Another Week Beyond – 1903

Dear Friends,
Last year, with the help of volunteers we sought to gain a better understanding of a neighbourhood by talking to residents, shop-owners, social service providers, grassroots leaders and others who lived or worked in the vicinity. The information was put together as a “neighbourhood health report” and we presented it as part of a meeting with 19 families residing there to reflect on the year gone by and to engage them for the one ahead.

When we mentioned that the men seemed to be missing in their neighbourhood, a roomful of women laughed. There was one man present at the meeting, but he conceded that the observation was accurate in that men generally preferred not to get too involved in the affairs of the neighbourhood and there were many single-parent families because the father was incarcerated.

A couple of women responded that as such, they have figured out how to fix leaky taps and attend to other simple household repairs. The man who was present then suggested that they could run a class to pass on their skills to other women. In a similar vein, others shared that they were willing to share their baking, cooking and sewing skills that may be used for generating some income.

Just as we had hoped, those present were relating to the information presented thoughtfully and this led to animated discussions about the extent to which neighbours should be disciplining each other’s children. Some feared that by doing so, they would get into unpleasant disagreements with the child’s parents. Nonetheless, we were heartened when discussions were summed up with “Berat sama dipikul, ringan sama dijinjing.” A Malay saying that translates as, “A load whether heavy or light should be carried together” implying that troubles shared are troubles halved.

After the meeting, a 19-year-old came to us and burst into tears. During our presentation, the success of her younger brother was highlighted. He did well at ITE and was offered a course of study at the LASELLE College of the Arts. This had gotten her thinking about her own future. In 2017, her results at ITE were not stellar and her application for another programme was unsuccessful. Since then, she had struggled to move on and told us that she feared job interviews after messing up a couple. We then learned that she had recently resubmitted an application to return to ITE and wished her luck. That evening she sent us a message thanking us for listening to her. We really hope she get another stab at her studies.

Enjoy your week.

Gerard

Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future.- Robert H. Schuller

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PAST AWB POSTS

Another Week Beyond 2428 – The Making of a Youth Leader

By: Nina, Community Relations I met Atiqah ten years ago when I was a Community Worker. It was at a photography workshop we had organized for youths. She was a shy, soft-spoken 16-year-old. Her family had only recently moved in, so she didn’t know any other youths in the neighborhood yet. Throughout the few sessions we held, she mostly kept to herself, except when she offered to help me with minor tasks. Despite her discomfort being around others, she always showed up when invited to our programmes. I always admired Atiqah’s quiet determination and was pleased to see her slowly

Read more >

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No Wealth, No Health? Written by: Pei Ling, Community Relations How often do you find yourself in this situation? You’re unwell or in pain, and it’s been going on for while. But you choose not to see a medical practitioner because you feel you cannot afford it. This is a common scenario amongst Singapore’s financially-challenged – families living in rental public housing. And this is what happened to Ismail. When I visited Ismail on a routine follow-up, he was limping and clearly in pain. He told me he had a slipped disc. I asked about the medical treatment he was

Read more >

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by Wilson, Community Worker Grizzly to Teddy During one of our recent learning programmes, one of the kids who attended was an often moody, sometimes truculent 8-year-old.  Let’s call him “Teddy.” Our expectations of Teddy were, from experience, tempered. How well he participated in our activities and interacted with others depended on his disposition from week to week. At this particular session, Teddy was what we had come to describe as “his usual self” – shouting vulgarities and being disruptive. He risked injury by playing with a sliding door, even after being asked by a volunteer to stop. In fact,

Read more >