Monday, December 29, 2008

A Welcome Message

Dear Friends,

A very warm welcome to each and everyone one of you. Blogging gives us the opportunity to diary our innermost feelings, to speak of events and occasions that have touched us, and even periods when people hurt us.

I encourage all of you to start a blog because a blog can sometimes turn into a book- a book in which you share life’s journey. When we speak of our pain, we can heal the hurt that is buried deep inside us.

A blog can also be used to campaign for something that you strongly believe in. In my case, I set up a website to campaign for better support and welfare for the mentally ill and their caregivers, because people with mental illness have been neglected for many years. My website has to-date received strong readership- close to 5,000 have visited my website. I am encouraged by the good feedback I receive. One thing can lead to another, so from a website, I now also have a blog to further my quest to bring a better tomorrow for the mentally ill and their caregivers.

I welcome your feedback, so drop me an email if you have something to say or if you want to buy the books/CD that my wife and I produced regularly. My email address is: rafcutie@singnet.com.sg

Thank you and have a nice day!

Sincerely,

Raymond Anthony Fernando

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Books by Raymond Anthony Fernando & his wife, Doris Lau Siew Lang

Bestseller
Loving a Schizophrenic - a true story of love, loyalty and courage:
Author: Raymond Anthony Fernando
Loving a Schizophrenic is a true story of my wife who has Schizophrenia. (The names have been changed to protect the characters in the story from prejudice and discrimination) A heartwarming story of the healing power of love, this book chronicles the trials and tribulations of our courtship and 30-year marriage. It also provides an insightful peek into caring for a loved one stricken with mental illness. This is the first time that a caregiver in Singapore has been written such a book.
This book cost $15.
Published in 2004. This book, which is now a bestseller, has to-date, sold more than 3,000 copies. To order a copy , please email your contact details to Raymond at his email address at rafcutie@singnet.com.sg



Bestseller
Cook with love: Author Doris Lau Siew Lang
Cook with love is a collection of 38 local dishes by housewife Doris Lau that is relatively inexpensive and fun to cook. The author believes that if you add the extra ingredient of "love", the dish will taste much better. This explains why Doris has decided to name this cookbook, Cook with love. Doris has inherited her late mother's culinary skills and that of her Eurasian mother-in-law. As a full time housewife, Doris has found time to experiment with simple and easy to prepare wholesome dishes that is suitable for those leading a hectic lifestyle as well as of those wanting to try out new dishes. Her recipes include noodles, soups, curries and sambal dishes. There is a recipe for everyone for every day of the week. As you experiment with Doris's recipes like Laksa, Assam Fish, Hor Fun, Cutlets, Salted Vegetable Soup, Ikan Bilis Sambal and her other mouth-watering dishes, you will discover that cooking like eating can be such an enjoyable experience. This book, which has sold 1000 copies in 3 months has been converted into an E-Book and costs $15.
To order a copy , please email your contact details to Raymond at his email address at rafcutie@singnet.com.sg


TELL ME A STORY, THEN I'LL GO TO BED- A collection of bedtime stories for children
Authors: Raymond Anthony Fernando & Doris Lau Siew Lang
BEST SELLER: All 550 copies of this book were completely sold out in 48 days!
To encourage the reading habit in children, Raymond Anthony Fernando and his wife, Doris Lau, the 2 (two) bestseller authors, have come up with 10 (ten) bedtime stories for children in a book entitled, “Tell me a story, then I’ll go to bed”. These stories are suitable for children between the ages of 5 to 12. The tales speaks of the love that children have for animals, the birds and their parents. Each story is matched with a beautiful drawing in full colour and a poem to encourage creative writing in our young charges. Stories like, “Leo, the big brown bear”, “Lost in the jungle”, “Two little sisters”, “The rainbow connection” and many more are bound to get children all excited as there are elements of suspense and surprises in these tales. This book, which has sold 550 copies in 48 days and comes in full colour, costs $18. This book, which has sold 550 copies in 3 months has been converted into an E-Book and costs $18.
To order a copy , please email your contact details to Raymond at his email address at rafcutie@singnet.com.sg


More details are available on my website: Click here to view:
http://www.rayofhope.per.sg/Books.htm

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Slippery Journey

The Slippery Journey:
An uplifting message specially dedicated to local TV actor,
Chew Chor Meng

Dear Chor Meng,
Your journey may seem uncertain, unkind and tough
Tough and unkind, like the raging sea that can be so rough
Trust in God and HE will give you courage
Courage, to give you strength to face each day
Each day, have faith, for faith can bring renewed hope
And I’m certain your loving family will help you cope

Stop and smell the roses, see the beauty of a sunset
For the beauty of a sunset brings serenity
And undoubtedly, serenity will give you peace of mind
Reflect on the wonderful memories you shared with your wife
Your wife that has added so much colour in your life
When you play with your daughters, see the joy in their eyes
For the sparkle in their eyes will heal your cries
Hug your mother and dry her tears
And she will have no fears

Chor Meng, continue to love and live
When you love, you will give
When you give, you will score
And when you score,
Surely God will love you even more


Sincerely,
Raymond Anthony Fernando
@copyrightraymondfernando2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Gift of Love

Friends noticed her eyes looked
discolored and pale
Even her food tasted stale
Andrea told doctors that she had
consumed slimming pills
Was this the reason that forced her
to become seriously ill?


Learning that her liver was failing, doctors
decided on an operation
A liver transplant was needed and it
could only come Pierre, her boyfriend
who worked with Andrea in a local TV station
Pierre had to make a decision,
Perhaps, the biggest in his life
But he was willing to donate part of his liver
For Andrea was destined to become his wife


Pierre, you are a noble human being, a true giver
You decided to give part of your liver
Surely this gesture is an act of Love
Inherited surely from the good LORD above
Andrea, now that the operation is a success
Put on hold all work commitments,
for your health is of primary importance
and you should settle for nothing less

Sincerely,

Raymond Anthony Fernando

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Netiquette

I have always made it a point to respond promptly to emails that require replies. Sadly, not many people make the effort to reply to emails, even though reminders are sent or when there is a “cry for help.”

Responding to letters and emails helps to improve communication and builds healthy relationships. If someone makes the effort to sit down and write an email, it is only gracious that we respond to him/her. With technology, emails can be crafted and sent out within seconds, so there is no excuse not to respond to letters sent via this mode.

The true meaning of Christmas

It is not the riches that we have, nor the high positions that we brag about that make us better citizens. It is not the material things that we can freely buy that make Christmas joyful. But it is the love we can give to another fellow human being in dire straits that makes Christmas special. At Christmas, we should spare a thought for those who are in less than fortunate circumstances. In Cambodia, children who are poor, light up a simple Christmas tree in a campfire and sing Christmas carols on Christmas Eve to celebrate the birth of Christ, and they are so happy with this simple celebration.

My wife and I would like to spend Christmas with children as kids bring so much joy to the world. Some church friends have offered to come by to spend Christmas with us, knowing fully well that family members do not see to do so. Our church has invited us to spend a Sunday morning with some volunteers over lunch and fellowship. These thoughtful gestures have shown us the true meaning of Christmas.

Freeing the mentally ill from their “prisons”

I have campaigned for better support for persons suffering from mental illness and their caregivers for 3 years and I am glad that the government is now taking steps to improve the lives of this group of citizens. The Law Ministry is now proposing that judges should have a wider range of sentencing options, which among other things seeks ordering offenders to get psychiatric treatment. This 12th letter which I wrote to the Straits Times on 16th September 2006 was one of the 33 letters that I submitted to the media to raise more awareness of mental illness.

Monday, December 1, 2008

POEM FOR AIDS SUFFERERS


An Isolated Christmas


Church bells ring
Melodious carols, the choir sings
Christmas cards delivered everyday
Soon it will be Christmas day

He sits alone on the chair
Overcome with bitterness,
He sinks into despair
The sea brings some relief to him
Where days are gloomy and dim

Like Victor (not his real name),
AIDS people are lonely and discriminated
Many are helpless, isolated
They are shunned and hated
40 million infected people worldwide
Shameful to speak of their plight,
They stay out of sight

The sounds of a child’s laughter fills him with joy
The child gestures to Victor to play with her toys
Victor accepts the invitation to play with her
He soon retreats, the child’s mother’s disgruntled face
Instill, in Victor, so much fear
Hidden tears make Victor feel like an island,
Separated,
Isolated

Society must give AIDS infected people a ray of hope
For being supportive will help them cope
Public education on AIDS is so important
For they are also God’s children and must not be forgotten

During Christmas, as churches and homes light up candles everywhere
People with aids too, need love and tender care
For light is not the wick, nor the candle, nor the burning
But love
That is a virtue, which AIDS people are yearning

Sincerely,

Raymond Anthony Fernando
Ă“copyrightraymondfernando2008

Tacking mental illness in Singapore

Psychiatric patients are often “trapped” by an illness over which they have no control. With proper medication, counseling and family and community support, many will recover and go on to lead perfectly normal lives. To enable them to pay for their medical expenses, patients undergoing psychiatric care need a steady job. This is why I suggested, through the media (TODAY Newspaper) on 14th September 2006 that the Government and other organisations come with a similar project like the Yellow Ribbon Project to provide the much-needed support for the mentally ill. Although I did not start the project, the many letters I wrote to the media has helped to create the support to launch the ongoing campaign called the “Silver Ribbon Singapore” project whose mission is to fight the stigma and help patients find work.

Given that mental illness is fast growing in our stressful environment, a holistic approach is needed to tackle this problem. Mental illness is entering our schools, creeping into our offices and destroying lives and ripping families apart. While psychiatrists may give a clinical view, what is urgently needed is for society to learn from experienced and resilient caregivers who have stuck faithfully to their stricken ones and helped them in their recovery. For many years, caregiving expertise has not been shared and if you are caring for someone who has just been diagnosed with a mental illness, the caregiver will be ‘lost” and groping in the dark.

More than 32 organisations, including Government departments has seen value in my talks and I find it so rewarding doing this community project. We must reclaim lives, save lives. But sadly, not everyone sees value in my expertise, but I will continue to press on, because as a “Model Caregiver 2007”, I must stay committed to my cause. I have several talks lined up for 2009 and I hope that those in the mental health industry will continue to partner me so that we can better tackle mental illness in Singapore.

The Institute of Mental Health (IMH) has understood my call for a holistic approach to tackle mental illness and invited me to speak at a public forum during the Asia Pacific Psychiatric Rehabilitation Conference (APPRC) in October 2008. Speaking before a 130-strong audience comprising of counselors, nurses, doctors and caregivers, recovered patients and laymen, I was able to move my audience during my 30-minute presentation entitled, “THE LOVE OF MY LIFE – Now I know what love is.” Here I shared my 30-year journey in caring for my wife who was stricken with schizophrenia since the age of 17 and how I have encourage, inspired and motivated her into becoming a successful author.

Support structure for caregivers

What is also crucial in tackling mental illness is strong structural support for caregivers. This is clearly lacking in Singapore. Since my wife has been stricken with severe arthritis, she can no longer cook as she is at fall risks. I have gone all over Singapore to secure a decent cooked meal for her. It is a daunting task. Caregiving is 24/7 and many of us have to give up our jobs to care fulltime for our stricken ones. Hence the need for a caregiver allowance that is similar in nature to the one implemented by the Australian Government. I first raised this matter in the Straits Times Forum Page. Details are on my website along with the many other letters I wrote to the media.

Caregivers who are caring for a love one with mental illness are often isolated. Family and friends all run away. So, we are in dire need of Befrienders.

I remember when I left my job and had fallen by the wayside with no money, almost everyone ran away. It was only my beloved wife, Doris and a few friends that stood by us. But now that I am successful, people come running like ants to sugar. So, welcome to the real world!

Website of Raymond Anthony Fernando