CONFLICT SURVIVAL

efforts to pick up English, Malay, Tamil and Teochew, often with lots of practice through his conversations with peers whom he grew up with. At 61 yea...

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A PUBLICATION OF THE MINISTRY OF LAW'S COMMUNITY MEDIATION UNIT

CONFLICT SURVIVAL

2016 ISSUE 03

While conflict may occur, the way we manage it will make a difference to the resolution and the relationship of the parties involved. More often than not, the most effective approach is when the individuals take ownership of the issues they face and work out the best solutions among themselves. Our new “Conflict Emergency Kit” is ready to help residents handle their own disputes. The “ME” in MEdiation The CMC believes that open communication and good neighbourliness are important elements to create a more harmonious community. To help the individuals see how each of them has a role to play in the management of conflict, so that it can be resolved in a more timely and amicable manner, the CMC rolled out initiatives that provide tips on what one can do when faced with a conflict. They centre on a simple 5-step method i.e. F.O.C.U.S., which one can adopt to deal with conflict in a cool manner. To send that message across in a fun and interactive way, the “Conflict Emergency Kit” was conceived – a starter pack containing quirky items like earplugs, erasers and beverage coasters. Do not dismiss them as gag gifts; each item has a special feature which comes in handy in times of conflict. With this kit, a new brochure was also produced to elaborate on F.O.C.U.S. and how alternative modes of resolving conflicts such as mediation, could be considered, should self-help methods come to naught.

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at our activities for August 2016

Debut of our new collaterals at the HDB Community Week 2016

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Notebook: Feeling angry and annoyed? The notebook is a good place to write out your frustrations. Write them out instead of fight it out!

Eraser: A symbolic representation of letting it go, “erase” those unhappy moments and start afresh.

7 Aug Skit on self-help conflict management was staged

at “Our Tampines Hub Celebrates: Tampines GRC PAssionArts Festival”, an event held at Our Tampines Hub, organised by People’s Association.

The CMC works with our community partners to promote the use of mediation for dispute resolution as well as share tips on conflict management to minimise conflicts. We participate in their roadshows and events where we interact and share with the residents on our services and the F.O.C.U.S. steps in conflict management. Our new kit made its debut at the recent HDB Community Week 2016 held at Bedok Town Square from 20 to 29 May 2016. For more than a week, our new kit and brochure were distributed to event participants through the event’s goodie bag. To further engage the residents, our skit was staged to depict common neighbourhood conflicts and demonstrated how such disputes can be settled amicably through F.O.C.U.S.

13 Aug

Organised the “Quarterly Sharing Session” for CMC mediators. Public outreach was conducted through a talk on the CMC and a skit on self-help conflict management that was staged at the “My Neighbour. My Friend.” Boon Lay Residents’ Committee (RC) Chit Chat Session with Adviser Mr Patrick Tay Teck Guan, BBM, organised by the Boon Lay Integration and Naturalisation Champions. Skit on self-help conflict management was staged at the “Yio Chu Kang Zone ‘3’ 31st Anniversary Carnival”, organised by Yio Chu Kang Zone ‘3’ RC.

20 Aug

Conducted the “One-day Community Mediation Programme for Community Peacemakers”. This programme is to equip grassroots leaders with basic mediation skills in support of the Community Dispute Management Framework.

Coasters: Honest and open communication is key in preventing the escalation of conflicts. If you have an issue with your neighbour which you need to talk about, pen a message on the coaster and invite them for a chat over drinks.

Skit on self-help conflict management was staged at “HDB Heartland Talk: Subletting Your HDB Flat/Room”, organised by the Housing & Development Board. Organised the “Review and Reflections of Mediations (Advanced Level)” training for mediators, conducted by CMC Advisor, Dr Lim Lan Yuan.

27 Aug

Earplugs: Don’t fight noise with noise. Keep the peace by plugging in.

announcement Photos courtesy of HDB

Quotes from the public who received the kit:

CMC Master Mediator, Madam Marcellina Giam Lay Eng, was awarded The Public Service Star (Bintang Bakti Masyarakat), for her commendable merit and service rendered as volunteer mediator with the CMC for more than 15 years.

“Serves as a good reminder for me to remember to breathe in and count to 10, before approaching my neighbour!” - Ho Hua Chung

rs Certifi cate in Law for Community Mediato

“The items in the kit are nice and thoughtful. The coasters seem to be a good avenue for me to initiate contact with my neighbours – something that I am usually shy to do…” - Ho Wee Tat 2

National Day Awards

Well! Done

Co-sponsored by the CMC, five of our mediators will be embarking on the 18-month programme offered by Temasek Polytechnic in October 2016. They are:

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Mr Lee Wai Pang Kelvin, Mediator Mr Ma Keow Yuen, Mediator Mr Ramachandran Perumal, Master Mediator Mr Teo Beng Ghee Jimmy, Mediator Mr Then Choon Huat, Mediator

My 20 Hours with the CMC Dear Diary,

I’ve always been keen to find out more about how mediation works in an official setting, so I was naturally thrilled to be attached to the CMC under the Singapore Institute of Legal Education’s pro bono programme for my internship! I’ve learnt that being a good mediator requires much skill and experience, and it’s important for mediators to be firm, take control and apply the most suitable approach for each session. As a law student, there’s much focus on legal perspectives of solving problems, but learning to be a mediator has taught me that many issues encountered in daily life can be resolved by nonlegal methods.

4 Hours: Case Familiarisation I went through mediation files and realised through the settlement agreements that when it comes to resolving neighbour disputes, harmony or the idea of “give and take” often play a bigger role than proving who has a stronger case.

8 Hours: Mediation Wow, it was pretty challenging when two sessions out of the three I co-mediated were carried out in Mandarin. But I coped by speaking slowly to find the right words, taking down notes meticulously and ensuring I was being understood. I also discovered that sometimes we need to think out of the box to better understand the issue, such as getting the party to draw his flat’s layout instead of describing it verbally. Although reading up on case details before the session and discussing with my co-mediators on the possible approaches helped, every mediation was a different experience which required me to be flexible and think on my feet constantly.

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4 Hours: Case Observation I got to see first hand how mediators conducted their sessions. I wasn’t always certain where the sessions were headed to, and the parties seemed tricky to handle. However, I observed that CMC mediators were calm and able to adapt to different situations to get to the root of the problem. It was exciting to know that we would get the opportunity to try mediating a real case.

4 Hours: Post Mediation It was great hearing back from parties of some cases which had been settled, whom I was assigned to call up. I now better appreciate the way mediation helps parties resolve their conflicts through face-to-face communication in an informal setting.

Conflict happens to anyone, including among us the younger generation, and can be due to something as small as misunderstandings. I think mediation is a great platform for people to try understanding each other’s perspectives better and working out these differences. What an eyeopening experience this has been, gracias!

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the five mediators newly co-sponsored by the CMC to attend the Certificate in Law for Community Mediators programme at Temasek Polytechnic come October this year. While Rama may not have experienced familial warmth, he is determined to raise his own family as a strong and close-knitted one. Amid his busy schedule, the father of three makes it a point to cook dinner and goes for hikes with his family. He also has his wife to thank for her unwavering support in his endeavours and for journeying with him through the years. To him, home is where the right values can be inculcated and a sense of belonging can be fostered; forming the foundation of a cohesive and gracious community. Not only is Rama contributing tirelessly to the community by volunteering with the CMC, grassroots and the Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA), his children too, are “chips off the old block”. A teacher, counsellor and physiotherapist, they have found immense joy in helping others through their vocations and other causes they are volunteering for.

“We really admire the way Mr Rama handled the whole session with kindness, professionalism and patience. The outcome was simply amazing with newfound mutual understanding between us..” – this is just one example of written compliments received from disputing parties for CMC Master Mediator, Mr Ramachandran Perumal. He is also known affectionately as Mr Rama or Rama to CMC staff and mediators.

Rama’s admirable attitude and positive outlook in life stem from a true passion of wanting to help others. Overcoming adversities with his beliefs, he went against the tides with an unyielding spirit and made the best of life.

“I’m really flattered by their kind words, but to me, it’s as simple as wanting to let the parties know that I honestly want to do my best to help,” says Rama. It is no big surprise that with such sincerity and passion, he tops the list as the CMC mediator with the highest number of compliments received from the public during the past two years. His gentle and calm demeanour gave no hints of a difficult childhood. The youngest of five, Rama was placed in an orphanage after the passing of his mother as his widowed father was deemed unsuitable to care for all of his children single-handedly. “At first, I was angry and bitter. I couldn’t understand why I had to go through the pain of losing my mother and be separated from my family. But as I grew up and my thoughts matured, I knew that I had a choice – to continue dwelling in negativity, or be positive and make a difference,” he shares. “I chose the latter.” he added. Growing up in the orphanage surrounded by matrons and amahs who conversed only in Hokkien, the dialect naturally became Rama’s first language. He also made efforts to pick up English, Malay, Tamil and Teochew, often with lots of practice through his conversations with peers whom he grew up with. At 61 years old, Rama is exemplary of how “learning has no boundaries”. He is going strong in his quest for knowledge and is among 5

Mr Ramachandran Perumal, 61, Wellness Consultant Volunteering with grassroots organisations for over 30 years & more than 15 years with the CMC Well-versed in English, Malay, Tamil, Hokkien and Teochew

Enjoys jogging, hiking & cooking

CASE-IN-COMIC

n i w win

rth o w $30 rs? n i o w ouche t t n Wa Price v ir a F f o We will be giving the vouchers to three lucky winners who can answer these questions correctly! (Hint: All the answers can be found in this issue.)

Email your answers with the subject title “CMC Quiz 2016 Issue 3” to: [email protected] Each person is only allowed to win this contest once. Contest closes on 31 Oct 2016 and winners will be contacted.

The comic below depicts a dispute between two people that can be resolved with the use of mediation.

1. The new “Conflict Emergency Kit” and revamped brochure ________. a ) are gag items, they have no meaning b) help individuals see how each of them has a role to play in conflict management, and elaborate on F.O.C.U.S. c ) are for parties who want to seek legal recourse 2. What languages and dialects does Mr Rama speak? a ) English, Tamil, Malay, Teochew and Hokkien. b) English, Malay, Teochew, Hokkien and Hakka. c ) English, Tamil, Teochew, Cantonese and Hokkien.

Congratulations to last issue’s quiz winners*! Mr Jason Chan, National Community Leadership Institute Mr George Khng Joo Seng, CMC Mediator Ms Koh Chii Boon, Intellectual Property Office of Singapore *These winners have been contacted separately.

Community Mediation Centre • Ministry of Law 45 Maxwell Road, #07-11 The URA Centre (East Wing), Singapore 069118 1800-CALL-LAW (1800-2255-529) [email protected] www.mlaw.gov.sg/cmc