Posts tagged: CCMC

National Day Dinner – Living The Local Dream

By , August 28, 2012 9:51 pm

Saturday, 25th August, saw me heading on down to the hard-court opposite the Anchorvale Community Club for the 2012 National Day Dinner.

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Surprisingly, after a relatively lengthy association with the Grassroots community in Sengkang West, this was the first time I had attended this extremely enjoyable and inclusive event. Let me tell you, I was not to be disappointed. All kudos to Mickey and the organizing committee for a fun-filled evening that was just bursting with national pride and excitement for all of the residents that attended.

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Along with the singing of Majulah Singapura and the recitation of the pledge, some highlights of the evening included presentation of awards to long-service committed community volunteers, symphony and choir performances, a Wushu display, performances by ITE College Central students and a very interesting and quite amusing spot by artiste, Donna Daniels.

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We were also entertained by a very talented magician, who literally left the audience with mouths agape… but the true spectacle of the whole night was an impromptu singing performance by the Guest of Honour, Dr Lam Pin Min – he actually has a very good voice!! 🙂

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A special mention should go out to the master of ceremonies, Derrick! He is just an absolute natural in this role.

Oh – did I mention the food… *mouth waters* – the menu was completely tantalizing to the taste buds.

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The CCMC members were seated at Table number 3, right down the front and nearest to all the ‘action’. One may well have thought from observing, that there was a spare seat at our table, but in fact we had reserved a spot for our very dear friend and recently departed, Mark Toh – I firmly believe that he was right there with us in spirit. Mark was a tireless and selfless volunteer to anybody who needed assistance, and he was a great mate whose deeds will forever be etched in my (and hundreds of others’) memory.

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Thanks again to the organizers, the event company, the performers and all of the many volunteers that gave up their time to ensure that the National Day Dinner was a 100% success!!

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I am so proud of my community!

Photo Credits for this article:

* Raymond Lee
* Sourajit Bhowmick
* Poor Quality Ones: My iPhone

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Source: Aussie Pete

2012 Community Dialogue – Sengkang West to Grow 80% by 2015

By , July 9, 2012 1:31 am

As a Grassroots Leader, one of the highlights of the year, is the annual Community Dialogue Day. Aside from the regular local ‘meet the people’ sessions with Dr Lam Pin Min, the Dialogue Day offers the opportunity for residents to share their observations or concerns, ask questions and feedback on issues that affect the community as a whole.

Mr Benny Thio (PBM, Chairman CCMC), Dr Lam Pin Min (MP Sengkang West and Grassroots Advisor), Mr Raymond Chua (BBM(L), Chairman CCC), Mr Peter Breitkreutz (Grassroots Leader, CCMC Member)

Mr Benny Thio (PBM, Chairman CCMC), Dr Lam Pin Min (MP Sengkang West and Grassroots Advisor), Mr Raymond Chua (BBM(L), Chairman CCC), Mr Peter Breitkreutz (Grassroots Leader, CCMC Member)

Along with the local MP, Dr Lam, Mr Raymond Chua, BBM(L) (Chairman of the CCC) and Mr Benny Thio, PBM (Chairman of the CCMC – of which I am a member), the group of panelists also included representatives from LTA (Ms Margarita Loh) and the AMK Town Council (Mr Chris Goh).

Panelists

Panelists

The morning began on Sunday, 8th July at 9am, at which time breakfast was served and residents and Grassroots representatives from the various Sengkang West zones were offered the chance to network and engage informally.

By around 10am, the Anchorvale Community Club Multi-Purpose Hall was quite full, and the dialogue session commenced.

Dr Lam began with a short presentation of the various activities and events that have taken place over the previous 12-months, along with insights into the significant number of improvements, constructions and beneficial changes that have occurred, are currently being undertaken or are slated to begin, looking out through this year, into to 2013 and out to 2015 and even 2018.

Although I consider myself well versed and knowledgable in what ‘has’, ‘is’, and ‘will be’ taking place in my local community, I must say I was nothing less than amazed at the various things covered off in this presentation of which I was not aware.

For example, I have always described Sengkang West to friends, colleagues and readers of my blog, as ‘one of the fastest growing communities in Singapore’. If only I had truly understood the speed at which we are growing!!

I learned today, that Sengkang West will grow in size (population) by a staggering 80% by the year 2015!! That is a huge increase by anyone’s standards.

Of course, I have seen the new estates and blocks pop up over the last three years, have been aware of the massive improvements in public transport, increases in covered walkways, and witnessed the many upgrading activities. But not until today, did I understand how much was still yet to come.

The following is a listing of the HDB estates being built just in Fernvale (the west side of Sengkang West, and where our home is).

New and upcoming HDB estates in Fernvale

New and upcoming HDB estates in Sengkang West

This does not include those opening up in Anchorvale, the H2O residences (first private condo in the constituency), the upcoming EC in Fernvale Lane (opposite our block on the Fernvale side and opposite Greenwich V on the YCK Road side) and of course, the new schools on the way in 2013, the hospital that will be completed by around 2018, the new shopping mall being built on the vacant block next door to Fernvale Point (which will be 2/3 the size of Compass Point), and to accomodate all of this, the further planned improvements to public transport, and even new roads being built – including the current construction to move traffic off Jalan Kayu and on to a parallel ‘feeder’ to the TPE direct from Yio Chu Kang Road.

GET YOUR HEAD AROUND ALL OF THAT, MY FRIENDS!!

Two new schools opening in 2013

Two new schools opening in 2013

At the outset of the dialogue, it was made clear to all that the day would be better framed as a ‘sharing and feedback’ session than straight ‘dialogue’. Residents were encouraged to pose questions to the panel and to share their observations openly and candidly.

All credit to everyone in attendance… the ‘sharing’ and ‘openness’ was in fact just that! It lasted until around 12:30pm in the afternoon, at which time lunch was served.

It is fair to say, that it would be easy for such a session to easily turn out to be an opportunity for concerned or dissatisifed residents to air any grievances in perhaps a not so ‘healthy manner’… once again all kudos to those in attendance for civility and contructiveness!

Among the issues raised and the questions posed, were concerns of a (new to SW) ‘working mother’ with child care opportunities in the area, school enrolments and inefficiency of transportation.

Also, a non-working mother asking about subsidies; Residents seeking clarification on the GST credit program; questions surrounding CCTV in elevators and how to curb bicycle theft in particular estates; how one local high school will be cutting Tamil and Malay classes in 2013 and another local primary school leaving the exhaust fans on in their kitchen areas late at night causing enough noise that some residents have lost valuable sleep – All of which were answered well by Dr Lam and the panel and with an intimate amount of knowledge. For a couple of items, clarification will be sought by the appropriate departments / functions and the residents will be advised of the response and actions.

Quite a large number of residents of all ages were in attendance

Quite a large number of residents of all ages were in attendance

A couple of common themes surrounded transportation (notably the 163 bus service), and how the operators will cope with the huge increase in population by 2015, and health services (the three ‘M’s).

Nearer the end of the session, one gentleman hailing originally from Beijing and now a 10-year citizen of Singapore, put forward his concerns over many issues from over-crowded transportation and taxation thresholds to importing of foreign talent. All points were noted and very well answered and dealt with by the panel.

As well as gaining personal value and insights from the entire session, I was very glad to meet up and have some 1-on-1 time with residents that I already knew (surpringly, quite a large number), as well as quite a few I was meeting for the very first time.

Thani, Dr Lam, Sourajit and Pete

Thani, Dr Lam, Sourajit and Pete

Also encouraging, was the large number of attendees (in a non-election year) – it goes to show you how passionate this community of Sengkang West is. We may be growing at a huge rate of knots, but with the input and feedback of the people on the ground, Sengkang West will be able to pre-empt the waves before they hit the shore.

It is quite clear to me, that the constituency is already way ahead of the curve, and it makes me proud (as I have always said) to shout the catch phrase out loud – “Sengkang West – Our Home”!

Click here to view more photos from the Community Dialogue Day

Source: Aussie Pete

How Foreigners Can Truly Integrate In Singapore Instead Of Just Mixing

By , December 14, 2011 1:49 am

Source: Aussie Pete

Regardless of which country you come from or where you live, one of the most satisfying ways of achieving self-fulfillment and personal growth and at the same time forging very tight and often unbreakable bonds with your neighbours and fellow local residents is through community volunteer work.

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In my case, as a foreigner settling into Singapore, it has also been a means to achieving a very deep level of integration in my heartland community. Not only have my local relationships developed from ones of ‘familiarity’ into those of ‘strong friendships’, as a Caucasian married to a beautiful Chinese wife with two absolutely adorable Eurasian children, I feel that although we may be considered a ‘minority’ (racially) in our local estate, we feel completely accepted by those around us. There is never any animosity and I have learned that the colour of my skin or country of heritage is of absolutely no consequence in my day to day interactions.

Sure, when we first moved to Singapore all those years ago, living in a condo in Woodlands, we were both scared and intimidated… we were not sure at all how we should go about integrating, earning and giving respect and gaining acceptance. For the first couple of years, we were certainly not doing a great job of it at all. In fact, we even took people staring as a sign of dislike toward us – when in reality, what we considered may be a ‘coolness’ from local Singaporeans at the time, was probably more due to inquisitiveness and curiosity.

Let me tell you for a fact… open your heart and lives with no pretense and you will surely find (as we have) that Singapore is one of the most warm and kindest societies on this planet.

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palogoAs a part of my collaboration with notatourist.sg, I wanted to reach out to fellow foreigners looking for ways to integrate and become accepted as part of their local community, by offering some brief guidance and key links on how they can offer their services through Grassroots volunteer work. (Please note, the following information is far from exhaustive, and I strongly encourage you to have a surf around the People’s Association website – link attached at the bottom of this article).

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As my role as a Grassroots Leader in Sengkang West, the past year has seen a very exciting range of activities and the number of new personal and family friendships are too many to count…. from working with Residents’ Committees on block parties, divisional activities and events (I even had the opportunity to meet Prime Minister Lee at our Sengkang West Wellness Day) to the huge Halloween party we held at the CC in late October, for which I was co-chairman of the organizing committee. It’s been a huge year!!

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Specifically, although my main role is as a member of the Anchorvale CCMC (Community Club Management Committee), I often also work closely with my local Residents’ Committee on things even ‘closer to home’… in fact, I even patrol our estate with the local constabulary as part of the COP (citizens on patrol) – in collaboration with the police force, it is known as the ‘Neighbourhood Watch Zone’ program.

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For more information on what the CCMC does, click here. In summary, Community Club Management Committees (CCMCs) “help build, manage and maintain all our Community Clubs (CCs). CCs are the common meeting ground for residents from all walks of life by providing numerous recreational activities and learning opportunities. CCs also connect residents and the Government by providing relevant information and gathering feedback on national concerns and policies. Each CC serves about 15,000 households or an average of 50,000 people”.

Within our CCMC, are five executive committees – Senior Citizens’ EC, Women’s EC, Youth EC, Malay Activity EC, Indian Activity EC. Through this network, we “promote racial harmony and social cohesion through the various cultural, educational, recreational, sporting, social and other community-based activities organised specially for residents.”

The full list of organizations and committees available for volunteering can be found on the PA website, under the Grassroots Organization section.

To sign-up as a volunteer, simply go here and register your details and interests.

One of the most common questions I get asked on signing up as a volunteer, is “But I don’t live in a HDB estate, how can I get involved?”… Well fret not, dear friends – residents of private housing estates can still play their part by joining a Neighbourhood Committee.

Still in doubt or need extra advice, please feel free to reach out to me directly via email or comment.

I found the following ‘structure’ chart sometime ago on another blog which illustrates nicely, the various committees and how we come together:

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People’s Association Main Website – Click Here

A Beautiful Sunny Day In Sengkang West – Happy Birthday!

By , May 15, 2011 2:32 am

On 8th May, 2011 (day after the general election), Sengkang West celebrated its 5th anniversary with our Community Day. Nearly 3,000 residents braved the hottest weekend of the year, to attend the celebrations.


As usual, with any community event, and especially one of this magnitude, so many volunteers came out early to prepare for the day. Given the late evening before (it was around 4am before any of us got any sleep after the excitement of the general election vote counting), it was a mighty effort from all concerned, and given the timing, was not without logistical challenges in the days leading up to the event…

From Mickey (who is pictured here below with his kick-start of a double-shot of coffee, and who also happens to be my co-chairperson for what could just well be the hugest community event for 2011, which will be happening this October – big secret right now, but keep your eye out for the announcement as the date gets closer), the PCF, RC and CCMC members and groups, to our guest-of-honour, Dr Lam Pin Min, who (after about 9 days of campaigning), I suspect had very little sleep at all after being re-elected as the Sengkang West MP for the next 5-years. It was fantastic to see so many people cheering and congratulating him on the result – in my humble opinion, I think the citizens made a very good decision at the polling stations… if the reaction of the residents at the community day is anything to go on, Dr Lam is very popular indeed.


 

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WTH MOMENT!!

Before the event… preparations underway – it was a bit of a Mr Bean beginning for me – sweating and somewhat muscle-sore after spending a lot of time arranging around 400 chairs into position, while taking some pictures of the PCF teachers, the strong wind blew a large whiteboard into the air, only to land corner-first on the top of my head. The loud ‘bang’ was enough to draw the sympathy of everybody around, and many people came to my aid. Of course, wanting to always appear to be the tough man, although I was very embarrassed, I pretended it didn’t hurt at all… when no one was watching, I slinked off to the toilet to clean the gash on the top of my head and wash the blood from my hair – I still have a lump on my head today 🙁



As usual, I cannot post pictures of any of our community events without the mandatory ones of my kids looking cute:

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I had to include an image of the ‘Mountain’ of goodie bags that were prepared for the residents… the artwork for the bag design was created by ‘yours truly’… after much discussion and voting on a variety of designs, images and fonts that I offered up, we (the organizing committee) finally agreed on this one:



A beautiful sunny day in Sengkang West – looking back at our estate from Fernvale Point… not a cloud in the sky!!


Below are some more pictures from the day. I snapped around 600+, and it’s always difficult to pick the right few for my blog, so be sure to view the galleries by clicking the following links:

Sengkang West Community Day – Gallery 1
Sengkang West Community Day – Gallery 2
Sengkang West Community Day – Gallery 3

















 

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Source: Aussie Pete Legacy Blog

The Day I Met The Prime Minister of Singapore!

By , April 3, 2011 11:11 pm

Source: Aussie Pete

Any of my colleagues or people that know me (in real life, or in the social media space), are probably tired of me reminding them that today was the day that the Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, was to pay a visit to our small but very close-knit community in Sengkang West.

The day I met the PM - Jaime, Aussie Pete, PM Lee and Dr Lam Pin Min

The day I met the PM - Jaime, Aussie Pete, PM Lee and Dr Lam Pin Min

After many weeks of planning and the tireless efforts of a small group of people from the Residents Committee (RC, Zones E & F) and the CCMC (Anchorvale Community Centre Management Committee), the ‘Wellness Day’ event was a ripping success!

Following on from our final organizing meeting yesterday morning, we all met at Blk 437 for a final briefing and breakfast this morning at 8:00am, before heading over to Fernvale Point to put the finishing touches on the location and to ensure all of the logistics were taken care of.

PM Lee and our local MP, Dr Lam

PM Lee and our local MP, Dr Lam


For anyone visiting our community for the first time, it would be quite understandable if you were to assume that this usually laid-back pocket of the heartlands had become the fashionable place to hang-out on a Sunday morning. With literally thousands of people out to enjoy the day and a shared excited anticipation at the upcoming treat of PM Lee’s attendance, the entire area was literally ‘abuzz’!

And nobody was disappointed!! The agenda and event went off like clock-work. I could start naming people responsible for the meticulous planning, but I fear if I did, I may miss one or more people in doing so. These wonderful givers to the community know who you are, but I do think a special shout-out needs to be given to Peter (not me) and Mickey.

Although PM Lee arrived a little earlier than planned, it was no concern or isssue for everyone involved. Upon being greeted by Grassroots leaders, the PM, accompanied with the very popular Dr Lam Pin Min were treated with a fabulous welcome and performance from around 325 children of the various local PCF (PAP Community Foundation) kindergartens.

325 Students from PCF Kindergartens performed for the PM

325 Students from PCF Kindergartens performed for the PM

Shortly thereafter, Mr Lee met with many of the residents, many of whom seized the opportunity for a photograph with the charismatic leader – ‘yours truly included’ – which was no simple task let me tell you, given that my ‘official role’ for the day was that of photographer for the CCMC and RC’s… I managed to off-load the camera to my wife in a well-rehearsed play, swooped up my son, Jaime, in my arms, and managed to get to actually not just meet with the PM, but also had a very meaningful conversation with him. Dr Lam introduced us, and described my involvement in the Sengkang West Grassroots and CCMC. Then PM Lee proceeded to display genuine interest in my time here in Singapore… and my son, although overwhelmed at the time, has not stopped speaking about how we met the Prime Minister – I think he’s got some serious ‘showing off’ and boasting ahead of him tomorrow at kindergarten (he asked me to print off a photo for his ‘show and tell’ already) :p

A very down to earth and charismatic man - Lee Hsien Loong

A very down to earth and charismatic man - Lee Hsien Loong

Welcome and pleased to meet you!

Welcome and pleased to meet you!

Following on from a walkthrough around the various establishments within Fernvale Point and meeting the shopkeepers and vendors, we had a simple but very delightful snack at Koufu – and managed to cool off a bit in the process… it was a very warm and humid morning.

Soon after, it was time to say farewell to PM Lee, and although I suspect that the organizing teams took a collective sigh of relief, it was definitely accompanied by a real sense of accomplishment… and very well deserved.

This event, my first as a member of the organizing committee of any community event in Sengkang West, was a roaring success – in our eyes, as well as that of the community. The smiles and genuine admiration and happiness shown by our local people will be etched in my memory – this is why I love getting involved in community activities and why I have decided to take an active role in our local community – our HOME – SENGKANG WEST!

We All Love Sengkang West

We All Love Sengkang West

To see the galleries of pictures I took on the day, just click the following links – with great effort, I managed to somehow reduce the number of pictures to less than 400 (so I could fit in two albums on Facebook):

Click for Wellness Day – Gallery 1

Click for Wellness Day – Gallery 2

Wellness Day at Fernvale Point – 3rd April, 2011 – a day to remember! The Day I Met The Prime Minister of Singapore.

Guest of Honour - Lee Hsien Loong

Guest of Honour - Lee Hsien Loong

Opposition Parties to Struggle – Grassroots Breakfast and Family Carnival in Sengkang West

By , March 20, 2011 5:43 pm

Let me get one thing straight – I have very little knowledge about the upcoming election, except for what I read in the papers, see on TV and find in the social media.

From: Aussie Pete

Having said that, I do have quite a lot of time and respect for our local MP in Sengkang West, Dr Lam Pin Min. I have met Dr Lam on a few occassions now, the most recent being at Fernvale Point this morning. Off to an early start for a Sunday, I met up with a number of my fellow Grassroots members (CCMC and RC) and neighbours from the local community at the Koufu food court.

The atmosphere was quite abuzz, with the arrival of Dr Lam not long after we started sipping on our Kopi. As usual, he was immaculately groomed and the admiration and even friendship displayed to him by all of the community members present, was immediately apparent, as he moved from table to table to engage in conversation with everybody in attendance… my most amazing observation, was how he recognises and knows so many people personally. So much so, that I was somewhat embarrassed later after the gathering – Dr Lam remembered in which block I live, and questioned me as to why I drove the short distance of only a couple of blocks… I told him it was because I was feeling lazy – although half true, the actual main reason was that 8:00am on a Sunday is very early for me. If I didn’t drive, I would’ve arrived even later than I already did.

During the breakfast, I was treated to my first real exposure to politics in Singapore. I turned to see a huge procession of ‘baby blue’ T-Shirts. I was told by one of my mates, that this was one of the opposition parties… talk about ‘full force’! They moved along like a parade of dignatories or royalty – single file, shaking hands with everyone in their path, and distributing brochures all the way.

When they arrived at our table, the apparent ‘leader’ of the group shook my hand and asked “Where are you from?”… not sure of the actual intention of the question, I responded “Singapore” (after all, I was only 2 blocks from my home)… this brought about laughter among his ranks, and led to his next question (which seemed somewhat ‘loaded’) – “Oh, are you a citizen?”… now I understood the intent – maybe his original question could have been better worded as, “Will you be eligible to vote in the election?”… needless to say, I was not given a party brochure. 🙂

With my hand ready to cramp up from the multitude of handshakes that ensued, as the rest of the blue shirts passed me by, I was not all that surprised to see the gathering of media already buzzing around… I saw at least Channel News Asia crew and became aware of the Straits Times journalist when he approached me immediately after the blue shirts and also asked if I was PR or Citizen.

Anyway – what started as a very simple breakfast with local friends, ended up as somewhat of a political event… the reason I suggest in the topic of this article that it was (or is) a challenge for the opposition, is that regardless of what one might read or see in the news, after talking with so many of my neighbours and friends and those in attendance, the support for Dr Lam Pin Min seems somewhat overwhelming. He has undoubtedly done so much good for this community already, and I’m sure he will continue to do so in the future… I suspect that the opposition really does have their work cut out for them in this SMC.


Shortly after leaving Fernvale Point, I went home and collected the family, donned my Sengkang West Zone E, RC T-Shirt, and we trekked back across to Block 412 for what was a very successful block party (Family Carnival).
A huge congratulations to the RC organizers and volunteers – the kids were running around with permanent smiles on their faces… and I understand that tickets to this event were sold out completely well in advance. It was also winderful to see residents digging into their pockets to help out in the ‘Japan Disaster Appeal’!

Below are a few pictures from the event – and by clicking here you can see even more!!













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