this invaluable platform for learning and sharing an uplifting reality. Today, the magnitude and success of the school’s arts programmes have planted it firmly on the teaching map.”

“Its pre-vocational training programmes have also gained considerable success and support from industry partners. In sports, our students have gone on to chart notable achievements.”

Stringing together great revelry and music with award presentations and games, the evening put a buoyant closure to a series of day celebrations led by the students, whom, apart from holding class parties and a flea market, created a heartwarming video clip in which they expressed their gratitude to their mentors.

Celebrity Chef Turns Guest Trainer

Seven first-year students from the Metta School-ITE Skills Certificate Programme in food preparation had the privilege of attending a culinary workshop initiated by Crowne Plaza Changi Airport and conducted by its Executive Chef Eric Neo on 21 August 2009.

The school, which became an ITE approved training centre in June 2008, has been actively working with industry partners to offer training and apprenticeship opportunities in food preparation, baking and housekeeping to its graduating students.

Despite initial jitters over the celebrity chef’s formidable persona as seen in the popular reality TV show Buzzing Cashier 2, the students warmed up to hearty portions of laughter, camaraderie and advice that peppered his cooking demonstrations.

“He looked very fierce on TV but he’s actually very nice,” said 17-year-old Terie Sim.

Together with his assistant Jacky Ngu, Eric taught the students how to prepare seafood fried rice and wok-fried beef fillet with ginger and spring onion.

Sampling the youths’ earnesty and aptitude through their fare, he commended: “They have a good grasp of the basics and deserve full marks for their learning attitude. I’m surprised that most of them can cook this well after just one demonstration. Coaching sessions like this are also a good training ground for my staff, as they can contribute to a meaningful cause.”

With 16 years of culinary and catering experience, Eric’s skills and expertise as both chef and leader have earned him extensive recognition in the industry. He is currently the Honorary Treasurer of the prestigious Singapore Chefs Association.

“I didn’t do well in my studies and quitted school to become a cook at the age of 16. I’m thankful for the learning opportunities that came along my way and I hope to provide the same for them,” shared the 31-year-old candidly.

Merriment with Holiday Inn Park View

What’s National Day without some merrymaking?

As part of their community outreach efforts, staff from the Holiday Inn Park View Singapore paved the celebratory mood for pupils with special needs at the Metta PreSchool on 16 July 2009 through an interactive arts session that had the kids trying their hands on stained glass painting and creating unique picture frames.

Kicking off a party on 7 August 2009 was another team who turned up with a magician-cum-balloon sculptor to regale the kids with fascinating tricks and balloon sculptures.

Besides teaching the children how to make their own flags, the volunteers feted the nation’s birthday with a huge cake and goodie bags for the preschoolers.

Keppel FELS – Metta Charity Golf Tournament

One of Metta’s flagship fundraisers, the tournament celebrated its 10th anniversary with Keppel FELS as title sponsor and a record turnout of 292 golfers on 17 July 2009 at the Raffles Country Club.

Cutting a distinguished figure among the crowd was Guest-of-Honour Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, along with special guests Dr Teo Ho Pin, Mayor of North West District and Dr Lim Wee Kiak, MP for Sembawang GRC.

In his speech, Keppel FELS’ General Manager for Projects, Mr Daniel Chang said, “Despite the less than favourable economy, it’s very encouraging to know that the slowdown has not dampened the spirit of giving. I would like to thank our business partners and all participants for making this event a successful reality.”

“Such a collaboration no doubt advances the true meaning of caring for the less privileged. I hope everyone will continue to lend their support, as Keppel continues to endorse such significant and worthwhile projects.”

The joyous occasion also marked Metta’s decade-long friendship with Keppel Corporation. Another highlight for the evening was a rousing auction that garnered over $10,000 worth of bids for the 15 artworks – ranging from batik paintings, potteries to mosaic frames – handcrafted by students and alumni from the Metta School.

Working up the atmosphere with his quips and punchlines at the auction was Mr Chandru Sirumal Rajwani, Keppel FELS’ General Manager (Quality Assurance, Vendor Quality Engineering & Commissioning), whose jocular sense elicited both fervid bids and raucous laughter from the floor.

Acknowledgements

  • 3M Technologies (S) Pte Ltd
  • Aerogaz (S) Pte Ltd
  • Chai Chee Noodle Village Pte Ltd
  • Champions Golf Academy
  • Cool Dynamics Pte Ltd
  • Crowne Plaza Changi Airport
  • Daikin Air Conditioning (Singapore) Ltd
  • Fitness First
  • Frances Beauty Clinic
  • Gan Teck Kar Investments Pte Ltd
  • Gardenia Foods (S) Pte Ltd
  • Golf Asia
  • Grand Hyatt Singapore
  • Kenko Holdings Pte Ltd
  • Keppel FELS Limited
  • LimWall Pte Ltd
  • Mercedes-Benz Singapore
  • NTUC FairPrice Foundation Ltd
  • NTUC Income Insurance Co-Operative Ltd
  • Ocean Healthcare (S) Pte Ltd
  • Paramount Hotel
  • Raffles Country Club
  • RSH (Singapore) Pte Ltd
  • Singapore Pools (Private) Limited
  • Singapore Totalisator Board
  • South East Community Development Council
  • Star Golf Academy
  • Super Bean International Pte Ltd
  • Super Coffeemix Manufacturing Ltd
  • Vincent Watch Pte Ltd
  • Chua Soo Kim
  • Eric Lim BAR
  • Susan Lim
  • Emily Neo
  • Stephen Poh
  • Tan Wee Kee
  • Eric Teoh
  • K K Teoh

We would like to thank all donors, sponsors, participants, and the management and staff of Raffles Country Club for their ardent support towards our cause and making this event a great success. We also take this opportunity to congratulate our committee member Mr Eric Lim BBM for being conferred the Public Service Star (BAR) by the President of the Republic of Singapore on the 44th National Day 2009.

 

117 Units Raised In Blood Drive

The Metta Medical Care organised a blood donation exercise with the Changi Simei Civil Defence Executive Committee and Singapore Red Cross at the Metta School Sports Hall on 12 July 2009.

Graced by Metta’s President Venerable Shi Fa Zhao, the seventh annual blood drive exceeded its 100 mark with 117 units collected.

The H1N1 outbreak did not deter a steady stream of donors from supporting the life-saving cause. A mini-bazaar was set up as a fringe highlight to satisfy the participants’ retail zest.

The crowd totalled 142 at curtain call, and counting among the eligible donors were Metta’s Medical Advisor Dr Wong Sin Yew and regular volunteers. The donors were given certificates, goodie bags, snacks and drinks in appreciation of their contributions.

 

Going the Extra Mile for Asian Youth Games

A rewarding volunteering stint at the Asian Youth Games left 29 students beaming with pride, eager to reprise their roles.

Proving to be a swift and efficient force, they assisted in catering logistics at the National Sailing Centre and Toa Payoh Sports Hall throughout the Games from 29 June to 7 July 2009.

Preparation for their duties started since March at the Temasek Polytechnic where they, along with other fellow volunteers, underwent training on service excellence and learnt about cultural diversity.

 

Batik Motifs by Special Needs Youths Make It to Asian Youth Games

The Metta Alumni made their mark with their consummate artistry as their batik renditions of the commemorative orchid “Dendrobium Asian Youth Games (AYG) Singapore 09″ were imprinted on 500 souvenir umbrellas created under the AYG memorabilia range. These dandy brollies were distributed to special guests at the AYG opening ceremony on 29 June 2009.

Click here to view our catalog.

Metta School Wushu Troupe Shines in TrueHearts

Billed as Community Chest’s (ComChest) biggest fundraising event with a difference, the TrueHearts charity show held on 7 June 2009 delivered many uplifting yet touching moments, as 20 of its special needs beneficiaries performed with finesse alongside local and foreign celebrities.

The gusto-filled opening item was proudly delivered by nine wushu members aged between 10 and 13 from the Metta School, together with MediaCorp artistes Zheng Ge Ping, Dai Yang Tian, Alan Tern and Joshua Ang.

A heartwarming excerpt of Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, chatting with lead performer Alex Soh was even featured as the prelude to their performance.

When asked what his greatest wish was, the cherubic 12-year-old who is the wushu leader, Head Prefect and a photography club member in school, cheekily requested two wishes instead of one – to be a pilot and a wushu instructor.

Last televised in 2004, TrueHearts returns this year to help the needy ride out the tough times. Set in the heartlands at the HDB Hub in Toa Payoh, the show gave viewers a first-hand experience of the beneficiaries’ talents and zest for living, in spite of their disabilities.

This heartwarming allure garnered an encouraging sum of $3.3 million, which would support 155 social service programmes, including those provided by the Metta School and Metta Day Activity Centre for the Intellectually Disabled.

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Metta Charity Walk cum Family Carnival

Close to 400 grassroots members, corporate associates and beneficiaries participated in the Metta Charity Walk on 7 June 2009 led by Guest-of-Honour Ms Jessica Tan, MP for East Coast GRC and Adviser to Changi Simei GRO.

The three-kilometre walk, which began from the flag off point at Metta School, saw the participants proceeding en masse towards the Singapore Expo Convention and Exhibition Centre before making their way back.

Meanwhile, the family carnival that was held in tandem proved to be another star attraction, as scores of visitors who were drawn by its omnibus of treats turned up bright and early at the Metta School to suss out fabulous bargains from over 80 retail and food stalls.

Novel games like dunking human targets, design-a-cake and photo-taking with cartoon mascots were clearly a hit with the kids.

A rousing treat for the school holidays, the carnival is one of our main outreach events that aim to promote family and community ties through an all-encompassing charitable theme.

Global Day of Giving

It was back to school for the 28 staff from XL Insurance and XL Re, who joined 80 students in a science camp at the Metta School on 3 June 2009.

Revisiting what they had formerly learnt, they guided juniors from each class in their assigned projects and experiments.

Their ebullience and the students’ winsome zest precipitated remarkable chemistry, charging up the atmosphere with spontaneity and exhilaration, as brisk interaction took place amid experiential learning.

Heightening the effervescence were games involving the testing of mini-parachutes and assembling of simple pyramids and toy puzzles.

The students were also seen tucking in happily to a buffet lunch served by the caring Samaritans, whose ardent participation rounded off the students’ three-day camp in school on a rousing but heartwarming note.

This corporate social responsibility (CSR) project was carried out in tandem with XL Capital Ltd’s Global Day of Giving, which is dedicated to supporting the communities in which XL companies operate.

In a manner befitting its title, the annual CSR initiative was performed concurrently via more than 100 charitable projects in various locations worldwide, spanning across cities like Zurich, London and New York.

Mr Andrew Vigar, Regional Manager Asia, XL Insurance – who sportingly serenaded the young crowd with his lilting rendition of Teresa Teng’s evergreen classic, “The Moon Represents My Heart” as the event drew to a close – comments: “Employees from the 28 countries where XL has operations come together to give community service under the banner of ‘What A Difference A Day Makes’.”

“In fact, a day makes no difference, unless it energises us all to give more and get our hands busy in the communities and countries where we do business, enabling us to become an integrated and engaged part of society.”

“We’ve had an amazing time today – the kids are so enthusiastic and giving to us all. They accepted our inadequacies and lack of experience as helpers with candidness and kindness. We’re sad to bid them farewell and even ask among ourselves when we could return to ‘help’ them again.”

Miss Ann Chua, General Manager Asia Pacific, XL Re, adds: “It’s indeed a very enjoyable and inspiring day for us all – one of the best Global Day of Giving activities we’ve had. The interaction was fantastic and we learned a lot ourselves – kudos to the kids!”

In appreciation of the XL Group’s involvement and sponsorship for the event, Metta’s Deputy Executive Director Ee Tiang Hwee presented a mosaic artwork handcrafted by the students to each of the two representatives.

NCSS Disability Network

Held twice yearly, the Disability Network organised by the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) aims to identify new service areas for development, improve existing programmes and enhance professionalism in the disability sector.

It provides a platform for service providers to come together to identify pertinent issues and potential collaborations within the sector towards better client outcomes.

Metta was honoured to be the venue partner for the 7th Disability Network held on 27 May 2009. 147 participants from the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS), NCSS, Singapore National Employers Federation and 30 voluntary welfare organisations attended the event in our multi-purpose hall.

The insightful session commenced under the melodious ringing of Metta School’s handbell troupe, followed by NCSS’ overview on the disability sector and a presentation by St Andrew’s Autism Centre on managing clients with challenging behaviour.

Announcements were also made on the MCYS/NCSS Supplementary Fund, the revised Open Door Fund and curriculum revisions to the National ITE Certificate (NITEC) in Social Services.

During intermission, the guests enjoyed a tea reception at Metta’s social enterprise arm, Happy Arts Vegetarian Café where they also got to browse through a compendious showcase of handicrafts made by the Metta Alumni.

Mane Benefits

15 students enjoyed free makeovers to their crowning glory, thanks to an initiative conducted under the ITE College East – Metta Community Partnership. This complimentary service was provided by trainees from the Hair Fashion & Design Course at the college on 18 May 2009.

Vesak Day Celebrations
The Metta Buddhist Culture Department was set up in the reviewed year to initiate and oversee religious programmes for our Buddhist patrons.

Regular activities included sutra chanting sessions, dharma classes, birthday blessing ceremonies and the taking of Eight Precepts.

Extending the scale of our annual Vesak Day celebrations – which lasted from 1 to 17 May 2009 – were inaugural highlights such as releasing live seafood into open waters and a charity dinner that garnered over $85,000 for the construction of the second Metta PreSchool in Punggol.

Held on 3 May 2009 in an elegantly embellished hall in the Metta Building, the dinner hosted 500 guests with an ambrosial vegetarian banquet and entertaining performances.

i-Care Presents Wildlife Magic

The wonders of nature and intriguing world of wildlife captivated some 54 Metta School pupils when they visited the zoo on 30 March 2009.

Courtesy of Singapore Pools’ i-Care team, the excursion doubled as a social competence outing with help from school teachers, parent volunteers and Singapore Pools’ ardent staff.

The prospect of viewing over 3,000 mammals, birds, reptiles and fishes had the kids brimming with zest and curiosity. Trekking along the landscaped pathway of the Rainforest Walk, they were visibly thrilled to see the majestic Bengal White Tigers amid the panorama of waterfalls and tropical flora.

Later at the Australian Outback, they cosied up with the world’s second largest marsupial – the grey kangaroos, and strolled alongside wallabies in the naturalistic habitat.

Over at the Elephants of Asia exhibit, the show “Elephants at Work and Play” gave them a rare peek into a typical elephant logging camp, enacting how these intelligent giants work with their mahouts to transport logs from the forest and through rugged terrain.

The last stop at the Rainforest Kidzworld saw many of them zipping from one end to another via flying foxes at its Rainforest Challenge. i-Care member Steven Teo enthused, “It makes your day when you hear their laughter and see the joy on their faces!”

An extravaganza of fun for children and adults alike, the trip provided an exceptional wildlife experience for all, thanks to the Singapore Pools!

Earth Hour @ Esplanade Park

In an apt tribute to environmental causes, the Metta School’s Stomp Warriors ignited rhythmic mayhem using bins and recycled plastic cylinders as their instruments during their debut performance at the Earth Hour 2009 Singapore on 28 March 2009.

The event, organised by the World Wide Fund for Nature at the Esplanade Park, attracted more than 2,000 people. Delivering a pulsating routine that rocked the audience, their hard work was met with overwhelming applause. Rock on, warriors!

Ready, Get Set, Go!

An ebullient force of 60 volunteers from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) brought hours of riveting fun to over 160 students, steering the Metta School’s annual Sports & Games Day on 13 March 2009 to a rousing success.

Boisterous excitement and exhilaration unfolded via a series of competitive games. Aptly coined as “Metta Challenge”, the first half comprised station games that required students, teachers and LTA volunteers – who were randomly grouped into houses of different colours – to conquer five station games within the shortest time. The top three teams were rewarded with sporting equipment for their outstanding agility.

Providing a much welcomed intermission from the action flurry was a delectable tea buffet served during recess, as both the pupils and LTA volunteers tucked in happily amid warm interaction.

After the treat, the kids quickly returned to their classrooms and got down to creating a ‘Metta Sports Mascot’ with help from the volunteers.

The ‘Mascot Dress-Up Competition’ resulted in a vibrant display of creations in the school hall, awaiting the judges’ deliberation. The top three characters each won food hampers for their jubilant inventors.

In reciprocation of LTA’s ardent participation and sponsorship for the event, Principal Yong Soo Cheng presented a batik painting to Michael Seow, Director for IT Infrastructure Planning & Services.

Metta School Hosts Thai Delegates

From the land of smiles, a 17-member delegation comprising senior officials and representatives from Thailand’s Ministry of Education, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Budget Bureau and Chitralada School in Bangkok paid a visit to Metta School on 19 February 2009.

The purpose of their trip was to learn more about Singapore’s experience in special education, so as to implement approaches and settings ideal for children with autism in Thailand.

The wide-ranging facilities in Metta School presented the foreign guests with a variety of entry points to experience its vibrant culture and holistic curriculum.

The brief but comprehensive tour succinctly outlined its holistic focus on functional academics, life skills training, as well as arts and sports cultivation.

Not only were they delighted by the students’ sprightly greetings of “Sawatdee Khrab”, they also heaped praises on the robust performances by the Chinese orchestra troupe, particularly its lilting rendition of the signature Thai folk song “Loy Krathong”!

“I’ve heard many good things about Metta School and I feel very happy to be here. It’s very inspiring and I would like to implement some of what I see here after I’m back (in Thailand). The children here look so happy and it’s impressive that they can play the song (Loy Krathong) after learning it for two days!” summed up Khunying Kasama, Secretary-General from the Office of the Basic Education Commission at the end of the tour.

Adding to her compliments was Mr Charivat Santaputra, Deputy Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “This place is full of hope – from the way people work with their hearts to help these children in a special way.”

The Metta School would like to thank all delegates for their kind interest in its special needs curriculum and pedagogy. It also extends its appreciation to the Royal Thai Embassy for arranging this visit and facilitating its hosting of 25 teachers from the Piboonprachasan School (Bangkok) on 16 February 2009.

Trafigura Partners Metta School

The Singapore office of international commodities trader Trafigura will be partnering with the Metta School to provide assistance to underprivileged students.

A 12-member team from Trafigura visited the school on 9 February 2009 to identify suitable projects that meet the students’ needs.

The team was greeted with the colourful sights of batik, pottery and mosaic artworks, as well as the melodious sounds of angklung and gamelan – ethnic orchestras for which the school is known for. The visitors commented that they were impressed with the school’s comprehensive facilities and pre-vocational training programmes.

Stephanie Stavrinides, Chairperson of Trafigura Singapore’s Charity Committee said, “Our visit sealed our belief that the Metta School is an institution of excellence for both its students and the community.”

“The school is loyal to its mission of fostering grounded practices in education, integration and welfare. We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to take part in and contribute to the Metta Charity Walk cum Family Carnival in June.”

In response to Trafigura’s involvement, Metta’s Deputy Executive Director, Ee Tiang Hwee, said, “Corporate partners like Trafigura help ensure continued support for our beneficiaries, while spreading the conviction that helping others remains a priority in both good and bad times.”

Happy Gongxi Birthday!

Close to 200 elderly beneficiaries from Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre for the Elderly (MDRC) and seven other welfare organisations attended the Lunar New Year luncheon jointly organised by the North East CDC and MDRC on 1 February 2009.

A befitting celebration for all, it coincided with ren ri – the seventh day of the festival, which according to Chinese tradition, represents everyone’s birthday.

Graced by Mr Zainul Abidin Rasheed, Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Mayor of North East CDC, the heartwarming ‘reunion’ saw the silver-haired participants enjoying a sumptuous spread of yu sheng and lunch, while revelling in a multi-ethnic variety show featuring up-and-coming Chinese artistes and a sprightly God of Fortune.

Festive joy filled the air as they received red packets and goodie bags, courtesy of the North East CDC and Darul Ghufran Mosque.

The celebration, which aimed to promote community bonds and help underprivileged seniors experience quality of life, marked an extension of MDRC’s role in eldercare with support from the CDC and Tampines Changkat RC Zone 4.

Talk about one good turn begetting another, the MDRC was among the 32 recipients who received a total of 100 wheelchairs donated by the Ismaili Council of Singapore.

Presented by the Mayor, the gift was a timely gesture under the prevailing climate, “reflecting a strong spirit of giving, compassion and empathy”, noted Metta’s Deputy Executive Director Ee Tiang Hwee.

Complimenting the event for fostering racial harmony in his speech after touring the MDRC, the Mayor said, “It is commendable to see that religious organisations from different faiths are able to work closely together to help the community.”

Chinese New Year Lou Hei Buffet Luncheon

Held in appreciation of our patrons’ ardent support, the luncheon that was held on 30 January 2009 at the Metta Building began with a blessing ceremony presided by Metta’s Executive Director, Venerable Shi Pu En to usher auspicious tidings and a prosperous year for everyone.

Heightening the festive mood was a felicitous line-up of treats that followed – wushu performances by Metta School students, tantalising heaps of vegetarian raw fish tossed amid exuberant cheers and a delectable buffet spread.

Metta School Turns Study Model