The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary nuns have moved into their brand new convent in Holland road. After their appeal for a $1.2M shortfall was highlighted in The Straits Times in August, donations poured in and they managed to raise their targeted amount.
We ended 2013 with a very meaningful last outing with the kids. Along with 3 other families, we took some endearing elderly folks from a nursing home for an evening out at Gardens by the Bay.
It drizzled in the beginning and we were afraid that our schedule would be disrupted. However, I was surprised to find that the entire path is sheltered, from the drop-off point, to the row of restaurants, to the attractions. So rain or shine, we didn’t need to worry.
As i was still not able to walk more than 10 minutes due to my wound, I rented a wheelchair at the information counter for a token fee of $2. Just as I expected, the whole place is wheelchair friendly.
In the Cloud Forest, there is a room where we learnt that the Gardens is self-sustainable and that the Supertrees actually capture solar energy and serve as exhausts.
We saw a showcase of some rock formations such as rock icicles, rock candles and rock pillars. These are naturally formed by water dripping from the cave roof which leaves behind minerals that crystallize. It forms so slowly that it takes thousands of years for a mere centimetre to form!
|Beautiful rock formations
The gardens are very beautifully lit at night.
It took us more than 3 hours to have dinner and visit the Cloud Forest as we had quite a large party and our pace was slow. It was a great opportunity for us to chat with the ah mahs and ah gongs and we discovered that some of them used to be ex-policemen and even ex-army officers in the British army.
It got me thinking that what we do in our heyday really doesn’t hold any significance in our twilight years. And it was crystal clear to me that it is so important to have people who will care for you and be by your side even when you are old and infirmed. And that we should live our lives with more humility because we never know when we will be in need of others.
|Queuing up to go back
The kids were exhausted and were glad to bid the ah mahs and ah gongs farewell. We were heartened to see that all our kids have grown up and were so responsible and caring. It seemed like just yesterday when these kids used to bicker and fight as 4 year olds, and in a twinkle of an eye, they have all matured into young ladies.
|Our teens all grown up
Sane tip: This is a wonderful place for both young and old to visit. There is something for everyone. A beautiful environment, lots of open spaces to run around and even educational information. There are a lot of elderly or sick who have been stuck at home due to their immobility. It is actually easy to rent a wheelchair and a transport service to take them out.
Save tip: Tickets for the domes are cheaper for local residents. Do bring along IC, student card or work permit card. Child/Senior $8 (1 dome). Adult $12 (1 dome).
Gardens by the Bay
18 Marina Gardens Drive
Silveray Pte Ltd
(wheelchair transport service)
We sold our first batch of Christmas gift tags and had an order for another batch of 30 tags. Just as I was wondering where I would get more Christmasy paper, an old friend from my Uni days sent me a fb text saying that she had some to donate to us. How wonderful! She even made the effort to come all the way to meet me and passed me 2 huge bags of materials. Thank you so much Sharon, we really appreciate it!
|More scrapbooking materials
So it was back to work for the girls and I and we got cracking cutting out more gingerbread man, frogs, and trees. And because we had run out of drink coasters, we had to cut them out from cardboard boxes and including the front and back paper, we cut out more than 100 round circles! The girls did get tired of cutting and we had to do it in batches.
|Batch 2: Sold!
One of #4’s friend’s mum placed an order, and she said that they were the best handmade tags she’s seen and she ordered more. She even sent me a text message to thank the girls for their hard work. Ah, so nice to be appreciated for all our efforts. Thanks Wei, for your wonderful support 🙂
|Batch 3: Sold!
We made a variety of themes so that they can be used for various occasions like birthdays etc. Once again, a very big thank you for all of you who have supported this charity drive. All our proceeds will be going to MINDS. We would still be running this for a few more months with the other blogger mums, so if you would like to order some, please drop me an email, but do give us ample time to make them as the girls will be back in school.
I think the girls have had enough of scrapbooking for a while! And the table’s been in a bit of a mess with all the materials strewn around. So it’s time to pack everything up and prepare for Christmas and the new year.
The girls have been busy doing craft for charity. One project they’re working on is turning recycled materials into jewellery. They are the backend hands for their grandma’s elderly church group which will be selling the jewellery to raise funds.
|#1 at work
And here’s the product of our afternoon of hard work cutting, pasting, and arranging! I’ll have to admit that the toughest part was to put the designs together. There were so many scraps and things that we couldn’t quite decide what went with which. Perhaps one day in the distant future when I have tons of free time, I’ll attend some scrapbooking classes. I have to say that we did have lots of fun though!
|Simple is best, when you aren’t a pro!
Sane tip: It is quite therapeutic to spend a lovely afternoon with the girls working quietly on scrapbooking material. It is all so pretty! It is a nice way to bond with the older girls as they have stopped acceding to my requests to spend time doing “silly kids craft”. I’m not much of an artistic person, so it was very satisfying to see the scraps coming together nicely.
Save tip: I used to tell the girls that “the more you give, the more you will receive”. (Will share a hilarious story about this sometime soon). So do email me if you would like to place your orders for any of the designs which catches your fancy. They are going at $5 for 2. We are definitely not professional scrapbookers, but a lot of our love and our best efforts went into these little tags, so do give us your support!
We organised an outing to take a group of children with intellectual disability to Gardens by the Bay. We went to their group home the last school holiday and played games with them. This time we decided to take them outdoors for some fun. A total of 4 families joined in, and 1 more couldn’t join us but chipped in to help us defray our transport and food cost. (Thanks, Sam!)
All of my kids came along, and 3 of them brought along a friend each. I like to expose our kids to children who are not as fortunate as themselves to help them develop empathy and compassion. The kids were first briefed about the children we were going to receive so that they would have an understanding of what to expect and so the younger ones will not blurt out any remarks which may hurt the feelings of the children.
We started the evening by heading over to Texas Chicken for their dinner. We had called earlier to pre-order the food and everything was smooth and orderly. Besides Texas Chicken, there is a row of casual dining including Peach Garden noodle house, Hill Street coffee shop and Union Square café serving hotdogs. Sprinkled throughout the Gardens are various cafes and they even have Satay by the Bay.
We bought tickets to the Sky Way bridge and queued to go up. Tickets are at $3 for children and $5 for adults. You can either take the lift or walk up 7 flights of stairs. Some of the kids were afraid of crossing the bridge and we encouraged them.
We all made it over to the other side and were greeted with this beautiful scenery. We saw a different side of our friends as they laughed and posed for pictures. They were all in high spirits as they mingled freely with our children. Some of them are so sweet and endearing and they seem to have no cares in the world.
After we descended from the Sky bridge, the children formed a big circle and played Frisbee at the empty patch of grass in front of the exit of the bridge. Then we distributed lanterns and walked as a group around the gardens. We passed a koi pond with lots of fishes.
As we walked, we came to this humongous statue of a sleeping baby. It seemed to be floating in mid air! This 7 ton bronze cast sculpture is gifted to the Gardens by renowned sculptor Marc Quinn.
Further on, we saw some huge and colourful dinosaurs. Of course, the boys were drawn to it. The dinosaurs are made of cloth and there seems to be light bulbs inside it. It is probably an installation for the mid-autumn festival.
We reached the end and we walked back to the Supertrees as there was a simple 10 minutes light and sound show. There is one show at 7.45pm and one at 8.45pm. It is nice to just sit back and relax with your family and friends and take in the whole atmosphere. Somehow, it reminded me of my childhood where we used to watch the musical fountain in Sentosa.
The kids were getting tired and asked if we were going home soon. We told them yes, right after we send our friends up their van. Time to say our goodbyes and till we meet again next time!
You can book this wheelchair transport service for $200 per outing. It can accommodate 1 wheelchair and about 5 family members. Would be great to take wheelchair-bound grandparents out for a birthday meal or to see the Christmas lights. Each van can take a maximum of 3 wheelchairs.
One of the mummy asked if anyone wanted to go and have dessert at Sogurt as the kids did a great job of mingling and taking care of our friends. All of them shouted “Yes!” Didn’t they say they were very tired… ?
Sogurt is a DIY yoghurt place where you first choose the flavour of your yoghurt then you add the toppings. Payment is by weight. I instructed the kids not to take too much as they often can’t finish it and besides, it would cost quite a lot! They were good children, and they didn’t over-do it. It cost me $30 for the 8 of them. (Remember to ask for the 10% student discount).
Do let me know if anyone is keen to join us and I’ll keep you informed about our outing the next school holidays!
Sane tip: Gardens by the Bay is a large grounds and the kids can have all the space they need to run, roam, and shout as much as they like. I’m going to take them back there again with their bicycles!
Save tip: Pack a picnic, throw in their wheels and a Frisbee and you’ll have great fun all for nothing!
Silveray Pte Ltd
There are a lot of wheelchair bound elderly around who have been kept indoors as they cannot afford the transport to go out. Do take a look at the silveray website and contact them if you are able to sponsor a silveray ride.
After I shared with the children the story of the nuns, I asked them “Would you like to donate?”
This was their reaction:
#1: My savings is running low. (I guess that was a ‘no’)
#2: Ok, I’ll donate 1 brick. Here’s $30.
#3: I need to think. The next day, she was ready with her answer. I’ll donate 2 bricks. I paid for my school’s mid-autumn festival tickets for all of us already so you just return me $3. (The tickets were $63)
#4: (her immediate and enthusiastic response) I will donate 2 bricks.
#5: Here is my piggy bank. You can take everything to give to the nuns.
(His savings amounted to a grand total of $5)
I am so proud of them. I’m sure they will be richly blessed for their generosity.
I will take them to see the new convent when it is completed and we will look for our name in the book. It is a tangible way for the children to see where their donation has gone to, and hopefully it will spur them to continue giving generously.
P.S. Just before I wrote out my cheque, #4 gave me money for 2 more bricks. Aww.. such a dear little child.
|They are appealing for donations
The Franciscan sisters have been serving the needy in Singapore since 1953. They have contributed in so many ways.
These are some of the initiatives they have established to address the needs they encountered over the years:
- Maris Stella Kindergarten
- Hai Sing Catholic (to provide secondary education for the girls from the then rural community in the Ponggol area)
- Apex Day Rehab Centre for the Elderly
- Vocational Institute for women
- Filodep (for our domestic helpers to spend their day off constructively in cooking, dressmaking, handicraft classes)
- Madonna Soup Kitchen (to provide food to the construction workers)
They are still working tirelessly even though most of them are in their 70s! The convent they were living in was more than a century old and they could not live there anymore as it was unsafe. The building was demolished and is being re-built. They still need to raise $1.2m for their new convent.
Unlike a church, they do not have a congregation to turn to for financial assistance. The people whom they help are also not in a position to provide financial assistance. They have helped so many people in Singapore, it’s time we helped them back. Let’s rally our family, friends and colleagues to help these elderly nuns have a decent home to live in.
What can we do?
A donation of 1 brick is $30. We can donate one brick or as many bricks as we like. Every brick counts!
How can we donate?
Payable to: FMM Building Fund
Mail to: Fiesta with the FMM
49D Holland Road Singapore 258851
By bank transfer:
Name of account: FMM Building Fund
Account No: 898453-001
|Their official donation form
If you would like a receipt or acknowledgement, you can email them at FMM.firstname.lastname@example.org or send an sms to 98558808 with your email to get an official donation form. They would record your name in a book for public display when their building is ready in October.
I’m going to make my donation and I will share this article with the kids at dinner tonight. I will explain to them that the home of the dear nuns had termites in their walls and ceilings and may collapse. And that when it rained, the roof leaked and there were puddles of water everywhere. They are elderly (like their own grandparents) so don’t they deserve a safe, comfortable home to live in? Let’s see which of them has a generous heart 🙂