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.

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).