OCTOBER 09, 2011, Vol 61, No 20

Some of Singapore's poor share their stories in today's article, the first of a three-part series on poverty.


IN SINGAPORE, as in many other countries, most people tend to move with others of the same socio-economic class. The rich have rich friends, the middle-class hang out with other middle-class folk, and those who are poor spend most of their time with others like them.

But unlike in cities like Calcutta, where it is hard to miss the poor who live on the streets, most of Singapore's streets are as clear of beggars and homeless people as they are of litter.

Yet, there are poor people in this rich city state. Some were once comfortably middle-class but the loss of a job, illness, disability or other changed circumstances led to a rapid decline in their financial well-being. Others were born poor and found it hard to break out of poverty.
I will never forget the day I learnt about my daughter's abortions. It was late at night; my husband and I were both fast asleep when the phone started ringing, jolting both of us awake. I got to the phone first and all I could hear when I answered the call was the voice of my daughter's friend yelling, asking us to come down right away to the park near our house because K, my daughter and her boyfriend were having a fight, and it was really bad.
Caritas Internationalis’ secretary general speaks about his organisation’s work

Sometimes you wonder how the poor can face problems they face and the answer is in their spirituality.’ – Mr Michel Roy

Caritas Internationalis, the global confederation of Catholic charities, plans to launch an international campaign on global poverty in 2013, said its secretary general.

Mr Michel Roy was speaking to CatholicNews on Sept 9, ahead of the Humanitarian Forum & Fair organised by CHARIS, the archdiocesan umbrella body for overseas humanitarian work.

Mr Roy said the campaign would see the participation of all 165 Caritas member organisations and will focus on the struggle against global poverty.
... say local priests about adapting to the changes in the missal

Fr Michael Arro: Explained to parishioners the reasons for updating the translation.

The new translation of the Roman Missal will take some getting used to and care would be needed when using the prayers, say priests in Singapore.

They note that the parts prayed by the priest have undergone the most changes, especially the Eucharistic prayers.

Fr Paul Tong, assistant priest of Church of Sacred Heart, says more attention is now required in following the new text in the Sacramentary. This is especially so when one is already familiar with the previous translation and have committed it to memory.
Fr Ferdinand Purnomo, an Indonesian-Chinese, at his ordination ceremony at the Church of Sts Peter and Paul on Aug 28.

Newly ordained Carmelite Fr Ferdinand Purnomo will be helping to promote Carmelite vocations in Singapore, while acting as spiritual director to the Secular Carmelites and the young adults in the Church of Sts Peter and Paul.

Fr Ferdinand, an Indonesian-Chinese, was ordained by Archbishop Nicholas Chia on Aug 28 at the Church of Sts Peter and Paul, which is run by the Carmelite friars.

While there are plans for him to further his studies, he says he will need to discern his areas of specialisation.