Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Breakfast Fund-raising Day

It's December! It's the favorite month of many because it's the season of giving and sharing. Yes! 12 more days to Christmas and you can see the streets and malls are all decked with sparkling decorations and Christmas trees. With that, a group of friends in Singapore has gathered together to raise funds for Tea Talk Cafe as well as to create more awareness about this social enterprise.

Early morning, helpers came early to help prepare the food and pack them.

The sale of breakfast begins! 

Look at the queue! :) The sale of food was amazing. 

Look at their cheery smiles :D They were really efficient in being "cashiers" for the day. Many others also gave generously to Tea Talk.

 Men in Red

They assisted in distributing pamphlets and sharing about Tea Talk.

The food was running out fast! Some of the food were home cooked and baked by talented friends... each of them contributed what they could. And they were delicious too!

Friends who came to show their support :) 

The little helper who helps to decorate the area :) And yes, we pasted pictures of the cafe to show people the friendly, warm and cosy cafe.

Donation box for friends to give... we love how the green apple matches the set up.

 Red velvet cupcakes made by Mrs Wong! She is a superb & talented baker.. it tastes very delicious.

 Our pretty server :) 

 One of our best seller - Shepherd's Pies (home-made with mixed vegetables, minced beef and potatoes)

The girls who were selling Tea Talk's merchandises. Look at how they displayed everything so beautifully!!

One of the coordinator for this whole fund-raising event. She was the one who prepared healthy delicious curry chicken and they were all sold out too!

The other coordinator who assisted in gathering friends to raise funds together.

Green and red apples were given out to helpers and decorating the place.

The little girl admiring the Orange & Cranberry Scones... they tasted good too!

More pictures for you to enjoy...

Meet B who helped to publicise more about Tea Talk and videos were shown to fellow friends who came to support.

The hands who prepared the food. Thank you for friends who render their support generously and contributing to Tea Talk!

Tao Suan with Fried fritters (Singapore's local dessert)

Ending off with sweet endings.. Have a sweet festive holiday!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Showcase at Hanoi Towers

On the 1st and 2nd of November, Tea Talk was invited by the Singapore Business Association Vietnam (SBAV) to promote her goods and services. This event was held at Hanoi Towers and Tea Talk was given a prime booth spot. This showcase featured several Singapore businesses already present in Hanoi, and also those that are interested to start one.

Tea Talk's booth was colorfully decorated with a big painting of a tree, and with many pictures of events that are going on at the cafe. (Kudos to these hardworking and creative volunteers!) These young and energized volunteers also devoted 2 days to promote the social work services, events, and food that the cafe serves. They got to meet many Singaporeans too, who were the majority of patrons at this event.

And speaking of food, Tea Talk's booth was kept very busy with the many orders by patrons! Fruit smoothies, kefir smoothies, muffins, cookies and even Singapore Teh Tarik was served! Hai and Van - the barristers, did such a great job meeting all the drink orders, even in a much limited working space! Impressive!

At the end of the event, Tea Talk made many good friends with many Singaporean businesses; some of whom are excited, and want to support what Tea Talk is doing! 

Thank you Tea Talk staff for bringing the cafe to the public. Thank you volunteers for sacrificing your time and believing in Tea Talk. Thank you patrons for coming to the booth. Most of all, thank you SBAV for this opportunity to share what Tea Talk is doing! 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Happy Birthday, Presley!

Less than 2 weeks from the first birthday party, another one was thrown at Tea Talk! This time, our birthday "boy" was pleasantly surprised by his friends.

Carrot cake was the birthday cake! Sliced carrots were creatively arranged on the cake!

 The dinner menu was picked by his wife, who went for a more western choice. There was spaghetti, garlic bread, roasted chicken with lemon grass, fresh salad and fruits. 

 Happy guests! 

 The birthday "boy"

At the end of the evening, the birthday "boy" said it was indeed a very memorable birthday, because firstly he did not expect to have a party, and afterwards he got to celebrate it with many good friends!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Our 1st Ever Birthday Party!

Grace Ong celebrated her 14th birthday on... the 14th of October! Yes! It was the sporty girl's golden birthday and Tea Talk was proud to be the choiced venue by her parents!

Friends from her school as well as those who have seen her grow through the years showed up earlier than she did so as to throw her a surprise. Her parents did a great job in hiding the secret. But the 14-year old outsmarted them the minute she entered Tea Talk. She guessed that some friends were hiding behind the door of the 2nd level! Smart girl!

Sáng, one of the TeaTalkers, organised 3 very fun games for the party for those young, and young at heart to play. Grace's team won!

Grace's dad also made a very special video clip which showed pictures of her growing up. We found out that Grace is such a talented young lady whose abilities range from jamming on the guitar, singing, playing the violin and even basketball! Talk about all-rounded! It was such a touching gift from the dad to his daughter.

On the menu was Singapore's curry chicken, with baguette and white rice to go along. There was also fried rice. fries, and fresh salad. The guests left full and happy!

Tea Talk is honored to be a part of Grace's party, and we wish her many more happy parties to come!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

We got a great review!

2 Days ago on The New Hanoian website, Tea Talk received a wonderful, detailed review of the food, concept, staff and place! Such a great motivation and affirmation for the staff! You are welcomed to check it out too!

Link to Tea Talk's review on The New Hanoian

Russian social work counterparts endorse Tea Talk.

Dr. Antonina Dashkina, Director of Russian European Trust for Welfare Reform,  President of the Russian Union of Social Pedagogues and Social Workers, together with Mr. Tony Widmer, visited Tea Talk and gave their endorsement for the vision and work that Tea Talk aims to achieve.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tea Talk supports Special Arts
Mr. Viet, 25 years old, may not be able to communicate using language but he can certainly communicate beautifully through his art.

Oil on canvas 40 by 30 cm
Oil on canvas 30 by 40 cm
Oil on canvas 30 by 40 cm

Oil on canvas 80 by 60 cm

If interested to support this project, 
please contact Ms. Trang at trang.nt@teatalkvietnam.com

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Time for Tea Talk 
by Dr Shirley Wan
I’ve no clever story to tell. If you asked me why I’m supporting Tea Talk cafe, my initial response is “I don’t know.” What I mean is that there was no ‘serious deliberation, no agonizing over’ sort of event for me. Let me, instead, narrate how I met Michael. 
One day, about two years ago, I met an old classmate whom I had not seen for more that 40 years. We sort of got connected again and one day she invited me to her home for lunch. That day, 12/15/2010 was when I met Michael. From the few hours of conversation, I learnt something about Michael and that he was residing in Hanoi with his family. We kept in touch through emails and whenever he came back to Singapore, he would send me a message. Somehow we found time to meet up for lunch before he went back to Hanoi. We have a higher connection.
Those who act on their conviction and who venture into the unknown by faith are to be admired. Michael’s dream of setting up Tea Talk, a social enterprise had inspired me as a good and worthy dream. So I support it.
Often we would be so busy with work that we had no time to sip tea and talk. We would hold the notion that precious time should not be wasted, important things needed to be done. Yet we have to be reminded to make time for other things, other than busy work. 
What is Tea Talk? Basically it is to have a cup of tea and talk with each other. Many things may germinate from this. Some may be good, others not; some may bring joy, others not. Some may require courage to say what is from the heart, yet some would find it very natural to talk and share their thoughts. Some may prefer to listen rather than talk. Whatever the choice, it is a good opportunity for interaction and exchange. It also allows us to unwind and recharge. This is necessary.    
So I wish Michael all the best for his Tea Talk café. May it always be a beacon of light, shining brightly and may we always have time for tea and talk!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Tea Talk update

I guess you all have known by now that we have US$30,000 for the Tea Talk project.  Our initial budget was $100,000 and then revised to US$60,000.   Thus we are half way to the target.
Mr. Tien, Ms. Trang, Jacqueline and I have many exciting stories to share with you all as each you are partners in this long journey.  3 years has gone by since the idea was conceived in my fearful heart.  But each of you have given me courage to pursue this dream.  Now, the dream is slowly but certainly becoming a reality.  I can't tell you how much I appreciate all your support and words of encouragement.  
As of today, we have found an ideal location, just 100 meters away from the university that I am teaching.  This is ideal for the students to come over and "hang-out".  We are planning to meet the landlord this weekend to negotiate the price.  Currently, he is asking for US$3000 per month.  This is $1000 above the budget that we are willing to pay for rent.  A second solution would be for my family to move into the house, with us living on the 3rd level of the 3 level home. Tea Talk would occupy the first two levels while I chip in on the rental.  Polar cafe's boss from Singapore, Mrs. Kate Cheah, visited the location with us recently and also finds the location ideal and suggested that my family move into the cafe premises as well.   Jacqueline and I will have to weigh the pros and cons of moving into the cafe.  One immediate pro is that it would help with our rental, as at our current home, we're paying US$400/month.
The Tea Talk core team has decided to go ahead with the rental if the landlord is willing to lower the rent to US$2300 per month.  With my family moving in and sharing US$400 for the rental, Tea Talk will have to pay US$1900.  We are also looking at inviting other businesses or NGOs to have their offices there to share with the rental.  So these are our thoughts for now.
As for me, my work hasn't change a bit, in case you might wonder.  I will continue to be a volunteer social work consultant at the university. By the way, 14th Feb 2012 marked my family's anniversary.  11 year ago, we relocated to Hanoi and called it HOME.  
Again, it has been a privilege working on this Tea Talk project.  I like to use the analogy of the human body to share what I mean.  Some of you are like the brain, giving invaluable suggestions.  Others give of their time by designing the website and the Tea Talk logo. Some of you are the hands and feet.  You run around with me to look for suitable locations.  Others in Singapore and USA have run around to collect donated items.  Brown School professors at Washington University in St. Louis, for example, have given 60 social work books that will be made available for reference at the Tea Talk library. Some have helped to raise funds, like my beloved friends at the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.  Like to eyes, some of you took your own initiative to look for donated items like teacups, mixers, fruit juicers and desktop computers to help cut down our setup cost.  Many of you, like the mouth, have been sharing with your friends about Tea Talk.  I have been receiving emails from friends all over asking me when is Tea Talk opening.  A social work professor came from England and looked me up, and asked, "Where is tea Talk located?  I want to visit." I had to disappoint her by saying, "We are still at the planning stage, but you are welcome to come to my house for tea."   She came to my house for tea indeed.
Donations, both in cash and in kind, are pouring in from Singapore, USA, Israel, China, Hong Kong, Korea, and Vietnam.  It is exciting to see Vietnamese people rising up to give back to their communities. Many gave sacrificially.  Again, thanks for all your encouragement and support.  
Hopefully, I can show you some pictures of the Tea Talk cafe by the next update.
Michael Ong