-------Original Message-------
Date: 04/08/05 18:08:27
Subject: [CASonline] With a CAS being :- )


A nice interview for YES-Youth Employment (Singapore)


conducted by Kai with bband all of the

Charitable Assistance Society: CAS -



"Is Enjoyable....... !!"




bb and other beings in CAS





"Achoo !!"





1.       What is your profession?

I am a nice teacher with the Ministry of Education.



2.       How long have you been working as a school teacher? Do you like the job?

I am into my sixth year of teaching, minus the months and years when I was then just a trainee teacher. I am extremely honoured and glad to be able to contribute whatever I know and can to all my dear pupils and I do enjoy very much interacting with all my lovely kids.

Of course, as is with all matters generally, perfection is elusive. In my case, I do get seriously "burnt out" by simply having too much responsibilities, administrative work, too ambitious expectations either from myself or others, unbelievable and unnecessary squabblings and agendas of different groups and individuals.

However, all I try my best to see the beauty and light with acceptance, understanding and happiness?­.. not always successful though !!



3.       Could you tell us how you got started in social work & volunteerism? What was your major motivating factor?

<include brief volunteer & social work history etc.>


     I have been taught by ancient Tibetan Gurus of mine that the essence of the Buddha's teachings is to try to be of the highest good and benefit to others. In fact, the source of happiness to oneself and others is to cherish others whilst the source of problems and sufferings is to cherish only oneself at the expense of others!!


This, in addition to mixing with the right gang of beings: hospice counselors, lovely beings with kind hearts, serve as almost a natural impetus to get thick and heavy into social work.

The main motivating factor is surprisingly pragmatic, I think:

1) See problems -

2) Feel empathy [ Oh, please never condescending-form-of-sympathy !! ] -

3) Assess if can be of help -

4) Serve and Help !!


    If my failing memory did not fail me, it all started out during a Buddhist teaching programme at Kuala Lumpur. We chanced upon an old, tattered magazine, containing an appeal to "adopt" a Tibetan refugee student in India. Thinking that the S$30/- a month per child / pupil scheme is still within our means despite our already very meager and frugal existence and despite being still scrawny pupils, I embarked on an all-out recruitment, targetting my sister, my JC mates, my sister's classmates, my sister's classmate's grand aunt and so on and so forth. We ended with very wealthy sponsors, property magnates, some of whom, the wives of bank directors, and we also ended up with some Polytechnic students, working part-time as waiters in restaurants to support their "adopted" Tibetan brother!! We are very glad to say that the "adoption" scheme has expanded and is currently offering two scholarships with the Tibetan Medical College, retreat monastic students with the Drikung side and numerous [ about a hundred ] pupils from Sera and Drepung.  


    Then, we joined a group of Buddhist hospice counselors at a Catholic hospice?­ the Assisi Home. We tried our clumsy best to do whatever the care-givers want us to do: feeding the patients, talking to them, cheering them up, talking to the family members etc.

I stopped for few months due to National Service. Then, somehow, I was again recruited by another Buddhist friend to do reading services for the visually handicapped through recording into cassette tapes, interesting news, articles, martial arts serials [ never quite get to finish the famous and exciting Depend-on-Sky Sabre-Dragon though !! ] etc etc ?­..

After NS, I was doing some basic music therapy programme as a Free Elective for about a year again with the hospice.

At the moment, I am offering counseling at some of the Drug Rehabilitation centers and the Changi Prison with the Singapore Buddhist Federation and will soon be engaging in offering volunteer tuition classes with pupils from China.


As some of you might have already suspected, getting "burnt out" is very much a close reality unless lessons to balance up one's life / responsibilities / expectations have been well-learnt and implemented and of course, is never the easiest thing.

My half-successful strategy is to remember that these friends are in need and it is such honour, bliss and joy to be of whatever assistance you can be to them.

Then, very importantly, pray with all your heart to whatever "Higher Powers" to be possessed always with nothing but solely the purest heart to be of the highest good to all, whom you must learn to see as having been your dear mother, father, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters.


Do remember to pray that no one please will notice your work...­.. to guard against any lurking ego and pride !!

Who needs monsters in the Pure Realms ??!!




4.       Tell us something about CAS. What do you guys do?

<remember to include date of formation!>


          We are actually an unruly band of beings who are somehow formed through amazingly unplanned causes and conditions in 1995 in order to put some order into our "adoption" scheme for the Tibetan monastic pupils.

          We have teachers, police officers, engineers, lecturers, full-time social workers in our Com and one thousand plus beings in our exciting emailing list.  

          We are all engaged in our respective social works whilst working as full-time employees in outside companies.

          Then, sometimes, when we feel like it, we come together irregularly to share and learn Buddhist teachings with each other over spaghetti, ice-cream and other delicacies.




5.       Is CAS working with other non-profit, government or private organizations & companies?


                    CAS is a partner with the Singapore Anti-Narcotic Association [ SANA ] in their PAL programme where disadvantaged youths are befriended and persuaded through whatever sensible means - to stay-on in mainstream society.

                   Last year, many beings from CAS became very active with the welfare side of the Singapore Buddhist Federation, especially in relation to offering counseling in the prisons and reviewing of the counseling syllabuses amongst others.


                   Trying hard to be nice students of our great Tibetan Teachers, CAS is very close to many of the very holy beings from the ancient, grand monasteries of Tibet: Drepung Loseling, Sera Jhe, Gyumey, Namdroling etc.

                  In fact, in 2004, CAS is glad to host "The Mystical Arts of Tibet", a Richard Gere production together with a troupe of highly-talented exiled Tibetan monks for a full-house performance at Singapore's premier performing arts venue at the Esplanade Concert Hall: an official fund-raising drive for provision of basic medical care for the thousands of refugee students of Drepung Loseling.

          All the above will not have been possible without the indulgent support and sponsorship of some of CAS's long-term friends and sponsors: major players from big transport companies, noble, fantastic individuals and all.    




6.       Why did you choose to form CAS instead of helping out in other non-profit organizations?


            As stated above, we are established in a rather spontaneous and unexpected way: to get things properly structured and accountable. Suddenly, we are shocked to find out that we are on track, running, puffing and hopefully soaring the deep, blue skies !!

          Actually, CAS has been and is continuing [ and hopefully will continue to !! ] to work with many, many other organizations.

          Our ideals: to be of service and assistance wherever possible for the highest good of all ?­ whether be it a CAS project or not !!

          This, may we never compromise or forget !!




7.       What qualities do you think one can develop through volunteerism & social work?


If we begin our work with

1)    the right motivation BEFORE the work: solely to be of assistance to others,

2)    the right actions DURING the work

3)    AFTER the work: a proper reviewing of what can be improved and rejoicings over what has been done well?­.

Then, I believe we have plenty much to gain and infinite more to learn and develop !!



8.       What do you think is the most fulfilling aspect of volunteering?


Knowing that you have used your human existence properly and well, not having let down the heart-instructions and wishes of your precious Teachers and of course, having cherish-others with your purest heart [ for once !! ] !! 



9.       A good volunteer should be pro-active, compassionate and responsible. Do you think so?


Oh of course..­.. in addition to a bunch of all other possible qualities.

But then, we can always pick up one or two along the way!!

          Chucky's wife used to tell herself that Rome is not built in a day!!  



10.  What future plans do you have for CAS?


                To continue with and to expand whatever work has been beneficial, to lessen and minimize whatever has not been so beneficial and to please continue to offer everything possible to all only with the purest hearts?­?­..

                Specifically, to reach out through all avenues to serve and to be nice?­.



11.  What is your take on the current mindset of youths in Singapore?


    From my limited vintage point, youths here appear to be quite "lost". It seems that they do not know which "model" to follow and to try to "become": parents are old-fashioned and boring and deadeningly unexciting; teachers are always so stressed and focused on squinting the last drops from them to achieve yet another shining award.

What is left?? Apparently attractive groups, cliques that focus on varied interests, whether beneficial or not, who either bring them to pubs during weekends and paid for their first pink sherry, share their first puffs OR who insisted that they will find the "Truth" and then introduced them to easily-understood, fundamental ideas: insisting that all others except themselves, are wrong and demonic - without making sure that they grow to possess a balanced and healthy outlook in life, to help to spread their wings, to soar higher, to look over artificially constructed narrow fences and to catch, appreciate and love the beautiful "truths" and scenes across the far ends of the horizon.

Generally, from what I can see, our youths DO care but are too self-conscious and shy to actively and be brave enough to pursue their passions, dreams and ideals.

Then, again, the above are mere generalizations from a modest teacher!!         






In the beginning:
>Dear BB,
>Hello! Hope you are doing well..
>Wanna check if it is possible to do an email interview with yourself for
>YES, a non-profit organization i'm helping out ..More info on YES below..
>Youth Employment (Singapore) [YES] is a registered society with a mission
>empower youths (age 15-35) with the pertinent knowledge and an untrammelled
>capacity to increase
>employability and employment opportunities.
>YES helps youth to
>-explore and determine their possible career paths
>-create job opportunities
>-enhance work-related pertinent skills
>They are coming up with a e-newsletter every two months for youths in
>Singapore and I'm in charge of this section called 'Hot Seat of the Month'
>... a column which features interviews with individuals. The topic for the
>May newsletter happens to be 'Volunteerism' or 'People who volunteer!'
>I think it will be a great idea to do an email interview with yourself to
>highlight the work of CAS, hopefully this will plant some good seeds in the
>readers' mind and make them rejoice (and hence gain merit!) and also bring
>more attention to the problem faced by Tibetan refugees in India.. (most
>local youths are completely oblivious to this part of the world)
>What do you think? Do let me know so I can send you the email interview
>questions ASAP ..
>Dear Kai,
>sorry again for only getting your mail now ......
>will be glad to offer any help possible -
>hope not too late !!
>  BB Tan
Dear BB!
Thanks for agreeing to help! I've attached the interview questions... this
should only take a few minutes .. just type from the top of your head ..
i'll edit and make it grammatical etc..  I think this is a good occasion to
really just list all the many good things CAS has been doing.. maybe you'll
get some youths volunteering after they read!
Could you send it back to me by Friday? I will have to submit this to the
newsletter editor on Sat! ..
Meanwhile you can check out the YES website at http://www.yes.org.sg   ...
as they focus on youth employment I've asked some questions about your
profession hope you dun mind!
Oh yah.. btw, can you let me know the following details too?
1. Your Age
2. Education Qualification
3. Contact Details (Can I list sc23jul@singnet.com.sg email as contact?)
Sorry for asking so much but this is kinda relevant for the YES newsletter..
Before i forget:
My details:
1. Your Age: going 32
2. Education Qualification: BA with Dip Ed / Masters in Education
3. Contact Details: