Showing posts with label Festivals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Festivals. Show all posts

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hari Raya Aidilfitri 2016

The month-long Hari Raya celebration is coming to a close. I always find it a blessing to be in Singapore where we not only get to celebrate our own ethnic festivals, but we also observe or, most of the time, participate in other ethnic celebrations. And as we get to know more about the traditions and cultures of another ethnic group, each year's festive celebrations carry a different experience.

Beyond the extensive *bling bling* Hari Raya light-up decorations lining the street from Eunos MRT Station all the way to Geylang Serai, it is the practice of traditions and cultural interactions that define the festival and which are what makes Hari Raya unique in Singapore.

Globally, a series of attacks threatened to undermine the sacred month for Muslims. These include the Orlando nightclub shooting, Nice attack, Atatürk Airport attack in Turkey and the suicide attacks in Saudi Arabia at the end of Ramadhan. In some parts of the world, the religion came under assault in the wake of the attacks. 

In Singapore, this year's Hari Raya happened to fall in July, the month of Racial Harmony celebrations. In form and/or in substance, Singaporeans are reminded by the world around us that the social fabric could very well be ruptured if we do not continue to safeguard racial and religous harmony.

I am fortunate to be able to participate in a series of activities during this period.

On 22 June 2016, Eunos and Kaki Bukit Grassroots Advisers and Grassroots Leaders joined Mr Amrin Amin, Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and residents of The Leo Dormitory in breaking fast (Iftar). It was my second time visiting the Dormitory, the first being an introductory visit before the Dormitory went into operation in 2014.

Ambassadors, appointed among the residents, assist in organising various activities for the residents of diverse nationalities. The month-long Iftar (break fast) is one such activity that the residents plan and execute themselves, with support from the Dorm's management.


In keeping with tradition, when communication technology was not as advanced, drum was sounded to inform the neighbourhood that it was time to break fast. 


Group photo with fellow Grassroots Leaders

On 25 June 2016, a brigade of motorcycles roared off to make over beneficiaries' homes, as part of the annual Ramadhan-on-Wheels (ROW) project by the Malay Youth Literary Association (4PM).


The same morning, Tabung Amal Aidilfitri (TAA) Trust Fund held its disbursement exercise at Eunos Community Club. Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli graced the event and presented cheques to Malay Muslim Organisations and beneficiaries. One of the ways that TAA Trust Fund collects its zakat (alms) is through the collection boxes located at Geylang Serai as well as shops across the island. The zakat collected in 2015 is disbursed to recipients in 2016.

These programmes encapsulate the spirit of Ramadhan, in assisting the less well-off among the community and sharing the festive joy with them.


On the same evening, Eunos CC Malay Activity Executive Committee (MAEC) and TAA Trust Fund jointly held the Majlis Iftar. The speaker was delivering a message in Bahasa Melayu when I heard "Hidayah". Turned over to Eunos CC staff Hidayah who was just beside me, and innocently told her that the speaker had called her name. Found out that in arabic language, Hidayah actually meant "Guidance".

To learn culture, it's always best to plug yourself in the midst of it. Also learnt about the significance of Ramadhan to Muslims that evening. Ramadhan is more than just a month-long of cleansing the physical body through fasting. It also involves the cleansing of the mind and soul, and a time of reflection. 


Fast forward to the eve of Hari Raya on 5 July 2016, where residents at Eunos Vista (Zone '7' precinct) organised the annual Kenduri together with neighbours. 

While we can sit back and LIKE neighbourliness stories posted online, such as the Sembawang family who break fast annually together with their neighbours along the corridor, we can also initiate or participate in such activities. I, for one, would set a goal of organising next year's Chinese New Year event with neighbours, and reach out to 2 Muslim families to open their house for their neighbours at Eunos Division next year! 

Had the best Mee Siam I ever eaten

Jalan Raya to a neighbour's place on 9 July 2016. I met Shaikh through grassroots activities. He is one of the Eunos Heights Community Gardeners, and I always joked that he had the best view of the happenings in the garden from his bedroom window. Had the pleasure to makan the awesome dishes plus the desserts, all made by the family. Enjoyed the catch-up and got to know more about the talented and hardworking family.



Yummy!

A week later, had the opportunity to taste Malay cuisine again at fellow grassroots volunteers Jamal and Latifah's place. The Malay wedding at the void deck right opposite their block provided music and songs for our ears.


My Hari Raya "celebration" culminated with Muhibah Raya, organised by Eunos CC MAEC. Besides Sufie Rashid who dazzled the audience at the Hari Raya dinner, Aljunied GRC Grassroots Advisers Chua Eng Leong and Shamsul Kamar also peppered the programme with light-hearted entertainment. 


The key ingredient to racial harmony and social cohesion is the social capital and trust that exist across the ethnic communities. The People's Association grassroots movement consciously create platforms to bring people together. It is a never-ending process and we will always agree more can be done. One day, race and religion will see no boundary. Till then, let's take the initiative to appreciate each other's culture and be the catalyst to strengthen our unique social fabric.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Vesak Day Celebrations @ Expo


28 May 2010

Went to check out the Vesak Day Celebrations at Singapore Expo. Joined in the chanting of Amitabha for about half an hour before leaving.


Thursday, April 08, 2010

清明节


21 March 2010


每一年的清明都是一个不一样的体会。

惟有不变的是丰永大公会骨灰甕壁龕室的清净。

还记得往年的清明节,父亲都会带着我跟弟弟去那儿祭拜太太和公公。从没想过会有那么一天,来到同样的地方祭拜父亲。

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Eunos Constituency 5-year workplan retreat


31 January 2010

As part of the RC Youth Chapter initiative, PAYM requested for Eunos CC YEC to be filmed. So, in the morning, some of us went to the Happy Happy Sunday (a 52-week free breakfast session for needy residents) and met up with the cast and crew. Hock Rong and I were also interviewed on our views on the RCYC.

Immediately after the filming, we dashed to Eunos Community Club where our constituency is holding its 5-year workplan retreat. This is in line with People's Association 5-year workplan, one of which is bridging youth initiative.

The CC's Indian Activity Executive Committee (IAEC) is also holding its Ponggal celebrations. Ponggal festival is a harvest festival celebrated by Indians.

There were real cows brought into the CC.

As part of their celebrations, blind-folded participants also whacked this "liquid bag" for good luck.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Damai Secondary AV X'mas Party

24 December 2009

Damai Secondary School Audio Visual Club Alumni held a Christmas gathering at Stacey's house. It must have been 2 years since I met with my lovely juniors.
The party was very well organised. Enter the house and the Taboo Words game kicks into action.

I scored pretty badly initially but managed to get many of them to say the taboo words. The top accumulators of taboo words faced forfeits.

The food was awesome. The turkey and ham were delicious!

Halfway through the party, Ziyang, Chee Lee and I went to a neighbouring block with the hope of locating our long lost AV Club member Lois Lin. We knocked on every unit on the floor, but our efforts were in vain.

Not forgetting the gift exchange.

Christmas for Kg Chai Chee Toastmasters

22 December 2009

Kg Chai Chee Toastmasters club had a mini Christmas celebration at the last chapter meeting of 2009.

Mdm Sim wrapped some gifts for fellow Toastmasters to ballot and pick them.

We enjoyed a log cake together.

The Table Topics session was also Christmas-themed.

And I guess my best Christmas gift by Toastmasters would be my Competent Communicator award. Look forward to embarking on the advanced manuals!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Make A Wish This X'mas!

20 December 2009

I had always wanted to see a collaboration between my RC and YEC. Therefore, in October, the idea of a joint project to celebrate Christmas was born. In a novel attempt, I invited some youth residents, who were not grassroots volunteers, to sit in the organising committee for Make A Wish this X'mas!.

Organising Secretary Pristine took charge of the gifts, with the assistance of our new volunteer Evelyn. Huijing and Jordan planned games for participants. Alex and Huzaifi arranged for the instant photo print-out booth.

We also conducted our usual door-to-door sale of tickets to the residents residing in the adjacent blocks beside the event venue.

Hours before the Christmas party, Jovell, Evelyn and Megan employed their creativity and transformed the Pavillion into a cosy living room.

I spent some time convincing Huijing to be one of the Masters of Ceremony for the event. Being her first time emceeing for a grassroots event, she was really nervous preparing her script. But she shined when she delivered her maiden speeches. Glad to have Megan be our Mandarin Master of Ceremony. You will hardly get to see such a disparity in heights between Emcees.

Upon arriving at the Pavillion, residents get to pen down their wishes, which were pinned onto a netting that would remain at the venue past new year.

The Guest-of-Honour was Mr Zainul Abidin Rasheed, Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, MP for Aljunied GRC & Adviser to Eunos Grassroots Organisations. Also present was Mr Lin Tze Kin PBM, Chairman of Eunos Community Club Management Committee.

Donning a Santa hat, Mr Zainul was warmly greeted by the applause of residents.

YoSpinz put up an eye-catching Yo-Yo performance. Mr Zainul then officially launched YoSpinz, a Yo-Yo interest group of the Eunos CC YEC.

Among the games were the Squirrel and Trees game, Musical Chair and the Santa Makeover.

The Santa Makeover was the climax of the whole event, with residents assisting their team mates to decorate the best looking Santa Claus out of... children.

Family members also came to support the event and enjoy the festive celebrations.

Pristine spent days to paint the backdrop, of which we would take our photos with and then print it out instantly. Here's a picture with Hock Rong and Santa Chee Lee.

Photo with Cousin:

Photo with Pristine the artist and Huijing the Games Master:

After the event, we then celebrated it with ice-cream at our usual hangout place - the MacDonald's.