Category Archives: Community

Closing of The Year of Faith

Bishop Sebastian Francis closing the Year of Faith

Perak’s Deanery which is made up of twelve parishes in the state congregated on the grounds of OMPH Church Ipoh Garden to celebrate the Closing of the Year of Faith on Sunday November 24, the last Sunday of the catholic calendar before advent, the Christmas season.

Priests (above) and Altar Servers from the various Parishes

Bishop Sebastian Francis con-celebrated the mass together with priests and 5000 parishioners from the twelve parishes. During the celebration 230 children received their first Holy Communion.


The Closing of the Year of Faith which was celebrated globally was started on October 11, 2012. It is a call to Catholics to study and reflect on the documents of Vatican II and the catechism so that they may deepen their knowledge of the faith.

Bishop Francis in his homily announced that the year of faith for his diocese was a success as the number of catechumens being baptized had doubled compared to previous years.

faith 1a

Francis, read the message from the Pope which said that “upon entering the door of faith take the next step into The Light of Faith which is capable of illuminating every aspect of human existence.” He added that the theme for 2014 is “Discipleship: Called, Chosen, Sent”.


The parishioners, consisting of Chinese, Indians, Orang  Asli and East Malaysians, made up the congregation and the mass was conducted in four languages. The offertory was led by the different ethnic groups who were dressed in their own cultural attire.

Sign language

Interestingly, with all the different ethnic groups and languages, Bishop Francis added another language, sign language, when he led the congregation in prayer.

The theme for 2014 “Discipleship: Called, Chosen, Sent”.


Ridding Streets of Vagrants


Ridding Streets of Vagrants

Ridding Streets of Vagrants Ridding Streets of VagrantsSome 43 drifters were rounded up during an operation to rid the streets of Ipoh of vagrants on the night of Wednesday, November 20. Of the number, ten were tested positive for drug abuse.

The operation was mounted by Ipoh City Council Enforcement Division and aided by personnel from the Ipoh Police District, Immigration Department, National Registration Department, National Anti-Drug Agency and the State Welfare Department. In all, over a hundred personnel were involved.

Leading the joint-team was Dato’ Rusnah Kassim, the Executive Councillor for Women’s Development, Family, Welfare and National Integration. They combed the streets, back lanes and areas of the city which are havens for vagrants, the destitute, homeless beggars and drug addicts.

The drifters are mostly found in and around the wet market where Super Kinta is. Here, activities of illegal parking attendants are rife. Their other favourite haunts are Jalan Dato Tahwil Azhar where the night market (Gerbang Malam) is located, Jalan Mustapha Al-Bakri, Jalan Theatre and the Kinta Height flats.

Ridding Streets of Vagrants

“Some of them make as much as RM150 a day collecting illegal parking fees from motorists. It’s a form of extortion, as motorists who don’t pay up may have their cars scratched,” said Rusnah to reporters who were covering the operation.

Part of the state government’s rehabilitation programme is to relocate these destitutes so they do not become a public menace. “The homeless will be sent to welfare homes while the able bodied will be sent to Mersing, Johor for skill training,” Rusnah added.

The operation ended at around 1.30 the following morning. It will be continued from time to time depending on the need.


Hospital Fatimah’s Nicotine-Free Campaign in Schools


Dr Chan Chee Hoe“You will never have to quit if you have never started”, said Dr Chan Chee Hoe,  Chairman of  Hospital Fatimah’s Clients’ Support and Counselling Centre (CSCC), in his recent talk at Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), Perak Campus.

The CSCC has held a few Nicotine-Free campaigns this year to reduce the use of nicotine, especially among school-going students in view of the alarming increase in smoking-related diseases (for example, heart disease, cancers and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) lately. Statistics show 23 per cent of Malaysians smoke, with the highest rates among men (1 in 2 males smoke), teens (new smokers) and women (highest rate of increase).

Members of the CSCC, comprising nurses of the Hospital and Dr Chan Chee Hoe, Consultant Physician, have held this campaign at SMJK Ave Maria Convent, St Michael’s Institution, UTAR Kampar and in Hospital Fatimah itself.

The objectives of this campaign are to develop a persuasive argument against smoking, examine the effects of smoking and impart information on the health effects of smoking to school-going students.

Nicotine-free campaign

This 1½-hour programme comprises various interactive activities for the students such as a debate, a straw game, a role-play by the nurses of the CSCC on the effects of smoking followed by an extensive presentation on ‘How to Quit Smoking’ by Dr Chan.

The responses from participants of these campaigns have been so encouraging that the school teachers have requested for repeated programmes in their respective schools. Schools or any organisations dealing with adolescents that are interested in organising this programme may contact the Hospital at 05 5455 777 Ext. 276.

The CSCC in Hospital Fatimah provides personalized clinical counselling services to patients starting from the ward and extending to outpatients for their follow-up care. The CSCC aspires to educate patients on their illnesses and to answer any doubts or problems pertaining to their illnesses and to provide physical and psychological support to patients during the process of rehabilitation, reference material/pamphlets, and preventive and aftercare services to meet our community needs.

Some of the services provided at CSCC are counselling for people with Diabetes Mellitus, Stroke, AIDS/HIV, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and those who want to quit smoking; coordination of palliative care, cardiac rehabilitation and weight management. All counsellors at CSCC are trained in conducting counselling services and they are available to counsel in the language that patients prefer.

DJS’ Cakecraft


“Helping women help themselves”, is the goal that Jabatan Pembangunan Wanita has always been actively working towards. In their newest venture, they have formed a partnership with DJS’ CAKECRAFT to offer programmes  designed to assist those interested, a means  of self-supporting income through the art of cooking and baking.

DJS’ Cakecraft

Under the System Latihan Dual, DJS’ CAKECRAFT will train participants to bake and cook, thus equipping them with the means to venture into small business enterprises or the opportunity for employment in the food industry. Participants between the ages of 18 to 45 are eligible to register with the government body, which will then inform them of sponsored workshops.

The Jabatan Pembangunan Wanita is also keen on initiating more programmes that will teach and provide industrial training for participants in the near future. With this programme it is hoped that there will be less dependence on foreign labour as more local people will be qualified and experienced enough to work as chefs in various commercially run establishments.

An allowance for the course work and transportation is given, with the hope that more people, both men and women alike, will take this golden opportunity to make a better life for themselves and their families.

Speaking to Ms Alice Sebastian, the director of the programme and owner of DJS’ CAKECRAFT, I learnt that many such programmes are currently available but little is known about them. Although most of the programmes are tailored to help single mothers, there are a lot of other people who can also benefit from signing up for such courses.

Besides being a part of this new government project, Ms Alice also conducts other smaller individually tailored programmes. These other programmes are conducted periodically, at very reasonable course rates. Ranging from pastry courses to international cuisine courses, Ms Alice carefully designs the course content to fit current market needs. Everything is provided, ranging from the equipment to the ingredients, which is completely covered by the course fee. At the end of the course the participant will be given the opportunity to take an exam and receive a certificate upon passing. Upon passing, the participant will receive a Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia.

Ms Alice is also an expert in vegetarian cakes. In an earlier issue the Ipoh Echo had covered a story on Ms Alice’s wonderfully delicious wholemeal bread selections that have no preservatives. She actively promotes the “No preservatives” element in her recipes which makes this the cornerstone of her creations, thus ensuring that everything is healthier.

For those interested in trying their hand at becoming a chef, or even simply wanting to learn a new thing or two about the wonderful world of cooking, enrolling in any of the various courses available at DJS’CAKECRAFT would be a good first step to take. No need to go overseas, or even to big cities to explore your cooking passion, when DJS’S CAKECRAFT is just round the corner.

DJS’s Cakecraft
Tel No: 05 526 5129  Fax: 05 527 3991

Serena Mui

Breast Cancer Awareness Month


Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In conjunction with the International Breast Cancer Awareness month in October, Perak Women for Women Society (PWW), Pink Champion Society Perak and Pantai Hospital Ipoh organised the Pink October Carnival to raise awareness on the disease and women’s issues. It was held at the Polo Ground recently.

One of the relevant events on the programme was the Walk-A-Hunt where teams of participants hunted for clues concerning breast cancer and women-related issues.  These clues were derived from participating booths and the surroundings. Dato’ Hj Abdul Rahim Md Ariff, Ipoh City Council Secretary, flagged off the hunt.

Breast cancer awareness

Other activities consisted of Bowling to Beat Breast Cancer, where coconuts were used as bowling balls and recycled bottles as bowling pins. Participation among the spectators was keen.

Breast cancer awarenessOne other event of relevance was the Walk-In-Her Shoes where men wore high-heel shoes and paraded in front of the crowd. The objective was to make the male participants know how it felt to be in a woman’s shoes. Some were game enough to dress themselves as women.

Pantai Hospital Ipoh provided health screening and other NGOs dispensed information on breast cancer and women’s issues. Booths selling food and knick knacks enhanced the prevailing carnival atmosphere. A flash mob dubbed, “One Billion Rising” prompted the crowd to join in the dance. The message of the group dance was preventing violence to women.

Maybank presented aids to Pink Champion Resource Centre in the form of a personal computer, breast prosthesis and wigs. It will also organise a workshop for counsellors.

The finale saw the Executive Councillor for Health, Tourism and Culture, Nolee Ashilin Dato’ Mohammed Radzi, giving prizes to winning participants. She then officially closed the event.


67 pupils graduate from Daybreak


In 2008, Persatuan DAYBREAK and the Special Education Unit of the State Education Department started the Work Experience Programme for pupils from special schools around Ipoh. The purpose of this programme was to provide the pupils the opportunity to learn various vocational skills (assembly & packaging, general cleaning, plant nursery and socks manufacturing), cultivate good work habits and prepare them for open employment. Since then, 300 pupils have been given the opportunity to attend this 15-week programme held at DAYBREAK.

67 pupils graduate from Daybreak
Mr Siu Tack Chuan, Chairman of DAYBREAK presenting a graduation certificate to a pupil from SMK Pengkalan

This year, 67 pupils attended this programme with the support of their teachers. Each of them were presented with a certificate at a graduation ceremony officiated by Encik Aznan Bin Haji Alias, Ketua Sektor Pendidikan Swasta dan Pendidikan Khas, Jabatan Pelajaran Negeri Perak at DAYBREAK recently. In his speech, Encik Aznan congratulated the pupils for having successfully completed the programme this year and expressed his gratitude to the teachers for their support for the past six years. He applauded DAYBREAK for hosting this programme and expressed his wish that DAYBREAK will continue to carry on this programme for the benefit of persons with disabilities in our community.

Mr Siu Tack Chuan, Chairman of DAYBREAK presenting a graduation certificate to a pupil from SMK Pengkalan
Mr Siu Tack Chuan, Chairman of DAYBREAK presenting a graduation certificate to a pupil from SMK Pengkalan

Also present during this ceremony was Encik Rahmat Bin Ismail, Pengarah Jabatan Tenaga Kerja (JTK) Negeri Perak and his staff members. Encik Rahmat presented some slides on JTK’s Program Azam Kerja which was aimed at helping individuals in need of training to support and learn a skill or trade for a better future. He identified DAYBREAK as a centre of excellence and would like to work with Jabatan Pelajaran Perak to provide skill training opportunities to pupils from special schools associated with DAYBREAK.

Empowering Women


Empowering WomenOver 70 participants made up of members of non-governmental organisations and the public attended an empowerment programme for women held at the Heritage Hotel, Ipoh recently. The one-day seminar was organised by the Perak Women for Women Society (PWW) in collaboration with Jabatan Pembangunan Wanita (JPW) Perak and the Sathya Sai Baba Central Council of Malaysia. Puan Sriharitini binti Mohd Shamsuddin, Director of JPW Perak, officiated at the event in the presence of PWW President, Dr Sharifah Halimah Jafaar and society members.

Empowering women

The programme named LIGHT, which stands for Love, Inner beauty, Growth, Health, and Traditions, is currently being adopted by the government and earmarked for ten communities in country.

Sathya Sai Baba Central Council of Malaysia, who formulated the programme, sent seven speakers led by their National Women leader, Madam Vijayaletchumi Ramachandran to conduct the talk. The last subject, “Embracing LIGHT”, by the council’s National President, Prof Dr Suresh Govind, had the audience in stitches with his many hilarious anecdotes relating to daily lives.

Empowering women

The participants interacted well with the speakers. The feedback was very positive.  Most said it was a worthy programme which could help women improve their lives and build happier homes and families.


Goodwill Walk


Goodwill walk at Merdeka Garden

About 70 residents from Merdeka Garden participated in the Goodwill Walk organised by Rukun Tetangga, Merdeka Garden. Subramaniam a/l Semalayappen, Organising Chairman of the walk said it was an activity to get the residents to come together and know each other. One of their events to socialise.

The four km walk was divided into four categories namely kindergarten, primary school children, open and veteran. The kindergarten children walked a distance of one km.

Special Guest for the event was R. Ragu who did the Merdeka Walk from Johore Baru to Kuala Perlis with his family. He shared his experience with the participants. They had to bear the rain and heat. Most importantly when they walked through village roads, they were greeted with cheers and smiles by the villagers. This encouraged them. Those interested in participating in this type of activity must practise.

Winners received trophies, medals and certificates. There was lucky draw for all the participants. The aim of the walk was achieved since many parents accompanied their children and met with parents of other participating children. It was like one big happy family.

A. Jeyaraj

Deepavali Celebration in KPJ ISH


Deepavali Goodies Giveaway

In conjunction with Deepavali celebration, the Management of KPJ Ipoh Specialist Hospital distributed traditional Deepavali goodies to all patients in the hospital. Planned as an annual event to strengthen unity among races in the country, in a 1 Malaysia spirit, all non-nursing staff were dressed in their cultural costumes.

Staff of the hospital also participated in decorating the lobby area with Kolam, the colours of Ranggoli, a form of folk floor art from India, to create the festive ambiance. Traditional Indian music was also played at the lobby area throughout the day.

KPJ Ipoh Colours of Rangoli