Another Week Beyond – 1826

Dear Friends,

The Singapore Education System is organised to prepare students for work and life-long learning. Nonetheless, teenagers could do with a little help from the community to think about careers that they may want to pursue.

During the school holidays, the Apprentice Collective a volunteer group invited our youth to Day X which offered 2-hour slots for participants to get a taste of 3 different professions through hands-on activities. There were more than 60 different professions to choose from and the 3 teens who attended chose to meet a pharmacist, a financial planner and a photo-journalist. Perhaps, they were attracted by how the pharmacist was using Lego bricks to represent the different ingredients in a drug. However, as he explained the level of school performance that qualified one to train as a pharmacist, their interest waned. Somehow, they were not too interested in the financial planner either even though they followed his calculations how small savings compounded over time led to a substantial amount. This was a little puzzling as money is something they could do with. When it came to the photo-journalist, they listened intently and asked many questions. Later, we got a sense from our teens that it could be an aspiration where they felt they had a realistic chance of achieving.

KSL Changemakers was another volunteer group that helped our youth explore career options but mainly in the maritime industry where Kuok Singapore Limited is invested in. To introduce themselves, parents and youth were invited to “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” This week, they took our youths on the Singapore Maritime Trail to introduce the rich maritime history of the country and how landmarks like the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, the Fullerton Hotel and Clifford Square were significant.

Our youths found it most interesting hearing how a 23-metre tall lookout at the Customs House kept smugglers at bay. They also had fun navigating a ship with a simulator. They were in good spirits, joked with their guide and taking in the information even though it looked like they were not taking things seriously. We know this to be true because they continued asking us how they may make a start in the maritime industry when they returned to our office.

We care about our youth because we care about our future. In our caring, we impart values, advice and discipline that we believe are essential for a positive future or at least a responsible life. Yet often, youth do not seem very motivated and we describe them as rebellious, lazy, lost or with other words that categorise them as people who only have themselves to blame for their lack of aspiration, poor choices or risky life-styles. Hence, we are deeply appreciative of volunteers like The Apprentice Collective and KSL Changemakers who focus on the potential in our youth rather than their problems.

Two days ago, we were rushing Suria to her examinations and while waiting for the cab, she told us that she had never expected anyone to be interested in her ambition and it certainly made her a lot more determined to succeed. A few minutes earlier, she had been having pizza with Mr Hiew Yoon Khong, Mr Wan Kwong Weng and Ms Heng Sue Yuan, who were the Group CEO, Head Group Corporate Services/General Counsel and VP Corporate Communications of Mapletree respectively. These senior executives were catching up with our youths who are receiving assistance with their educational expenses from the company and they had a satisfying conversation about family, personal interests and careers. At the end of the session, our youth felt good about themselves and with their dignity in place, they did not have a poverty of aspiration.

Enjoy your weekend.
Gerard
“Love is our most basic human value and also our highest potential.” – ― Kamand Kojouri

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PAST AWB POSTS

Community, a place to care and grow (Another Week Beyond – 2424)

By Grace Yew, Community Worker “Pergi, jom” (Let’s go!). We go back to office with you to help you carry all these. You one person, how to carry all alone?” Fauziah insisted as she walked to the side of the lorry, ready to jump onto the passenger’s seat. Her husband who had helped her to hoist two huge tables and fifteen stools onto the lorry followed.  I laughed in disbelief.   It was 6 pm and Fauziah, had been out since ten in the morning, supporting 15 children to set up a community gathering below their flats that boasted carnival-style games

Read more >

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“Oh no, more bee hoon,” a mother uttered half embarrassed. “We need to coordinate better the next time,” she added. Our colleague who was present at this children’s birthday party organized by neighbours quickly responded, “Hey, we are having a been hoon feast prepared in 3 different ways and it’s great to have 3 flavours!” The generosity, hospitality and ownership displayed by the organizers were the indicators of success that we sought, and these were already in abundance. For example, a young man appeared in his military uniform to check that the cake his mother had baked on his behalf

Read more >

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2 weeks ago, our senior advisor Gerard received an email titled “Reconnecting with Gratitude” from someone who volunteered with us 20 years ago.  She told Gerard that she got his email from a friend of a friend and wanted to thank him in person for what he had said to her then. “I recall what you said to me that has impacted my life to this day,” was how she had put it.  She wrote that she was helping with a juggling programme where she accompanied the children to performances and as she was driving them back to the Centre

Read more >