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23 Mar 2022
4 mins
Faithful to the Call of Bringing Joy and Impacting Lives

Unwavering in its commitment to care for the underprivileged, SMOU has for the past 20 years, showed acts of care and share to senior residents in the community of King George’s Avenue. The acts of kindness that started since 2003 continued in style with the Lunar New Year Festive Giving.

On 15 February 2022, Ms Denise Phua, Mayor of Central Singapore District and Member of Parliament of Jalan Besar GRC joined SMOU officials President Mr Rahim Jaffar, General Secretary Ms Mary Liew, Emeritus General Secretary Mr Thomas Tay, Trustee Mr Tan Hung Tat, Assistant Treasurer Mr Tan Geh Ting, and Young SMOU Chairman Mr Dominic Yong in visiting senior residents and delivering meals, goodie bags and hong baos. Officials at King George’s Avenue Senior Activity Centre (KGA SAC) also accompanied the distribution team as they made their rounds.

Whilst ensuring safe management measures were observed, the outreach was conducted where the entourage of SMOU officials and 12 volunteers were split into smaller teams to deliver bento lunch sets, goodie bags containing daily necessities and hong bao tokens, to 120 senior residents living at rented flats over 5 blocks. Among the senior residents visited was a centenarian, and seniors in their 90s.

SMOU Members Fwee Fwee (Left) and Yong Seng (Right)

Yong Seng and Fwee Fwee, who have been SMOU members for 40 years and 30 years respectively, are not newbies to the volunteer scene. The husband and wife team have been helping out in the union’s CSR events almost every year. Fwee recalled the pre-COVID times when there was the annual luncheon for residents of Jalan Besar held at the Lighthouse Bistro. But in the past two years, because of the pandemic, the luncheon gatherings had to be done away with, so they volunteered to do home visits, bearing gifts instead. The last event they helped out before this was with the Henderson Senior Citizen Home, the fourth act of SMOU’s “7 Acts of Caring & Sharing” initiative.

“We feel happy that we can bring joy and happiness to the seniors. At least we can see their smiles especially during this difficult time where COVID is still prevalent. We sensed that there was a brighter hope and atmosphere in the homes we visited this year.”

From the seasoned volunteers to a fresh one such as Ismail Junaidi, the act of volunteering is meaningful. Ismail who was in between sailing assignments decided to take every available opportunity while on shore, to give back to the community. He admitted that since the union has given so much to its members, it is only fair that members give back to help the union. Ismail had personally enjoyed the benefits of being an SMOU member. He confessed that even his parents, who are teachers, noticed that the union really takes care of its members. On his maiden volunteer work, his experience was so good that he has expressed his desire to volunteer again.

SMOU Member Ismail Junaidi

“Usually we don’t get to interact much with seniors on a daily basis. Opportunities like this gives me an idea of the lives of senior citizens in the community. There was a very well-spoken senior who was quite eloquent in English. I had the opportunity to interact with this resident. He was grateful to us for the gifts.”

In her candid address to SMOU volunteers, Ms Denise Phua suggested that perhaps King George’s Avenue Senior Activity Centre (KGA SAC) and SMOU could work together to further enhance the gifting to the seniors and outreach programmes. She alluded to the possibility of forming a supermarket line of local supplies where seniors could pick what they need and have the items packed and delivered to them. It is a way to help the neighbourhood businesses such as fruit stalls. Other ideas include organising bus tours to watch festival decoration lightups. Seeing SMOU as a long-term partner to serve the needs of the community, Ms Phua was deeply appreciative of what the union has been doing.

While wishing everyone a Happy Lunar New Year, Ms Mary Liew highlighted that the seniors really look forward to the visits because that brings joy to them. “This is our core mission – to bring joy and impact lives. It gives us satisfaction and joy to our hearts to see the community blessed. What sister Denise shared of possible ways to reach seniors is innovative and creative. Let’s explore and not stop here.”

Let us keep up the good work, and continue to do more together.