Sunday, December 28, 2008

Chapter 8 : HAPPY TIDING 1

The term - HAPPY TIDING signifies any monetary/material contribution made to us, in support of this project. This alert will be employed throughout the blog as and when there is/are such kind donation(s) made.

Our first corporate sponsorship from China was pledged on Saturday, 27 Dec 08. At this point of time, this generous and humble Chinese lady, who wishes for her name not to be made known, has commit to support us with $10 000 seed funding for the project.

We are extremely touched by the kind deed. Thank you for believing in our endeavour, even before it has barely make its mark.

Chapter 7 : December 08 update on book project


This has been an inspiring journey for me - to be able to interact and embrace diverse views from people of different culture, background. Nisa has been with me in most of the small group meetings and I am absolutely sure that she feels the same way too. Again, I would like to thank these individuals for making time to meet us.

Akhtaar, Yasmeen - 15 Nov 08
Shaifudin - 16 Nov 08
Rizal, Jamil, Rahim - 17 Nov 08
Fazidah, Nizan - 23 Nov 08
Akhtaar, Raidah - 3 Dec 08
Helmy, Iqbal, Shaifudin - 4 Dec 08
Sharon Choo - 17 Dec 08
Jaime, Stephanie - 17 Dec 08
Arfat Selvam - 17 Dec 08
Dora Yip - 17 Dec 08
Han Kiang - 20 Dec 08
Shahada - 22 Dec 08
Iqbal, Shaifudin - 25 Dec 08
Heriani Suliana - 30 Dec 08

Our volunteer team is expanding over time and I am pleased to witness this development. We warmly welcome the benevolent gesture. Your support, in one way or the other will certainly contribute to the success of the book project. You can view the updated list of names of our volunteers in Chapter 2.

We had our 2nd mass meeting on 6 Dec 08. An encouraging response, with 23 volunteer turn-ups. Volunteers had identifed area/s of contribution and were then grouped in respective teams for further discussions.

A. Writing & Publishing team (Nisa as co-ordinator)
Main Role : to oversee the production of book, which includes to write/find writers to write/edit stories & to conceptualise book

B. Marketing & Corporate Sponsorship team (Shaifudin as co-ordinator)
Main Role : to appeal for corporate sponsorship, to market product to various agencies locally, abroad & develop website & online sales

C. Events Management team (Ruhainah as co-ordinator)
Main Role : to organise, run various fund raising events

Working committee

  • Writing & Publishing team:
1. Nisa (co-ordinator)
2. Hamzah
3. Jamil
4. Juniper
5. Azmi
6. Khairuddin
7. Martina
8. Nurulhuda
9. Fazidah
10. Nizan

It has been agreed that a volunteer writer can take up to 3 stories and submit 1st drafts by end Feb 09. We plan to have the 1st print of the books between Jun and Sep 09.

We are fortunate to have 2 professional writers, Jaime and Stephanie, who will be available to guide our budding writers and eventually lend their expertise to gel the 20 human stories together into a book. A workshop for the volunteer writers is tentatively fixed on the 1st Saturday of Jan 09. More details on the workshop will be made known soon.

I applaud Fazidah for submitting the first written story on 20 Dec 08. She was unwell but able to take an amazing 1 night to complete a life story. Frankly, I do not think I am not capable of such feat. Thank you for the sincere and prompt effort, Fazidah! It is also heartening that some volunteers believe this publication could be a source for National Education for Singapore and every educational institution should have at least few copies of this book for its students and teachers. Yes, we can attain this objective! Let's produce a quality reading material for this purpose and strive to serve beyond this market.

  • Marketing & Corporate Sponsorship team:

1. Shaifuddin (co-ordinator)
2. Akhtaar
3. Kamaludeen

  • Events Management team:

1. Ruhainah (co-ordinator)
2. Iqbal
3. Tabrani
4. Rahim
5. Osman
6. Mohd Firoz
7. Aishah

It appears to me that the marketing team is severely short-handed. I hope that a few members from the events management and writing teams can play dual role to source for corporate sponsorship as well. Alternatively, we can consider to merge the 2 teams. I will also be checking with the rest of our volunteers of their areas of interest and involvement.

Volunteer Shaifudin has soaring hope for the trio to achieve target of $1 million proceeds from this project. Although a little sceptical of that expectation at first - considering the unpromising global economic situation, I am also truly motivated by his dedication. I support his aspiration, nothing is unachievable with strong determination and genuine conscience of intent to help the unfortunate others. So, marketing team, let's try our best and conjure some dynamic fund-raising/marketing strategies by this week. $1 million it shall be. Together, we can do this - all for the children-in-need!

Advisory & Editorial Committee
We would be inviting significant individuals to be part of the 2 committees. They will be offering ideas, rendering expertise and deciding on key matters pertaining to the book project.

Words of Gratitude
So far, the general support for this cause has been miraculous that even Katong Community Centre provides free usage of rooms for our volunteer meetings.

I also wish to extend my sincere thanks to:

Helmy and Juniper for your continuous encouragement and constructive suggestions. Khairuddin for helping to vett my written work.

Myself, on behalf of the Home and Muhammadiyah Association, deeply appreciate your time and commitment. Hope to foster a happy and enjoyable working relation with all. Have a wonderful festive holiday and a Happy New Year!

Here are the pictures taken during the last mass meeting. Till we meet again...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Chapter 6 : Faces behind the project

More pics coming up...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Chapter 5 : A meeting with book writers

Nisa and myself attended the Singapore Book club session at the Arts House on 14 Nov 08. We caught up with 2 distinctive local book writers. They have liking for children and enjoy writing stories for the young ones. Apparently, they are business partners and have set-up a company doing their own book writing, illustrating, photographing and surprisingly, even publishing and distributing. They spent time listening to us and provided their perspectives on the subject. We appreciate their sincere, warm attention and view this as an excellent opportunity to network with people who have relevant experience in this area. They were interested to collaborate with us in the project and would be submitting a proposal by 17 Nov 08. We will then discuss on how best we can further connect with them.

One of the writers was Stephanie Ho Lee-Ling. She is a former history teacher and museum educator who has completed a PhD in public history at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). In 2006, with the FTWIPI grant, she wrote and illustrated for her first children's book, Samsui Girl. Her second book featuring Amber - Wayang Girl has just been released.
Stephanie is also the author of four stories for younger children based on the United Nations convention of the rights of the Child: The Boy with a Tree on His Head, The Shadow, The UGB and SHUSH! The books are published and distributed by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth & Sports. She is currently writing a reference book on the cultures and customs of Singapore and Malaysia.

Her partner, Jaime Koh has worked in the media and cultural heritage industry in Singapore, variously as a newspaper journalist, a magazine editor and an assistant curator in a history museum. Her work and interest in Asian history, culture and politics has taken her to China, Hong Kong, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Australia. Jaime is bilingual in English and Mandarin, speaks several dialects and is a keen photographer and writer. Jaime has been engaged in several research and editorial projects into the history of several institutions both in Singapore and Sydney. She was also the event photographer for several major events in Sydney.
She is currently co-writing a book on the cultures and customs of Singapore and Malaysia.

We also spoke to R. Ramachandran, Executive Director of National Book Development Council of Singapore (NDBCS) for future friendly collaboration. Book project aside, he requested us to source for individuals who are interested to be story-tellers at the council. You can email him at Perhaps our student volunteers can consider it as a school holiday job to earn extra income and learning experience?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Chapter 4 : Outline of book project

After a brainstorming session and inputs from key individuals, most of the volunteers propose to publish a book, featuring life stories of troubled children/youth instead. The issue on juvenile delinquency in our community is real and there is a pressing need for the community to address it. The creation of this book would be the team's effort to help the underpriviledged children. We hope to launch the book by June 09.

Here's an outline of the book project.

Book content:
- 20 life stories of MWH children/youths
- Unsung heroes - significant individuals who have helped these children/youths
- Function of MWH – as catalyst of change

List of things to do:

A. Writing and Publishing
· To speak to local book writers, editors, publishers for collaboration
· To look for ppl who can design and suggest marketable book concept – invent MWH branding
· To engage photographer/s, cartoonist
· To identify ppl to ‘endorse’ book , advisor/s – e.g. President SR Nathan, ministers, etc
· To decide on 20 cases of children to be featured. To get consent from these children and their parents/guardians
· To identify outstanding ppl who have contributed to the Home in one way or the other
· To gather information on MWH and its milestone
· To get input from Juvenile/Family/Syariah Court, MCYS/Singapore Boys’/Girls’ Home, NCSS, NVPC, Prisons, Police, MENDAKI, schools, other social service agencies i.e. Gracehaven, Pertapis Children’s Home, FSC, As-Salamm, etc
· To get input from MWH-MCYS-Juvenile Court Advisory Board members, Board of Visitors and Panel of Advisors

B. Marketing
· To contact media for publicity as and when required
· To promote books to schools, libraries, book stores, government agencies, family service centres, youth centres, community centres/grassroots, mosques, churches, etc. Need to identify ambassadors (can be volunteers/former residents/staff) to do outreach.
· To start online sales, create impressive teens’ blog/site, link-up to MWH website. Web shd include book project initiative & process - to create awareness & encourage active volunteerism
· To explore introducing the book beyond Singapore eg to sheltered/children’s Homes around the world

C. Fund-raising
· To seek corporate sponsorship from Foundations, corporations/firms. Try to convince them to adopt the project.
· To approach MCYS, NCSS, NYC, CDC, MUIS for funding
· To engage tertiary students to do fund-raising projects e.g. produce VCDs on stories from the book, bookmarks, t-shirts, other collaterals for sale
· To organise book launching charity event/dinner, tentatively in Jun 09. To source for event sponsors

D. Resource managing
· To do book-keeping, maintain accurate recording of incoming/outgoing funds
· To safe-keep funds
· To work with internal/external auditor
· To issue tax exemption receipts when needed
· To disburse funds when necessary to key ppl organising events & meetings / handling volunteers’, former residents’ transport & meals allowance

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Chapter 3 : Garnering preliminary input

Nisa, Deputy Superintendent of MWH has been working closely with me, to meet key individuals for ideas and suggestions on the book project. We appreciate the primary contribution by these individuals:

3 Oct 08 - Saripah, Senior Teacher Raffles Institution
7 Oct 08 - Sumarni, Section Head Temasek Polytechnic
10 Oct 08 - Shaik Mohd Iqbal, Producer / Editor Mediacorp
23 Oct 08 - Helmy, Head of Youth Engagement Startegic Unit MUIS
4 Nov 08 - Azmi, Head of Project (Community in Bloom) NParks
5 Nov 08 - Shahada, Librarian National Library Board

The first informal volunteers' gathering held on 24 Oct 08 was critical in deciding the direction and focus of project. It was interactive and attendees brainstormed for almost 3hours, eventually concluded with a fresh idea and concept of the book. Those present:
1.Shaik Mohd Iqbal
9.Nisa (Thank you for arranging food & drinks)
12.Ruhainah (Thank you for setting-up the meeting room)
14.Foziah and

I will keep in touch with the other volunteers who were unable to join us that day. Hope that they can be with us in future meetings.

Azeem has left Singapore for further studies in Nov 08 and thereafter work in UK for several years. Do continue to support our cause. We pray for your success.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Chapter 2 : Volunteer involvement

I thank the following individuals who would be rendering their time and effort in this volunteer driven project. The team consists of:

Volunteers (individuals helping in their personal capacity)
1. Azeem, student
2. Abdul Hamid, A/g Senior Manager North West Community Development Council (NWCDC)
3. Arfat Selvam,Managing Director, Arfat Selvam Alliance Advocates & Solicitors
4. Chua Han Kiang, self-employed
5. Chua Hong Yin, ideas artist Red Ink Communications
6. Dora Yip, Manager of Corp Comms National Volunteer & Philantrophy Centre (NVPC)
7. Elaine Lim, Societies Executive Ministry of Home Affairs
8. Fazidah, Manager of Admin Ministry of Education (MOE)
9. Hamzah, former Superintendent of MWH, student
10. Heriani Suliana, journalist Singapore Press Holdings
11. Jamaliah, student
12. Juniper Lee, Lecturer Ngee Ann Polytechnic
13.Khairuddin Masuri, Manager NWCDC
14.Koay Peng Yen, self-employed
15.Lynn Tan, Finance Officer Singapore Police Force
16.Martina Ambrose, Executive Officer (Planning & Research) National Youth Council
17.Md Helmy, Head of Youth Engagement Strategic Unit MUIS
18.Mohd Azmi, Head of Projects (Community in Bloom) Nparks
19.Mohd Firoz, Child Protection Officer Ministry of Community Development, Youth & Sports (MCYS)
20.Mohd Jamil, former Superintendent, school counsellor MOE
21.Nizan Haron, teacher MOE
22.Nurulhuda, A/g Senior Manager NWCDC
23.Rajiv, MBA student
24.Rizal, Programme Executive Ain Society
25.Rosna, Manager NWCDC (project co-ordinator)
26.Sainava, Head of Department MOE
27.Shahada, Librarian National Library Board (NLB)
28.Shahrin, Teacher/Therapist, Operation-in-charge St Andrew's Autism Centre
29.Shaifudin, Operations Analyst Citibank
30.Sharon Choo,freelance editor
31.Sopiawati, Purchaser Raffles Hospital
32.Sumarni Sarmin, Section Head Temasek Polytechnic
33.Osman, NSman
34.Yasmeen, psychology student

Staff of MWH
35.Tabrani, Superintendent
36.Nisa, Deputy superintendent
37.Rahim, Assistant Superintendent
38.Ismail, Religious Teacher, Programme Co-ordinator
39.Mardiana, Senior Social Worker
40.Noraini, Caseworker
41.Ruhainah, Caseworker
42.Aishah, Assistant Social Worker
43.Foziah, Senior Welfare Officer
44.Zulkiflee, Manager, Resource Development Unit MA
45.Kamaludeen, Resource Development officer MA

Management Committee of MWH
46.Ustaz Shaik Hussain, President Muhammadiyah Association (MA)
47.Ghazali, General Secretary MA
48.Shaik Mohd Iqbal, Financial Secretary MA, producer/editor Mediacorp

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Chapter 1 : A book creation

The initiative of publishing a book, with the intention of helping the children-at-risk kindled in mid Sep 08. Book reading expands knowledge and and it is one of the conventional ways to unfold messages the author is trying to deliver. A fine book can inspire its readers.

I identified Muhammadiyah Welfare Home (MWH) as the beneficiary agency. MWH provides residential care programmes to about 100 vulnerable male children between the ages of 9 and 18. The children are referred to the Home either by the Juvenile Court ot the Ministry of Community Development, Youth & Sports (MCYS). They stay in the Home for 2 to 3years.

Profile of residents:
- children from dysfunctional families and in need of shelter;
- children who are abused or neglected;
- children in need of care and protection;
- destitute and abandoned children;
- children are beyond parental control;
- children who are in conflict with the Law

I conveyed the book project idea to Nisa, Deputy Superintendent of MWH and she readily considered the proposal. Nisa then arranged for us to meet the management committee and key staff of MWH on 23 Sep 08.
Ustaz Shaik Hussain, President of Muhammadiyah Association (MA)
Ghazali, General Secretary of MA
Tabrani, Superintendent of MWH and
Rahim, Assistant Superintendent of MWH
were present and they earnestly supported the initiative. The initial proposal was to publish a commercial book featuring the motivating life stories of Singapore's 50 most outstanding Muslim individuals.

The creation of this book is timely - to commemorate MWH's 20 years since its inception in 1989 and the settling of the Home in a new premise next year.

All proceeds from the sale of the book will be chanelled to aid MWH provide a nurturing environment for the underpriviledged children. The Home is shifting to a new premise in Bedok North in 09. They still require $1/2 million to fund the renovation and restoration work of their new upgraded site. It is hoped that the profit from the book project could help relief part of the financial deficit.