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[back] Activities of the Months Past (Sept - Dec 2009) Sara Lew - 1 January 2010

Activities of the months past (Sept - December 2009)

By Sara Lew

12th September 2009 - Cheque Presentation by St. Patrick Society of Selangor

The St. Patrick Society of Selangor whose members comprise mostly the Irish community in Malaysia, gave out donations to about 10 of their favourite charity organizations on Saturday, 12th September 2009. The occasion was held at the Alice Smith School, Jalan Bellamy in conjunction with their 84th Annual General Meeting. It was attended by our members, Dato' Maulud and his wife, Datin Doreen, Sivaraman Kannan, Rose Hooi and Sara.

MPDA received RM5,000 and the amount will be used to educate, counsel, and support people with Parkinson's and their families. We would like to take this opportunity to thanks the society for their support and generosity towards our association.

The President of St. Patrick Society of Selangor, Nigel McGonigle presents the cheque of RM5,000 to Sara. Beside him is the Master of Ceremony, Ron Anderson. Ireland Ambassador to Malaysia, Eugene Hutchinson (7th from Right) with office bearers of St. Patrick Society and representatives from Charity Orgnisations.

29th September 2009 to 26th December 2009 - MPDA IN SEHATI BERDANSA 3 CHARITY REALITY SHOW

On Tuesday, 29th September 2009, celebrity couple, Sazzy Falak and her husband Nazri Mohd Idrus (Nash) arrived at the Parkinson Center with a TV production crew in tow. They were at the center to do a recording session of our activities, which was later featured in the reality dance TV program called "Sehati Berdansa 3, to raise funds and create awareness for charity organizations.

This program which was aired on ASTRO RIA Channel 104 focused on local celebrities dancing to raise funds for their chosen charitable organization. The duo, who was one of the nine non-dancer celebrity couples had chosen MPDA to be their favourite charity organization. Every week, the contestants competed with each other, and if they were not eliminated on that week, they added on RM1,000 for their favourite organization and moved on to the next week. The grand finale was held on the tenth week, whereby two remaining couples vied for the first and runner-up positions with cash prize of RM15,000 and RM20,000 respectively.

The couple who are spokespersons for Adidas, practiced five hours a day, thrice a week under chorographer Papa J (Jamal Manap). Sazzy is popular for her role in the 2005 film Gol & Gincu in which she won the Best Supporting Actress Award in the 17th Malaysian Film Festival 2006. She also hosts Galaksi on TV9. Incidentally, she has two aunts who have had Parkinson's.

Twice a week, from 25th October to 26th December 2009, representatives from the chosen charity organizations were invited to support and cheer for their celebrity couples during the dance competition sessions, and results shows held on Thursdays and Sundays respectively. The dance competitions were recorded on Thursdays and telecast on Saturdays to the public. After every Saturday show, the public would cast their votes for their favourite couple. The result shows were featured LIVE every Sunday, and the couple who received the lowest number of votes was eliminated.

MPDA was represented by Sara Lew, Datin Tok Puan Hjh.Siti Ruhani and Sally Teh. Throughout the weeks, we rooted for Sazzy and Nash, and it was obvious from the beginning that they were one of the forerunners in winning the competition. They clinched the top position during the first two weeks of the competition and continued to be top favourites throughout the show, They became the final two couples for the grand finale held on 26th December 2009. Unfortunately, the top prize was elusive for them during the finals despite the marvelous show they put into it. They bagged second prize instead, and brought home RM15,000 for MPDA.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Sazzy and Nash for their passion and commitment put into the competition for the benefit of MPDA. Although they didn't become the winner in the Sehati Berhansa 3, they are winners in the eyes of all the members of MPDA for the good deeds that they have done for us. Sybas to the beautiful duo! - Sazzy and Nash.

Sazzy & Nash did a recording session at the Parkinson Center in October 2009. They took part in the vocal class, and interacted with the members.
Performance on Sehati Berdansa - Malam Latin. Ardent supporters from MPDA - From L - R: Sally Teh, Sara, & Datin Tok Puan Siti Ruhaini with Sazzy and Nash.
The Grand Finale (26/12/09): Minutes before the announcement of the winner which was telecast live on ASTRO Ria. From L - R : Choreographer, Papa J, Sazzy , Nash and Sara, holding their breath in suspense. After the announcement: Runner-up Sazzy & Nash might not have won first prize, but they have won the hearts of many. They bagged RM15,000 for MPDA.

12th November 2009 - Launch of the Charter for Compassion

On 12th November 2009, the Charter for Compassion was launched worldwide. To commemorate the launch in Malaysia, three organizations, Yayasan Budi Penyayang, Malaysian Interfaith Network (MIN) and the International Movement for Just World (JUST) came together for this purpose. MPDA was invited among more than 250 participants from Non-Government Organisations throughout Malaysia to be part of the initiative.

The launch was officiated by former Malaysian Prime Minister, Tun Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi at the PJ Hilton Hotel, Selangor. The Charter of Compassion was the brainchild of an eminent British religious scholar Karen Armstrong. According to the Charter, the principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves.

Sara Lew, Sivaraman, Datin Tok Puan Hjh. Siti Ruhani and Liba Connolly attended the event on behalf of MPDA. Among some of the events held at the launch was an interfaith dialogue on compassion by different religious groups in Malaysia and a photo exhibition projecting the theme of COMPASSION.

Entertainment by school children with a dance and skit routine. Three faces with compassionate hearts who work tirelessly for the Parkinson Community in Malaysia. From L-R: Liba, Sivaraman & Datin Tok Puan Hjh.Siti Ruhani.
Datin Tok Puan Hjh.Siti Ruhani took the opportunity to leave a message of compassion in support of the Charter on the Wall of Compassion. The rose she's holding symbolizes love and compassion for all living being on earth. Sivaraman wants to have his say on compassion on the Wall of Compassion too.
Liba and Sara with Anthony Thanasayan and Antony Leopold from PETPOSITIVE. MPDA representatives met up with Elahe Norman, President of Tasputra and Anthony Thanasayan, MPPJ City Councilor and President of PETPOSITIVE during tea-break.

12th December 2009 - 13th Annual General Meeting & Dialogue session on "What Parkinson's Disease means to me"

The AGM was held at the Dewan Pantai Medical Center, Jalan Bangsar. The meeting commenced at 4.15 pm when the minimum quorum of 28 members was met. Sara Lew chaired the meeting in her capacity as the President of MPDA. She welcomed all present, and thanked the members and her team for their support given to her in the running of the association. In her speech, she called for more volunteers to come forward to help out in the activities of the association. She also informed that MPDA would continue to advocate for disability benefits from the Government for people with PD. Eva (Secretary) read out the activities that were carried out in the previous year while Teck Bee (Treasurer) discussed the previous year's account with the members.

In conjunction with the AGM, a dialogue session on "What Parkinson's Disease means to me" was held before the AGM. The session was facilitated by Liba Connolly, and the speakers in the panel were Lock Kuan Hun, Sivaraman Kannan, Tung Kai Seng and Cheryl Yeong. Liba, whose late mother had Parkinson's disease, shared some of her experiences as a carer, and urged members with Parkinson's and carers to remain positive in the fight against Parkinson's diseases.

Sivaraman Kannan, Vice-President of MPDA is the epitome of determination and courage when it comes to coping with Parkinson's. He is 71 years old, and still drives 40 km every alternate day to the Parkinson Center to volunteer his services to the association. For him, it is important to understand the disease, and know how to cope with the conditions that come with it. Regular exercises are important. "Use it or lose it" is his favourite slogan.

Sara Lew chairs the AGM as the President of the Association. With her are the committee members for the tenure, 2009 - 2010. The panel speakers. From L - R: Lock Kuan Hun, Sivaraman Kannan, Liba Connolly, Tung Kai Seng and Cheryl Yeong.

Lock Kuan Hun Hock, is the Wai Dan Gong Master at the center. He teaches this ancient Chinese exercise that is good for the mind and body at the Parkinson center every Saturday of the week. He has also earned himself the nickname "The Comeback Kid" for his ability to overcome a life-threatening fall, and was back on his feet within less than a year after the incident.

In late 2007, Lock was on holiday when he suffered a fall that resulted in head injuries and hemorrhage that almost took his life. He underwent an emergency operation, and was unable to walk for several months. The doctors said it would take him at least 6 months to walk again. It took him only 3 months, when he began to walk with walking aids. 9 months later, he was back at the Parkinson Center, and doing Wai Dan Gong. Lock urges people with PD not to be ashamed of PD. "Be open about having PD, so that other people would dare to approach you for advice and information", he said. Like Sivaraman, Lock does not believe in confining oneself at home as that is a harbinger for depression.

Cheryl Yeong has had her share of frustrations living with Parkinson's. A tremoring hand does not auger well for her when it comes to doing chores at home. Even the simple act of buttoning up her blouse, unlocking a padlock or reading

Cheryl Yeong: "Understanding of PD is important".

a newspaper can be a frustrating affair. However, she took them all in her strides. She is happy to have joined MPDA where she meets a lot of people with whom she could share and learn experiences from each other. She also receives acts of kindness from people who know that she is having Parkinson's. Her advice is that a person with PD should not conceal from others about their conditions, but let them know instead. Awareness of Parkinson's begets better understanding between people with PD and people around them.
Sivaraman Kannan: "Use it or lose it". Lock Kuan Hun: "Don't be ashamed of Parkinson's"

Tung Kai Seng knows how to make good laughs at himself despite his condition. He jested that once he used to think that upon retirement, he would have a lot of time at his disposal. But now he doesn't have to worry any more as he is doing everything in slow motion because of Parkinson's, he said. He also called himself "Shaking Steven" because of his tremoring hand and body during his "off" medication periods. As he was diagnosed with Parkinson's in his 40s, he is considered as a "Young-Onset" person with PD.

He informed that it was really amazing to know that during his "off" periods when he felt down and out, there was somehow that oz of strength left in him that kept him going. His advice is not to let Parkinson's gets you down and stops living a normal life. "Take part in community activities whenever possible", he added.

Tung Kai Seng: "Take part in community activities whenever possible".