Another Week Beyond – 2137

Dear friends, 

“Look around this room. What memories come to mind?” We posed this question to a group of youth assisting an artist to create a mural that adorns our premises at Whampoa. Spontaneously, one uttered, “Standing around this table like what we are doing now.” He elaborated that he was curious why his friends were gathered at the table and when he joined them, he realised that they were trying to solve an algebra problem. No one could do it and he remembers being very frustrated but it was still a good memory that comes to mind.

Another pointed to the bookshelves where he discovered the story of Peter Pan. “It is about a lost boy with no family and all he needs to do is survive. When I read the book, and how it shared about dreaming big, it made me so happy!” This conversation happened in July, and we were moved by how much our modest premises had meant to these young people. The common experience shared was walking in apprehensive and fearful of meeting so many new people but eventually enjoying speaking with them and learning about their lives.  

From Monday to Wednesday this week, these youths worked with Ohm, the artist from Just Sketch to complete the mural that highlighted their experiences in our programmes and importantly what they are most proud of in their neighbourhood. They are proud of the cleaners who are up as early as 5 pm, the “aunties” who are are always watching over them, giving good advice and often food too as well as the stray cats who seem to be patrolling and protecting the neighbourhood. In short, they are proud and grateful for the generosity, care and concern that assures them that Whampoa is a community that does not give up on them.

2 weeks ago,  I shared that we will be releasing a report on food insecurity in a public rental neighourhood. It is now available here and I would also like to take this opportunity to invite you to a presentation about it on Wednesday, 15 September 2021 from 4.00pm -5.30pm. You may register here to get your zoom link for “People Give, Just Take and Eat”: Food Insecurity and Food Aid in a Public Rental Neighbourhood.

As we continue to provide food aid, we will try to cater them from mothers participating in our income-generation programme so that as we meet needs, we will also build income-generating capabilities among others in the community.  Please support our current food aid campaign by clicking on the banner at the end of this message to contribute.

Wishing you good health and peace of mind.

Sincerely,

Gerard

There are two distinct languages. The verbal which separates people… and there is the visual which everyone understands. – Yaacov Agam

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

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Another Week Beyond – 2423

“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

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Reconnecting with Gratitude 

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

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Another Week Beyond – 2421

“Don’t bring your hooligan attitudes from your neighbourhood into ours!” A mother screamed at a teenager as he continued taunting her from a distance. Just a few minutes ago, the teenager and his friends were enjoying a game of street soccer against opponents below 12 years old.  His friends and he were visibly bigger and those watching were rooting for the “home team” of younger boys.   When spectators accused one of the older boys of unsporting rough play, play stopped, and angry words were exchanged all around. Recognising that they were not welcome, the older boys left the court grudgingly,

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Another Week Beyond – 2420

Community offers the promise of belonging and calls for us to acknowledge our interdependence. To belong is to act as an investor, owner, and creator of this place. – Peter Block In 2021, as we were trying to get activities in the community up and running again following the gradual relaxation of the COVID-19 safe-distancing rules, we met 10 youths who were mighty pleased to see us. They were bored stiff and were ready to join any activity that we introduced. Initially, they helped with the distribution of food and other household essentials, and they surprised themselves when they concluded

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Another Week Beyond – 2419

Change is hard. It is not something everyone deals with well.   We discovered this when we spoke to 4 young people who had to relocate to new homes (AWB-2417 dated Friday, April 26, 2024}.  They had to leave their ageing flats in Henderson and move to new homes. It was a change they were not looking forward to.  But such change is not only often necessary, but it is also a good way to shake things up and create a better life situation.  To help spin what was to some a negative experience into something positive, we took it upon

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Another Week Beyond – 2418

As Wednesday was Labour Day, we thought we’d share Salleh’s story in honour of all workers. This is also a timely reminder to ourselves to value and appreciate those among us whose hard work has made our lives easier in one way or another.  53-year-old delivery rider Salleh used to be a Chief Steward at a hotel, supervising the cleaning of crockery… While the job was stable, it was not fulfilling, “No matter how hard I work and how many problems I solve, my hours and pay never change.” So, when the health of his parents started failing, he quit.

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Another Week Beyond – 2417

Four friends aged 17 to 20 years old were telling us that their flats would be demolished in a year or so and they would be relocating to a different public rental neighbourhood. One of them seemed rather distressed but when we asked if he would be badly affected by the move, he clarified that he was living a few blocks away and was not affected. He was troubled that his friends were moving away and was thinking that it would only be a matter of time before he had to move to a different neighbourhood too. These young men

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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 >

Another Week Beyond – 2423

“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 >

Reconnecting with Gratitude 

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 >