Choice Asia expands to Sri Lanka and China
Members of Choice Singapore presenting their country report at the 15th Choice Asian Conference in Hong Kong.
Love sets one free.
This was the theme of the 15th Choice Asian Conference (CAC) where 123 delegates gathered at the Breakthrough Village, Hong Kong, from Oct 12-16.
The conference was an opportunity for its members, namely from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan and Hong Kong, to have fellowship, brainstorm ideas, and set their growth plan for the next three years until the next conference.
In addition, there were also participants from Sri Lanka, China, Macau, and Trinidad & Tobago. In Sri Lanka, Choice has only been running for three years, and China just had its very first Choice weekend in July this year.
At the conference, all the countries presented their country reports, highlighting the history of Choice in their respective country, what they had learnt over the last three years, as well as the challenges they face.
While countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore face the problem of declining number of participants in recent years, in countries such as Sri Lanka and China, there seems to be a thirst for programmes like the Choice weekend.
From the discussions, all the countries agreed that there has to be a continuous development of the programme to include more spiritual input for participants and the community, as well as better formation of presenters, equipping them with better knowledge and facilitating skills.
“The Choice weekend is definitely still relevant in today’s world,” noted Singapore participant Celeste Ong. “As people in Asia are moving towards technology-centred and ever-so-efficient society, all the more we need to remind people about the importance of relationship and communication, with the significant people in our lives, and with
A highlight of the conference was the acceptance of Choice Sri Lanka as the newest member country. Sri Lanka has successfully conducted seven Choice weekends and the most recent one on July 30-31 saw 77 participants attending.
At the event, the National Coordinating Teams also discussed the outreach efforts to bring the Choice programme to new cities in Asia. One recent outcome was the first Choice weekend in Hebei province, China, in July.
This was the result of efforts from Choice Taiwan with help from Choice Hong Kong. Seventy participants attended the weekend, which was conducted by a presenting team from both Choice Taiwan and Hebei.
The recent Choice Asia Conference was also the first with participants from Trinidad and Tobago. The participants were thrilled to find out that far away in the Caribbean, the Choice movement has been running since
Sr Lystra Long from Trinidad said at the end of the conference, “We have learned so much and we can’t wait to start sharing with our team to assist in improving the Choice experience here in Trinidad and Tobago, and maybe even other Caribbean islands!”
Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen celebrated the closing Mass on the last day, and encouraged the community to continue spreading the message of love to the world. The re-election of Indonesia as the Choice Asia coordinator team for the next three years was also announced.
Taiwan will host the next Choice Asian Conference in 2019 in Taichung.
Choice in Asia is currently running in 42 cities across seven countries. Since the early 1980s, Choice has been helping single young adults aged 18 to 40 review what is important in life and reflect on their relationships with the significant people in their lives. The presenting team comprises a priest, Religious, lay couples and singles. n
For more information about Choice weekends in Singapore, visit www.choice.org.sg.