Lumba Bahasa & Budaya Gerek!


Lumba Bahasa & Budaya Gerek! – a Malay Language & Cultural Amazing Race conducted in conjunction with Bulan Bahasa was recently held on 3rd September 2016. The race, a first for Bulan Bahasa and also a first for By Definition Pte Ltd attracted 10 teams; 3 teams from Ping Yi Secondary School, 1 team from MENDAKI, several teams sign up online as well as an all-Chinese team.

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FLAG OFF at Cairnhill CC

The unique mix of participants and station masters (5 Stations Masters were students from Northland Secondary School) made this event an extremely memorable one.

Teams were tasked to complete a mission of completing a Mystery Quatrain by accumulating missing letters at each station they complete. The race begins with a location of the photo they are supposed to head to. These locations, were carefully chosen, as they were a reflection of Singapore’s past and Malay history, and are locations that not many Singaporeans visit today.

Having successfully made their way to the locations, each station requires teams to complete a 3-stage activity:

  1. Photo/Videovity
  2. Infovity
  3. Activity

Photo/Videovity

Participants are required to strike specific poses or to re-enact a scene from a movie, reflective of the golden era of filming in Singapore in the 50’s. Participants were then tasked to upload the photos and videos to their Instagram account (who doesn’t have one right?) and to include the hashtag, #LumbaGerek.

Having successfully completed this, Stations Masters will then allow them to proceed to…

Infovity

Teams will be posed questions about the locations they are at and they will be required to search for the answers either through using their mobile phones (why not capitalise on technology anyway!) or to search information boards located close by.

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Once they get the correct answers, they proceed on to…

Activity

This is where fun part is.

Because the activities are all about the Malay Language & Culture, it requires participants to be adept at different aspects of it including but not limited to quatrains, poetry, food, games and many more!

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Eventually, all participants did complete the race and reassembled back at National Museum of Singapore, the location of Bulan Bahasa launch for the prize giving ceremony.

Impressively, our all Chinese team came in 2nd place!

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Runner-Up with Ms Julina Khusaini, General Manager, Malay Heritage Foundation

Now that this event is over, we’ve already started to receive plenty of word from participants whom most were first time participants in any Bulan Bahasa event that they enjoyed themselves, learnt a lot through the race, felt connected back to the Malay community and can’t wait for the next edition!

We’d also like to give our thanks and appreciation to Malay Language Ambassador, Riz Sunawan for joining us to receive participants at the final pit stop and of course to all our sponsors and supporters, Malay Language Council, Malay Language & Learning Promotion Committee, People’s Association Family Life Champion and Krave Cafe.

To view the official event photos, visit By Definition’s FB page here.

To view photos and videos of participants, search #LumbaGerek on Instagram.

For enquiries, feedback and collaboration, you can email info@bydefinition.net or drop us a FB message.

Thank you once again to all participants, sponsors, supporters and partners.

 

Overcoming The Wall – Seeking Solutions for Peace


I promised that I would share a transcript of my speech. So, here it is.

This is dedicated to my Peacebuilder friends back at University of California, Irvine, especially to my fellowship supervisor, Dr Paula Garb, who’s a conflict negotiator as well as to the other groups of peacebuilders that I had the opportunity to meet.

I also dedicate this to my Israeli and Palestinian friends who now have some peace in their lives. 

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Introduction

A very good evening fellow Singaporeans. It brings me great pleasure to be standing here, once again, surrounded by many who believe in peace and in making a positive change, not just in Singapore but overseas, in Gaza.

At the last event that we organized, the war or massacre had taken the lives of 800 Gazans. Today, a month after that event, after more than 2000 dead Gazans and 69 IDF soldiers dead according to IDF or 150 IDF soldiers dead according to Hamas, a truce is finally in place.

A truce, that would perhaps be considered a victory in all instances to Gazans. A victory, because several deals critical to restoring normal life were reached in the demands for a truce by Hamas, which signaled a defeat to Israel, in my opinion.

When this event was first planned, there were many concerns. Some of those concerns were:

  1. How many people would turn up, compared to the last event?
  2. Would this event still be relevant if a truce was called?

And we agreed, that while numbers mattered, it was important that this event continued nonetheless because a truce does not mean that the conflict is over and more importantly, the Singapore community also needs to learn and know that civil activism is a long process and change cannot happen overnight.

At the last event, I mentioned that it is important for us to ‘Respond, not React’, in any given situation, to ensure that we are aware, responsible and accountable for the actions that we choose, and not let it be a knee-jerk reaction to a situation.

Purpose

Today, we are to talk about solutions for peace, positive peace that will ensure the walls that separate Israel and Palestine, can be overcome.

This truce we see today, this is negative peace. Peace in a volatile situation whereby conflict can erupt at any time. Peace in a situation where there is still much distrust. Peace in a situation where civilians on both sides, still do not have access to each other.

Steps & Solutions

Step 1

To achieve positive peace, to overcome the wall, the first and most important step is already in place – the truce.

Step 2

The next step, is for both sides, civilians especially, to begin talking to one another, to engage one another in conversations to build trust, to build relationships with one another, to find commonalities with one another, so they know, that at the end of the day, they want the same thing, share the same hopes and dreams.

This, I learnt from my mentor, Eboo Patel, who is on Obama’s Council for Interfaith Relations, who shared that to find peace, conflicting sides must find commonalities that they can work together and agree on.

Putting Theories into Realities

Commonalities, is also something that all of us, not just here in Singapore, but also in many parts of the world, share, when it comes to this conflict.

Most of us believe and agree that the occupation must stop and I also believe that we also agree that violence is never the solution to resolve any conflict.

But a conflict such as this, requires a lot of people power, not just from the people in Palestine, but internationally and a conflict such as this, also requires a lot of support from the international community because this is not just a conflict between two states.

It is a conflict which involves citizens of the world, just like any other conflict in any part of the world. And we, cannot afford to sit comfortably in our homes, as bystanders to this conflict, only sending our prayers in private and messages of goodwill through Facebook, because a conflict such as this, requires a visual, it needs to be seen and it needs to be heard.

It needs to be seen and it needs to be heard, so governments can get involved. It needs to be seen and it needs to be heard, so people involved in the conflict know that they have support from the global community. It needs to be seen and it needs to be heard, because activism requires action to be taken.

Change through activism can happen, but let’s do it through peaceful, nonviolent means.

Example 1

In 1915, Mahatma Gandhi, organized peasants, farmers and urban labourers to protest against excessive land-tax and discrimination. He led several peaceful campaigns nationwide and advocated for others to practice nonviolence and truth in all situations.

He was a man, who lived a peaceful, nonviolent life and was active in civil society. Without him, we may not have India today and the concept of nonviolence would not have been well-known.

Example 2

In 1955, a young pastor and other civil rights activists held demonstrations, drawing attention to racial discrimination, demanding civil rights legislation to protect the rights of African-Americans. The young pastor, was of course, Dr Martin Luther King Jr, and his peaceful mass demonstrations attracted more than 250,000 protestors to Washington D.C where he delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech. Through his peaceful demonstrations, positive change was made and African-Americans now have equal rights as any other Americans.

His peaceful demonstrations took close to 10 years of activism before a change was seen.

Importance, Impact & Effects of Actions

And if we, Singaporeans, truly believe in this cause for Palestine, that they deserve to be recognized as a state and that the walls have to be brought down, then we need to continue to be civilly active, to participate in civil activism that is peaceful, to help push for statehood for Palestine.

And being active in civil society is important because change can only happen, when there is enough pressure on the people in power, and the people in power will always listen when there is a large crowd of people who believe in the message that is being delivered.

While it’s true that the internet is a great platform to gather people and to hear opinions, but the internet only gives a number, which could be a number of people internationally or from bots. But when people come together in numbers, in real life, those numbers become a reality and that is what’s most important.

The impact and the effect that the news carries on the number of people who ‘Like’ a certain cause or page is vastly different as compared to the impact and effect when a news outlet covers an event with thousands of people involved.

Newsworthiness counts as well in civil activism.

If a police officer arrests one of the speakers here today because he wasn’t registered to speak and one of you records the incident, and this incident goes viral, it will get picked up by the news outlet because it is newsworthy.

Not only that, the police force will also be put under pressure to answer queries as to why a peaceful gathering with people speaking peaceful things are being arrested in a democratic country, in a space where individuals are supposedly allowed to speak freely without the need for a permit?

Conclusion

So my dear Singaporeans, we can also help to seek solutions for peace to overcome the wall, even though we are far from Palestine.

We can take theories, and turn them into realities by taking action, by remaining active in civil society.

Ask our friends to contribute actively in online discussions, to participate in events such as today and to encourage others to join in as well because the impacts & effects of what we seek for, is the long-term effect beyond the truce we see today – a recognized peaceful statehood relationship between Israel and Palestine, without walls.

This is a journey, a very long journey that we need to carry on because though the conflict may be age old, but the people involved aren’t and while our activism may die out, the people involved in the conflict might die should the truce be breached.

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END NOTE:

The irony of mentioning about the Police because even though I was a registered speaker with NParks, they still came up and approached me because I wasn’t one of the approved 3 speakers under the permit issued (I was informed that permit classified this event as ‘Religious in nature’).

The Lady At My Door


I thought I could sleep, I really thought I could but I’m reminded of what happened earlier this afternoon.

A lady in her mid 30’s had come knocking on the door. I thought it was the lady who usually delivers the mail but when I looked through the peephole, I saw a lady with a young child in tow, holding on to a stack of papers.

The lady, looked stress and desperate. Her body was fidgeting, as if scared, her eyes, they had the look of desperation and in dire need and when she began to speak, it was the voice of anxiety, desperation and lost.

She asked that I listen to her case first before I decided on my course of action.

She began to share her story, offering me letter after letter and her NRIC and parents home address to verify the legitimacy of her story – a life of poverty.

She was living in a rental flat, her husband was recently hired for work and they haven’t had any money to pay the utilities for the past 6 months or more, and had resorted to ‘stealing’ utilities for 6 months before they were caught by the authorities who now demanded they make payment.

Financial assistance from the relevant departments were taking too long and they were running out of time and options. Member of Parliament Zainal Sapari had given her $100 to help her tide through, an amount barely enough to cover the amount for her utilities.

With two kids, one in kindergarten and another attending a primary school I had taught for two years, there was every chance that her child had been a student of mine. Needless to say, as she mentioned her child’s name, the many faces of the students I’ve met flashed through me.

I’ve seen many students. I’ve taught many students. I’ve heard some of their stories and I’ve seen how they live through their stories in school but I also know one thing for sure, every child that I’ve taught deserves the opportunity to an education.

Denying this lady what I had in my wallet, could mean that my ex-student could end up staying home, dropping out of school eventually. A case which I do not wish to see end up as just another number.

Preventing students from dropping out of school was the reason why I had began volunteering in the first place as a Mentor to ‘at-risk’ youths, one which lasted a good 7 years. Denying this lady my assistance, was going against my values, values that I had been taught by my parents, religion and teachers who have taught me.

Whilst my contribution wouldn’t be able to create any significant impact on the amount she had to pay, she had lesser homes to knock on the doors to beg for assistance. She could spend a little bit more time at home with her children, to help them, to protect them from the world that she braved to ensure water and electricity could still run in their home tonight, for her children to study.

Having had a bit more time to think through, I’ve decided that should I have the opportunity to bump into her again, I will offer her some of the programmes that my company runs for her kids and her family at no cost, I am also considering engaging her in part-time work for her to assist me to help provide her with a form of sustenance.

It’s not much but I really hope it might be able to help her.

If you are reading this, please pray that I will meet her again.
Pray that her suffering will be lifted.
Pray that her kids will never have to go through what she is going through.
Pray that she and many others like her, will have their burden lifted.

By Definition Solves Singapore Malay Language Teachers Enrichment Programme Problems!


By Definition Pte Ltd

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA RELEASE

19 November 2012

BY DEFINITION SOLVES SINGAPORE MALAY LANGUAGE TEACHERS ENRICHMENT PROGRAMME PROBLEMS!

We’ve only been serving the Mother Tongue Department (Malay Language) in Singapore Schools for close to two years but we dare say that we have perhaps been able to solve the major issue that most Malay Language Teachers in Singapore Schools often talk about – Low Budget!

Sounds familiar to you?

In the time that we have been in the industry, we have managed to deliver Malay Language Enrichment programmes meeting the specific needs of not just the schools and teachers but most importantly, the students!

Your Mother Tongue Language Enrichment Programmes budget issues can be resolved!

Be it you want something related to Malay Traditional Games or Traditional Malay Cultural Activities or Talks related to the Malay Language, we’ve got it all! (Don’t believe? Got photos on our By Definition FB as evidence lor. Click here!)

So, how do we do it?

We customize every single Malay Language Enrichment Programme to meet your Budget, Student Needs and the Learning Outcomes that Teachers Want for their Students! (We know what’s important to you cause one of our Directors is a certified Teacher/Trainer from Cambridge!)

SO, here’s what we are suggesting – We can work together to plan out an ENTIRE YEAR Malay Language Enrichment Programme for you! No more headaches for the rest of the year on how to allocate your budget then because we will help you resolve that budgeting problem! We can also help you source out for Artefacts or Resource Materials related to the Malay Culture and Heritage as how we have done for National Junior College!

Gamelan Set for National Junior College

Gamelan Set for National Junior College

Batik Set for National Junior College

Batik Set for National Junior College

Here’s what you can be assured of when you take us as your vendor:
1-You will also be supporting the livelihood of our dedicated and well-trained trainers! and
2- Ensure that we can continue to awesomely deliver! and
3- Challenge us to do more than what we are doing at the moment!

So let’s meet up and discuss what we can do for you!

NO OBLIGATIONS to take us if you don’t think we can deliver for you!

Drop us an email to our Arts & Education Director (abdillah@bydefinition.net) or send us a DM Tweet (@ByDefinitionSG) or drop us a PM on our FB (By Definition Facebook) and arrange for an appointment with us!

See! So high tech, can reach us through any method via your Smart Phone!

Hope to see you soon!

Email: abdillah@bydefinition.net
Tweet: @ByDefinitionSG
Instagram: @ByDefinition
FB: http://www.facebook.com/ByDefinitionPteLtd
YouTube Channel: By Definition SG

Be A Mentor, Find Your Match!


What’s Abd?!!

Youth Mentor (noun): someone who gives guidance and is like a big sister/ brother to a young person who has social problems or is retarded

mentor (noun): a wise and trusted guide and teacher

Mentoring is not just a form of volunteer work whereby you help out in events during a scheduled period of time.

Mentoring is a form of volunteer work which requires one to help assist in the development of a child/ youth to reach his/ her fullest potential through proper guidance and support.

It is not merely a touch and go event, it is an event that touches you as you go along. It is something that you shoulder in your life’s journey.

Mentoring is a form of social responsibility and commitment.

It takes a very dedicated individual who is socially responsible and commited to be a mentor.

Having been a mentor at Yayasan MENDAKI (a Malay/ Muslim self-help organisation in Singapore) since I first started out in December 2005, I have since grown attached to it.

It is not the awards that I receive nor is it the exchange program that I was nominated to attend that grips me. It is the belief that in order to see change that you want, then you must put in the effort to make that change. And I clearly have a change that I want to make in this Malay/ Muslim community that is plagued by many negative stigmas attached to it.

True to a certain point that having received awards and be given the opportunity to participate in a prestigious exchange program is definitely enticing. However, only those who have shown their dedication as well as leadership potential and the ability to re-contribute back to society will be given the opportunity.

Such opportunities are in abundance but such individuals are a rarity.

Clearly if someone like me who’s been known for more vices than good is able to be socially responsible and commited, I’m sure there are many others out there who are able to.

I started out searching for something to fill my empty time with, yet I found something addictive. Those who say that they have no idea how to go about mentoring need not fear because there is a group of experienced mentors and a whole organisation of dedicated individuals supporting you and giving you that guidance that you need.

In the words of Liverpooldians, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”

And for those of you who say that you are too young or too old, I say that no one is ever too young or too old because there is someone out there who’s in need of a mentor waiting for his/ her perfect match.

And if you tell me that whats the point of getting a perfect match but not able to find your match in life? Trust me. You never know because you may just find that match that you have been seeking for because mentoring is not just a gender bias community of individuals. Mentoring is a collective group of individuals from both genders and from different as well as exciting backgrounds.

Unfortunately, there’s just a small group of male mentors who is constantly being surrounded by a larger pool of female mentors.

For those of you who are think you have what it takes or wish to find out more, drop me an email. I think I should be able to give you a good idea on what it’s all about and I will definitely be one of those mentors you will be seeing often, unfortunately.


[First mentoring experience was a Duck Tour trip]

[Basic Mentoring Training is something all mentors will have to undergo]

[Night Cycling, one of the flagship mentoring events held yearly]


[The boy who said he wanted to be a mentor like me when he grew up, “Thank You”. You are why I feel happy mentoring]


[One of my most playful mentees till date and definitely adorable no matter what others say about them]


[Nora, one of the female mentors who has since left mentoring due to work commitments. You are being missed]