Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tribute of Love (Part I) - RT/WW



On 20th June 2009, I was invited to the Yellow Ribbon Cooking Competition 2009 'Tribute of Love' Father's Day Luncheon at Changi Prison Complex. Guests-of-honour included Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Home Affairs Mr Masagos Zulkifli BMM and MP Denise Phua (Jalan Besar GRC).

Senior Parlimentary Secretary, Education and Home Affairs, Mr Masagos Zulkifli (left) and Director of Prisons Mr Ng Joo Hee (in uniform) speaking to guests at the luncheon

It was a special day for the finalists who have cooked and dedicated their winning recipes as a tribute of love to their strongest pillar of support: their families.

When the dishes were served, several elderly parents were visibly touched. It was the first time their child has cooked for them. They nodded and smiled as they savoured the food, they were so proud of their child at that moment.

When the chefs from SHATEC went round to speak to the family members, many thanked them for giving their children a second chance. They were extremely grateful for the support and help given.

Family members thanking the chefs from SHATEC

I saw one finalist pass a Father's Day message to his elderly Dad. Written in Chinese, when it was read out, tears welled in the eyes of the elderly man. It was a touching moment.

family members were served the winning dishes

The champions from Khalsa Crescent Prison won S$500 cash and together with the other 2 teams which have made their way to the finals, will get the chance to undergo a 35-week certified culinary training course conducted by SHATEC and sponsored by staff of Temasek Holdings.

Performers from the SPS Performing Arts Centre

Besides a sumptious lunch, we enjoyed a lovely performance put up by the SPS Performing Arts Centre. Their melodious rendition of 'Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree' keeps playing in my head..... until today. :D

Chef Catan Tan to the finalists : 'All of us are here today, because .... we Care'.

Photos - courtesy of Singapore Prison Service





First Commenter - Mama asid

55 comments:

  1. That was a lovely celebration of family. community service goes a long way toward helping to heal those in prison. nice story indeed and the food looks delicious.

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  2. Hi ECL! That's a very touching celebration/event...I'm not gonna be surprised if you'll be invited somewhere else next time around =)

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  3. Hi mama asid,
    The Yellow Ribbon Project encourages societal acceptance of ex-offenders back into the community. The impact of the campaign is causing ripple effects as more partners are coming forward to show their support.

    This event, Tribute of Love, is a good example of the impact that can be achieved with the community’s help and support.

    Family support is a crucial factor which can help an inmate or ex-offender walk out from their shadow of imprisonment towards a new life. Together with the community, their support is vital in the rehabilitation and reintegration journey.

    It was a memorable day for these families. It was indeed touching to see them celebrating Father's Day together.

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  4. Ayie,
    It was a very touching event....

    I gain an insight into the operation of our prison department.

    The prison officers perform their duties in a humane manner, managed by a strict regimen of discipline and effective rehabilitation programmes.

    Offenders are offered opportunities to reform, while helping them to learn the skills necessary for their re-integratione. To realise this goal, the prison department also work closely with their families and the community.

    The rare opportunity to see for myself the way the prison is operating has changed the way I perceive our prison officers. I have the utmost respect for their commitment and dedication to their calling.

    I'm most happy to attend events where I could contribute positively to the community.

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  5. As usual your blog is full of all things new and interesting. Do you happen to know whether the yellow ribbon project is a world wide organisation?

    It was also Father's day in Britain on Sunday. :)

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  6. Hi Polly,
    The Yellow Ribbon Project was started in Singapore. It was launched in 2004 by the Community Action for the Rehabilitation of Ex-Offenders (CARE) Network, which is made up of organisations that play a major role in the rehabilitation of ex-offenders.

    The name of the initiative was inspired by a 1970s hit song, "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree".

    I believe Father's Day is celebrated on the same day in many countries.

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  7. ah, such a lovely n touching competition. i guess sometimes we need a little reminder to be grateful of we are who we are today. :)

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  8. My eyes welled with tears reading this post, esp looking at the photo of the families thanking the chef and the note to his dad.

    Everyone deserves a second chance and the inmates sure did their families proud.

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  9. levian,
    The inmates deserve a second chance. Although they have made a mistake in life, if he/she is willing to turn over a new leaf, we should accept and help them to re-integrate back to the community.

    We all make mistakes and when we learn from it, we will turn out better for it.

    The community therefore plays an important part in the creation of a stable social environment where ex-offenders, who really desire to change, and their families can feel a sense of belonging and find the hope to start life afresh.

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  10. lina,
    Your eyes can fill with tears reading this post, imagine how the guests feel when they saw the raw emotions that day. :)

    It was a proud moment not only for the inmates' families but the prison officers and the partners of this Yellow Ribbon Project as well.

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  11. It sounds like a very good time was had by all attending this marvelous occasion.
    More help and support like this is needed in all parts of the world.

    Thanks for your visit and comment on my red geranium post.

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  12. quite a touching event, i'm sure. thanks for sharing.

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  13. Very touching event indeed. This project is very meaningful : )

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  14. Carletta.
    Every one of us enjoyed the delicious lunch and the cool performance.

    Most importantly, the support shown by partners and individual for the Yellow Ribbon Project is very encouraging.

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  15. miranda,
    For a meaning cause, my pleasure. :)

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  16. foongpc,
    And this meaningful project needs more support from the community. :)

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  17. A meaningful event. Congrats to the winners. You must have enjoyed the meal. :)

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  18. Very touchy celebration, ECL. Father's Day is celebraten on March 19th(St Joseph's) in Spain...
    You are always so busy I wonder how you manage to keep up your lovely blog!!
    Cheers, my dear.
    Happy RT!

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  19. Its indeed a real tribute of love for supporting such a meaningful project. Hurray! to all those who have a hand in bringing hope and happiness to these inmates and their families.

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  20. What a lovely tribute ECL, hope u had a good Father's Day weekend. :):):)

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  21. Forever la u being invited everywhere he he!

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  22. I didn drop ec for two days dear, dropping today though! Happy Tuesday. :)

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  23. By the looks of this food, they did a wonderful job... it sounds like a wonderful program.

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  24. That looks like a great celebration ECL.

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  25. The yellow ribbon project not only teaches the inmates to acquire skills but also helps them to intergrate them back into society.

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  26. This was a high standard blogpost, giving an extra dimension to our meme.
    Impressing what these young men have achieved. Also touching that the parents cared enough to meet their children for this celebration.
    As ever high standard photos.

    A real feel-good story.
    From Felisol

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  27. The dish is so pretty...congratulations to the winners. So touching for the parents.

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  28. How nice to be invited to a party like this and what a wonderful Fathers Day celebrating!

    I want that winning dishes!!! As a Norwegian I love seafood you know :-)

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  29. Looks like a wonderful event!
    Hugs and blessings,

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  30. Wow, ecl! What a wonderful celebration. We could learn a lesson from your country for how to treat our prisoners... Happy Ruby Tuesday! :)

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  31. What an excellent idea. The course should help some of the offenders break the spiral of crime and punishment.

    Far cheaper and better to have them earn a good living honestly than for them to commit crimes and be jaield

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  32. ECL is this the only prison in singapore where this is done ?
    are there others as well ? and is there one for the women who are imprisoned ?

    seems like such a wonderful project. the day must have been fun and certainly filling from the delicious looking repast'.

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  33. Hi ECL! wow that is a very touching event :-)

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  34. That's uplifting. So much creativity! The possibilities excite the imagination.

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  35. What a wonderful and heartfelt event! I am singing that song too now!

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  36. ECL, you enjoy life; you work (and play) very hard. I love reading about your work and play.

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  37. It looks like a wonderful evening. Happy WW:)

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  38. what a touching moment! it's a wonderful recollection and tribute to fathers everywhere.

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  39. what a nice event for the fathers and the families. Am sure it's really memorable. My Ruby Tue is up too.

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  40. It's a really touching event. Love the food pictures.
    Happy WW

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  41. Nothing much to say except it's really a great tribute of love. :D

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  42. Very touching story, ECL. I couldn't help but think "Is this how they treat them every day? Is that what they eat?" :-)

    We are thousands of miles away from that kind of rehabilitation programs here in North America. And don't even get me to compare with my homeland, Argentina...

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  43. Beautiful entries I like the way you presented a post very good.

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  44. A good celebration. No wonder you get invited to all these places.

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  45. A friend is considering teaching in the prison. I don't know that thought has come into fruition.

    How's your bloggers association doing?

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  46. It's for a great cause. Will you be running too? :p

    P.S. I checked FB once in a while. Did you leave any impt msg for me?
    I am currently in SG but busy like hell!!! Aiya.....tt's y I say I need to slow down.

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  47. Saw this on the news. I think it's a pretty good event, and a well given chance to inmates :)

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  48. What a great program, I hope many of the students put their newfound skills to good use when they return to the community.

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  49. amazing that you get to meet some very influential people. i think you're one of the most influential singaporean blogger.

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  50. Very nice !
    We had father day too, but forgot,lol !
    Internet works for once in Italy !

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  51. I enjoy your blog so much. This is a really touching story! Thanks for sharing it!

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  52. Eastcoastlife,
    This was the very good event.
    Organise some healthy activities for prisoners are ready meaningful.
    Let us give them second chances, surely they will appreciate and move towards the right path.
    This is indeed the caring society.
    Thanks for the post.

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