Lunch, bingo, a sing-along, and a lucky draw would be a common Sunday afternoon at a social and recreational club. Thanks to The Lodge of St George No 1152 E.C and the Beach Road Residents’ Committee, the experience was recreated at a common area in their neighbourhood for 60 older persons who live there.
This neighbourhood has a significant population of older residents and there is a senior activity centre ensuring that those in need of medical help or care receive the appropriate services. This centre also arranges for meals and social activities for those in reasonable health and their dedication as a community care service provider is admirable. On a few occasions when I dropped off pre-loved home appliances, their staff were at hand to assist the older persons who had requested for them.
Another significant resource in this neighbourhood is a self-organised group of residents who look out for each other and are constantly on the lookout for others who may benefit from joining them. For more than 8 years, they have coordinated food, in-kind donations, and social activities for their neighbourhood. They have established working relationships with various formal and informal groups and have been sending families with children our way.
The government grassroots organisations and its Advisor value the contributions these groups make in enhancing the well-being of residents. They always do their best to render support by granting the use of premises or other facilities for their activities. However, despite their best efforts, residents from the self-organized group have a perception that their efforts are not quite appreciated. We gather that it is a perception that has been formed from minor misunderstandings accumulated over many years in the course of voluntary work.
Anyway, we are hopeful that last Sunday’s event was a first step in rebuilding trust and goodwill among those who care deeply for the neighbourhood. Mayor Denise Phua of Central Singapore District who is also Advisor to the grassroots organisations in the neighbourhood expressed her appreciation to these residents for their strong community spirit and civic mindedness. She was also a good sport, participating wholeheartedly in the sing-along with others. When asked to say a few words, the leader for the self-organised group expressed that its members were all deeply moved by the presence of the Mayor and how she was having so much fun with them.
In her short speech, the Mayor advocated strongly for cooperation among all stakeholders but I reckon that action spoke louder than words. It was her warmth, genuineness and playfulness that moved and connected with everyone present.
For peace and community,
Empathy allows us to perceive our world in a new way and move forward – Marshall Rosenberg