Hi volunteers,

It has been a tiring but yet fulfilling Saturday. It was a fine and sunny Saturday afternoon. Volunteers from all works of life gathered at Moral Home registered themselves with our moral angels, Rico and Ah Xian. Elderly had long prepared themselves waiting anxiously at the lobby, looking forward to go to Singapore’s largest shopping paradise, Vivocity for their Chinese New Year shopping outing. Through our casual conversation, the elderly seemed to have in mind what they wanted to buy when they reached the destination. We had a record of 27 elderly, mobilizing 60 over volunteers (including committee members) going for this shopping outing.

The volunteers and the elderly were divided into 4 groups led by Gary, Uncle Loi, SK and Uncle Sam. The volunteers were briefed by the event coordinator Jin Xiong at the dining area, highlighting the schedules and the important notes for volunteers to take note when out for shopping. The briefing includes a very short introduction on wheelchair handling for the elderly as volunteers were expected to go through slope and travelator. After the briefing, the elderly and the volunteers were divided into 2 buses and then made our way to Vivocity. Songs and Jokes were made during our journey to Vivocity.

Upon reaching the destination, volunteers were very cooperative; quickly assisting the elderly to the assembled area. Public eyes were on us as elderly on wheelchairs and people in yellow made their way to the doorway of the shopping paradise. We then proudly made our way outside the Giant Hypermarket to meet up with the rest of the volunteers (Doris, Fiona, Christina and Mei Kuen) who had reached prior our arrival to get goodie bags sponsored by Giant. The goodie bags contained coffee supermix, a bottle of chicken essence, freshly baked bun, mineral water bottle, 2 mandarin oranges and other groceries. After their snacks, volunteers brought their elderly to view the sea view of Harbourfront and Sentosa as well as to experience the sea breeze.

Briefing was made before the volunteers brought their elderly for shopping at Giant Hypermarket. The elderly and the volunteers were divided into 2 groups where the first group went to Basement Level 2 for groceries shopping and another group went to Level for accessories and necessity shopping. Volunteers were positioned near the travelator to assist the rest of the volunteers and the elderly to shop between Basement Level 2 and Level 1. Baskets were given to volunteers and elderly to contain their items.

Happy faces and smiles were all written on the elderlys’ faces as they shopped for their favourite items. Discussion and engrossed conversation were made between the elderly and the volunteers, negotiating prices, checking quality of items, doing comparison of similar items and asking advice on the things to get for their Chinese New Year. Volunteers, on the other hand, very willingly and without complaint, trying all their possible effort to satisfy the request of ah gong and ah ma. Surprisingly, ah gong and ah ma at moral home had some fashion sense. One of ah gongs even shop for a pair of sun glasses… So did he buy it in the end?

After the shopping, the elderly and the volunteers gathered at the assembled area, discussing and showing off the things that they had bought. Well, most of the elderly had spent all of the money except for a one or two, who did not want to buy anything. However, volunteers manage to discreetly buy some groceries for them. Some of the committee members, not forgetting those unfortunate ah gong and ah ma at moral home, went to buy some food and groceries and brought it back for them. Group photos were taken with Sentosa and the sea as background view. Despite the blazing sun, volunteers and elderly were putting on their best smiles to have their pictures taken.

After the group photos, we immediately proceed to Ah Ou Restaurant for dinner. Volunteers were seated together with their assigned ah gong and ah ma. Very quickly, marvelicous dishes were presented. Volunteers slowly and attentively serve the food to ah gong and ah ma, cutting the food into small pieces, ensure that the elderly can enjoy the food effortlessly. That day was a fortunate day for the elderly and the volunteers. The boss of Ah Ou Restaurant served free drinks for the volunteers who had contributed selflessly for the outing. He even gave us a very good discount for the meal. Doing Good Deeds will definitely have good fortune and blessing. It is a blessing for us and the elderly to have met such a generous boss.

After the meal, the elderly were treated to a short sighting in the bus to experience the ambience and atmospheres of Chinese New Year Celebration at Chinatown, before making our way back to Moral Home. Upon reaching the home, smiles were over the elderlys’ faces. It is because they had managed to get what they want or it is because they had the accompanied of the volunteers for the outing? Whatever it is, deep in our heart, we are glad and happy that the elderly had enjoyed themselves. And we as volunteers, also feeling very happy and a strong sense of fulfillment. We know that we had made a different Saturday Afternoon to ah gong and ah ma of Moral Home.

Of course, lastly the success of the outing could not do without these sponsors, and the support of the management and volunteers:

Sponsors – On behalf of the committee members, we would like to thank the sponsors, Giant Hypermarket for providing fabulous goodie bags for the elderly and of course not forgetting the boss of Ah Ou Restaurant, who gave us a very good discount at the end of the meal.

The management of Moral Home, nurses and staffs – Thank you so much for all the support you have given to us. The list of the elderly was out upon requested, with the gender, their mobility and the language spoken. The nurses and the therapist attached to us were wonderful.

Event Coordinator (Jin Xiong) – Thank you for organizing the outing. Despite your inexperience and especially when you have just joined the volunteering group, you are willing to take up the challenge as a coordinator of the outing. You have displayed your professionalism and responsibility towards your committee members as well as the volunteers who are involved. A very good job and well done. haha. This shows that you are able to take up even more challenging roles in the future :)

Volunteers’ Coordinator (Rico and Ah Xian) – It is always not an easy task to coordinate the volunteers and elderly especially when only 2 of you are involved in this outing. Lots of last minute changes especially on the attendance of the elderly. I understand your grievances and you can feel free to pour at me during debrief in the coming week. However, both of you have handle the situation very well. Thank you. Ah Xian, after this outing, I believe you are able to take up even more challenging roles in the future… haha… :)

F&B (Sharon, Doris and Mei Kuen) – Thank you for coordinating with Ah Ou Restaurant for the dinner. And because of your coordination, we wouldn’t have met such a generous and kind boss who gave us a very good discount. The food has been fantastic and delicious. We appreciate the effort done behind the scene, looking for restaurant which is willing to take up the elderly with big parking space for buses and wheelchair friendly. Thanks.

Entertainment Coordinators (Alex, Ping Sing & Gary) – Thank you for providing entertainment, narration and singing during our ride in the bus. It has been a fun and enjoyable ride. And Alex, very surprise to see you at the outing despite your busy school schedule. Appreciate your presence but however do not neglect your studies.

Videography and Photography (Stuart and Poh Yan) – Thank you for helping us to record all of our beautiful and memorable pictures. Both of you have done an excellent job in coordinating the group to take a group pictures. I am looking forward to see them. Thanks.

Logistics (Uncle Song and Desmond) – These people did not manage to enjoy the fun we had as they were in the lorry transporting the wheelchairs and other logistic matters. They had to constantly looking for parking space for the buses, alighting and boarding point, making sure the elderly were able to board and alight the buses safely and efficiently without compromising the traffic of ongoing vehicles. Thank you. And Uncle Song, you have been fabulous and supportive. Upon hearing that the coaching bay will not be able to use, you immediately went to recce with me for alternative alighting point just one day before the activity. Thanks.

Goodie Bags (Fiona & Christina) – The goodie bags have been fabulous. Thank you for coordinating with the management of Giant Hypermarket to request the supply of goodie bags. Your constant follow up have indeed paid off and ensure the elderly are able to enjoy the items in goodie bags. I have seen the email list that you guys communicate with the in-charge… It is a long email. Thank you…

Treasurer (Wendy) – Thank you for preparing the money and without you, the elderly will not be able to shop. The cash in and cash out format you have done is excellent. We can use it for future shopping outing. Thanks.

Group ICs (Uncle Sam, Uncle Loi, Gary & SK) – This is one of the important group of people that I will like to appreciate. Thank you so much. You guys have done an excellent and fabulous job in managing your group and disseminating the information. You guys have made the job of the event coordinator a lot easier. You have displayed utmost managing and leadership skill in organizing your group. Without you, the elderly will not be able to enjoy the shopping outing and arrive back home safely. No accident so far and well done. Thank you so much…

And of course not forgetting the rest of the volunteers who have sacrificing their precious weekend and selflessly contributed to the success of this shopping outing… Thank you so much and deeply appreciated:

Ah Teck from SN home, who has helped out as guitarist and volunteer for this outing.

Rimei from Silra Home, who has been very helpful and supportive in our events. She even helped out in our National Day and Ge Tai Celebration..

Jade and her friends – Very surprise and happy to see you together with your friend helping out in this outing. Heard that you be going back to Australia in this coming week. All the best for your studies… Thanks.

Fu Cai, Loyyong, Shee Yee and Wei Hao from Moral Welfare home – So happy to see all of you helping out in this outing. You guys have been very supportive. And to Fu Cai, welcome back to
Singapore. ESN has lots of thing waiting for you… haha.. :)

Suzanne, Edmund, Tweety aka Josephine Neo, Alexandra, Julene and Josephine Ho – Thank you to all of you who have helped out despite your busy school schedule. However don’t neglect your studies. :)

Ah Yong, who immediately rushed from work to help out in the outing. Thank you.

Auntie Mona, Uncle James and Auntie Jane – Thank you so much for helping out. You have been very supportive in our events. Thanks..

And lastly to all volunteers’ friends and relatives – Stuart’s and Doris’s cousins and friends, Rico’s friends and students (have seemed them second time – really appreciate), my brother (who helped me to coordinate his friends) and his friends from Taiwan and China, my friend Marcus and his cousins and friends (Weiting, Yien and Wei Hui), Rusty’s and Mei Kuen’s friend from Malaysia, Ah Xian’s and Ping Sing’s friends and to those I did not able to list out… I know who you are… Thank you so much.. I hope it has been a wonderful and fruitful weekend for you… and hope to see you guys joined us again for the next outing…

Please help me to forward this message to those who have helped out in this event.

Hui Quan