We are continuing to appeal to our readers and visitors to donate to our work of running two centres. The annual budget is RM120,000 (USD38,000) for 2014 and 2015 and will grow higher as we recruit more staff and take in additional trainees.

Please make payment to 'Persatuan Berdikari Seremban Negeri Sembilan' with your name and address on a cover slip so we can mail you our official receipt. All donations from April 1 2011 will be exempted from taxation by the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia. Please send the payment to:

The Treasurer, Persatuan Berdikari Seremban Negeri Sembilan, 381, Jalan Kenanga 1, Taman Bukit Chedang, 70300 Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia.

Thank you for your support.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Year End Christmas Party

As has been the practice for the past 10 years, trainees celebrated the completion of one year with a Christmas Party at the centre involving singing, games, food and receiving of gifts. There were broad smiles on their faces as well as on the faces of the parents who came. On hand to help were 4 students from the D'nous Academy, a gathering of young Christians, who led in singing and games. Here are some pictures of the fun event. The centre will close for the coming weeks and reopen on January 4, 2010.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Anxieties of Pending Disabilities

I happened to read this post and would like to share it with you. I believe this is a concern some middle age parents understand and with more people choosing to delay marriage and setting up their families the risk of conceiving a child with disabilities grow. Some would want to get rid of the 'inconvenience' or 'burden' but this particular writer has come to term with the reality. Let me quote from his blog:

And we thought about the possibility of how a disabled sibling burdening the three children now. We reasoned that disabled or not, each sibling should be treated equally and that in itself is the meaning of life.

We could no longer think about the risks. It now became clear of what to do next: forget about amniocentesis. We would keep the pregnancy, whatever it comes to us. There is no longer the need to evaluate the risks. It feels so liberating to us suddenly.

Those of us who do not have any disabled family members may not fully understand the turmoil and anxieties associated with having disabled family members. At best we empathise, at worse we think they can use money to overcome whatever inconvenience they suffer.

In PBSNS we stand in the gap. We see how different families of our trainees deal with them and we see how different trainees respond to the work they are given to do. At the one extreme, we can see how some families love their disabled children; at the other, they silently hope that they will cease to trouble them. It is really sad that some disabled people are written off so easily. They did not ask to be disabled nor did they cause disabilities to be upon them.

Acceptance. This is the key word that families with disabled children ought to consider if they have not. Not to view disability as a curse, a bad omen, troublesome or time consuming, but to see the life within that disabled person and how to involve him or her within the family circle as a living person. Like the example set by the newly installed Yang DiPertuan of Negeri Sembilan (or Yamtuan), Tuanku Muhriz Tuanku Munawir whose youngest son Tunku Alif Hussein Saifuddin is a special child. You can read about the royal family HERE.

Many of us spend our lives being anxious of many issues. Like the blogger above, stopping to think about the risks give him and his wife the opportunity to be free to live a fuller life.

Remember to watch the 2 videoclips. They are powerful and an encouragement to everyone.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Promotion at 34th Session TRAC

Last Sunday, November 22, I was at the 34th session of the Trinity Annual Conference or TRAC at Everly Resort Hotel in Melaka to promote the work of the association to the churches represented. I distributed 200 sets of flyers and notes to the delegates and observers while David and Dorothy set up stall outside the conference hall to sell handmade cards and bookmarks.

The promotion is timely as we are preparing to launch a bigger fund raising to finance our building purchase as well as a larger operating budget. We are planning to organize a fund raising dinner next year. Assistance in all forms will be appreciated.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Learning Disabled Susan Boyle Shows the World

How many of us do not know Susan Boyle? The 47 year old unemployed single lady with a learning disability who sang her way into 2nd place at the Britain's Got Talent 2009 Season 3 shows how we tend to write off people with LD as incapable or untalented. You can read more of Susan HERE and HERE. In her own words, Susan said,

"I had a slight disability, but rather than let that rule my life I had to find my abilities and make the most of them instead," she said. "This feels like a good way of making up for that – a very, very enjoyable way of making up for it as well."

Susan also said she was tormented by classmates and beaten by teachers because of her learning disabilities. "I'm just a wee bit slower at picking things up than other people," she said. "So you get left behind in a system that just wants to rush on, you know? That was what I felt was happening to me."

"There was discipline for the sake of discipline back then," Boyle continued. "But it's all very different now. I think teachers are taught to understand children with learning disabilities a lot better."

I just hope that Malaysians will stand up for people in our midst like Susan and help find the hidden talents in them. If you like to listen to the extraordinary rendition of 'I Dreamed a Dream' by Susan please click the link below.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Visit by Asia Community Service

A team of 22 staff and members (trainees) from the Stepping Stone Support Centre for Community Living of ACS in Penang visited us yesterday. In the morning they were taken to the ostrich farm in Seremban where they enjoyed riding the birds. Trainees from our centre went along too. We hosted lunch for everybody at the centre after the farm visit followed by a batik art teaching session by Jeffrey Suah of Noble Creations in Seremban for all the trainees while the staff were given a presentation of our work.

ACS also trains learning disabled people like we do but on a different model. Presently they produce art design, batik work and other products for sale and their members are paid salaries. Some of their works are exported. To learn more of their work you can surf to their website.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Here are 2 pictures taken of our booth at the recent Malaysian Care exhibition at DUMC.

Update 2:
We have finally received our certificate of registration under the Care Centres Act 1993.

Update 3:
The Wesley Methodist Church Seremban gave us space to update the congregation on our work at the PBSNS Sunday on August 16, 2009. The church also set aside the general offerings received that day to our work. We want to record our appreciation to the church and the worshippers for their generosity.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Malaysian Care’s 30th Anniversary Celebration

In conjunction with the above, we are setting up a booth at the venue, Damansara Utama Methodist Church in Section 13, Petaling Jaya. Click HERE for more details and location map. The exhibition will be from the evening of August 14 until lunchtime August 16.

We welcome you to our booth no. 12. It is situated outside the main auditorium's side entrance and opposite the security office.

See you there.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dealing with A H1N1 Virus

3 months after the dreaded A H1N1 virus surfaced in Mexico and begun infecting humans, the sourge has made almost 200,000 people worldwide ill and killing over 1,300 of its victims. Although it is pandemic it is not a killer but we have not paid sufficient and serious attention to stop its multiplication. In Malaysia we have recorded almost 1,500 cases of imported and locally transmitted infections, over half of which are now locally transmitted. Of these we have already read of 11 deaths, 3 of which are within the past 24 hours. It is a worrisome trend. Any gathering of people in close proximity can give rise to cross infection and must be grounds for preventive actions. PBSNS has 25 trainees and up to 4 adult trainers and volunteers at any one time. Until today we have had little concern as none of our members have reported sick. Today we have a trainer who was ill, not seriously but he has been advised to self-quarantine and seek medical treatment if he does not recover in a day or two. Some trainees are coughing and the instruction given out is that parents with trainees who are unwell (cough, sneeze, fever) must not send them to the centre. If they do come they will be sent home to minimize exposing the other trainees. Trainers and volunteers who are unwell should inform the centre and be excused. In the worse case scenario, if a large number of the trainees and caregivers are unwell, be it from normal flu or H1N1 virus, the centre will have to be closed temporarily to mitigate the situation. We will watch for further developments and act accordingly.

We pray for the Malaysian Care 30th Anniversary Exhibition next weekend in Petaling Jaya in which we plan to participate, that our staff will be well to attend, that the various participants in the various events will not be afflicted with flu of any sort.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Talk on Nutritional Issues of Special People

We were privileged to be given a talk this morning by Ms Mary Easaw, Senior Manager of the Dietetic and Food Services of the Institut Jantung Negara. On hand to listen are 33 people comprising staff, committee, volunteers, parents, caregivers and trainees. Ms Easaw explained the various problems parents and caregivers face in feeding and providing adequate nutrition to different groups of special people such as those with cerebral palsy, autism, down syndrome and those with cleft lips. She emphasised the need for these people to be given balanced diet supplemented with vitamins. Advices were given on how to deal with people not taking their food well because of emotional, allergy, stresses or associated health problems. She recommended that a food record be kept on the type and amount of food taken each day to enable a dietician to determine causes of imbalance or poor appetite. She spoke bilingually in English and Bahasa Malaysia for the benefit of some parents who are not conversant in English.

At the close of the 2 hours talk and Q&A session we gave Ms Easaw a love gift and a card specially made by the trainees.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ministry Fair at Wesley Church

As part of her 40 Days of Purpose Campaign, the Wesley Methodist Church of Seremban organized a Ministry Fair this morning at its Youth Centre to help members and guests familiarise with the various church works and to consider joining one or more of them as service to the church and community. As PBSNS is an affiliation to the church we were given the opportunity to set up a booth to publicise our work. It was well attended by members who came not just for the free bookmarks but also take away our partnership brochures.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

1st AGM Successfully Concluded

To say that I was not nervous in chairing my first AGM would be untruthful. It was my first experience and I have to be sure I followed the constitutions of the Persatuan. The very first thing I was to ensure is the quorum. The constitution requires no less than 10 out of 19 members to be in attendance and we had 14 so the AGM proceeded as planned at 11am today soon after the committee meeting ended.

Being our first AGM the agenda was simple: adopt the minutes of the inaugural AGM, presenting the chairman's and treasurer's reports and dealing with matters for which sufficient notice was given. The members present discussed the issues at hand. They were updated on the latest development on the acquisition of the building adjacent to the centre, and proposed plans for its future development.

The meeting ended at 12.30pm on a high note. The coming years will see significant expansion of the work of PBSNS and lots of work to be done. Somehow I felt God's partnership in this work very positively and believe that the building fund that we will be launching will meet with good support.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The AGM Approaches

On June 20 the Persatuan will hold its first AGM since its inception on April 5, 2008. The Persatuan began operation in August 2008 and took over the full work from Pusat Berdikari Seremban or PBS from January 2009. The audited accounts for the period July - December 2008 has been finalized and my annual report as chairman of the Persatuan is in its finishing stage.

In order that the AGM will be meaningful I hope that most if not all the members will turn up for the meeting at 11.00am at the Wesley Church office (above the centre). If you are a member of the Persatuan please consider this a gentle reminder to attend.

Beautiful Gate Foundation Dedication Service

This afternoon I attended the dedication service of the Beautiful Gate Foundation for the Disabled (Seremban) new building in Mambau, Seremban by the Rev. Boh Che Suan, President of the Chinese Annual Conference of the Methodist Church in Malaysia. The BGF is a community project of CAC for those who are wheelchair bound and trains them in useful trades. They have 6 centres throughout the country.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

An important date has been etched in the history of the Persatuan today when we received a group of 11 Rotarians from the Seremban Rotary Club and the District Governor, Dr Rajindar Singh and his wife Surendra (also a Rotarian) who were here on a gift bearing mission. They came to present us cheques for the purchase of a sealing machine and an electric oven which will be used in the straw packing and bakery projects respectively. The value of their donations is RM4100 and we wish to record our deepest appreciation for their charity towards our work.

We also wish to record our thanks to Dr CS Paul who is a member of the Seremban chapter of the Rotary Club and initiated this donation.

We believe that a new chapter has opened in the cooperation between ourselves and the Rotary Club Seremban. The Rotary District regularly receives funds from foundations to disburse to worthy causes. We hope that we can be counted as one of their beneficiaries in future when we need to equip our new centre.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Multi-National Visit

We had a surprise visit from a very interesting group today. 9 members from the All Souls (Anglican) Church, London, dropped by for a visit to understand our work. They were in Malaysia as part of their mission work to help a local church carry out some local mission and local church works. They helped build a house for a Sengoi pastor, led in worship and taught English to the Vietnamese community here in Seremban. Coming to PBSNS is a 'bonus' as it was not part of their itinerary. We gave our visitors a briefing and showing them how the trainees carry out their work.

In case you are curious, the multi-national group comprise members from England, Northern Ireland, Germany, United States, Brazil, S. Korea, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Securing Our Base

Eversince we became a registered body in April last year we have toyed with the idea of securing our own building. Presently we are renting the ground floor of the Wesley Seremban church office shoplot. The adjacent shoplot was vacant for over a year after the tenant moved out and the owner was keen to sell or rent it out. Unfortunately the location was not suitable for retail businesses and there were no enquiries, so the shop stayed vacant. The For Sale/Rent sign came up early this year and we decided this is a good time to check out as property market in this recession year is weak. After some negotiations we are pleased to announce that the owner have agreed to sell us the shoplot at a good price. Today we paid the 2% downpayment. In the coming months we hope that the process of securing the title will proceed smoothly. Once we have secured the property we will start work to repair, renovate and equip the building so that we can expand the work of training the learning disabled.

Although we have almost enough finance to meet the cost of purchase, we need additional funds to pay for the repairs, renovation and equipping of the new centre. We continue to appeal to churches and wellwishers to support our PBSNS Partnership Appeal. To encourage public donations we plan to apply for tax exemption for our building fund for this purchase.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Government Asked to Help Learning Disabled

The Star in its today's edition under 'Friday Reflections' by B.K. Sidhu (Page B2, StarBiz News) appealed to the government to pay more attention to the learning disabled by providing a bigger budget to help them acquire specialised education to overcome, or at least reduce their disabilities that they may develop useful careers. She asked the education minister to 'not miss an important chapter which involves children with learning disabilities and special children.'

She said that 'a child with learning disabilities who is nurtured in the right environment can be a winner'. She gave the examples of Bill Gates and Richard Branson who were diagnosed with dyslexia but they are successful businessmen. Similarly Tom Cruise and Whoppi Goldberg have also done very well in their acting careers.

Sidhu explains that often children with mild dyslexia and Down syndrome are lumped together under learning disabilities, which should be segregated. According to Dr Aili Hanim Hashim, consultant psychiatrist from Universiti Malaya, children with mild learning disabilities can be in normal classrooms.

Sidhu felt that kids with learning disabilities, such as those with mild dyslexia, slow learners, hyperactive and mild intellectual impairment, should be in normal schools but, even if they are there, are often marginalised simply because of the lack of awareness in handling them. As such the government should revamp the education system to make learning disability a priority.

The private sector can also help as part of its corporate responsibility work.

B.K. Sidhu is a deputy news editor of Star.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Visit by Malaysian Care

A team of 10 staff from MCare led by the executive director Mr. Lee Chee Loi paid a courtesy call to our centre today. The purpose is to learn more of our work, especially for those who have not visited us before.

After being shown round the centre to see the work by the trainees a briefing was given to them followed by a Q&A session during which several interesting ideas were shared.

This visit enables MCare to further understand our direction and needs. MCare is one of our advisors.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Meaning of Money

It has been over a month since I last blogged here. April was a busy month for my family which is why I could not write a post then. Today I found an interesting article in the April issue of the Reader's Digest (US Edition) that I'd like to share here. For more details check HERE.

When asked why he continue to give to charities in tough times, Frank replied that giving is part of our humanity, a manifestation of what is best within us, a capacity to love and sacrifice for others. I think Frank encapsulated his thoughts in the simple but not too obvious fact that our desire to give has been built into our nature but it is the environment and our desire to preserve our selves that often content against that desire. I believe that NOT giving often hurt us more than giving hurt our pockets.

This post is not a solicitation for PBSNS but a request to consider our general and overall management of our wealth.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Passing of a PBSNS Partner

It is with deep regret that I blog the passing away of one of our staunch partners, Mr. Tan Kwan Poh, who departed last night when he succumbed to stomach cancer. Mr. Tan had supported our work since we first launched the partnership programme last year. As a regular churchgoer he sat in the pew infront of mine and would always cheerfully greet me and my wife when we arrive, for he would come to church quite early. His late wife Susan passed away last year ago so it will be a sort of reunion for them. We will miss Kwan Poh, his smile and friendliness. May God bless his soul as he enters eternal rest.

Wake services will be held at 8.30pm on March 30 and 31 at the Jalan Templar Funeral Parlour and funeral service at Wesley Church Seremban at 10am. Do come to uphold the family in their hour of bereavement.

Monday, March 23, 2009

China Press Report

It was a long wait, over a month or 33 days to be exact but it was worth it. Today we received the good news that China Press has published the article written about us in the N. Sembilan section of the local news. If you can read Mandarin but missed out buying the paper, please click on the picture to enlarge and download it.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Wheel Power by Anthony Thanasayan

This article by Anthony in yesterday's StarTwo makes interesting read. He wrote:

... On the subject of the basic right to education for PLDs, I am shocked to learn of the existence of learning centres that claim to teach children with special needs but in actual fact provide little or no proper facilities for them. In some centres, there is no specific curriculum to cater to these kids.

At a recent official meeting, I heard someone discredit the role of special education teachers. What a shame! The individual concerned should have sung praises for such teachers who play a crucial role in the lives of every learning-disabled child. The person seemed to think that parents of PLDs were “better authorities and professionals” than the teachers themselves.

Such ignorance is hardly helpful if our goal is to improve the quality of life of disabled persons in Malaysia.

To read the entire article, go HERE.

In PBSNS we don't focus on special education but on skills training. Teaching them to read and write as well as identifying objects and associating them are more towards helping them survive in open society should they be left on their own.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The MSF Awareness Talk

Yesterday I was privileged to be invited by the TRAC Methodist Seniors Fellowship to give a talk to them at their annual camp at the Bayu Beach Resort, Port Dickson. I shared how we grew from just a centre under the church into a registered society and the many issues we face in making our work more interesting, productive and in line with our aspirations to make it a centre of excellence.

The talk drew much interest and many questions were fielded to me. The MSF director, Rev. Hwa Jen , who coincidentally was involved in the setting up of this work more than 10 years ago, encouraged the delegates to participate in our work by becoming a PBSNS partner (just RM120 a year) and buying the greeting cards on sale outside the conference hall.

This awareness talk helped generate publicity for us beyond Seremban as the MSF delegates come from various parts of Malaysia as well as from Singapore. Yesterday we gave out our new brochure for the first time.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Aarons and Joshuas

The books of Exodus and Deuteronomy in the Old Testament wrote of the appointments of Aaron as Moses's helper and Joshua as his successor. Throughout human history we read of leaders wrestling with issues of competent helpers and advisers and choice of good successors. In PBSNS the same concerns will arise.

PBSNS, like any organisation, is set up for a purpose. Life is given to it by the people entrusted to run it, build it and deliver it to another team. No leader can claim full credit because he alone cannot perform every work required. Even Moses confessed his weakness and need for helpers to be a good leader so Aaron his brother was chosen by God for him. Even until his old age Aaron stood by his side, although he was not without fault but he was faithful.

Moses recognized that he need to groom a successor to take the Israelites into the Promise Land. Old age caught up with him and he knew that he could not see the fruit of his work in his lifetime, which is to step on the soil that God promised His people. Moses chose Joshua to lead the Israelites into the next phase of its history.

I take great comfort in the above narrations that we are never alone in our work, be they for ourselves or for God. If we confess our shortcomings before God, He will raise up suitable helpers to prop us up to do His work. And when our time comes, when our eyes have dimmed, our hearing short and our brain feeble, God will require us to pass on the baton to a new leader with the same vision to carry on His work.

PBSNS is at its first year. Come June we will hold our first Annual General Meeting. In June next year a new team will be elected to lead the association forward. Leadership comes from within the membership. Membership comes from invitation to those whom the committee believe to have the potential to serve. So this can be considered our growing pains. We want to build ourselves to be different, to be differentiated. It is a tall order but one that can be reached with and by dedicated leaders and servants.

I think if there is anything I love to see PBSNS become, is to see it become a quality service organization, maybe to be ISO certified one day. That will be a first I think! But for now I pray for more Aarons and wisdom to see some Joshuas to stand in line as the new leaders of the association one day.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sex Relationship Education

Although today is a public holiday, 20 staff, committee members and volunteers gathered at the church office above PBSNS to listen to a talk by Dr Ng Wai Sheng, a clinical psychologist/senior lecturer from HELP University College in Kuala Lumpur on the above subject which is gathering importance in our centre as we are seeing some trainees becoming sexually active, aware of their sexuality as well as showing interest in each other. We want to understanding this subject further so that we may be able to deal with such issues as they arise as well as equip all the trainees with a better understanding of their sexuality and behaviour.

The almost 3 hours talk was scintillating as Wai Sheng engaged us interactively using group discussion and sharing to exemplify some important issues we expect to face. What she did was point us towards how to take this subject further with parents of the trainees, develop a curriculum and formulate a teaching structure. It will be an awareness and survival skill for the trainees as well as empowering them to understand their bodies, their needs and dealing with moral issues of what are right and wrong. The challenge before us is both engaging and exciting. After this educational talk we will begin exploring how best to make this a real tool to help our trainees become more wholesome people. Some day some of them may fall in love and want to marry. We have to be ready to guide and help them, as well as their parents.

The meeting ended with a lunch at Restoran Min Kok.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Charting Our Future

Yesterday, the management committee with its advisors held the first of four meetings scheduled for this year. We were pleased with the smooth transition from PBS to PBSNS and the enlarged partnership support base. Although all financial supports are not yet in, we are not worried as it is still early in the year and by faith we believe our pleas will be heard, notwithstanding the current dampened economic climate.

We are like a learner driver being released from a country road into a highway, into uncharted waters. Ordinarily we should be apprehensive but we had none of that emotion. Rather we all felt elated at the vast opportunities and challenges before us. Yes, we have to work hard but we also realise the rewards and satisfaction are great. In a true sense, all of us are pioneering the future of PBSNS and we pray that God will helm every meeting, guide every decision, plan every step and provide every need. I suppose this has been our source of comfort, our faith in God that He will provide every need we ask. As what Pastor Paul Christie, our spiritual advisor shared in his sermon yesterday, we need to have the faith like Abraham to trust God that He will provide all the resources - financial, people, knowledge and leadership, to take PBSNS from one level to the next.

Partnership: Our appeals have begun to bear fruits. Individuals and churches have started donating to our work, so far more than RM10,000 have been received. We expect more in the pipeline.

Staffing: We have peaked in our enrolment. We are trying to create more rooms to take beyond 25 to even 30, but stretching the limit means our staff's ability to run the centre will be similarly stretched. Soon we will be seeking a committed, dedicated, passionate, patient, loving and caring new staff to join our fantastic team of 2 staff and 20 volunteers. The new staff must be a team player with excellent socialising and communication skills. We were also challenged to start looking for a Trainer to oversee every aspect of our training as well as to eventually offering training to new centres being set up.

Expansion: We need more room to grow and it is unhealthy to cram too many people and too much activities into the same space. I believe God will answer our prayer for the new space we need.

Sponsorship: This and the coming years will be ones we will introduce our work to new sponsors. We never believe that recession will cut social responsibility out of many good corporations and foundations. We believe charity work is recession proof, although some donors will give less as a natural reaction.

Membership: We are also seeking new members to join us, Christian adults in Seremban who share the same desire to help the learning disabled, to give time, talents and connections to grow our work.

We are grateful to Pastor Paul and our advisor Neil for suggesting ways to help raise new funds for PBSNS. We have to reach out (to new sponsors, new trainees, new members, new leaders) and reach up (for God's grace and mercy in His ministry).

Friday, February 27, 2009

Reminding Ourselves Again

I just decided to revisit this link to understand the nature of our work lest we forget. I would like to pick up some statements that impress me (with comments added in italics).

For many, undetected learning disabilities create a lifelong pattern of frustration and failure. Unable to learn to read or write adequately or to handle simple numerical calculations, they are forced into a lifetime of underemployment or unemployment.

My Comment: How do parents know if their child is learning disabled? A child who suffers from poor eyesight can visit an opthalmologist for comprehensive tests but where do a child with suspected learning difficulty go for evaluation? Often parents are ignorant of available facilities and are likely to leave their child uncared and unnurtured at home. At PBSNS we do not treat LD, it is beyond our expertise. What we do is provide opportunities to help LD persons bring forth their hidden or underdeveloped skills.

Other possible outcomes for individuals with learning disabilities who have not received appropriate intervention or help are low self image, teenage pregnancy, suicide, family instability, substance abuse, depression, significant psychiatric problems, and unemployment. They may end up on welfare, homeless, or in prison.

My Comment: Typically we observed new trainees to be quiet or lacking confidence when they first join the centre. This may be normal as they need time to adjust to new environments like normal persons. But at PBSNS our joy is to see such LD persons surprising us with abilities we thought were untrainable. Low self esteem is a common problem that we can definitely help by fostering a warm and loving work environment. We do have a suicide case but she has gain tremendous confidence with us. I believe we have helped her out of her depression through encouragement and love. LD people need lots of love to grow out of their perceived problems.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

China Press Came A-Calling

We cannot deny that media people want to know about our work. So far we have had Star, NSTP and Utusan Melayu publicising our community service. RTM1 and 2 have also filmed our activities for broadcast. Community service work are newsy although some may consider it boring. They serve to counter-balance the many negative reports we read about politics, tragedies, financial woes and crimes. Happy news may not draw much attention but they certainly encourage readers to the fact that there are better sides to the human race. News about helping the disadvantaged people are definitely good news and I am happy that China Press had sent its reporter to our premise this morning to interview the caregivers as well as trainees. For one hour she soaked in the spirit of our work and learned why we were so passionate. At the end she went away buying some of our greeting cards because, she said in her own words, 'she like to help the needy'. I believe we have touched her heart.

In the coming days we look forward to see this report in the China Press paper. It will add further awareness to the Mandarin-reading subscribers. And prayfully give them another avenue to show their charitable hearts.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Another Supporter for PBSNS

This morning the Chairman was at the Mawar Renal Centre to receive a donation from the N.Sembilan Tai Chi Qi Gong 18 Gaya Association which also gave out donations to 7 other beneficiaries. Although the donation was for RM500 it represents a recognition of our work by the Chinese social clubs in Seremban. Last month we had received another donation from the Chin Woo Association. On hand were reporters from the Chinese presses. Hopefully news of our work will continue to dissipate throughout the state and nationwide.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Perak Lesson

The political development in Perak over the past week has a lesson that we in the welfare services can learn from. As much as you and I are dismayed by the manner the power transfer took place, citing the constitutions and the unquestionable authority of the royalty, the very essence of good governance through the electoral process was conveniently ignored. Abiding the law is good but it is still subservient to abiding the conscience of the people at large. Amidst the change of government lie a very serious issue of what service is all about. Do one need to be in power to serve? What are the hidden agendas of wanting to get into power? How can this development be a lesson to societies like ours?

1. We must remember we are elected to serve and to fulfil the obligations of what our vision calls us to be. Being in a position to serve, which means being given authority, empowerment and publicity, can tempt an officer of the society to aggrandise self beyond our call to duty over time. We need to constantly hold ourselves in check if this temptation rear its ugly head and to remind ourselves that while we may be the bigger cogs in the design of our work, yet they still need smaller cogs to make the society operate smoothly.

2. Our positions are given to us because the people who put us up trusted us to discharge our work faithfully, fairly and without any self interest. If possible, sacrificially. As easily as we are put up we can be taken down. We need to preserve our reputations as good stewards of the offices we are placed in charge. We may be able to deceive men but God is all-seeing.

3. The fear of God must remain central in whatever we do. Services to the disabled and the needy are in line with the characteristics of a compassionate God. As long as what we do are aligned with God's will He will bless our work and enable it to be taken further. But as soon as disunity, dishonesty and disorder overcome us then we have allowed evil to permeate our work and dissociate with the intention of God's will. Often societies fall through such developments.

The Perak lesson reminds us to stay alert to any signs of putting self above service. If we are unable to control the desire to use our work for self gain it is better to step down than let the society be affected. The society will profit from the services of its officers and workers if there is love and common desire to build it up. I have hope that more of our politicians will see this as their real purposes in public services.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Internalizing Our Vision

Happy Chinese New Year to those of you who are celebrating. I hope the symbol of the ox represents strength, wellness, perseverance and, especially pertinent this current year, ability to endure hardship. Believe it or not, hardship is part and parcel of our very existence. It is folly for anyone to wish for a good life every day of our lives. Rather it is wisdom to be wishing for strength to sustain hardship and inconveniences.

I was reflecting over the word BERDIKARI in our name. We said that we want to bring Berdikari or self reliance to our trainees. Then I asked myself this searching question:

Is it possible that we apply the same Vision to our society? Is it possible that we become self sustaining and self relying one day?

Hard thought and tough target to be addressing at the start of our 'life'. It is my belief that nothing is impossible (without pushing our desires beyond human possibilities and trying for the moon) and beginning to think, plan and do something about it can actually bring us to that place where vision starts becoming reality. It involves much work, many tears and frustrating moments as well as many partners to hold us up. It is possible, only if we believe it to be so. Do you agree with me?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Chin Woo Donation Pix

Here's the group picture of the recipients of the donations and some members of the Association before we had our lunch.

Visit the Revamped PBSNS Website

In line with our new identity, the PBSNS website was revamped today. New look, new contents. Simpler and updated. Please take a look. Here's the link again. Hope you like it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's Good to Be Noticed

Last week I was informed that the N. Sembilan Chin Woo Athletic Association wants to make a donation to us. I was pleasantly surprised. We have not made contact with them about our work so they must have heard of us privately. My understanding was we will be one of four beneficiaries of the surplus funds collected from their fund raising for another project recently. It is good to be noticed. Today David and I attended a luncheon at the Dragon Oakland Restaurant where I received a cheque for RM1200 from the Association. I took the opportunity to distribute text of our new brochure (yet to be printed) in Mandarin to the predominantly Chinese speaking guests to create awareness among the Chinese community here. Reporters from SinChew, Nanyang and ChinaPress attended so we can expect additional publicity when the news is published.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Being Self Driven

All organizations can benefit from people who are self driven towards the established goals. Although there are managers, executives and supervisors, whose roles seem, as their titles implicitly suggest, to be ensuring that work gets done, and that lower rung employees are incapable of carrying them out without someone checking in on them, I believe that we need to have faith in our staff that they ARE capable of understanding and executing instructions and policies. Granted that there will be differences in styles and methods, what is important is they are on track to bring their work to fruition. The rest is managing individualities.

Before I started this post I thought about the team I have in Persatuan and how blessed I am that they are self-starters and even initiators of great ideas. They have passion towards fulfilling the dream of the centre and that count a lot towards what we set out to do. We can have two identically paid staff of different passions. It is easy to conclude which one is more valuable and effective.

I think of our human body as a terrific example. The liver is one of the largest internal organs, and probably the most important one, yet little understood. But the liver does its work quietly, self driven if you may, to ensure the entire body is healthy. If you must know, the liver detoxifies our blood every second, that is how important it is to us, or else we will not live very long.

Whether our helpers is a staff, a volunteer or a committee member, the fact that they go about discharging their work responsibly is a blessing to us in PBSNS. We appreciate them all.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year Greetings

May I extend this New Year greeting to one and all. May 2009 be a good year to you and your family and that God's grace and mercy abound in every situation you find yourself in. May you look back to this day a year from now to be filled with thansgiving that God has indeed walked with you and granted you your heart's desires.

Have a blessed and joyous New Year 2009!