Sunday, January 9, 2011

Project Dignity


The lunch treat for the elderly is a challenged in itself. Inviting elderly to lunch is not a problem. For I realized that many of these home,for the elderly going out is a very special occasion for them. Actually many of them preferred to go out than to have visitors coming to their home and singing song and entertaining them.

One of lunch treats many challenges was to invite a group of blind to come for lunch. How do you feed a group of blind elderly. As usual we serve them on the table but after 5 minutes no one touches the food. All the blind elderly stood quietly and politely waiting. We realise we need to instruct them. We collect all the plates of food and standardise the location of the food item that is on the plate. Then we distribute them back to the blind elderly. This time we tell them what is on the plate, like 2 o'clock is the rice, 4 0'clock is the chilli, 6 o'clock is the chicken etc. This time they start eating their food. By the way we have to do the explanation in several dialects and languages.

There are also lunch treat where the demand is for certain type of food like low salt and no coconut on the rice just some examples. We tried to accommodate as much as possible after all, the objective of the Lunch Treat for the Elderly is to give them a decent meal. Unfortunately there are the odd case of elderly who keep ordering the different food, just taste it and reject it. Then there are the ones who complain about everything, from the chili being tasteless, to the coconut rice not fragrance enough. I guess you cannot pleased everyone even when the food is free.

Tonight I sat and watch the video clips. These clip was recorded when the first few trainees join the school. It shows their dream and wishes. very touching. Watch it on

My plan for the next six months is as follows. Month One get the food right and I did that. Month Two gets the Process/System Right and today we received an envelope from National Environmental Agency.

We were graded "A" for the two stalls. For the first time since I started I really felt very good and happy. You see to achieve a grade "A" is very difficult and the assessment by the government agency was a sudden visit.

We were not inform of the assessment. Coming into our Dignity Kitchen you will be impressed by the cleanliness and also the orderliness of the workplace. (If you read the earlier blog I mentioned that we want Changi Prison standard as the prison cooks maintain a very clean and orderly workplace). Fortunately we have two very good students who are very disciplined. Achieving a Grade "A" for hawker is very slim especially so if it is a startup and actually cooking food. If you go around the food court and hawker center in Singapore, most of the Grade "A" is selling drinks and not actual cooking of food.

A good piece of news today, the Graduate's wife give birth to a baby girl :-)