Soup Kitchen Christmas Lunch - 25th December 2016
SMC's Chinese Evangelisation Group and SMC soup kitchen volunteers organised a Christmas lunch for the regular visitors to SMC's monthly soup kitchen for the poor. The soup kitchen guests were treated to a Chinese banquet style lunch with entertainment provided by the Sam Tet school band and Chinese Youth carollers. Testimonies were also given by Chinese-speaking parishioners. A big "thank you" to all who have supported this project since its inception in April 2016.
Sahabat Orang Asli - 11th to 12th December 2016
SOA members together with SOA partners, the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP), Good Shepherd services,FMDM sisters Sr Connie and Sr Katherine and SMC parishioners hosted over a hundred and fifty orang asli from Kampar,Tapah and Simpang Pulai on the Sunday 11th Dec 2016 up to Monday, 12th Dec 2016. The orang asli friends arrived on Sunday just in time for a luncheon set in a carnival-like atmosphere. The Chinese Apostolate and members of the SOA team, were on hand to serve the food. The lunch consisted of a variety of free foods such as satay, ice-cream, sandwiches, fried rice and fried chicken among other things kindly sponsored by parishioners and the church. The SSVP group prepared an interesting arts and craft demonstration for the orang asli. Among the stalls were a stall from the Good Shepherd Services centre,featuring pastries and cakes made by the two orang asli youth currently training at the Rose Virginie centre.
Our orang asli friends then joined SMC parishioners for the 5.30p.m. mass conducted wholly in Bahasa Malaysia by Fr Jude Miranda of Taiping church and SMC's Fr Stephen Liew. The mass saw active participation by the orang asli in the singing, with many Catholic orang asli from Kampar serving as altar servers and wardens during the mass. This was followed by a buffet dinner by the Ministry to the Poor and a Christmas Concert which saw the participation of SMC's youth, the Sam Tet school band, the newly formed Infant Jesus Children's choir, an energetic youth dance troupe and the Kg Sekam orang asli band from Kg Sekam. The crowd was particularly delighted to see children from the SOA-backed education centres of Kg Sekam and Kg Sinju putting up performances during the concert.
The orang asli guests stayed overnight at the church parish activity centre and left for their homes next morning, bringing along packed breakfast meals supplied by SOA. SOA thanks all volunteers and sponsors for their generous support in making this Christmas fellowship a rousing success!
Sahabat Orang Asli - 4th December 2016
SOA mobilisation team members helped to clean,pack and transport fish farmed by our orang asli friends in Kg Sekam,Tapah. The fresh tilapia was put out for parishioners to purchase after the morning masses on 4th Dec 2016. By the end of the Chinese mass, all fish were completely sold out. SOA thanks all parishioners for their great support towards this aquaculture project at Kg Sekam, which has now brought tangible economic benefits to the villagers of Kg Sekam.
Sahabat Orang Asli - 29th November 2016
Members of SOA and SSVP accompanied sponsors from a yoga group called Yemaya Life to Kg Sinju. The group have kindly donated RM10,000/= to the SOA cause. SOA's Hubert Thong gave a short presentation about SOA's work to the association before the start of the programme. The members of the Yemaya Life group brought additional gifts of school bags containing goodies like playbooks, colour pencils, toothpaste etc. for the village children. The group members were taken on a walking tour of the village of Kg Sinju. They also sponsored lunch for the children and played games with the children during the few hours at Kg Sinju.
Sahabat Orang Asli - 12th November 2016
SOA members led a lorry load of materials into Kg Sinju for the purpose of installing a new alternative water system for the village. Prior to this, the villagers had been using the nearby river as their water source for drinking, washing and bathing. All volunteers coming into the village to date, have been bringing in their own bottles of clean water. It is hoped that this new source of water drawn from higher up in the hills will solve the water woes. Pipes were laid and the villagers helped to lay pipes over a few hills and connected to a main tank at the village.
Sahabat Orang Asli -5th November 2016
SOA members together with SSVP members from OLOL headed to Kg Sinju at Simpang Pulai on the morning of 5th November 2016. SOA members delivered food packs (which consisted of fortified rice, cooking oil, anchovies, canned sardines,sugar,margarine, biscuits, Milo and milk) to seven malnourished families at the kampung. The SSVP team conducted classes, together with the Orang Asli trainee teacher from Kg Sinju, using the Fatima Education syllabus for about 30 Orang Asli children. SSVP members Heide and Lovie also conducted a cooking class showing the Orang Asli women how to make nutritious meals using green beans, vegetables,chicken meat and rice. The deliciously cooked meal was then served to all present including the Orang Asli children. They also continued with a class on how to make paper gift-bags. The SSVP team had earlier taught the Orang Asli womenfolk the art of candle-making and making hairpins. It is hoped that these classes will give the Orang Asli women some ideas on how to earn a bit more income.
Sahabat Orang Asli -22nd October 2016
SOA's Survey & Mobilisation team members delivered 50 boxes of fortified rice to Hospital Gerik, to support the hospital's re-feeding programme for malnourished families, which consist mainly of people from orang asli communities.
Donation Drive - 8th & 9th October 2016
SOA team set up a booth in front of the church's porch during the weekend masses of 8th and 9th October 2016, to raise funds for an orang asli community in Gerik. A total of RM8,023/= was collected during the weekend in question, with 50% of the funds coming from the Chinese mass alone. In addition, SOA's members from the Chinese Apostolate also sold herbal eggs and sweet corn donated by Auntie Rose, to raise an additional RM775.50 towards the cause. SOA team thanks all parishioners and other donors for their kind contribution towards this cause.
Sahabat Orang Asli - Medical camp at Kg Sekam on 8th October 2016
SOA's Healthcare and Nutrition team together with two volunteer doctors and volunteer staff from Fatimah hospital,Ipoh visited Kg Sekam, Tapah on the morning of 8th October 2016. A group of Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) students went along and volunteered their services for this medical camp as well. The SOA Survey and Mobilisation team took this opportunity to check up on the progress of the fish-rearing project.
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Sahabat Orang Asli - Visit to Pos Kemar on 16th September 2016
SOA's Survey & Mobilisation team together with Fr Stephen Liew visited the orang asli community in Pos Kemar, Gerik, to check on the progress of the community hall being built with assistance from SOA.
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Sahabat Orang Asli - Medical and Dental camp at Kg Sinju - 3rd September 2016
SOA's Healthcare and Nutrition team together with volunteer doctors from Ipoh,Teluk Intan and Bukit Mertajam, the dental team from Pejabat Kesihatan Pergigian Daerah Kuala Kangsar and staff of Fatimah hospital, Ipoh paid a visit to Kg Sinju on the morning of 3rd September 2016. The dental team from Kuala Kangsar put up interesting exhibits and conducted mini-talks to explain to the children and parents present about the importance of oral hygiene. They also demonstrated proper teeth-brushing techniques to the children. The dentists from Kuala Kangsar also attended to a number of children and adults with cavities. Significant improvements in the condition of the children examined indicates that the extra monthly food packs and milk supplied by SOA have been beneficial. SOA wishes to thank all volunteer doctors, team from Fatimah hospital and Pejabat Kesihatan Pergigian Kuala Kangsar for their invaluable time and effort in conducting this joint exercise.
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Children's Mass at St Michael's -28th August 2016
The St Michael's Infant Jesus Children's choir (IJCC) comprising children of our parish's Sunday School made their debut at the 8.00 a.m. Children's Mass celebrated on 28th August 2016. The children performed admirably with the IJCC energetically leading the congregation through all the hymns and the children taking charge of all liturgical duties from commentating, reading to warden duties. The parishioners commend the children and thank the Sunday school teachers, parents and Latin choir for helping the children prepare for this mass. Well done to all!
Sahabat Orang Asli - Open Day for Education Centre at Kg Sinju on 20th August 2016
SMC's Sahabat Orang Asli members together with the team from Mariaville and Good Shepherd Services including the orang asli girls from Kg Sekam presently undergoing courses in baking and education with the sisters, members from the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP) of Perak State Council (based at OLOL church) and from Conference of Our Lady of Fatima,Kuala Lumpur, FMDM Sister Connie and Sister Katherine,friends from the Protestant churches and other volunteers were on hand to celebrate the opening of the Education Centre at Kg Sinju, Simpang Pulai. The SOA and SSVP team were extremely pleased with the encouraging turnout by the parents and children of the village.
The event started at approximately 9.30a.m. with a speech explaining the reasons for establishing the education centre and the importance of education, by SOA representative, Dr Yong followed by SSVP's representative, Anne. SSVP have formulated the Fatima Education project which is going to place emphasis on Bahasa Malaysia and Mathematics in order to prepare the children for future studies in the national curriculum. Other volunteers from the Catholic church and the Protestant church teach English to the children at their own time. The speech was followed by the unveiling of the banner for the Education Centre by SSVP and SOA's representatives, Angela and Auntie Rose respectively.
The SSVP team and volunteers then conducted a trial class for the children. The Fatima Education project is unique as it teaches the children using unconventional methods and it is hoped that this method will make studying an enjoyable affair, which will then inculcate a love for learning in the children. Two of the villagers have also been appointed to take charge of the centre so that food (supplied by SOA and other sponsors) will be provided for the children whenever they attend classes. It is also hoped that the older children who have not gone to school, will also participate in these classes and thus acquire the necessary skills to help them obtain jobs in future. One youth from Kg Sinju is presently undergoing training at Good Shepherd Services centre and will return to teach at this education centre once her training is complete by next year. Parents who were present were asked to enrol their children with the centre and thirty children registered on the same day. Children who registered were presented with a goodie bag of biscuits and chocolates.
Upon completion of the trial class,everyone was treated to a superb buffet lunch, kindly arranged by SOA's Hubert Thong. The orang asli girls from Kg Sekam, presently learning to teach and bake at Good Shepherd centre also prepared delicious sandwiches, jelly dessert and chocolate cakes for all present for the breakfast session.
On another note, SOA's Auntie Rose has built a small kitchen outside the chapel cum education centre, so that meals can be prepared separately and safely. She and her efficient team, have also installed a little sink where the children can wash their hands before meals. SOA is indeed blessed to have so many dedicated volunteers, partners and sponsors!
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Sahabat Orang Asli - Follow Up Visit to Gerik on 13th August 2016
SOA team members and SOA volunteer Mr Chow of Persatuan Perkhidmatan Komuniti Taiping paid a visit to Gerik to deliver emergency packs consisting of food and toiletries like soap, to thirteen families identified earlier to be severely malnourished. Stephen also kindly brought a custom-made wheelchair specially for the child suffering from cerebral palsy and patiently taught the family how to make use of the contraption.
Sahabat Orang Asli - Medical camp to Gerik on 23rd and 24th July 2016
SOA Medical Healthcare and Nutrition team together with a volunteer doctor from Teluk Intan, and the team from Fatimah Hospital,Ipoh conducted a medical camp at Kg Air Bah Lawin and Kg Sungai Karah on 23rd July 2016. SOA volunteer Stephen Chow, who himself suffers from cerebral palsy made the trip specially to visit 2 people with cerebral palsy in the village. He was able to impart significant knowledge and taught the mothers of these special children how to care and give basic physiotherapy to them. The SOA team is immensely blessed to have his expertise in this area! The SOA team and kind volunteer doctor from T.Intan, went back the following day despite the rainy weather as four children were found to have been in very grave medical condition. About 33 boxes of fortified rice (equal to about 7130 rice meals) was also brought in for distribution to the villagers. The SOA team alerted this medical emergency to medical authorities at Hospital Gerik. We are happy to report that the authorities have been following up on the matter and the four children's health have improved since then. (Medical update as at 4th Aug 2016)
Sahabat Orang Asli - Painting and reorganisation of learning centre at Kg Sinju on 2nd July 2016
Three of SOA's Medical Healthcare and Nutrition team members and SOA's partners, the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SSVP) members from church of Our Lady of Lourdes, Ipoh (OLOL) visited Kg Sinju on the morning of 2nd July 2016. SOA team made home visits to seven families identified from the previous medical camp, to have been suffering from severe malnutrition. SOA's team doctor conducted medical checks on the said seven families and also presented them with food packs containing fortified rice, anchovies, Milo, milk etc.
SOA's partner in education, the SSVP have formulated an organised teaching module under the SSVP's Fatima Education project aimed at giving the orang asli children basic skills in English, Mathematics and Bahasa Malaysia. The Fatima education project will be run by the SSVP with plans for volunteer teachers from SSVP, to go in to the village to teach these basic subjects and other living skills about three times a week when the programme is fully launched. The majority of the children at this village are not going to school, mainly due to transport problems. Lack of pre-school education also meant that the few who are attending school are struggling in the national school system. At present there are two external volunteers (not from the SSVP) going in to teach at the chapel cum learning centre once a week. It is hoped that the Fatima Education project will complement the work presently being done by the volunteers, so that the village children will have some access to education.
SSVP members had, together with help from the Orang Asli children, completed the painting of the internal walls of the chapel cum learning centre two weeks earlier. The plan was to make the centre, bright and cheery so that it would be more conducive for learning. SOA's team doctor has appointed two of the Orang Asli villagers to be in charge of running the centre and ensuring the children who come to the centre for learning are also fed. SSVP members also helped to add an extra ceiling fan and additional lights to the learning centre. Book shelves will be added and partitions put in place to separate the cooking area from the study areas and section for prayer and worship. A whiteboard was also brought in and set up. SSVP team members together with the Orang Asli villagers led by orang asli teen Itam, completed the painting of the external walls by late afternoon. SSVP members and volunteer, led by Lovie Martin cook a delicious lunch of rice, fried chicken, vegetables,chicken stew and Portuguese curry for all present. The SSVP team also prepared tea for the villagers later in the afternoon.
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Sahabat Orang Asli - Kenduri and sporting games at Kg Sekam on 6th - 7th July 2016
SOA members together with the team from Mariaville kindergarten together with FMDM Sister Katherine visited Kg Sekam during the Hari Raya holidays. The SMC youth played the annual football match against their OA friends and lost by a smaller margin this time! Sisters Helena and Katherine also presented gifts for children participating in the sporting games. The group also enjoyed a big kenduri with the Kg Sekam villagers, who have become firm friends with the group over the years.
Sahabat Orang Asli - Donation of Fortified Rice from Sunway Group on 27th June 2016
SOA members Mr Francis Fernandes, Mr Hubert Thong, Mr Bernard Lee, Ms Stephanie Yeap and Uncle Chan were present at Sunway Lost World hotel in Tambun to receive 135 boxes of packed fortified rice formulated by Stop Hunger Now Organisation and donated by the Sunway Group. Each box comprising 36 individual packets of fortified rice will be stored and later distributed to communities or homes who need it most including, but not limited to, Orang Asli villages in Kg Sekam, Tapah, Kg Air Bah Lawin,Pos Kemar in Gerik and Kg Sinju,near Simpang Pulai. SOA Chairman Mr Francis Fernandes and SOA Survey and Mobilisation Team leader, Mr Hubert Thong accepted the donation from Mr Calvin Ho,Senior General Manager of Sunway Theme Parks. The 135 boxes was equal to approximately 30,000 rice meals. The SOA team is extremely grateful for this kind donation from Sunway Group. The amount received on this occassion is almost double the last amount donated by the Sunway Group. The SOA team also greatly appreciate our orang asli friends from Kg Sekam who were on hand to help with the unloading of the rice at St Michael's church.
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Sahabat Orang Asli - Working Visit to Kg Sinju on 5th June 2016
SOA's Mr Hubert Thong and Dr Albert Yong paid a working visit to Kg Sinju,Simpang Pulai. Hubert had obtained a USB-ready TV and brought it to the chapel/pre-school to be installed for education purposes. Hubert also surveyed the water problems faced by the villagers. In the meantime, the villagers get their daily water supply from the nearby river. The villagers have asked for help from Jabatan Kemajuan Orang Asli (JAKOA). SOA team may be required to mobilise volunteers to help lay materials supplied by JAKOA in order to get water supply from another source and are awaiting further notice.
Soup Kitchen on 29th May 2016
A big 'Thank You' to members of the St Theresa choir for contributing and supporting the monthly soup kitchen for the homeless, in St Michael's church grounds on 29th May 2016.
Sahabat Orang Asli - Leadership Training Seminar for Orang Asli on 21st May 2016
Our parish proudly hosted close to 100 participants from all parts of Perak in the first leadership training seminar for orang asli,organised under the Perak Deanery Orang Asli Apostolate (PDOAA) Sahabat Orang Asli project. The seminar, held in the SFX hall of our parish, began with a welcome address and prayer by priest advisor of the PDOAA, Rev. Fr. Stephen Liew. First up for the session was Dato' Dr. Amar Singh HSS, Head of the Paediatric Department at Hospital Raja Permaisuri Tuanku Bainun Ipoh. Dr Amar spoke to the participants about the common problems faced by the orang asli community especially in caring for babies and children in the community. Video presentations were shown to the audience about the health warning signs to look out for in babies. It was a very lively session with active participation from the orang asli audience who were not shy in directing their questions to the good doctor. Dr Amar and SOA's Dr Albert Yong also gave a demonstration on how to give basic first aid to babies and adults.
The principal of Fatimah Hospital's School of Nursing, then gave a short talk to the orang asli present about the education opportunities available to orang asli girls with qualified Form Five education in becoming nursing aides and student nurses. Form five students with the requisite SPM qualifications could even get sponsorships for their training as nurses with Fatimah's School of Nursing. Brochures were handed out and some of the participants expressed much interest in taking up these opportunities.
The second speaker was Mr Stephen Chow, founder of Persatuan Perkhidmatan Komuniti Taiping. Stephen presented an interesting motivational session for the participants who were enthralled by his life-story and how he overcame personal physical disability and economic hardship to achieve his dreams of helping and motivating the OKU (orang kurang upaya) community. Stephen espouses that the same formula for working hard and working smart can be applied for the orang asli in facing up to the many challenges faced by their community today.
The final speaker of the day was Mr.Amani Williams Hunt Abdullah, who is a notable lawyer of orang asli descent and activist fondly known amongst the orang asli community as Bah Tony. Bah Tony presently sits on the Orang Asli Rights Committee of the Malaysian Bar Council and is an active advocate in seeking social justice and fighting for land rights for the orang asli community. Many of the orang asli present seemed to be unaware of their rights to the land, which were enshrined in the constitution as well as common law. It was a real eye-opener for many of the participants, who also fielded many questions to Bah Tony about some of the problems faced by the orang asli community, particularly displacement from and encroachment on their lands.
The sessions were interspersed with sharing sessions from various orang asli participants from Kuala Kangsar, Gerik and Kampar. The paricipants were feted with a hearty breakfast and tea by the SOA team. Lunch for all the participants was kindly sponsored by the Catholic Lawyers' Society,Malaysia who had organised a memorial mass in our parish for their founder, Dato' Dr Sir Peter Mooney on the same day.
The SOA team were happy to receive positive feedback from the various orang asli participants and it is hoped that their communities will be enlightened and further empowered with the knowledge gained in this seminar.
Penang Diocesan Lenten Campaign 2016
The total amount collected from our parish for this year's Penang diocesan lenten campaign was RM44,981.00.
Sahabat Orang Asli Project Updates - 11th May 2016
SOA was the lucky recipient of 229 boxes of donated fortified rice (equal to approximately 50,000 meals) from Cisco Systems Malaysia. The packing event was held at Rasa Sayang (Shangri-La group) hotel, Penang and the rice packs were subsequently delivered to our church by a generous sponsor for free.
Sahabat Orang Asli Project Updates - 9th to 10th April 2016
SOA healthcare and nutrition team members together with volunteer nurses from Fatimah hospital conducted another follow-up medical camp to Kg Sekam, Tapah on Saturday,9th of April 2016. The team headed out early at 7.30a.m. from SMC. There was improvement in the health of the villagers located deeper into the hills, unlike the first village which was closer to the foot of the hills. Fortified rice packs were given to a few families found to be more malnourished. The lack of rain over the past few months has adversely affected the crops of the villagers' petai, but at present it was heartening to note that the fish (reared under the new aquacuture project) was starting to grow.
On Sunday,the 10th of April,2016, the mobilisation team together with the principal of Mariaville kindergarten travelled up to Kg Sekam to meet up with the OA teachers and children at the kampung pre-school. SOA is happy to report that the teachers and students are progressing well.
Funeral of Brother Vincent Corkery F.S.C.- 24th March 2016
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The funeral of Brother Vincent Corkery F.S.C. was held in St Michael's church on the morning of Maundy Thursday,24th March 2016. The funeral mass which began at 10.30a.m., was presided by Bishop Sebastian Francis and attended by Archbishop Julian Leow, priests, Brother Vincent's niece Noreen Stanley, the La Salle brothers from many parts of the world, other religious orders, students, ex-Michaelians and friends from Ipoh and all over the country. The choir sang "When Irish Eyes are smiling" as a special tribute to this very special Irish brother, as his coffin was being moved out to the cemetary in the compound of St Michael's church. The Sam Tet school band subsequently played a medley of lively tunes at the cemetary. Present and past Michaelians also sang the St Michael's institution school song at the gravesite, in tribute to Brother Vincent, who served as director of the school for many years.
Sahabat Orang Asli Project Updates - 19th March 2016
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SOA healthcare and nutrition team members together with volunteer doctors from Ipoh general hospital and volunteers from Fatimah hospital,Ipoh conducted a medical camp at an orang asli settlement in Kg Sinju, near Simpang Pulai on 19th March 2016. The team also brought some clothing, rice and biscuits for the children. SOA proposes to use the pre-school/chapel as a feeding centre where the orang asli mothers can cook fortified rice (sourced from Stop Hunger Now) for children living in the area. SOA members and volunteers taught the children importance of washing hands, clipping fingernails and taught mothers how to cook the fortified rice. A simple lunch using the fortified rice and boiled eggs was served to the children and adults present at the school/chapel.
Ponggal - 31st January 2016
Our parish's Indian Group celebrated the Indian Harvest Festival "Ponggal" on Sunday,31st January 2016. The Indian group presented the gifts during the Sunday morning English mass. Parishioners were treated to Ponggal sweet rice and kacang after the mass.
Sahabat Orang Asli Project Updates - 25th to 31st January 2016
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SOA team together with teachers from Mariaville Kindergarten and members from the Pink Shoes NGO visited Kg Sekam during the Thaipusam holiday. The purpose was for the Mariaville team to check on the progress of the orang asli teachers and their students in the Kg Sekam pre-school. The team also monitored the progress of the fish pond being prepared for the proposed aquaculture project. Stock of tilapia was brought up and released into the pond on 31st Jan 2016 by SOA survey and mobilisation team members. All costs of providing fish fries and fish food, materials for harvesting, will be provided by SOA. SOA will sell the fish on the villagers behalf and use the proceeds to pay the villagers in charge of the fish pond, with all excess profits will be plowed back into the SOA project fund. It is hoped that this project will allow the Orang Asli at Kg Sekam to have an additional alternative source of income.
Commissioning of Faith Formation (Sunday School and Children's Liturgy) Teachers- 17th January 2016
All faith formation teachers from Children's Liturgy and Sunday School were duly commissioned during the English morning mass on 17th January 2016.
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Sahabat Orang Asli Project Updates - 16th January 2016
SOA healthcare and nutrition team members visited Kg Sekam,Tapah on 16th January 2016 at the request of the village heads. The villagers had been experiencing some health problems and also some skin problems. Our SOA team doctor examined a number of babies,children and women from two of the cluster villages. Due to a number of factors, possibly illness and the weather affecting crop yields, food rations of milk and rice will be increased for some of the households affected by malnutrition until their situation improves.
Sahabat Orang Asli Project Updates - 9th January 2016
SOA team members and volunteers from Fatimah Hospital, Ipoh conducted a medical camp at Kampung Air Bah Lawin and Kampung Sungai Karah,Gerik on the 9th of January 2016. The team also taught the children about importance of basic hygiene and delivered fortified rice and provisions to needy families.
Blessing and Commissioning of Sahabat Orang Asli team - 3rd January 2016
The Sahabat Orang Asli (SOA) Team was officially presented to the congregation during the evening mass on 3rd Jan 2016. Fr Liew thanked all parishioners
for their constant support in the form of cash and material donations towards the Orang Asli mission. He then invited members of the SOA team to the front of the altar for a special blessing and commissioning.