What a Beary, Merry Christmas!
Yuletide joy comes alive in the form of a stunning, four-metre tall Christmas tree impeccably lined with rows of cuddly toys!
Lovingly assembled by its staff and displayed in its lobby, these novelties formed part of the whopping 3,578 soft toys collected by Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre via its hugely successful “Teddy Bear and Stuffed Toys Round Up Drive” held between 1 and 21 December 2008.Surpassing its target of 1,000 pieces, this marked Suntec’s first-ever charity drive to collect used soft toys from its staff and the public to spread festive cheer to special needs children from the Metta PreSchool.
“The initiative is part of our ongoing commitment to sustainable development and building goodwill in the community. We have an active CSR (corporate social responsibility) programme that supports various causes and we understand the importance of giving back to our community. We are heartened that many members of the public have joined us in this worthy cause,” said Ms Anjna Nihalani, Director of Marketing and Communications at Suntec Singapore.
Fete for Volunteers
In a resounding display of solidarity, an impressive collage of volunteers hailing from various age groups and races highlighted the significance of Metta Volunteers’ Nite for the fifth year running.
In recognition of our selfless Samaritans and the International Volunteer Day that falls on 5 December, the multi-racial themed celebration held on 29 November 2008 saw the 200-strong turnout revelling in festivities marked by line dance, singing and musical performances, table games, as well as sumptuous platters of fruits and vegetarian delights.
Silver-haired participants, in particular, basked in nostalgia as Chinese orchestral instructor Zhang Bo played two of Lisa Wang’s evergreen hits on his erhu – “Love Travels A Thousand Miles” (Wan Shui Qian Shan Zong Shi Qing) and the theme song of Hong Kong drama “Yesterday’s Glitter” (Jing Hua Yan Yun) before rounding off with “The Mysterious Lady” popularised by actress-singer Ye Fong in 1960.
Applause echoed in the hall when Mdm Jessie Mok and Mdm Tan Ya Zhu were presented with the Metta Volunteer Award.
The petite but sprightly 64-year-old Mdm Tan had been an active figure in Metta’s fundraising events, whereas Jessie, 55, was a volunteer with the Metta Hospice Care.
As the event drew to a close, 62-year-old fellow volunteer Andrew Han enthused, “It’s very encouraging to see such a good turnout despite the current times. This world is not complete, and all the more we must contribute in all ways big and small.”
Metta Shine Night
Into its sixth anniversary, this extravaganza held on 15 November 2008 at the ITE College East saw close to 100 beneficiaries emanating verve from within to deliver uplifting dance performances to their audience.
Showcasing a medley of drama, choir, wushu, handbell and percussion, the finale was an eclectic musical enacting the vivid reminiscences of three Metta School alumni, whom, together with their peers, overcame their learning disabilities to excel in these performing arts.
Teen performers from the ITE College East also added splendour to the overall line-up, as fellow schoolmates and other staff members rendered logistical and backstage support.
Community Service Activities with ITE College East
As part of its “Care for the Community” Scheme, the ITE College East (ITE CE) held a series of enrichment workshops for special needs pupils from Metta School in the last semester of 2008:
Basic HTML Course
A two-day workshop on creating and updating basic HTML documents was conducted for 20 pupils on 15 and 22 August 2008.
Thanks to the friendly and patient lecturers and students from the ITE CE School of Electronics and Info-Comm Technology, the pupils were well at ease in the relaxed and hospitable atmosphere, while trying their hands at laying out web pages and incorporating images and links.
They were visibly thrilled to pick up skills and tips on producing and maintaining web pages from their mentors, who went the extra mile to facilitate small group learning and provide lots of chocolates for them during breaks!
Electrical Services Workshop
Following positive feedback from pupils and teachers who formerly attended ITE CE’s air-con servicing course, the workshop was re-introduced by lecturer Mr Goh Ah Soon and his colleagues on 24 and 31 October 2008 within the Metta School.
Six pupils from Class C4-2 were taught how to maintain a split unit air-con, as they familiarised themselves with various parts of the unit and cleaning the filters.
Also held concurrently was a two-day workshop at the ITE CE, in which six pupils from Class C4-1 learnt how to wire a network cable and connect it to laptops and internet access points. At the end of the activity, the network cables were donated to the Metta School for use in its computer labs.
Fun with Solar and Magnetic Energy
Days later, six students from Class C3-1 were exposed to the principles of photovoltaic technology and magnetism by learning how to make their own magnets and activating a mini-solar car through hands-on exercises held on 7 and 14 November 2008.
Our pupils, Muhd Danish Roslan and Abdul Mu’Izzudin Lud, made a giant leap towards sporting excellence in the Novice Bowling Challenge (Secondary Level) organised by the Singapore Bowling Federation.
The competition, held on 25 October and 1 November 2008, provided a platform for novice enthusiasts from mainstream secondary schools to display their sports capabilities and compete among the best in their age group.
Despite their special needs, our boys did not break under pressure but fought with gusto!
Breaking his personal best record with a pinfall of 219, Abdul Mu’Izzudin clinched the 34th spot among 75 bowlers in the Lower Secondary Boys’ Division, whereas fellow member Muhd Danish ranked 54.
Both bowlers received awards for their outstanding bowling performance from Metta’s President, Venerable Shi Fa Zhao during the Graduation and Prize-Giving Ceremony on 13 November 2008.
Hot on the heels of their inspiring results was Team Metta’s victorious crop of medals at the Special Olympics Singapore Bowling Competition held on 8 November 2008. The annual tournament saw two teams, each comprising four bowlers, scoring a coup in the following categories. Well done, boys and girls!
- Silver medal: Metta Team B (Captain Nurul Syafiqah Sanib and members Munira Shaprin, Mastura Shaprin and Sabarina Zaini)
- Bronze medal: Metta Team A (Captain Jovi Tan and members Peh Shi Ting, Syabillilah Azzulfiqqar and Abdul Mu’Izzudin)
- Gold: Peh Shi Ting
- Silver: Syabillilah Azzulfiqqar and Munira Shaprin
- Bronze: Jovi Tan, Abdul Mu’Izzudin, Nurul Syafiqah Sanib and Sabarina Zaini
- Fourth: Mastura Shaprin
Eunos-Metta Charity Banquet Raises Education Funds For Needy Students
Our Children, Our Future. That was the theme of the charity banquet held jointly by the Eunos Citizens’ Consultative Committee (CCC) and Metta.
Aimed at helping needy students from the Eunos constituency and pupils aged three to six with special needs from the Metta PreSchool, the event drew close to 600 philanthropic guests who converged at Swissotel, The Stamford on 11 October 2008 for the good cause.
In his welcome address, Metta’s President Venerable Shi Fa Zhao said: “Metta has been holding its annual charity banquet in partnership with various grassroots organisations. Sharing the common mission of caring for the community, we are able to attain greater synergy in eliciting awareness and support for our welfare and social initiatives through such collaborations.”
Highlighting the importance of early intervention programmes, he appealed for contributions towards the building of the second Metta PreSchool in Punggol.
He also noted that its sister centre, the Metta School, had nurtured a number of responsible and job-ready youths, among whom two were employed by a renowned hotel.
This was made possible by its team of dedicated teachers and well-wishers who concertedly created a conducive learning environment for its students.
In his speech, Guest-of-Honour Mr Zainul Abidin Rasheed, Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Mayor for Northeast CDC commended on the exemplary support demonstrated by guests from various races and religions before presenting top donors – SMJ Furnishings, Ngai Heng Book Binder, Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple, Tai San Import and Export, Alcotec Precision Engineering and Kaki Bukit Developments – with potteries crafted by Metta School students.
At curtain call, the event garnered $200,000 for the Eunos CCC Community Development and Welfare Fund as well as Metta Education Endowment Fund.
Special Treats For Special Needs
Homegrown enterprise and winner of Singapore Quality Class, Alcotec Precision Engineering engaged in community outreach for three Metta centres that care for beneficiaries with intellectual disability and autism.
Named “Alcotec Community Day”, the three-day initiative held across August to October 2008 reflected its deep-seated culture of social responsibility, as groups of 10 to 15 staff took time from their work to deliver immense warmth and joy to more than 100 recipients.
The first stop at Metta School on 15 August 2008 saw the staff volunteers dipping their hands into malleable clay, as they learnt the fundamentals of pottery making from its students.
The interactive session saw them crafting zest and patience into attractive artworks that collectively took shape under combined efforts from both parties.
Impressed by how the art had benefitted the children in their personal development, Managing Director Mr Colin Kua donated two clay-making devices to the school to help boost the students’ pursuit of their aesthetic talent.
“It’s important to us to return the favour in this meaningful way. We’re committed to supporting welfare endeavours and we take this opportunity to extend our good wishes to the underprivileged,” says Managing Director Colin Kua.
Not forgetting the adorable kids at the Metta PreSchool, the company celebrated Children’s Day with them on 29 September 2008 through an interesting line-up of games and songs.
The last leg of the event was held at the Metta Day Activity Centre for the Intellectually Disabled on 24 October 2008, where staff volunteers devised a mini telematch comprising relay games the likes of three-legged race and passing on of water-filled balloons and receptacles – all of which elicited the beneficiaries’ spirited participation.
The company even extended its kind gesture by providing vegetarian buffets and distributing goodie bags and souvenirs to the recipients in all three occasions.
LTA Delivers Cheer
Making Children’s Day celebration on 3 October 2008 an exhilarating ride for our pupils were volunteers from the Land Transport Authority (LTA), who joined the School Event Committee to deliver a day’s worth of treats.
A concert stringing cross-talk, singing, modern dancing, handbell and band performances performed by teachers and fellow pupils paved for greater anticipation and excitement, as multiple games and activities awaited the children in the sports hall.
Following a sumptuous treat of McDonald’s Happy Meal sponsored by the LTA, the kids divided themselves into groups to compete in friendly matches devised by the volunteers.
They also regaled in henna painting, sticker tattoos and balloon sculptures at stalls set up by the Samaritans. Beaming with elation, the pupils bagged home prizes, tokens and wonderful memories of the event.
BOWLinks Charity Bowl
The Singapore Bowling Association (SBA) organised a charity bowl on 30 August 2008 at the National Service Resort and Country Club to raise funds for its BOWLinks programme – an initiative that was mooted to help people with disabilities learn and enjoy bowling as a sport.
Hip Hop, Anyone?
Led by a group of student volunteers from ITE College East, some 20 students from Classes C1 to C3 of the Metta School had been practising hard on their hip-hop moves since 11 July 2008.
Lasting one and a half hours per session, their training was conducted over four consecutive Fridays.
Although it proved challenging to some initially, they remain undeterred.
By the end of the first lesson, most, if not all, were able to follow the first set of routine, dancing niftily to the fast tempo of Madonna and Justin Timberlake’s “4 Minutes”.
Their morale peaked, as they rejoiced over their accomplishment, clapping earnestly to encourage each other.
Boosted by their keen interest and strong perseverance, they learnt to master more steps and routines in the following lessons.
Folk Art Workshop
Student and staff volunteers from the ITE College East conducted a folk art workshop at the Metta School on 4 July 2008.
Though anxious at first, the younger pupils warmed up to the volunteers after a fun-filled introduction, which proved to be a befitting prelude to the excitement that ensued, as the pupils attempted to craft traditional keychains by rendering colour paints to small wooden pieces under the volunteers’ guidance.
Definitely an interesting and creative experience for them, there was hardly any room for boredom as their happy faces revealed tremendous enjoyment of the workshop.
Keppel Offshore & Marine – Metta Charity Golf 2008 Held in Conjunction with “Raffles Charity Open 2008″
It was a breakthrough victory for Metta, as its charity golf tournament – well into its ninth year – surpassed former milestones with its inaugural but stellar partnership with Raffles Country Club (RCC) and industrial heavyweight Keppel Offshore & Marine Limited (Keppel O&M).
Backed by such philanthropic might, the collaboration signalled a strong endorsement for Metta and its Organising Committee, as record figures were charted in all aspects ranging from event scale to golfers’ turnout to the sum raised.
Playing the central role in this mega tie-up was RCC, whom, in celebration of its 20th anniversary, appointed Metta as the exclusive partner and beneficiary for its Raffles Charity Open.
Pooling their resources and network of players, both parties resolved to garner $500,000 whereby part of the proceeds would be allocated by RCC as bursaries and scholarships to needy children from primary and secondary schools in the Jurong GRC.
Held in tandem was Metta’s flagship tournament, which roped in Keppel O&M as its title sponsor. The alliance with Keppel O&M attracted a record total of 204 players to tee off the charitable cause at the titular event, “Keppel Offshore & Marine – Metta Charity Golf” on 2 July 2008 at both the Palm and Lake Courses in RCC. Cutting a distinguished figure amongst them was Guest-of-Honour Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister for Finance.
The competition unfolded under cloudy skies, keeping the sun and sweltering heat at bay to pave a great game for all, who were later treated to an entertaining dinner at the RCC Ballroom.
Other than the angklung performances delivered by Metta School students, the highlight of the evening’s proceedings was the Minister’s lilting rendition of Teresa Teng’s evergreen classic, “The Moon Represents My Heart” in Mandarin.
Serenading the golfers for a good cause, his superb vocals garnered a generous bid of $5,000 from Mr Choo Chiau Beng, Chairman & CEO of Keppel O&M. As a mark of appreciation, Chairman of Metta Golf Sub-Committee Mr K K Teoh presented a batik painting produced by a Metta School alumnus to Minister Tharman.
Rounding off the wonderful times, everyone was rewarded with a lucky draw prize for their sporting zest; although it was the most skilful ones who got to bag home, as well, exquisite potteries crafted by renowned potter Mr Chua Soo Kim.
“I would like to thank everybody for letting us be a part of these events. We are very glad to be able to help Metta since Year 2000 through various activities very much endorse what Metta has been doing and we are happy to be a partner of both Metta and the Raffles Country Club.”
- Mr Choo Chiau Beng, Chairman and CEO of Keppel Offshore & Marine
Raising Blood Stocks
More than 250 blood donors are required daily to meet our nation’s blood transfusion needs.
However, the supply trickles during semestral holidays, as families travel overseas and schools suspend their blood donation campaigns.
In a bid to invigorate the nation’s blood stocks during this period, the Metta Medical Care organised a blood donation exercise jointly with the Changi Simei Civil Defence Executive Committee and Singapore Red Cross on 22 June 2008 at the Metta Building.
Graced by Ms Jessica Tan, MP for East Coast GRC and Adviser to Changi Simei GRO, the drive – well into its sixth year – featured fringe attractions to engage donors and the community in the race to save lives.
This successfully drew 109 participants, among whom 86 were eligible donors.
Amidst her interaction with the lifesavers, Ms Jessica Tan thanked them for their support towards the worthy cause.
In appreciation of their contributions, they were presented with certificates, goodie bags, snacks and drinks.
On the other hand, free eye screenings were provided for senior citizens, courtesy of the Lions Club of Singapore, while California summer fruits the likes of peaches, plums and nectarines sponsored by Lieu Marketing Associates Pte Ltd were distributed to everyone.
In addition, the elderly guests present were treated to a vegetarian lunch and enjoyed lilting karaoke performances by veteran performer, Mr Max Ong.
The event also generated awareness for the services available at the Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre for the Elderly, as its comprehensive range of complementary therapies and activities like massage, craniosacral therapy, yoga as well as arts and crafts programmes was showcased via live demonstrations.
Social Enterprise In Action
50 students and seven staff from the ITE College East (ITE CE), Metta and NorthLight Schools conducted a social enterprise and community service project in Nong Vieng Kham School in Dong Dok, Laos, from 11 to 21 June 2008.
The project, known as Connect.Laos: Social Enterprise in Action, aimed to raise funds to build and improve the primary school.
To chalk up the funds, students from the three institutions ran small business stalls and conducted mobile sales in their campuses during weekdays, and in VivoCity during weekends prior the trip.
During their stay in the village, they were involved in classroom extension works and spruced up the interior premises. They also took time to visit a local university and the Singapore Embassy.
Commenting on this inaugural tripartite collaboration, Dr Ricky Tam, Principal of ITE CE said, “We are pleased to collaborate with NorthLight and Metta Schools in this overseas project. ITE’s experience from the previous social entrepreneurship project in Laos will be shared with the school participants.”
“It will be a learning journey for student participants as they reach out to the world, to give to those who are less fortunate. I hope that the exposure and interaction in Laos will nurture them to be even more caring individuals who will bring greater good to humanity.”
Indeed, the students became more aware and concerned about the people and happenings around them following their trip.
Metta School student Chan Jia Wei commented: “At the village, water had to be rationed on a daily basis and food was not taken for granted. I realise how lucky I am to be in a well-equipped school. Now, I make sure I take care of the school property and do not waste water and food.”
“I’ll never forget my experience in Laos and my friendship between students from the other two schools and the villagers.”
The Amazing Trail
What better way is there to chase the blues off school holidays coming to a halt than embarking on an adventurous trail in Sentosa?
At the invitation of staff and students from the ITE College East, 16 pupils and two teachers from the Metta School left their footprints in an amazing trail in Sentosa on 20 June 2008.
The day began with a breakfast treat of burgers and drinks, following which the group was divided into five teams.
Icebreaker activities were held to induce fun and familiarity within the teams before they set off in search of different locations based on the clues they were given.
To complete the quest, they had to perform a designated task upon arriving at the destination.
And so their journey began, travelling from one stop to another by bus, tram or foot. Everyone had loads of fun, especially when crossing a suspension bridge, where some students shrieked for help as their playful counterparts wobbled the bridge.
By half past three, all of them gathered at the Siloso Beach to take a breather before calling it a day.
Despite feeling tired and warm under the hot weather, they had a field day enjoying each other’s company.
A Spectacular Omnibus of Treats
Coinciding with the school holidays, the Metta Charity Walk cum Family Carnival is Metta flagship outreach event targeted at building resiliency in families and promoting harmony in the heartlands.
Drawn by its charitable theme and omnibus of treats, a steady stream of visitors from neighbouring locales began pouring into the Metta School/Metta Building on the fine Sunday morning of 8 June 2008, culminating into a 4,000-strong crowd by mid-day.
Deserving mention was the Metta Charity Walk that had 350 grassroots members, corporate participants, residents and senior citizens turning up in favour of a healthy lifestyle and the greater significance of journeying with the less fortunate in a 3.2-kilometre walk.
Leading the walk was Guest-of-Honour Ms Jessica Tan, MP for East Coast GRC and Adviser to Changi Simei GRO.
En route, they stopped for a meaningful sojourn at the Simei Park Connector where Ms Jessica Tan, at the invitation of the National Parks Board, officiated its launch as part of the Eastern Coastal Park Connector Network.
A tree-planting cum plaque installation ceremony preceded the viewing of mosaic artworks, batik paintings and pottery ware on display, which were crafted by special needs students from the Metta School.
After completing the walk, Ms Jessica Tan presided over the opening of the carnival. In her speech, she commented: (Metta) become a very fond icon in Changi-Simei. We’re very proud of the work that you do, and we’re very proud to be associated with you!”
Meanwhile, excitement teemed at the carnival ground as visitors indulged in shopping and gastronomic sprees at over 80 trade and food stalls, while enjoying lively entertainment, health checks conducted by the Singapore Anti-tuberculosis Association, and novel therapies such as colourpuncture, crystal therapy, induction therapy and reiki brought in by i-Shine, a staff community team from the Singapore Pools.
However, it was retail therapy that ruled the roost as savoury finds the likes of Holiday Inn Park View Singapore’s durian confections, Kway Guan Huat’s renowned popiah, fresh organic fruit juices, homemade treats like Penang laksa and vegetarian gyoza, as well as mini potted plants and fashionable footwear that were going for a song at $3, drove shoppers into overdrive!
Providing the perfect avenue for fun seekers to relive the exuberance of massive funfairs while doing their bit for charity, the carnival was poised to raise $150,000 for Metta medical, disability, community, early intervention and special education programmes in aid of more than 900 needy beneficiaries from various races and religions.
Vesak Day Highlights
Over 300 devotees congregated in Metta’s elegantly embellished multi-purpose hall on the night of 10 May 2008 to partake in a series of Vesak Day celebrations feting the birth, enlightenment and nirvana of Lord Buddha.
Standing out as a magnificent feature and shimmering with resplendence was a scintillating centrepiece comprising a gilded Buddha statue surrounded by oil lamps and lotus lamps, which were arranged into a formation that portrayed the Dharmachakra (otherwise known as “Wheel of Dharma”).
Leading to the centrepiece were seven larger lotus lamps laid out on the ground, signifying the first seven steps that Lord Buddha took upon his birth.
Under the regal backdrop, a blessing ceremony presided by three venerables from Metta commenced with the chanting of prayers and singing of hymns, followed by a candle-light procession within the Metta Building.
The following morning saw 150 devotees turning up for a prayer session, during which they offered incense and engaged in a ritual for the bathing of the Buddha.
Upholding the spirit of compassion, all donations received during the two-day celebrations were channelled towards relief aid for the victims of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar.
Metta takes this opportunity to thank all 42 volunteers from its Buddhist Services Group and members of its Buddhist Percussionist Group for steering the two events to success.
Singapore Island Country Club May Day Charity Open
Dedicated to doing its part for the less fortunate since 1972, the May Day Charity Open is an annual signature event of the Singapore Island Country Club (SICC).
Devoting all of its golf courses – Bukit, Sime, New and Island – to this worthy cause, the tournament raised over $799,000 for 17 charities, including Metta.
His Excellency, President S R Nathan, who was SICC’s Patron for the eighth consecutive year, presented a donation sum of $40,000 to Metta’s 1st Vice President Mr Victor Woo on 1 May 2008.
Integrating Total Education
Inked in September 2006, the ITE College East (ITE CE)-Metta Welfare Association “Care for the Community” Scheme officially ended on a successful note in March 2008.
The alliance – which established a meaningful platform for staff and students from both sides to be actively engaged in social and community projects – saw a total of 22 activities that centred on technical and social development skills, personal enrichment and grooming being conducted during the term.
To sustain this flame of goodwill, both parties penned an agreement on 4 April 2008 to prolong their partnership till March 2010.
A strong endorsement of the mutual support between ITE CE and Metta, the collaboration takes on added significance under the leadership of the college’s newly appointed Principal, Dr Ricky Tam.
The Metta School will share with ITE CE staff on the educational development and management of students with special needs, whereas the ITE CE will leverage on the technical expertise of its staff and student cohort to implement appropriate programmes and activities for the school.
In addition to having the college co-host the annual Metta Shine Night, another collaborative highlight is the participation of several Metta School pupils in ITE CE’s community project in Laos slated for June 2008.
ITE CE will also contribute towards elderly care at the Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre for the Elderly and Metta Hospice Care.
Enchantment Under The Sea
Sharks, stingrays and giant groupers make strange bedfellows but slumbering and snoozing with these ocean dwellers is no doubt an enchanting treat for the Metta School students.
Paving this breathtaking experience was the “Living in the Ocean Sleepover Program” conducted by the Underwater World Singapore, which instilled awe and rapture in a total of 62 pupils, 18 teachers and volunteers, who partook in a holiday camp at Sentosa from 11 to 13 March 2008.
Well-equipped with pyjamas, warm clothing and even pillows, they received sleeping bags and laid them along the tunnel after the oceanarium closed at 9 pm.
Special arrangements were made for the lights to go off only at midnight, as many were still reeling from the excitement and grandeur of the vibrant musical “Songs of the Sea”, which was filled with pyrotechnics, psychedelic lasers, fire effects and water jets.
Some even had to resort to counting ‘fish’ to induce sleep – a surefire way considering that the oceanarium had 2,500 marine flora and fauna on display!
The following day started with an educational talk on dolphins before they caught the Dolphin Show at the Dolphin Lagoon.
Despite the ensuing rain, they queued up patiently to snuggle up to the pink dolphins and had their photos taken.
Here’s a hearty ‘Thank You’ to all of you who have made this camp possible!
Welcome To My World
In its inaugural collaboration with NUS Centre For The Arts, Very Special Arts Singapore staged the titular concert that showcased the talents, creativity and drive of performers with disabilities.
Held as part of the NUS Arts Festival at the University Cultural Centre on 8 March 2008, the concert – boasting a stellar line-up of consummate artistes with disabilities – was a vivacious gateway to their world of virtuosity.
Among them was Metta School’s 28-strong Chinese Orchestra who projected a mellifluous ambient canvas with their stirring tunes.
Others included the MINDS Taiko Drum Troupe, APSN Chaoyang School hip-hop group GROOVYZ and hearing-impaired artistes Azariah Tan and Lily Goh, who delivered solo performances on the piano and marimba respectively.
Guest-of-Honour Mdm Ho Ching, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Temasek Holdings lauded, “As they showcase their talents and abilities, these artistes with disabilities share with us their courage and resilience, their loves and joys, through the magic of the performing stage… All share in the hours of tireless practice and the inevitable periods of quiet reflection as they strive to perfect their arts, and transform their feelings, senses and experience into music and dance performances.”
Bidding farewell can be an inspiring affair, especially when it is tied to a welfare cause.
In a charity golf tournament mooted by a close-knit alliance of Hewlett-Packard’s resellers held in honour of Mr Cheah Chow Seng, retiring Vice President of HP’s Worldwide Manufacturing Imaging & Printing Group, the farewell gesture attracted 118 big-hearted golfers who converged at the Seletar Country Club on 7 March 2008 to tee off the philanthropic goal.
Serenading them during dinner was Metta School’s Chinese Orchestra. At curtain call, a total of $153,000 was raised in aid of the Metta Hospice Care.
Sports In Action
The annual Metta School Sports and Games Day on 7 March 2008 got off to an adrenalin-pumping start, as unrivalled buoyancy hung thick in the air with students raring to pit their athletic skills against their peers.
The excitement teemed upon the much-anticipated arrival of 19 staff volunteers from Great Eastern Life (GEL) whose distribution of goodie bags containing energy-boosting snacks like raisins, cereal packs, chocolates and mixed nuts, was a delectable precursor to the flurry of activities and treats that followed.
First in line were relay matches comprising sprints coupled with various challenges – running with sports balls in utensils like spoons and pans, rolling tyres, tunnel crawl and swivel chair race.
Taking turns to participate in the games with their recipients, the GEL volunteers were visibly thrilled to relive their childhood fun, cheering loudly for the former alongside elated teachers who were gratified to see these students, including those under the autism programmes, warming up to the boisterous cacophony.
A physically challenging tug-of-war was clearly the highlight in the latter half of the event. A number of GEL volunteers sportingly lent a hand to the young contestants who were pulling both ends of the rope with all their might.
Meanwhile, senior students formed teams to take a shot at scoring goals in a modified soccer match.
It was a field day for everyone indeed as gold trophies were presented to members of the winning teams, whereas remaining contenders received silver trophies for their sportsmanship.
In reciprocation of GEL’s ardent participation and $5,000 sponsorship for the event, a mosaic artwork was presented to Mr Jimmy Tan, Head of Human Capital Development.
Unions Unite For A Caring Cause
Enamoured by past performances delivered by the Metta School Chinese Orchestra and angklung troupes, Keppel Offshore & Marine was moved into spreading festive cheer to the entire student cohort with its commemorative timepieces.
Facilitated by the Keppel Offshore and Marine Group Human Resource Department, the gift-sharing attempt saw 13 representatives from the Keppel Employees Union, Keppel FELS Employees Union (KFEU) and Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Employees’ Union making their maiden visit to the Metta School on 21 February 2008 with 420 goodie bags and earnest zest in tow.
Marvelling at the students’ batik paintings, pottery and mosaic art pieces during a guided tour, the visitors were charmed by yet another facet of their winsome artistry.
Their patience and understanding towards the special needs beneficiaries were affectionately unfurled, as they distributed the striking chronograph watches and sports towels at various classrooms.
Leading the group was KFEU’s General Secretary Atyyah Hassan, whose affability elicited laughter from the students.
The celebratory note peaked when rousing cheers from younger students reverberated within the assembly hall as the gifts were handed out to them. A batik painting was later presented to Ms Hassan as a token of appreciation.
Tossing compassion to greater heights, the Holiday Inn Park View Singapore (HIPVS) held a lou hei buffet luncheon on 18 February 2008 for 23 residents aged between 20 and 60 from the Metta Home for the Disabled, all of whom received a warm reception from its General Manager Shantha de Silva and staff from the Human Resource (HR) Department upon arrival.
Riding on the Lunar New Year and Christmas festivities, HIPVS organises such charity feasts twice yearly for the underprivileged as an extension of its hospitality culture.
The practice – helmed by its HR department and supported by its General Manager since last year – gained resonance among directors and staff from various departments, who served food and distributed goodie bags containing rations, mandarin oranges and red packets to their recipients.
Taking the lead was Mr Shantha who enlivened the auspicious ambience by tossing raw fish salad with the beneficiaries at each table.
“Our hotel has always believed in doing the right thing and showing we care, and I believe through interactions in charity events such as this, we become a better person at work or at home. We’ve always been actively working with the Metta Welfare Association and have established a good working relationship. Therefore, we’re very happy to create another charity partnership in hosting the CNY luncheon,” shared Mr Shantha.
The appetizer was a mouthwatering prelude to the ambrosial spread that followed – wok fried asparagus with XO sauce, Hong Kong style steamed garoupa and chilli prawns, to name a few – all lovingly whipped up by its renowned stable of restaurants.
With each gesture epitomising warm hospitality and sincerity, HIPVS scaled the pinnacle of quality service with its roomy depths of benevolence and empathy.
Chinese New Year Lou Hei Buffet Luncheon
For the third year running, Metta’s lou hei buffet luncheon held on 12 February 2008 at the Metta Building regaled individual and corporate donors with a felicitous line-up of treats that heralded the start of a promising year.
Festive finery and trimmings, tantalising heaps of vegetarian raw fish and mellifluous Chinese orchestral tunes performed by Metta School students accentuated the celebratory mood in the spacious hall, conjuring the atmosphere of a grand reunion dinner.
Conducted in appreciation of the donors’ support towards our regular fundraising drives, the luncheon began with a candle-lighting cum blessing ceremony presided by Metta’s venerables to usher auspicious tidings and a prosperous year for everyone.
After receiving souvenirs from the venerables, the guests began tossing the raw dish amidst exuberant cheers before tucking into an ambrosial buffet spread. The event was lauded for twinning an interactive session with a valued Chinese tradition.
A three-year community initiative mooted by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has been chalking up success on several fronts since its launch in June 2007.
Manifesting the strong commitment made by LTA’s management and staff to the community, ‘LTA Cares’ comprises two primary components, one of which is the LTA Care-Givers Programme that aims to promote corporate volunteerism.
Staff are entitled to half a day off monthly to volunteer at LTA’s appointed charity, Metta School.
To date, regular attempts by staff volunteers to assist teachers in equipping special needs students with independent living skills – such as taking public transport and grocery shopping – under the school’s social competence curriculum have fostered heartwarming ties between them and their young charges.
In order to help these caregivers become more adept in interacting and caring for the kids, the LTA specially organised a sharing session titled “Communicating with Children with Mild Intellectual Disability/Autism Spectrum Disorder” on 4 February 2008 at its clubhouse.
Delivered by Metta School social worker Jobina Chia, the session attracted 40 members from the LTA Care-Givers Programme.
Alongside those who had raised pertinent questions were a few members who commented their volunteering stints as an enriching experience that enabled them to appreciate life from a different perspective.
On the other hand, the LTA has provided Metta School students with internship opportunities in managing its clubhouse facilities since April 2007.
A beacon of corporate social responsibility, LTA’s partnership with the Metta School was facilitated by the ComCare Connection – a community-giving initiative by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre that matches corporations with non-profit organisations on a term basis.
Just Pure Magic
Demonstrating equal prowess in managing intangible assets, leading global financial services firm JPMorgan Chase chalked up impressive benchmarks in exuberance and interactive indices by stringing multiple engaging treats at a carnival organised specially for Metta School students.
Held on 19 January 2008, its first charity event for the year scored a coup among its young recipients who had a field day piling on vivid colours with face paints, nail polish and sticker tattoos, as well as darting among various game stalls to have a shot at matching images, tossing ping pong balls into bowls, guessing and pairing colour-coded lollipops, flinging hoops and picking up M&M’s chocolates with chopsticks.
Deserving special mention was the organisers’ effort in devising these fascinating yet simple games for the kids, which enabled the teachers to gain valuable pointers.
Their meticulous touch was also apparent in their choice of goodie bag items and sumptuous buffet spread that the kids clearly relished.
Over 100 students and family members turned up in support of the carnival that portrayed resounding camaraderie and volunteerism among the staff organisers.
Vice Principal Anuwar Abdul Wahab commended, “We’re overwhelmed by their dedication and professionalism. They’ve brought great joy to our students and their families.”
As a mark of appreciation, he presented a batik painting to their Executive Director Mike Manning, following a prize-giving session for winners of an earlier-held drawing contest.