Five steps forward, ten steps back, it seems.
While we’re in Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) and not a full-blown circuit breaker, it’s enough for most of our daily routines to be interrupted once again.
The endless acronyms have returned, like WFH, HBL, PET, SHN and so on.
But just as these new measures remind us of last year’s events, we were also reminded of the kindness and goodwill displayed by Singaporeans the first time round!
The tightened restrictions have brought our attention to those everyday heroes often overlooked.
In this season, I had wondered if we would we be able to reignite that spirit of reaching out to those who need help. After all, in a crisis, it’s easy to focus only on ourselves.
That is what makes the following initiatives to help others so commendable and worthy of assisting or even imitating.
So, if you’re wondering where some of the needs are this time round, here are some examples that you can be inspired by.
1. SHOWING OUR APPRECIATION
Just like the circuit breaker did last year, it seems like the tightened restrictions have brought our attention to those everyday heroes in essential services who are often overlooked.
Even closer to home, with WFH and HBL in place, even parents of school-going children face a massive challenge.
To show their appreciation, Ya Kun Kaya Toast is currently doing a kopi giveaway for all mothers who find themselves in that situation.
Explaining how the idea came about, Jesher Loi, a representative of Ya Kun International shared: “This was a pretty last minute idea that was born out of the concerns I saw on social media of mainly mothers who were stressed over having to juggle HBL and WFH.
“So we decided to do something small and tangible to encourage them and let them know that we appreciate the juggling they have to do… Singapore is also celebrating Singapore’s women this year and this is a tangible way to show our support.”
Reminding us all to look out for one another during this time, Mr Loi encouraged: “Let’s show just a little more understanding to those outside and within our own homes. Everyone has a backstory so let’s show patience towards those around us.”
Be it a coffee or a card, there are so many ways we can show our heroes our appreciation — whether they’re on the frontline or right at home with us.
2. SUPPORTING F&B BUSINESSES
Since then, Facebook groups for hawkers have sprung into action, featuring recommendations of scrumptious hawker food and linking stall owners up with the support of hungry members of the public.
The group was created during the circuit breaker last year, but has since gained a considerable following with its regular updates.
Recognising the challenges elderly hawkers face in being unable to keep up with technology and delivery services, Instagram pages like WhereToDapao and SaveTheElderlyHawkers have also surfaced to assist older hawkers.
These initiatives have quickly gained traction online, featuring elderly hawkers daily in the hopes of encouraging patronage.
As members of the public, we can help by supporting these stalls directly, or by contributing features for other hawkers in need of help.
I was especially taken by how these write-ups were encouraged to be written from a personal angle, through honest conversations with these struggling hawkers.
I think the underlying point here is that empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another and feeling with the heart of another.
A similar concept is found in 5 Loaves & 2 Fishes, a directory that came about after the circuit breaker for Christian-owned F&B businesses in Singapore.
The project is frequently updated to achieve its aim of being an effective part of a “Kingdom Business marketplace movement” to encourage believers to support their brothers and sisters in Christ.
We can definitely do our part by supporting these folks!
Lastly, one other ground-up initiative that has helped F&B businesses is DabaoDash.
The non-profit community board was started by Jason Leow, who “realised that even while there’s now platforms for hawkers and small independent F&B shops to showcase their offerings, there’s still a big shortage of food delivery drivers to get all that good food to people’s doorsteps.”
Sharing the motivation behind the initiative on his site, Jason wrote: “I truly believe this is the right thing to do. Anything to help save a little slice of our culinary heritage, people’s livelihoods and our collective sanity (good food helps with staying home, for sure!).”
So don’t forget to say a word of thanks, whether it’s to the hawker uncle or aunty, or to the delivery riders who bring the goods right to your doorstep.
Oh, you can also checkout #ThankYouDeliveryHeroes for some cute and creative ways to do so too!
3. BLESSING MIGRANT WORKERS
Another group that was brought to public attention during the circuit breaker last year was our migrant workers.
They are the ones on whose backs our homes and offices are built. Risking life and limb, they soldier on to build our skyscrapers and prune tall trees. Rain or shine, they don helmets and luminescent vests to pave our roads and dig our tunnels.
At the height of the coronavirus infections in the dormitories, these workers were the ones who suffered greatly.
Even though those days have past, we would still do well as a society to remember them and continue caring for them properly.
To that end, there are many organisations set up in support of migrant workers that we can lend support to.
As mentioned on their Facebook page, their aim is to “promote mental wellness and social interaction in the migrant community in Singapore, by conducting fun activities for our migrant brothers in Singapore to spend their time meaningfully amidst tightening Covid-19 restrictions, from May-July 2021.”
Initiatives like this provide a great opportunity for us to reach out and bless a migrant worker right from our homes.
For instance, I found ItsRainingRaincoat’s MADWISH (Make A Difference While I Stay Home) programme to be particularly interesting and doable, even for students.
The programme allows volunteers to teach conversational English to migrant workers while staying home!
It’s a great way to use the knowledge and resources we’ve been given to bless others, while doing our part to stay safe too.
Since the tightened Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) measures, she has also been refreshing initiatives that have expired through 2020 and calling for new ones to be added.
#HowICanHelpSG is a public sheet that hopes to harness the power of crowdsourcing and community for good.
It has since expanded to include different categories like migrant worker relief, educational resources and help for specific communities like the homeless and Malaysian workers who are stuck in Singapore.
Explaining what motivated her, Joanne shared: “I thought I could just do my part by consolidating an online list for people who can use it as a directory to find out more about each initiative.
“There are actually many people in Singapore who want to help. But they don’t know how they can help.”
For us, we can either help by adding any new initiatives that are not already on the list, or by using this directory to look through for initiatives that we can be a part of!
“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” — John Holmes
If there’s anything looking through all these do good initiatives has shown me, it’s that there are still needs all around us.
So let’s choose to look to the needs of others and see how we can meet them. It is, after all, what we are commanded to do throughout the Word of God.
We see it in the Old Testament through verses like Proverbs 31:8-9: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
And we see it in the New Testament. 1 Timothy 6:18 reads: “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.”
With that in mind, let’s rise up as Christians to do good in Singapore.
Let’s show our fellow men the love of God.
- Reading the many examples in this article, was there a certain group of people you felt the most for?
- What are some resources or talents that you’ve been blessed with?
- What is one practical way you can use these to bless others?