Volunteer with right mindset, not with benefits in mind

It troubles me when I read the recent discussions about volunteers and the benefits and incentives given to them.

What is volunteering after all? It should be to give without getting any benefit or incentive. This was what it meant to me and my fellow volunteers years ago and that meaning still holds for us today.

We were a group of women who spent not only time but also forked out our own money by creating Swarovski crystal jewellery for KK Women's and Children's Hospital as well as Dover Park Hospice to raise funds.

Some of us spent tens of dollars a week but we were not bothered as long as we were happy doing what we did for a good cause.

But nowadays, even with Pioneer Generation Ambassadors, they are paid $10 per case. Some, I was told, could "earn" quite substantial amounts a month.

I hope those who volunteer do it for the right reasons - not for the incentives or egoistic reasons.

I hope, for instance, that members of residents' committees are not aiming for a title or incentives. One wonders if there would still be volunteers, if there were no incentives.

Susan Chua Siong Ngoh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 04, 2017, with the headline 'Volunteer with right mindset, not with benefits in mind'. Print Edition | Subscribe