21st January 2017
Chinese New Year festivity came early in the Ang Mo Kio neighbourhood this year. This was jointly organised by Masjid Al-Muttaqin and Indian Muslim Social Service Association. More than 50 volunteers from IMSSA came together on 21 January 2017 at Al-Muttaqin mosque, to share their blessings this Chinese New Year with residents in Ang Mo Kio by giving them oranges and cupcakes. The cupcakes were specially frosted by the volunteers on the day of distribution.
The aim of the kind gesture was driven by the tagline:
“Spread the Spirit of SHARING
Enjoy the Pleasure of GIVING”
Hence, through a survey of the neighbourhood, the initiative decided to reach out to 500 households from blocks 123, 124, 125 and 126, of which more than 200 households comprised of needy families and elderly.
Despite a short duration to materialise a pioneering initiative, the organisers were quick and responsive to ensure that the required materials and ingredients for the event could be obtained at a best cost.
To ensure the volunteers do not tire themselves, cupcakes were bought off the shelf. Nonetheless, a personal touch was preferred, to express our sincerity. Therefore, a team of 10 volunteers gathered at one of the volunteer’s house the previous night, 20th Jan, to prepare the frosting for the cupcakes. The volunteers were generally bakers with minimal experience of baking in large scale. However, they meticulously ensured the correct quantity of ingredients were bought on that day and were also precise while preparing the frosting in 4 batches. It was a feat when the end product tasted equally as good as commercial frosted cupcakes. Despite the long session, the volunteers headed home with elation and were looking forward to the following day.
On the morning of 21st Jan, the organisers were delighted to have nearly 50 volunteers gather at Masjid Al-Muttaqin foyer to frost the cupcakes. While breakfast was served to ensure the volunteers could survive through the day, the organisers setup the stations that comprised of:
4 frosting stations
3 labelling and packing stations
Post-breakfast, the volunteers were briefed and were requested to break into 7 groups, as per the stations. Volunteers, who were not confident of frosting, chose to label and pack the finished product. Although the intent was to feed the needy, the initiative was a great opportunity for young talents with absolutely no knowledge of baking or frosting, to develop their talents. It was evident via the various designs frosted on the cupcakes.
Nonetheless, the volunteers were swift and focused, whilst frosting the cupcakes that the tables became full of cupcakes that waited to be packed. Due to the good turnout rate, despite the short notification, the frosting of cupcakes took less than 2 hours.
As it was time for prayers, the volunteers quickly cleared up the location and performed their prayers. Following that, the volunteers re-gathered to transport the cupcakes and oranges to the blocks opposite Masjid Al-Mutaqqin. With the sunny weather and smooth execution, the organisers aimed to finish it on time.
The volunteers unloaded the boxes of oranges and frosted cupcakes under the block of 125 by forming a long human chain that enhanced the bond and unity amongst them. Upon completion of unloading of the boxes at the assembly point, the volunteers separated into 4 teams, who were tasked to visit the residents of a specific level in block 125. Post-briefing, the teams left batch by batch, carrying a box of oranges and frosted cupcakes. There were all still full of energy and filled with optimism.
The excited volunteers strolled from door-to-door with happy faces, a box of 2 cupcakes each and 2 oranges. The volunteers brought smiles and happiness to the residents who appreciated their thoughtfulness in wishing the Chinese and non-Chinese residents a Happy Chinese New Year. The volunteers were also greeted with acts of kindness from residents who offered drinks to the volunteers and even gave them umbrellas to help them with the distribution, when it began to rain heavily and continuously.
Rain is perceived to be a sign of mercy from the Creator. During the distribution, it increased the challenge and resulted in a prolonged session. There were some residents who declined the Chinese New Year goodies from the volunteers.
The team was not discouraged but was quick-witted as they decided to share the intent better with the residents – that the goodies were from the nearby mosque, meant for all residents of the block as we are One BIG Family.
Residents were touched and surprised to hear our intent, as they had misconceptions of Muslims. As descendants of Adam (a.s.) and Hawwa (a.s), were are all indeed a BIG Family. Thus, Rasulullah (s.a.w.) embraced all mankind and preached islam through his actions. The volunteers were glad to have followed our beloved Rasulullah (s.a.w.) in creating positive awareness of Islam. They were also pleased to have fed the needy, as encouraged by the Creator.
Overall, it was indeed a heartening experience for all to appreciate the racial harmony that binds Singaporeans together and served as good opportunity to express our good wishes to our fellow Chinese Singaporeans. With numerous lessons learnt, the team hopes to serve the society better in the future.
We would like to thank Rahmatan Lil Alameen and Haji Paiman for supporting us in this project to share the blessings with our fellow Singaporeans from different races this Chinese New Year. We wish all Singaporeans a prosperous Chinese New Year!