Thursday, July 23, 2009

Noah’s Ark Maiden Fundraising Dinner

For the first time in its history, since Noah’s Ark Lodge began its work in 1995 at Jalan Kayu and had to move to Johore in June 2000, Noah’s Ark CARES organised its first fundraising dinner on Friday, 17 July 2009. Such an exercise was long overdue, as the fundraising dinner, like the Ark itself represented many things.

It was a tribute to Raymund, who after 18 years of service at the Singapore Airlines, took his life and savings to build an Ark so that all through these years, he has been able to save lives, mend broken hearts and give hope to both animal and human. It was also a gathering of old friends with big hearts, of the supporters who had so steadfastly and quietly given their continued love and support to Noah’s Ark Natural Animal Sanctuary. It was about the people who had heard the animals’ cries for help , people who felt too the pain, suffering and loneliness an animal had experienced and wanted to provide some solace to the wounded characters. In return, they witnessed the joy that only the bond an animal and human is able to form with each other. Similarly, the dinner was an occasion to gather of friends; volunteers and co-workers, people who had all been brought together by their compassion for their companion animals.

Many of the volunteers had taken the day off to prepare for the big event. As with so many countless Noah's Ark events, they worked unceasingly and without complaints through two weeks’ of long nights to arrange everything so as to ensure that nothing would go wrong. The lovely dinner was prepared by the Chef of Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, who believed in the work Noah’s Ark does, houses a dog at the Ark.

The dinner took place at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel. The location was central, easy to find and the dinner hall was cosy enough for people to locate. Armed with golden hearts and harnessing their fame and popularity, local celebrities: Vernon Cornelius of The Quest, Larry Lai of Redifusion fame, and Koh Joo Kim, ex-radio DJ of 93.8 LIVE (The Living Room) volunteered both their time and efforts to help raise funds for the animals at the Sanctuary.

There were tee-shirts painted by local artist Elton Goh Kheng Yew and photographs taken by longtime volunteer Nicholas Lee of Furry Photos and Jean Qingwen Loo of Logue a documentary photographer. All these items were up for silent auction. Opening bids were at $50 for the hand painted tee shirts and $30 for the blown-up photos. In addition, there was also a watercolour painting by 10 year old, Cateline and Laura Fay.

The evening started off informally and almost subdued with people wandering around, happily greeting old friends and checking up on the auction items. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly. It was obvious that many people there knew each other from “ some time back”. For many, it was time to renew ties with familiar faces of long-time supporters as well as catch up with new friends all of whom have given and continue to give generously to support Noah’s Ark.

There were performances by the band, The Quest as well as and a lovely performance by the choir from Temasek Polytechnic. Larry was the forever enthusiastic Master of Ceremony for the night. He took everything in his stride, with the raffle ticketing and the silent auction that went mobile and garnered astonishing results!

There was the video on Noah’s Ark that Joo Kim had done a voice-over for. Titled ‘The Living Ark’, it was launched at the dinner. Vernon and his band got the party going with his lively songs from the 60s by Cliff Richard. Very soon, some of the guests decided to “join the act”. It was evident that the guests were having fun as more and more people got up to dance. Our special thanks goes too to Vernon and his band (they kindly provided this service pro-bono) for making sure that the party was a success.

Lynda, Fiona and Nicholas designed and managed to print within a week, a mini coffee table book as a special tribute and surprise for Raymund. We would like to highlight that a few copies of this book are still available at $80. Watch this space, details on how to purchase it will be up soon.

Sadly, the evening of fun drew to a close and many of the guests decided to call it a night. Despite that, many still lingered at the ball room eager to catch up with old friends and as well as make new acquaintances. Many waited patiently to catch up with the man of the night, Raymund, in order to personally give him good news – as they pledged their continued support.

Looking back, it was a great night. It was awesome to see all the old friends and new supporters. Time after time, the generosity of the friends and supporters of Noah’s Ark bring a lump to my throat. Without their support and love, the work we do with the animals would not be possible. For the last 14 years since 1995, every time we needed help, we have never failed to find assistance. Because of these supporters and friends, there is still hope, for every single animal at Noah’s Ark, as well as the many nameless animals out there that needs our help.

From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU! We may not able to mention you by name and many of you don’t even want your names mentioned! But you know who you are, your names are written in the Book of Love and in the hearts of the animals you don’t even know about. Every animal you see in Noah’s Ark, every cat, dog, horse, rabbit and monkey are there, because of you, they are happy, fed, sheltered and cared for. They live lives filled with love and dignity because of you. The alternative is unthinkable.


And now for my personal tribute to Raymund cos I did not get a chance to be part of the book project.

To Raymund,

Until I discovered Noah’s Ark in 2003, and met you, I never knew angels could be grouchy. Over the years, I have made many countless trips to Noah’s Ark. Every time I step out to leave, I would take a moment to give thanks, that someone like you live on earth with us. We all love animals, giving time, energy and money to their cause. But I cannot say, at any point in time, I am willing to give my life for them as you have done. For a calling, a vision, a dream… for love.

To me you have not created just a Sanctuary for the animals, it is for us humans too. To me, the Ark is my Sanctuary and also my sanity. Our lives would have been so much poorer if you didn’t do what you did. You spoke for the animals and gave us a chance to redeem ourselves for the pain and suffering we have caused. What if you had decided not to listen to your heart? I cannot imagine the consequences.

Thank you is not enough. I wish you health, strength and love always enough to do what you do.

**Story contributed by Alicia Wong

Special thanks to Thomas of Sound Image for taking the time to help film and put the video together. His contribution is greatly appreciated.

1 comment:

Raymund Wee said...

Alicia....."It is not happiness that makes us grateful, but GRATEFULNESS that makes us happy" Thank You. The "Ark-Flu" is in the air. We need the "Ark Angels" to spread it.

Beneficiary of Animal Merchandise :)

Noah's Ark CARES Supporters