Monday, January 30, 2012

Lunar New Year in Singapore.

Lunar New Year is an important festival for all the Chinese around the world. It marks the beginning of a year. The old and unused ones will be replaced. That is the time for us to do spring-cleaning. For business man, all debts will be cleared. For kids, they will be sets of new clothing.

On the eve, family would have reunion dinner. In the past, family members go to far away places to work and only will come back to their home town to meet up and rest for this festive season. In Singapore, we would usually have steamboat dinner to feast. In the past, simple food like rice and vegetables were eaten everyday but during the Lunar New Year, meat, fish and some other delicacy will be bought and served.

So now in Singapore, having abalone is a luxury and it symbolized that the family had did well and this is to reward the whole year’s hard work.

This year, Sam and I had a 7 days non-stop feasting and visiting of relatives.
Godparents, my dad’s brothers and aunties and cousin, my Godparent’s siblings, Ah Chong (at hospital), Dr Tan, my nanny, Noris, then we went to Malaysia to visit Samantha’s family, her uncle and cousins, her sister’s in law, dinner with Chenghow and wife, Angel and Leo, Shiyun and family came to visit us, then we attended a special wedding function. Coming back to Singapore, we met up with my poly band mates and went for my Godfather’s birthday dinner, Anthony Ang’s house for feast and on the 7th day, we met up with my secondary school band friends, to my 3rd uncle house which is my mum’s siblings then to my uncle Heng’s house for feast.

 It is all for one cause: to catch up even all of us are busy during the rest of the year.

So I see the positive side of this festival is that we are able to meet up and see the younger ones growing as compared to the previous year, seeing the elderly ones getting more grey hair.

We witnessed some friends/relatives do have bad habits. It was kind of them to initiate their house for the gathering but the host were more busy entertaining themselves. So I saw some guest left immediately after the meal. I guess the bonding has been broken and I know that something must be done.

Then, we observed everyone is paying attention to the new kids and babies. The reaction of these new and young family members has shown the past teaching of the parents. At the same time, most of my younger cousin that used to be naughty had grown up and is taking over the role of a host.

At this time, Samantha and I do not have kids and we surely do not know how is the life of having a kid. No comments.

It was tiring but rewarding. Able to see our love ones and their family.

It is all about being thankful…

The most symbolic thing that we did was at Samantha’s family. 15 of us knee down and served her mother a cup of tea, individually. At the same time, thanking her for the past effort and giving her our blessings.

Can you guess, where am I? this was taken during my great grandmother's 100th birthday.

Lunar new Year 'salad'. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Singapore Leprosy Relief Association

Our 2nd project for Lunar New Year 2012.

Samantha went to purchase the last batch of oranges from Clementi NTUC

Willy Ang, Jen Soh and her daughter drew time out from this big festive season to help the folks.
The care taker of the home helped us too.

One of the patients. 

Many of them had leprosy when they were a kid and their family abandoned them. So, they do not know what it feels to have a family.

There are 41 patients here. Some of them can move by themselves, these are the ones that are bed bounded.

This 90+ years old lady cant see anymore. She does not have fingers.

This is their home. they are very normal people. We shake hands with them and gave them our blessings.

Thou this building is built in 2005 and seemed new, it has not been maintain and the working crew used a big canvas to prevent the rainwater from dripping directly onto the hall. the roof has been leaking for some time.

Thanks to the heart warming people that helped in this project. Samantha, Willy, Jen Soh and daughter and the working crew at the home.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

St. Andrew's Cathedral Home for the Aged

This year, we stop buying things for Chinese New Year. Things like abalone is so expensive! When you go on the street, you would witness people busy buying new clothes, new furniture, new TV, new shoes and lots of lots of goodies at home. For us, we bought the minimum. We use the money to do something worthwhile, for others.

We decide to do something for the community around Clementi. I know of this home where the old ladies would stay. Our motive is to let them know that they are not forgotten during this festive season. I think the best gift is just an Ang Pao (a traditional red paper packet which contain money) and some oranges. 

Samantha and I chose every oranges carefully, inspecting each box and each orange.

Sheng Siong Clementi has convenient loading bay and good staff to help us to load our purchase.

23 goodie bags. We put on facebook about our activity. Jen Soh and Willy Ang replied and the willingly to come and help us. Both of them are very approachable and their job is to take our packed oranges and to wish and bless the elderly.

Sorry I am not good in this, so they had helped the team in a very good way.

Jen Soh gave the elderly a bright day with her warm approach although it was a rainy day.
Samantha helped to pack the oranges into 23 small packets before Jen and Willy comes.

Jen Soh with the oldest lady in the home, she is 98 years old.
The supervisor Mrs Margaret Lim, sharing the history of this home with us.
Willy and Samantha.

Thank you Willy and Jen Soh for your valuable time and effort for making the old folks happy.

Willy is also active in volunteering. He also advised me about other homes. 1st day of Chinese New Year, Samantha and Willy will join me to visit Singapore Leprosy Relief Association.

The purpose of this visit is to let the people in this home feel the joy of this festive season. I went to make a visit yesterday. There are 43 patients living in this home and most of them DO NOT have family members. This building looked very very new and modern from the external look but when i went in, the 5 level building is leaking when raining. they use a big canvas to cover the indoor hall. 

Leprosy Home is like a home. they have normal activities and this is their home. The patients are normal. The home is a home and we are going to visit their home on the first day of Chinese New Year, Monday 23 January 2012. Time is around 4pm - 6pm.

Please do contact us if you want to make 2012 Chinese New Year a special year for those forgotten ones in the society.

Monday, January 9, 2012

About tree ownership in Singapore.

Many arborists in Singapore are invited to study health and risk assessment of trees for property owners. They have been conservative towards risk assessment because most property owners appreciate new buildings, concrete and metal rather than trees.

These trees had been standing there for the past many decades, providing shade and shelter for us, taking in the carbon dioxide and giving us new fresh oxygen, giving birds a home and working 24 hours a day without asking for any credit. All they need is a constant correct attention.

Keeping trees in the estate can be at very low expenses but when old trees are not healthy and sick, surgery could be costly.

The job of an arborist is a language translator, to tell human what the tree is trying to say. But most of the arborist are being pressured that they do not want to take liability from the risk involve as nothing is 100% guarantee that the tree will not fail. Like any human medical doctor, they will tell the patient’s family the most conservative chances and solutions, and have to take the risk for undergoing treatment.

Here lies my love for trees, I found this poem from a book and share with you before reading the report.

The Tree’s Prayer

You who would pass by and raise your hand against me
            listen before you harm me.

I am the heat of your hearth on the cold winter nights,
            the friendly shade screening you from the summer sun;

And my fruits are refreshing draughts
            quenching your thirst as you journey on.

I am the beam that holds your house,
            the board of your table,
            the bed on which you lie
            and the timber that build your boat.

I am the handle of your hoe
            and the door of your homestead,
            the wood of your cradle
            and the shell of your coffin.

I am the gift of God
            and the friend of man.

You who pass by, listen to my prayer…
            Harm me not.

                                    (Anonymous translated from the Portugese)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Save the trees

Do you believe in cause and effect?

I got a call to attend a case this morning.

4 persons were injured by a fallen dead branch from a tree. Blood was spurting out from 1 of them, 3 others was hit on the shoulder and back.

When I reached the site, the property manager was there with 15 other contractors. Everyone was worried and was trying to do the: not my fault, when I came in, it was already like that… or: we just took over the contract 1 month ago. How long does the branch takes to become this condition? You must come and tell them it is more than one month.

The branch is about 5-6 inches in diameter and about 10 meters long without any leaves on it.
When I walked to the tree that threw this branch, the tree told me that she is very angry because someone had step on her leg and given her wrong things to eat, causing her to have bad tummy ache. Also, she is thirsty and she needs to have a bigger house to grow.  She knew who stepped on her legs and she also knew who is the one that decided to build the structures. So she threw her broken branches at them. She was angry.

I told the tree:

            ok, don’t worry, I am here to protect you and promise you that you will not
be hurt anymore. I know that you have been working endlessly for the past             
30 years here, day and night. Giving shade to human and cars, giving home to             
the birds and beautifying this place. I will try to ask them to give u a public            
service medal for your long service award.

The tree gave me a blink and smiled at me.

I walked around the tree and saw construction damages on the roots. I see the new layer of heavy tar that had be super compacted because this road is meant for super heavy vehicles. They are throwing cement slurry on the soil to feed the tree.

I went back to the property manager and told him what the tree needed. He already had his own opinion and was giving instruction to everyone. He wanted to reduce the crown of all the 61 trees along this road. I told him, they do not need crown reduction but to clean up and give them proper feed.
He tried to explain to me that because accident happened, he has to show everyone that something has been done. He is making the decision for his own benefit! He want to answer to his boss!

Then I pursued him to only do alternate trees for the reduction. He said no, must do it altogether. I kept quiet because I am very new in this organization. When I gave my opinion, someone raised out that if I want to suggest anything, please go thro them before going to the property manager. I kept quiet.
After some time, this property manager told us to remove the 2 trees that are near to the construction area. One of them was the angry tree.

Then, one of the guy that the tree was angry with, came and tell the property manager: remove all 3, not 2!

He sounded angry and demanding too.

Hearing this, I was stunted to hear that the property manager agreed without hesitation or reconsideration. It sounded like bargaining of price at a market and the seller agreed to the bargain without counter offer.

I went blank and dare not look at the tree or go near her anymore because I promised her that I would give her what she wanted. Now, they want to kill her and her friends.

I never looked back because I know the 3 of them are very worried now upon hearing the news that they are innocently given a death sentence, and all her childhood friends were also being punished. I’m sorry, I did my best.

How many more trees can I save?

Mother Nature knows who is the bad person. When you hate the tree, they will do something to you.
I love the durian ideology! Have you ever heard of anyone that was hit by a durian? Very seldom or never. Because we love the tree and was hoping to get good durians from it, so the tree love us back by not dropping the durian on us!

Since the creation of metal and cement, we, human beings are being carried further and further away from nature. When trees are in argument with metal and cement, we human always will side the metal and cement, declaring the tree is the loser. Did you realized that?

Please, love them because they have worked endlessly for us. All they need is a little attention.