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MITA (P) No : 191/01/2009<br />

a s p i r a t i o n s<br />

www.ysas.org<br />

April 2009<br />

Project <strong>Khwaish</strong> VIII -<br />

Community Service in India<br />

Twenty young Singaporeans, led by two qualified leaders<br />

and a trained facilitator, went on a journey of selfless and<br />

charitable service in aid of underprivileged and needy<br />

children in Punjab, India, from 3 to 22 December 2008.<br />

They were part of YSA’s community service project team<br />

to Korewala in Punjab’s Moga District (Project <strong>Khwaish</strong><br />

VIII).<br />

In This Issue…<br />

• Project <strong>Khwaish</strong> VIII - Community Service in India<br />

• Reflections – Ang Seng Yong<br />

• Promoting Racial Harmony through Futsal<br />

• Fundraising for a Humanitarian Cause<br />

The project represented a truly Singaporean ethnic<br />

flavour. It comprised participants from the different racial<br />

and religious groups in Singapore, namely, 12 Sikhs,<br />

seven Chinese, two Indians and two Malay/Muslims.<br />

This is in line with YSA’s efforts to be inclusive and to<br />

reach out to young Singaporeans from all walks of life and<br />

backgrounds.<br />

YSA organised a send-off ceremony for the participants on<br />

2 December 2008. Ms Indranee Rajah, Deputy Speaker of<br />

Parliament and Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar<br />

GRC, was the Guest-of-Honour for the ceremony.<br />

khwaish 1

During the project, the team developed a library<br />

of 2,000 books in the school. At the same time, it<br />

cleaned up, refurbished and painted the school. The<br />

participants also conducted teacher training as well<br />

as distributed toys and clothes to the children and<br />

needy in the local community. In addition, they spent<br />

time interacting with the local community and visited<br />

places of cultural and historical importance such as<br />

the Golden Temple in Amritsar.<br />

The community service project was supported by<br />

the Youth Expedition Project at the National Youth<br />

Council, Lee Foundation, TriStar Electronics, donors<br />

and well-wishers.<br />

Reflections<br />

Ang Seng Yong<br />

my own beliefs and practices with my<br />

Sikh friends. At the same time, the<br />

involvement has helped me to grow<br />

personally and professionally.<br />

2 khwaish<br />

It is my pleasure<br />

t o s h a r e m y<br />

experiences of<br />

being involved<br />

with YSA.<br />

I was probably one of the first few<br />

non-Sikhs to join YSA. Many of my<br />

friends were surprised and puzzled by<br />

my joining an organisation of another<br />

ethnic group. At that time, it did raise<br />

some eyebrows. Honestly, I too was<br />

not sure what I was getting myself<br />

into.<br />

I joined a group of youth from different<br />

ethnicities and backgrounds on<br />

YSA’s community service expedition<br />

to Punjab, India, in December 2004.<br />

It was a life-changing experience for<br />

me. Not only did it teach me about<br />

how fortunate we are in Singapore,<br />

it also showed me the message of<br />

understanding and appreciation<br />

that YSA is trying to promote. The<br />

professional manner in which the<br />

expedition was organised also<br />

impressed me. After all, YSA was only<br />

three months old then.<br />

When I returned to Singapore, I decided<br />

to join the YSA Executive Committee.<br />

I became actively involved in its<br />

activities and have been representing<br />

it in various events. I recall that, at<br />

one interfaith session,<br />

the other participants<br />

were pleasantly surprised<br />

to lear n that I was<br />

representing YSA at the<br />

event.<br />

It has been a great<br />

pleasure being part of<br />

YSA. I have not only come<br />

to know more about the<br />

Sikh community, I have<br />

also been able to share<br />

I believe my involvement as a non-<br />

Sikh in YSA has paved the way for<br />

many other non-Sikhs to contribute to<br />

it as well. We now have a multi-ethnic<br />

Executive Committee at YSA and<br />

close to 30 percent of our membership<br />

comprises non-Sikhs.<br />

I strongly believe in the mission and<br />

vision of YSA. It has made tremendous<br />

progress in the last five years. I am<br />

glad to be a part of the progress.

Promoting Racial Harmony Though Futsal<br />

With racial bonding as the main goal, close to 200<br />

footballers came together to participate in the Sixth “Racial<br />

Harmony” 4-A-Side Football Tournament on 22 February<br />

2009. Organised by YSA, the event included, for the first<br />

time, two hearing-impaired teams and five teams from the<br />

expatriate communities.<br />

The Guest-of-Honour, Mr Teo Ser Luck, Senior<br />

Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development,<br />

Youth and Sports, joined players from different ethnic<br />

groups and professions in an exhibition match. He then<br />

officially started the full-day tournament.<br />

Mr Teo stated that, “Such avenues are important to<br />

promote communal bonding. They are fun, informal and<br />

enjoyable. The government has taken the initiative to<br />

build sporting facilities all over Singapore so that people<br />

can come together, not just to exercise but also to meet<br />

and interact with others in the community. YSA’s event is<br />

unique in that it requires the teams to include players from<br />

different ethnic groups; not just from one particular group.<br />

This is a good idea. Other youth groups can follow YSA’s<br />

example.”<br />

2-0 win over X-Men in the final while Paris 23 won the<br />

‘veteran’ category.<br />

The annual tournament is aimed at bringing youth of<br />

different ethnic groups together to interact and network<br />

for greater rapport and camaraderie whilst promoting a<br />

healthy and sporting lifestyle among Singaporeans. It is<br />

also geared at creating a platform for Sikh participants to<br />

better understand and appreciate members of the other<br />

ethnic communities as well as provide the opportunity for<br />

the latter to know the Sikh community in a more intimate<br />

manner.<br />

This year’s tournament was supported by Trust Central,<br />

Central Singapore CDC, OnePeople.sg, Football<br />

Association of Singapore and National Youth Council, with<br />

a grant through its Youth Development Fund.<br />

During the tournament, the players dished out some very<br />

exciting and entertaining football. At the end of a highly<br />

competitive tournament with more than 70 matches, Joga<br />

Bonito emerged champion in the ‘open’ category after a<br />

Fundraising for a<br />

Humanitarian Cause<br />

YSA joined the Harmony Centre and<br />

the inter-faith organisations in January<br />

2009 to raise funds in aid of the affected<br />

victims of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.<br />

Many innocent civilian lives have been<br />

lost in the ensuing violence.<br />

The participating organisations raised<br />

more than S$200,000. The funds were<br />

channelled to Mercy Relief, which then<br />

worked with United Nations agencies on<br />

the ground in the affected<br />

areas to deliver the much<br />

needed assistance and<br />

supplies to the victims.<br />

The fundraising effort<br />

showed that all<br />

Singaporeans, regardless<br />

of race or religion, were deeply affected<br />

by developments in the conflict zones. It<br />

is hoped that the joint fundraising effort<br />

has helped, in a small way, to alleviate<br />

the sufferings of all the victims in the<br />

affected areas.<br />

khwaish 3

Sixth <strong>Khwaish</strong> Lecture<br />

YSA will be organising the Sixth <strong>Khwaish</strong> Lecture on Saturday, 16 May 2009, 3.00pm to<br />

5.00pm, at The Pod, 16th Floor, National Library.<br />

Mr Ong Keng Yong, Ambassador-at-Large; and Director, Institute of Policy Studies, will<br />

deliver the <strong>Khwaish</strong> lecture on “Engaging the Citizens in Policy Development”.<br />

This lecture is indeed relevant and opportune. How can the Singapore government engage Singaporeans in<br />

a constructive manner to help in Singapore’s development? What avenues, including old and new media, are<br />

available for Singaporeans to participate in policy development? What outcomes can we expect from citizen<br />

participation in policy formulation?<br />

To register, please contact Mr Malminderjit Singh at 9436 4676 or email him at malminderjit@hotmail.com.<br />

Book Launch-cum-<br />

Panel Discussion<br />

YSA and the Harmony Centre<br />

will jointly organise a book<br />

launch-cum-panel discussion<br />

on “Humanity Amidst Insanity” on 13 June 2009. Dr<br />

Mohamad Maliki Osman, Parliamentary Secretary for<br />

National Development; and Member of Parliament<br />

for Sembawang GRC, will deliver the keynote for the<br />

event and launch the book.<br />

Certificate Presentation<br />

Ceremony <strong>Khwaish</strong> VIII<br />

This book documents some of the positive episodes<br />

of compassion and kindness during the partition of<br />

the Indian sub-continent. The message of tolerance<br />

and humanity is relevant, not only for the subcontinent,<br />

but for all regions of the world, especially<br />

in the post-9/11 world.<br />

The panel discussion of three speakers will examine the<br />

importance of creating awareness and understanding,<br />

and to ensure that all faiths co-exist harmoniously<br />

and integrate well into the global community. The<br />

panelists will focus on the international, regional<br />

and local relevance of peace and harmony. This is<br />

important in the context of Singapore which is home<br />

to a multi-ethnic society. The desired outcome of the<br />

event is to further strengthen the Singapore social<br />

fabric.<br />

For enquiries, please contact Mr Malminderjit Singh at<br />

9436 4676 or email him at malminderjit@hotmail.com.<br />

YSA Project <strong>Khwaish</strong> VIII team members returned<br />

from their community service expedition to Punjab,<br />

India, on 22 December 2008.<br />

To recognise their selfless efforts, YSA will organise<br />

a certificate presentation ceremony in April/May<br />

2009. The event will witness presentations by the<br />

participants and a video show on the project, as well<br />

as a dinner reception.<br />

If you are keen to attend the ceremony, please<br />

contact Ms Sheetal Kaur at 9336 2904 or email her<br />

at mannkaurmaude@yahoo.com.sg.<br />

Editorial Information: <strong>Khwaish</strong> is a newsletter of Young Sikh Association (Singapore). Please feel free to forward your comments and feedback to:<br />

4 khwaish<br />

YSA wishes its Sikh members a very happy and joyous Vesakhi and<br />

its Buddhist members a blessed Vesak Day.<br />

Mr Kulwant Singh, Editor, <strong>Khwaish</strong>, Young Sikh Association (Singapore) 8 Jalan Bukit Merah, Singapore 169543<br />

Tel: 6327 2007/5 Tel: 9026 5910 Fax: 6327 2009 Email: nashkul@singnet.com.sg<br />

No part of this newsletter should be published without the consent of the Editor, <strong>Khwaish</strong>.

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