Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Be the change: series 1

Yesterday with curiosity I made my way to PA HQ for " be the change" seminar cum feedback session. It is an initiative proposed by a young team to encourage and support the younger generation(21 to 35 years old) to come forth and take charge for their community and country SIngapore. It comes about from the idea that every generation has it's own challenges and every generation must harness the energy of that generation to take the country forward- do the change via action; convince the person next to you to do the same; and it will become a powerful movement- making our country a less imperfect place .

Slightly late because of work, I sat at the first table I saw - to my embarrassment, I realized after some time I was sitting at the reserved VIP table - together with Mr Yam Ah Mee ( chief executive of PA ) and other important civil servants.

The issues that was mentioned during the session

- propose of a 2 platform system ( like Sentosa / Jurong east / Tanah Merah line) where one can exit on one side and enter on the other side. It will solve the overcrowding issue. Think this is quite a good idea but of course to construct this will require more building space and hence also higher cost I would suppose.
- propose female cabin.
This idea is carried out in India but it is because a lot of molestation happens on the train where they are packed like sardines (how I felt when I sat the India train for both sexes) due to the huge population that they have. For us in Singapore, I have not heard of any happening yet and though our trains are packed, its not as bad. So personally, I do not think this is necessary.

- propose of a increase in parental guidance and partnership for sexual education with the school. And to do it in stages since young making it ingrained deeper into their minds.
Kind of curious why sexual education is becoming a concern nowadays - Why?
- propose for the change of message: message of protection rather than abstinence in the Malay community.
Agree for this. After all it is a lighter message and the public can relate better.
- propose curriculum to be more focused on values ; more student orientated ; question asked inquiring the motivation of learning these days.
Motivation is an important factor in building up a population of talent.
- propose supervision of principals in school because the 'fame' of the school is dependent on the focus and structure of the system in place by the government;
What comes to my mind is the primary school balloting where all parents want to enter certain schools because of their 'name' and the curriculum that they have. But there are limited spaces. Should the government hence supervise the schools that have a 'not as famous' curriculum? Perhaps help them to improve?
- propose to assign teachers and students via their strength in audio, visual or touch learning methods.
I think this is a very very good idea. But perhaps to do it on a large scale is quite hard.
- propose teaching environment to focus on failure is okay - you just need to learn from it - instead of failure is a dead end. Propose learn through play.
I think this is a very very good idea. But perhaps to do it on a large scale is quite hard.
- propose strengthening of values - kindness movement and exposing our generation to overseas via less paperwork for yep.
I still remember the kindness movement that was done in quite a large scale during my time. Though young at that time, I remember the few lines that were emphasized over and over again " give your seats to the old people" , " Smile " etc. - and how it was such a grand thing to win the kindness award. What happened to that?
- propose gap year provision before every next step in education
Only for the rich or those that parents do not need their support. Not realistic I feel.
- Propose using less computers, systems and calculators. To go back to the roots of paper.
Though I think the government / school direction was to allow their students to be more IT Savvy, they should consider the cost incurred - how about those that are unable to. Does a primary 1 student really need a computer? What is wrong with paper writing? And with the calculators used, won't it cause dependence and a lack of mental calculation - will it then cause us to be more mathematically-dumb?

- propose having 2 kinds of recycling trash bins in HDB.
Feasible? For Singaporeans who are lazy to even go down to the recycling bins below, would they just mix everything together?

- propose a clear review as to whether Singapore is looking to place importance on happiness or economic growth and we having to find a balance in between.
Till date, no matter where we go, we are known as being capable and driven - and I am always proud to be a Singaporean. And I am happy. How to increase happiness when it is a personal choice?
- propose to increase social cohesion by organizing a monthly neighbor campaign where neighbors exchange their daily food dishes etc.
Currently now it is already in place but I guess it should become a national campaign- more impact?

Special needs
- propose to increase the benefits for special needs teachers where they feel as valued as their counterparts in the governmental sector. Addresses the theme of passion vs remuneration.
- propose development of the local learning industry of special needs. Currently the therapy for special needs is only taught overseas - most will not be able to afford the course fees.
Agree! I would take the course if it is taught here at an affordable price.
- propose a program to let the normal kids and special kids interact on a regular basis as it allows for integration and compassion.
Very very good idea! Then everyone will understand how special kids are like them except them perhaps do things a little slower /they need a longer time to understand instructions - but they can still do things and work! Then the community can open up their mind and embrace them into their work place. And as a normal individual, we should offer our help to be their partner in the work place to be a support when they need it. Propose that to your HR!

- propose for a focus on community health. Help create a stronger initiative between the private GPs and the elderly.
Good idea. Benefits both parties.
- propose programs that teaches and shares dialects Which the younger generation have lost touch of.
Good idea. I will sign up! Make it available in the CCs - at convenient locations! This will also increase interaction between both generations.

Expected more from this session but the size of the audience was really encouraging. It's a delight to see so many so interested in contributing back to the society. Lastly I want to end off with my own personal thought: if you have complains and grouses about policies and the way how things are now, do not just whine about the problem; give the solution.

Let's work into making Singapore a better place ; not for ourselves but for every singaporean :) cheers

My input - What I see of Singapore now. And what I hope to see Singapore in 5 years time.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Social Entrepreneurs of the Year in Asia for 2011

Lets applaud those who spend a lifetime making a change for the world - for those who needs help but everyone is too busy to do so.

Five entrepreneurs have been recognized as Social Entrepreneurs of the Year in Asia for 2011.

They hail from Cambodia, Japan, the Philippines and Pakistan, and address issues like healthcare, distribution of everyday goods to inaccessible places, nutrition in impoverished areas, and clean water supply.

The award was given out by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, a non-profit, independent organization that advances social entrepreneurship.

The winners are:

Bam Aquino & Mark Ruiz , Hapinoy, Philippines

Hapinoy provides business mentorship, leadership development, and branding assistance to women entrepreneurs who own small stalls in urban and rural areas. These women also get 5 to 15% cost savings and greater diversity of goods through Hapinoy’s bulk-sourcing and supply delivery network.

Lo Chay, 1001 fontaines pour demain, Cambodia

1001 fontaines uses sand filtration and solar-powered water purification technology to provide clean and cheap drinking water to over 50,000 people at US$0.01 per liter. Village entrepreneurs are taught how to maintain the water production site and distribute/sell the water.

Asher Hasan, Naya Jeevan, Pakistan

His enterprise partners with corporations to roll out catastrophic health insurance to low-income workers making less than US$6 per day. Drivers, nannies, cooks, waiters, and security guards can be insured at US$2.50 per month with a yearly coverage limit of approximately US$1,780. Naya Jeevan also value-adds the insurance coverage with annual medical checks, preventive care workshops, and access to a 24-hour medical care and claims assistance hotline.

Masa Kogure, Table for Two (TFT), Japan

One in seven people suffer from malnutrition, while 1.6 billion adults in the world are overweight or have health conditions related to ‘over-nutrition.’ TFT corrects this imbalance by transferring excess calories across the globe from developed countries to developing countries. Corporate cafeterias, university dining halls, and public restaurants serve balanced and healthy TFT meals, donating USD $0.20 per meal to lunches in impoverished African schools.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Food For Thought - Yummylicious

Had the opportunity to try out the delicious food and desserts of Food For Thought. It is just beside SAM Museum, Opposite SMU Library , Near circle line.
Address: 8 Queen Street (8Q @ Singapore Art Museum).

Once I stepped into the place, I knew I would love spending hours there.
The design of the place, the items all around and of course the food, such amazing combination and comfort.

And as usual I always support cafes that give back to the society - and at their counter you will spot the number of organizations and causes that they support.

And they also convey the causes through the design T-shirts; badges etc that they make with the explanation and thought process that goes through it.

Welcoming us next was the ice cold home made lemon tea that had bits and pieces of lemon squeeze in it. I love it!!!!

And I started with few zucchini tarts into my mouth- I find this a very good appetizer!

And my next love! Potato Gratin with fresh juicy mushroom, and chunks of big potato slices among the cheese. Totally love it. I had 3 servings of that.

And following that we had the pizza which had my favorite chunks of red and green pepper in it. The crust is a bit too thick though - was too full after eating that.

Wanted to skip the fried chicken but it looked so good! And buy am I glad I did not skip that the flavoring on the crispy skin and the juiciness of the chicken - yummy!
And of course I kept my stomach for the famous desserts.

Here it goes:
Cream cheese with red velvet cupcake.
Very unique taste :)

Their cream mousse puffs - not too sweet ;Just nice.
And I love their melting brownies. It seems like there were a mix of the melted ones and the ones that were in perfect cooling stage. I prefer the melted ones - chocolate with cranberries and nuts. Favs!

I will be back there soon!
Heard they are opening another one soon!

A tour around the heartlands in Singapore

Yesterday, together with neesoon yec we made our way to exploring the different heartlands in singapore- to see how we could better understand and contribute yo the needs of the public as an individual; as a community; as a singaporean. What type of public spaces is needed for the aging population? More shops so they have a place to gather and interaction? How can we build a community to increase Social cohesion.

Then we move through the corridors of toa payoh where a majority of the old generation were staying in the one room rental flat. Where they complain that when there is someone dead in the house- no one knows till the smell comes.How to solve the problem? Do we have Someone to constantly check in to take attendance? Will it work? For the rental rooms, for1 month they pay $26 for the one room rental. These Older generation cannot blend into Singapore fast economy and have seem to lose the belonging - should training be given. Will it help? Bought in the 1930s. These group needs Education on identifying food expiry-which are in English. Neighborhood. Ownership.

Also on elderly abuse - How can we help?

And the first time I have seen this. A detector for the elderly when they are in need. It will supposedly flash the unit number when someone in the unit pushes a certain button in their house and someone from the community can rush up and help. A very good idea I would think.

Then we also visited the house which Adrian lim used to stay;Adrian lim supposedly murder a number of children and dump their bodies in his house Toa payoh 07-46.
Toa Payoh Ritual Murders

And also for the thefts that happen at night. Centralized void deck policepost opens from 12noon to 11pm and the Thefts always happen afterthat. Who else can help. It is not just the policemen. It is us, the community near them.

And the last thought:
Everybody. Somebody. Anybody. Nobody. Everyone point fingers but actually anybody can do it.

After the heritage tour, we made our way to Sam museum to view the Singapore yellow ribbon project art exhibition- drawings and potteries done by inmates were on display. Really deep thought art work!
Yellow Ribbon Community Art Exhibition
Date: 9 to 25 Sep 2011
Time: 10am to 7pm – Monday to Sunday
10am to 9pm - Friday
Venue: Singapore Art Museum (SAM)

The drawings and potteries really made me think about life and about 2nd chances. Being at a wrong place at a wrong time, Being in the wrong company, Being born into a messy family, Just committing a mistake once - and now wanting to make amendments with their family and society, yet few wants to give them chances. Of course, with articles featuring how some of the companies who were 'betrayed' yet I believe there are also many stories whom were successes. If only we give them a chance.
Have we not also committed mistakes in our lives, though not to the point of being convicted and into prison, yet I am sure through every mistake, when we get forgiven or when we get another chance, it is a treasure.

And ending the day was the dissolution of the 10th term yec who has done so much for the nee soon neighborhood (and the thanking speech by MP Lee Bee Wah) and the introduction of the new 11th term yec. We will all be supporting you all. Cheers !

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