Why we started #braveheartsg: Loving our courageous healthcare workers this Valentine’s Day
It’s only been two days since its official launch, but more than 200 handwritten notes have been collected to date. Perhaps the shoutout by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong helped to give it a boost too!
The initiative, also known as #braveheartsg, aims to print and deliver handwritten notes together with snacks and drinks to more than 5,000 medical staff on Valentine’s Day.
As a response to online tirades against healthcare professionals, the people behind StandUpFor.SG have decided to band together and call out for support for those working on the frontline.
Dear Medical Service Personnel, We wanted to let you know we see you. We see the risks you take, the hours and the care you give. Please know we are with you and you are loved. You are our brave hearts. Love, Fellow Singaporeans How you can take part: 1. SHARE with friends and 2. Write a handwritten message and take a picture 3. Post to social media with #braveheartsg Let’s do this!
Posted by StandUpFor.SG on Tuesday, February 11, 2020
“There’s a lot of anxiety going on, and some folks are being unkind towards people working in the medical sector,” said Wally Tham, one of the founders.
“Hearing that the healthcare workers are being ostracised strikes a nerve. No one risking their lives for others should be treated this way. So instead of saying ‘don’t do that’, what can we do?
The ones who are clearly brave are the ones on the frontline.
“Our intention is to bring out the stories of those who are thankful and do care, to let the medical staff know they are not alone, and we have their back.”
When asked why the name #braveheartsg was chosen, Wally replied: “What we see now in society is anxiety.
“But the ones who are clearly brave are the ones on the frontline. We need to acknowledge that they represent where we need to be. We shouldn’t give in to anxiety.”
StandUpFor.SG started in 2012 when a group of friends were meeting for Bible study.
“Part of the materials asked questions like how do you see society, where is it headed, what do you not like, what would you do about it,” Wally recounted.
It was then when one of their friends walked in and told them that no one gave up their seat for her on the train despite being visibly pregnant.
“I don’t think I needed the seat, but everyone was avoiding eye contact,” the friend had said sadly.
That was when Wally and his friends decided that this was not the Singapore they wanted. Instead, they hoped for a country where people would acknowledge each other and give when there’s a need.
And so, StandUpFor.SG was birthed – not just to encourage people to give up their seats to people in need, but also to make a stand when there are gaps.
Over the years, their core team has changed, but their volunteer pool has also expanded. With more people believing in the need for a better Singapore, StandUpFor.SG has stood up for other social issues such as honouring our hawkers and finding fostering homes for homeless kids.
For #braveheartsg, StandUpFor.SG is partnering different organisations and companies to prepare the snacks and cards to be given out.
“The challenge is to print as many notes as possible. We will do our best. Our target is to get encouragement cards to every medical staff out there.”
During their test run today, the team ran into some teething problems: Many healthcare workers were sceptical and ignored them.
However, Wally is not letting it faze him. “Too often we don’t take action because we fear rejection, and then we miss the opportunity to do something beautiful,” he concluded.
#braveheartsg is calling for more volunteers to help distribute the printed messages on Valentine’s Day this Friday. Interested parties can drop an email to Yan Bing for more details. To send in your own photo of a handwritten note for medical workers, post it on your social media account with the hashtag #braveheartsg or simply email them.
And if you’d like to know of other practical ways you can help in this time of crisis, check out our earlier story below.