SMOU Lunar New Year Luncheon and Hong Bao Presentation 2020

  • Post published:21 February 2020

SMOU has contributed over S$650,000 to Senior Citizens in Community Homes

It has been SMOU’s 22-year long tradition of celebrating the Lunar New Year festivities with seniors from community homes, SMOU senior members, tripartite partners and guests from the shipping community. Since the first Hong Bao presentation event in 1998, SMOU has given almost $650,000 to around 9,000 senior citizens.

This year SMOU saw the largest turnout of almost 1,350 guests in the history of all its Lunar New Year Luncheon and Hong Bao Presentations. The luncheon event was held at the Sands Expo & Convention Centre and was graced by Guest-of-Honour, Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo, and Special Guest, NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng.

SMOU Assistant General Secretary, Gwee Guo Duan welcomed everyone with the recapping of celebrations and milestones that took place in 2019, and encouraged everyone to cast their eyes towards 2020 which holds many more exciting occasions. He highlighted a few things that will happen this year including the 15th Anniversary of Young SMOU and the highly anticipated “Social Night” that will launch our 70th Anniversary initiatives and celebrations in 2021.

Minister Teo in her address affirmed the importance of tripartism in the maritime industry saying that tripartite partners have “succeeded in many ways to help Singaporeans access the good jobs that are being created.” On one of SMOU’s momentous achievements in 2019 – the Company Training Committees (CTC) formation with four shipping companies Pacific International Lines Pte Ltd (PIL), POSH Fleet Services Pte Ltd, Wallenius Marine Singapore Pte Ltd and U-Ming Marine Transport (S) Pte Ltd – Minister Teo also commended SMOU for being aligned to NTUC’s call, saying that it will ensure the “health and vitality of the maritime ecosystem.”

“SMOU will continue in 2020 to work closely with our tripartite partners. We can collaborate with our shipping companies to upskill our seafarers through the Company Training Committees so that they can remain relevant and employable as the industry evolves and transforms.”
– Ms Mary Liew, SMOU General Secretary.

The luncheon began with a “Lo Hei” (“tossing up” in Cantonese) where everyone recited mandarin phrases of blessings and fortune for the new year. The atmosphere was joyous, as every toss was accompanied by loud roars around the table. Everyone enjoyed the oriental dish that symbolised the mixture of auspicious sayings.

To put their core value of Caring and Sharing into action, SMOU presented 770 hong baos, festive gifts and goodie bags valued more than $50,000 to a few groups of senior citizens – SMOU senior members; SMOU adopted home, Henderson Home; NTUC Health Nursing Home (Jurong West); Care Community Services ociety; Hope Community Services Centre; Jamiyah Home for the Aged; Bishan North Constituency; Punggol North Constituency; and Jalan Besar senior residents.

“It is very clear to me that it is a consistent part of your value to not just build up the union to take care of your members, but also with the resources that you have at your disposal, to take care of other members of the community where you are able to do so.”
– Minister Josephine Teo

To protect attendees from the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), hand sanitisers were made available and counters were set up where guests’ temperature and travel declarations were recorded upon arrival. Advisories were also sent to members beforehand to stay at home if they were feeling unwell, or had travelled to mainland China in the past 14 days. Minister Teo in her speech also encouraged everyone to take additional precaution by replacing the familiar greeting of a handshake with the more traditional Chinese way of greeting with clasped hands. 

Other highlights of the event include an upbeat performance by the LED female drummers, an acrobatic Duo Lollipop choreography, and ending off the luncheon a comedy segment by Lady Bao.

“This is my second year attending the Hong Bao Presentation and I think it is very good for senior citizens especially since we are retired. I would like to thank SMOU very much for generously organising this event for seniors every year!”

– Albert Lim, SMOU Member since 1991 (First from the right)

“It is my 5th year at the Lunar New Year Luncheon. My friends and I were excited and taken by surprise this year because the event was so huge that instead of our usual location at RCCC, we had it at MBS. Overall, I think SMOU has done a good job taking care of their members.”

– Velappakutty Gagan, SMOU Member since 1982