Spread the Love – January 2017

It was a very quiet start of the year.

I had an event shoot for sheep’s youngest child. He was one of the best clients ever.

Huiting was the heroine who organised another voluntary work. She roped me in last minute after we attended Jade’s grandparent’s wake. Jiayu dropped Yonghao, Huiting and I at Yonghao’s place before we waited for Yonghao’s dad’s lorry. Then, we met up with another three volunteers to collect second hand furniture to move to the beneficials’ houses. It was near midnight and one of the volunteers sent me home.

As usual, my youngest uncle on my dad organised the Chinese New Year gathering, spending the money, effort and time to organise everything.

Spread the Love – August 2015

Gilbert signed me into the Fitness First gym at Clementi. He insisted in giving me a treat for lunch after that. After the second trip, we had lunch together again and I snatched over the bill. He ended up buying a gift for me. Gilbert was such a kind friend who would rather give than to take from his friends.

My voluntary group finally gathered for a project. This time, we went to Windsor Convalescent, which was a private old folks’ home that was sandwiched between the government funded and “high class” private ones in term of finance aid. Everyone of my team was a hero for that day! Yongsheng’s presence was crucial as he took the lead in playing games with the residents when we were quite lost. Yonghao also took the trouble to give a lot of us a lift. The rest of the heroes include Huiting, Shengyang, Baoyu, Nancy, Julia, Jiayu, Stephanie, Shuh, Yongfeng, Huiting’s friends and Yonghao’s friends.

I did my second voluntary work for the month by helping Huiting with her Bishan Home event. As the main photographer of the event, I was able to observe the entire event clearly. Most of the nurses of the home were foreigners but I could see from their enthusiasm and closeness with the residents that they were working with their hearts. I appreciated their effort.

I finally renewed my mobile phone plan’s contract and got myself a new phone. Since I had already planned to get Sony Xperia Z3 instead of the newer model, Xperia Z3+, I had already bought the tempered glass screen protector from eBay weeks before that. It happened that the protector arrived on the very next day. With the minor setback from sticking the screen protector onto my previous phone, Samsung Note 2, I decided to get my elder brother to help me this time. He spent quite some time working on it and produced a good job.

Shuh and I arranged to spend a day at the National Library to do work. We tried to rope Titus in since I knew he was a regular there. He joined us in the afternoon and took care of our belonging when we went for late lunch. In the evening, he took us for dinner and gave us advice.

Home Cleaning Project at Bukit Merah


While you were probably still asleep on a Sunday morning, our team was already out on a mission to clear up the house of a lonely lady staying in a one-room flat in Jalan Bukit Merah.

Huiting was arranging the cleaning a few weeks ago together with the earlier free soup project for the residents (https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152994532110307.1073741858.653480306), but luckily we did not put the projects on the same day, otherwise we might need to work until late evening.

The flat’s condition was definitely unsuitable for human beings to live in. It was packed almost fully that at any point of time, only a few people could step in; anyway, it was just too dirty and dusty, with a foul smell, that not many people would want to do that. We could not even see her single size bed and she was very used to sleep on a chair instead.

Elderly would not want to throw away any useless stuff because the item might come into good use in future (if they could locate the item). Moreover, many things were parts of their lives and dumping any was kind of like throwing their memories away. If your mum was from a very poor family throughout her life, you could probably been living in a messy house like mine, but trust me, your living condition could never be as bad as that.

We used gloves and masks. Some gloves were torn and my hands were most of the time soaked in water since I had to dip the cloths into the pails of water often. The masks could not filter off the smell and Yonghao had to change a few because they were soaked in his sweat.

The corridor was packed with her items, stretching to around three doors away. I made many trips down to the garbage collection centre with heavvy loads. Each time the auntie said yes to throwing any item, we would cheer because that would lessen the mess.

During lunch time, we bumped into a big group of SMU students who were on their mission to interact with the elderly over the area to find out their problems and needs. They were very nice to send manpower over to assist us despite they were very busy as well.

The auntie was not someone who took things by granted. She apologised and thanked us very often. She even called a friend to buy can drinks for us. She also forced us to take a special edition Singapore coin each by threatening to chase us away.

We went to Tanglin Halt with two big red plastic bags of her clothes to wash while we had our dinner over there. Then, we brought them to return to the auntie before we set off to Yonghao’s house since his dad had to use the lorry. After that, we went to Serangoon Garden for dessert to end the day.

The photos were taken without using speedlite and thus there might be grain and blurriness caused by high ISO and slow shutter speed. My hands were in a big mess throughout. It was extremely challenging to be the photographer when you needed to participate in the mission as well.

Su Huiting
Lee Yong Hao
Ahpa Sae Yeoh
Precious Jadey
Guo Yong Sheng
Nancy Quek
SMU students from SHINE programme

Camera: Canon 650D
Lens: Tamron 17-50mm F2.8

Respect Volunteerism

My beautiful friend woke me up early in the morning to offer me to join in the fun to bring the hunks and babes for a free meal. Despite having only two hours of sleep two nights ago, being bitten by the burning sun and spending late night to support my celebrity friend’s performance, I sweet-talked myself to get up. After caressing the toilet bowl twice, I rushed off to meet the volunteers in my weak body.

It was supposed to be a great day working with people with great souls. I knew the least thing I could do was to take photos to capture the beautiful moments, including the unglamorous ones. However, things eventually turned out differently just like how monsters always appeared in fairytale stories right after the sweet introduction.

After bringing the hunks and babes to the temple in the east and securing them to their seats under the big tentage, we were told that we had to wait for the big shot to arrive before serving them their meals. I was deeply disgusted because I realised we were used partly for political drive. There were three rows of tables where fat people were unofficially banned from walking between them. We had initially occupied an empty table in the middle but were made to move our belonging to another table because they wanted to reserve the table for the big shot. None of us complained when we were told to serve all tables, including those hunks and babes who came from elsewhere.

I tried my best to avoid the big shot’s table in case some weird people might ask me to take photos of him, which would tarnish my girlfriend’s dignity or even broke the lens – I did not have money to upgrade to a better girlfriend for now. The big shot simply came over, late, just to shake hands and wait to be served for his food. I thought if anyone who really wanted to come over to appreciate the old hunks and babes who had helped to build up the nation, he or she would have done more. If this big shot had helped out in serving the food like how the volunteers had sweated and exhausted themselves, I would at least respect him a little. It was indeed a rewarding part-time job that would give him over $10k per month. I did pity him for many people were talking behind him during his “glamorous” moments.

The drama to showcase the “kindness” of the big shot was not the most disgusting incident of the day. A lady who seemed to be the overall in-charge of the hunks and babes showed me how ugly mankind could be. Almost all of us did not know which farm she came from but she was first seen grumbling over some barricades, saying nobody would answer if any of the hunks and babes were to bypass them and fall. I was not sure if she was truly concerned for the elderly or simply did not want her head to roll, but her tone was harsh. It was just like walking on a street and a bitch came over to bark you for killing her entire family. As I moved nearer, she turned to me instead and continued to rant like as if a photographer would be so free to invite the old people wander about. Around five minutes of my life was wasted just because I tried too hard to show respect to even creature.

The same lady was ranting at another guy throughout the event. He could be her co-worker or another volunteer she had recruited. When he was trying hard to serve the hunks and babes food, she barked at him to go over to take photos of the big shot. I was extremely disgusted once again because the event was supposed to be organised for the hunks and babes and not the big shot, while our main job should be to ensure that they would not go hungry and be served with great efficiency. Even if USA’s president Barrack Obama was there as a special guest, our focus should be on the hunks and babes who had contributed to our society so much in the past.

The third brainless thing this lady did was to rant at us again at the end of the event after the big shot had left with satisfied stomach. She seemed to want us to take group photos with the big shot for whatever motives she had. It was either she was brainless enough to slip it off her mind or she had whispered to the grass to request us to do that, but she blamed us. One girl was finally pissed off and stepped up to stop her imagination and bring her back to the real world. She was lucky enough that we were inside a temple and I tried hard not to put my friend on the spot. Anyway, none of us was willing to take photos with any big shot. We did voluntary work not for show.

I feel so sad for Singapore due to the existence of such lady who is killing volunteerism. Which volunteer would offer his/her help in future to events that such lady is in charge of? Volunteers are not being paid and the least thing the organiser can do is to show them respect. In fact, even if the lady has paid people to do the work, she should also treat the salaried workers with respect. I wonder if she would feel ashamed if she ever see how I treat the town council’s foreign cleaners. You cannot simply point fingers at anyone if you think the weather is hot.

Lastly, I’m also confused over the need for calling for volunteers for some charity events. If the organisers have such close links to big shots and that they have to suck up to these wealthy and powerful people, they should be able to get many “sponsors” to employ staffs to handle the events. Why are the time of innocent and poor volunteers be needed for such events when they can offer their help to other events that truly lack funding.

I have actually learned a big lesson for the day but the main thing is that I should have tried to find out more details about any voluntary work before agreeing to help, be it taking photos or babysitting the less healthy people.

I love seeing kind souls working hard selfishlessly. The world needs more true love to make more people’s lives beautiful.