28-year-old Jane Lee first started volunteering at Meet-the-People Sessions (MPS) six years ago, when her mother approached her to help out during her school break. For Jane, it was an eye-opening experience as MPS exposed her to different Singaporeans, and the difficulties they face at various stages of life. It was an enriching experience for her.
Jane has always been looking for ways to give back to society. Prior to MPS, she would volunteer at various charities on a monthly basis, but since starting at MPS, she has never looked back. She finds great joy in attending MPS every Monday – a weekly three hour affair.
Jane experiences immense satisfaction from being able to make a difference in someone’s life, even though she admits it isn’t all smooth sailing with some requesting for help. Her fondest memories was to help a single mother with three kids seek financial assistance. Through the process, she found that they were forming frienships. That deep bond motivated her to keep helping. To her, it is heartwarming to know that even regular individuals like herself can lend a helping hand.
She believes volunteerism is a journey with no end and plans to continue volunteering for the rest of her life. Jane hopes that she continues making a difference to someone’s life and being an inspiration to other people. She also encourages her peers to try attending their own MPS and to do so with an open mind.
Cynthia grew up in Chong Pang. She has always had an interest in helping others and doing constructive things. Her passion in youths issues has seen her take on leadership in the Young PAP where she gets to work with youths, provides them with political training. Through this position, she is able to impact the lives of youths positively. Apart from Young PAP, Cynthia also serves in MPS.
In MPS, she volunteers her time as the minister writer’s where she would listen to the problems of the residents and would direct the appeals or letters to relevant agencies for follow up. She especially likes to speak with youths and find out what motivates them. Beyond MPS, Cynthia would organize events to engage the youths such as team building activities. Through these events, she is better able to build rapport with these youths and help them improve their life circumstances.
Through MPS, Cynthia increased her knowledge of policies and issues, so as to better explain the policies’ intentions to the residents. She is also better equipped with soft skills to interact with residents of different personalities. Through her volunteer experience, she is exposed to the real issues that affect people and different segments of the needy such as the “sandwiched class” of the society. The “sandwiched class” is a term to describe people who are in need of assistance, yet do not meet the eligibility of official assistance schemes.
Janice has been living in Nee Soon for the past two decades. Throughout these years, the strong communal spirit of Nee Soon has left a deep impression on her. She is inspired by the selflessness and fruits of labour borne as a result of the blood and sweat of our pioneer generation. She hopes to walk in their footsteps and contribute positively to the community.
Janice’s involvement in the party began in 2013. She was approached by Member of Parliament for Nee Soon GRC, Mr Patrick Tay, to volunteer at the Meet-the-People sessions (MPS). With a passion for community service, she accepted the offer and has not looked back since.
Her deep sense of joy from being able to make even a small difference in the lives of many continues to motivate her at the weekly sessions. She prepares petition letters for residents, advises them on the options available and doubles up as a confidante to many residents who seek her assistance to resolve their problems.
Apart from MPS, Janice works alongside many other passionate PAP members to organise social and community programmes for Nee Soon residents. She has gained appreciation for teamwork and camaraderie through these meaningful activities. She believes that it is this common sense of purpose and values that bring the party members together to forge deep friendships and develop ideas that will benefit the Nee Soon community.
Razak has been a resident of Yishun from 1984 and has been volunteering with the grassroots well over 20 years through different channels. He first started off volunteering in the Residents’ Committee, moving from a normal member to an assistant chairman. Having served in the RC for 15 years, he was approached to help at MPS. He remembers that MPS used to be held every Monday back then and he served as a translator for Malay residents. He remembered also being given the responsibilities of taking care of the new laptops that were distributed to every MPS branch.
When asked about why he committed to volunteering all this years, Razak answered without hesitation that it was his passion. He loves to help people, regardless of their backgrounds. He remarked that though he was not able to help in terms of giving monetary help, he helped in many other ways, such as giving consultations and moral support to the residents.
He sees the many poeple, especially in the Malay community, need help, but do not know where to seek help from. Razak takes It as his personal responsibility to explain to them the various avenue that they can turn to for help and directs them to the right form of help. Through volunteering, Razak feels that he is better able to understand the situation of lower-income families.
Razak serves from the heart and sincerely wishes the best for all the residents. He has seen so many people who are in need within his community and feels overwhelmingly lucky for the opportunity he has to help them. His jovial nature and candid personality is built on the contentment he has learnt to have for his situation and the purpose he finds in serving the community.
Cheerful and bubbly, Selena has always been involved with the grassroots. The jovial lady started volunteering when she was living in Bishan, and when she moved to Yishun seven years ago; she got involved with the grassroots as well. Her main motivation in volunteering was to lend a hand to other residents, as she has always been aware of problems that some of them were facing.
Selena loves meeting new people and being at the weekly Meet-the-People Sessions gives her plenty of opportunity to interact with her friends and neighbours. She derives satisfaction from the appreciation and recognition she receives from her peers when their issues are resolved with her help.
Having had several years of experience helping out at the grassroots level, Selena simply wants to reach out to residents who are in need and who may not know exactly to do. “I just want to see the best for Yishun and to be able to help in any way I can,” Selena says. “The best part of my day is when I see them smile.”
Having been a volunteer with the grassroots for two years, Gary describes the experience as eye opening and very insightful. Before he began helping out with the GRC, Gary had negative sentiments towards the government and says he was plain ignorant about what the PAP was really doing for the country. His involvement at the weekly Meet-the-People Sessions started because his brother encouraged him to see for himself exactly what goes on at the grassroots level.
Now Gary thoroughly enjoys his Tuesday evenings helping his neighbours and friends deal with their issues. When asked what really changed his mind about the government, he says, “Volunteering at the MPS really opened my eyes about the less fortunate living among us. Many of the people that seek redress are dealing with issues such as being abandoned by their children and having no place to stay. The advisors running Nee Soon truly care about these people and I’ve seen them go the extra mile to help them.”
Another reason why Gary loves volunteering at MPS is the chance he gets to meet with people from different walks of life. He says his fellow volunteers provide him with day-to-day inspiration to reach out and help more people in the community. Gary is also highly motivated to let people know and understand that the PAP is truly doing a good job and more importantly, that help is always readily available for the people should they need it.
Yulin has been actively involved in community service since 2011. Growing up in Nee Soon, he is a familiar face at the Nee Soon East Meet-the-People sessions (MPS) where he spends time assisting residents and preparing petition letters for them to the relevant private/ public organisations.
As a Young PAP (YP) Chairman for Nee Soon East Branch, Yulin is responsible for recruiting new members who believe and uphold the values of the party. With his team, they organise social outreach programmes to benefit Nee Soon residents.
One of his memorable contributions was galvanising the support of new and existing members to volunteer in a food hamper distribution exercise. The event, held in December 2014, benefited a substantial number of needy residents.
Apart from social activities, Yulin joins Member of Parliament for Nee Soon GRC, Mr Patrick Tay, in his block visits. Through participating, Yulin shares how residents can seek his help during their time of need.
He views his participation as a meaningful one, having able to develop a sense of empathy and be involved in helping the underprivileged. He continues to ponder about policy formulation that can benefit the masses.