From left to right, Derrick Chee, George Thia, Susan Loh, Archbishop Nicholas Chia, Jeannie Tien and Gabriel Low. These five new members were invested into the Order of Malta on Nov 13. (Photo by Simon Chin)

Order of Malta and Knights of Malta mean the same thing in this article.

SINGAPORE - Five Singaporeans were invested into the Order of Malta on Sunday Nov 13 at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd during a High Mass celebrated by Archbishop Nicholas Chia, and concelebrated by the Apostolic Nuncio to Singapore, Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio. Archbishop Chia is the Conventual Chaplain of the Order in Singapore.

Several members from Australia came to assist in the investiture.

During the past year, the five candidates had attended the Order's meetings, journeyed with them on their pilgrimages to Rome, Assisi, Lourdes, and the Holy Land, and participated in all their activities.

There is a common qualification for all members of the Order. Each candidate for membership has to be a practising Catholic and a prominent member of the community with a record of some welfare service.

Each member of the Order is already "a key person in his profession," described Dr Gabriel Oon, "and he or she would be able to lead in projects," which require the mobilisation of large networks of people.

One such example was the Lourdes Experience which took place on Dec 4, 2004 at the Indoor Stadium. On that day, 1,500 volunteers from all the parishes in the archdiocese, gathered to bring the spirituality of Lourdes to the sick. This was brought about through the efforts of an initial ten people - the members of the Order of Malta.

The Order in Singapore is currently a branch of the Australian association. After the investiture of five new Knights and Dames on Nov 13, there are now 16 members here and plans are being made for the promulgation of a new association in Singapore.

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The new members are:

Derrick Chee

Mr Chee, a property and investment director, has been involved in various ministries in his parish of St. Ignatius: ministering to abused children and those from broken homes; participation in the pro-life group ALIFE to save the unborn from being aborted; and counseling distressed mothers.

Jeannie Tien

Ms Tien, a founder of Atlas Hi-Fi, is involved in various archdiocesan activities and ministries at the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul, and in outreach programmes for the poor and needy both locally and in Uganda.

Prof Gabriel Low

Prof Low is the Associate Dean (Tan Tock Seng Hospital) of the Faculty of Medicine in the National University of Singapore, and Master of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore. In the SARS crisis in Singapore, he and his team at Tan Tock Seng Hospital bore the brunt of caring for victims.

He visits prisoners in jail as a Justice of the Peace.

George Thia

Mr Thia, a merchant banker and stockbroker, has served in the Cancer Research Fund, and was an investment adviser to Yayasan Mendaki (a Muslim self-help group dedicated to the empowerment of the disadvantaged through excellence in education).

Susan Loh

Ms Loh has worked with the Novena RCIA programmes for the past ten years, and has been a volunteer at the Pregnancy Crisis Service since 1999.

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