That’s not the look of triumph – the photo actually shows what we call “sucker buys” (yellow arrows), i.e. when we buy from our own stall of donated items we receive from friends and friends of friends. When that happens, we “ring the bell” to announce it, and take photos. It takes place in a moment of distraction when we are arranging stuff and then let the buyer in us surface/escape. No discounts or bargaining for these! Siva chalked up the most sucker buys these year, Ivan let loose with a bag donated by Kenneth Pinto. Its not about one man’s junk being treasured by another – some of this items are still in good condition and are truly donations. Must be tough for Kenneth to let go Sugoi bike shirts at a steal.
This year we were inundated with box loads of stuff from people moving house. Usually we get 2-5 bags full. All it takes is an email list of friends and friends of friends, a makan session and then transport of goods, storage till we set up stall. Sounds simple but with everyone busy with work, coordination and keeping tabs on who and where to collect goods from can be harrowing. But somehow everyone commits to it and it happens. Those with clutter, unload at my place. When more stuff comes, I unload those at my parents’ place.
The pre-fun day meet-up is also a good excuse to meet kakis. Like Otterman said most pointedly, “this annual exercise makes sure we don’t only meet up at a wake.” Choi! So philosophically, while our stall doesn’t rake in significant amounts (About 2K the last time), this is a most meaningful exercise we can have socially. Which is why Kenneth is seen furiously beating the eggs and sugar mix into a nice custardy mix for the kueh bakar.
Blend it like Beckham. The cake is green because the pandan juice extracted from blended pandan leaves (recipe says 8 leaves but I whack in about 15) is mixed in, along with thick creamy coconut milk. From this, you may imagine the heavenly smells that will transport you to some idyllic time in Singapore when cholesterol had no form of measurement.
When the Kueh Bakar appears, it must be the Assisi Hospice Charity Fun Day around the corner. This kueh bakar is sedap (picture says it all) and super easy to make. Because it is suppose to be dense, there is no fear of the batter not rising.
Here is the recipe and description of this regional delight – I am glad I know how to make at least one kueh.
This is the meeting for volunteers and stall owners at the Assisi Hospice itself. I can imagine the organizers being quite exhausted after the event as I write 2 days after the Fun day. “How much is your time worth?” There are some who believe its more time-saving if we just donated straight rather that go through all this effort to pick things up from people, sell them on a very hot day. Then again the day and many stalls raise about half a million dollars on average.
Ok cliche quote coming up and I hope I haven’t got it out of context.
“We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.”
― Mother Teresa
I am also heartened that the makan they provide at the pre-prep meet at the Hospice is a humble spread. Although I must have had 6 of those curry puffs… What to do when there is no space and I was positioned by the tray?
Love their logo..
“Our logo is made up of Mary and Child symbol and modern text lock up. Mary graciously offers her Son to the world. She is not keeping him to herself in a tender embrace. The Christ-child in his turn – inseparable from his mother – has his arms outstretched to reach out and to welcome all peoples. It is a missionary attitude the FMDM Sisters have chosen to imitate and supports Assisi Hospice’s mission.”
As I walked out of the Hospice, I turned my thoughts away from the charity fun day and wondered about the hospice itself. We hope they get well-funded for the kind of work they do. I can only imagine whatever little we raise will perhaps be comforting for someone who is suffering.
More about what they do from the Assisi Home and Hospice Homepage.
“Assisi Hospice, an outreach service of Mount Alvernia Hospital, was established in 1969 by the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood (FMDM) Catholic Sisters.
We dedicate ourselves to the care of adults and children with life limiting illnesses. In an environment of compassionate and holistic care, we understand the challenges faced by our patients. We are here for all, regardless of financial status, age, race & religion, respecting their faith, culture & values.”
Their heritage is even more compelling.
The Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood (FMDM) Sisters have a long tradition of providing healthcare. In 1949, the local government invited a small group of FMDM Sisters for a nursing post in the Tuberculosis Section of Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore. The Sisters were also nursing leprosy patients at the Trafalgar Home and staffing the School of Nursing there.
Anticipating their services would no longer be needed after Singapore’s recovery from the Japanese Occupation, the Sisters saved their hard earned salaries to build up a fund for the eventual building of a private Catholic hospital. These 10 years savings were augmented by generous donations from both companies and individuals.
On 4th March 1961, Mount Alvernia Hospital was officially opened. In 1969, donations from the late Mr Khoo Teck Puat saw the building of an extension of Mount Alvernia Hospital. The beds in this block are for chronically ill patients.
In 1986, the Khoo block started accepting respite patients. The building eventually became known as Assisi Home. Assisi Home derived its name from the birthplace of Saint Francis, the Founder of the Franciscan Movement.
Read more here
The day before the actual the Assisi Hospice Fun Day is about delivering the boxes and bags full of stuff to the stall, this year, one van and 3 cars did the job at one go.
The actual day itself starts at 730 and with a sense of anxiety, staring at the pile, picking at it and categorizing as best as we can. We tried to do it the day before but the task was just too dreadful.
As we unpack, we already get customers and one of the first few was the dude below. The bike caught his eye and he went off to get coupons.
By blibical standards, the man who is a low wage earner donated the most, he paid $40 after we cut the price of Ivan’s foldable bike. Ivan’s happy to see the bike go to him.
(Photo by Ivan Chew)
He’s got a good deal though cos the bike’s pretty well taken care of and we tuned the gears.
As soon as the Rambling Librarian arrives, we throw the pile of books at him – if sales are bad, he gets blamed. Somehow this year someone donated lots of raunchy titles and I think people were too shy to buy those.
Each year we emphasize to donors not to give us junk but we find that what is junk to others may not be to lots of people who give us items that are hard to sell. Which is why we are grateful for Jen and Adrian below who always give the good stuff. These are items that are still in good condition and not necessarily something you would want to discard for some time more but would part with it for a good cause.
Aunty-killer Kok Min Yee with his killer look.
Haggle at your own risk with the be-moustached hunk – he can sell milk to cows, ice to eskimos, prata to the roti-prata man..
Anand lending support to our star salesman in this almost impossible sale of a set of golf clubs. But they succeeded!
We really hit the ground running and once we unpack and sort, people start to shop around and we hardly stop.
The lady above bought $70 worth of clothes. She seemed reluctant t leave – we should give her VIP pass the next time and give her early selections. Oi Yee voraciously eggs her on.
We got piles of clothes to sell and in the morning its about $1-2 per piece for the normal ones and a bit higher for better ones. By lunch time we are selling them at 50 cts. When we shout 50 cts, people stop in their tracks and search the pile.
Andy, the Toddycat, who came to help out gets a book shoved at him by the Rambling Librarian. I wonder if he bought it.
This year we also got lots of electrical appliances to sell. They tend to be bulky so people tend to shy away from them. So it takes the patience of someone like Tom to do a demo and explain how-stuff-works to potential buyers. He must be selling a cooking pot here.
The human traffic is quite amazing and this must be one of the most visited carnival in Singapore.
Joelle is newbie so she makes the extra effort to hawk stuff with a basket. I wonder why Airani is doing a roar?
Kenneth says – “Most memorable sell of the day was a plastic film camera – the type with no settings and focus set to infinity – with an water-resistant case to a teenage girl. It was already afternoon, and we were offloading at a dollar. (The strangest thing is that I didn’t spot the camera the entire day – it’s like it popped up from nowhere.) I half jokingly said, that’s two items – the camera and the case! She picked up another item (can’t remember what it was), and I thought she wanted to throw that in with the camera (and case) for $2. I said yah, sure. Then she gave me $5 or $6 for the lot. Pleasantly surprised!”
We do meet some people who are miserly though and while we want to remind them that this is a charity event – I think we all feel we would take away the joy of the bargain from them.
While we are busy, we take some time out to play hooky and spend coupons and buy food. The food is great and its a pity not many people know about this Fun Day. But we also take pictures to blog about this event.
I know lots of people love the lao ban tao hway – its just one of the good stuff you can get at this fun day.
Siva buys some biscuits imported from Berlin. And that is after a trip from Berlin itself!
Mee Siam, but without the sambal!! We gave feedback.
The kueh kueh and other foods are the good hotel standard kind
My children meet their grandmother! I lost one of my dad’s trolleys one year and she never forgot about it. So this year she reminded me to return my aunt’s trolley… repeatedly.
Siva’s student and mum. She also happens to be from my old lab in NUS. So I am ancestral.
Some photos of the sweetie Adrian Lim. He is a talented salesman.
(Photo by N. Sivasothi)
Jessica’s hubby who is a clone trooper. They were in clone troopers’ outfits the last time but glad they are in less heat-exhausting wear this year!
This guy who is a staff at the grounds bought some shirts from us at 50cents each and then later helped us sell to his Filipino nationals.
Ring the bell! Another sucker buy. But sometimes, there are things there that are just made for you.
Carnivore prints! Siva supervises research on mammals in Singapore.
Selling stuff at the Fun day is also a good way to observe human behavior – we tend to keep customers at the stall if we just throw in stuff in a box and let them pick at the pile. If we arrange it in categories, they tend to look and go. Perhaps its the spirit of the day where things laid out in boxes or on the floor might reveal a great steal. As Oi Yee says – “Trinklets, which were sitting on a nice display table, were snatched up when these were moved to the carpeted floor section.
It was a fun BUT VERY, VERY hot day.”
Speaking of hot – this is not a queue but people just hiding in the shade of the Bauhinia kockiana
These hae bi hiam sandwiches were the best. I must have had 3 of these. Not enough!
Father’s day gifts from the kids. They didn’t know what to do with their coupons must be.
Spotted – Alvin and Robina! They should really be helping us out but probably chose the better option of spending money on food.
The patron of the hospice – Ho Ching and a nun on a separate Harley arrives. We’ve come to expect the roar of this motorcade each year.
The nuns from the Missionaries of Charity founded by Mother Teresa herself always look so cool.
They try lah.
Guess who bought the belt?
More good stuff
The fruit section at the bottom of the road.
Airani and Jen’s expressions sort of sums up the end of the sale at about 430 pm.
At the end of the day – “We certainly decluttered many people’s homes, and sent away many gratified people and I hope we managed to raise $1,500 in total.” – Sivasothi.
more pictures here –
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lekowala/sets/72157630145649420/ (Photos by Adrian Loo)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/acroamatic/sets/72157630160644550/ (Photos by Kenneth Pinto)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sivasothi/sets/72157630170666778/ (Photos by N. Sivasothi)
related posts –
Our fifth Assisi Hospice Charity Fun Day tomorrow! Goods transfer to SJI International today. (by N. Sivasothi aka “Otterman“)
our tweets and flickr albums on Storify –
Assisi Hospice Charity Fun Day 2012 (Curated by Kenneth Pinto)