Acts of kindness amid Covid-19 outbreak

A DANCE OF GRATITUDE
A DANCE OF GRATITUDE
VIRUS VIDEOS FOR CHILDREN
VIRUS VIDEOS FOR CHILDREN
‘MINI LOANS’ TO LOCAL BUSINESSES
‘MINI LOANS’ TO LOCAL BUSINESSES

In this time of social distancing, Singapore's virus vigilantes are going to the ground, starting initiatives and sharing information to help support people and businesses. These 10 uplifting acts are just what the doctor ordered.

1 A DANCE OF GRATITUDE

On a Singapore Airlines flight out of New Zealand on March 24, six students put on a spirited performance of their school’s waiata for the cabin crew who served them on the 101/2-hour flight back to Singapore. Waiata are traditional Maori songs used to celebrate a symbolic event.

The students – Haruka Chan, 19; Zi Yue Woo, 18; Romaine Lee, 17; Timothy Ching, 19; Cherie Wong, 17; and Courtney Lim, 19 – had been studying full time classical ballet or contemporary dance at the New Zealand School of Dance in Wellington.

2 NOTES OF ENCOURAGEMENT

On March 20, residents of nursing home Sree Narayana Mission (Singapore) received about 300 notes of encouragement penned by students aged between six and 18 from Gems World Academy Singapore. They drew hearts, rainbows and left messages to “stay safe” and “always remember that someone is thinking of you”.

The initiative was spearheaded by non-profit organisation Cycling Without Age to spread some kindness and cheer to the senior citizens, who could no longer attend group activities or games. The home told ST that residents felt “very grateful and touched” by the thoughtful gesture.

3 VIRUS VIDEOS FOR CHILDREN

With simple experiments and brightly coloured graphics, preschool provider Ednovation’s videos help children understand what Covid-19 is and why they must practise good hygiene habits.

To show how germs grow, for instance, a teacher handles a slice of bread with dirty hands before storing it in a Ziploc bag for 10 days.

Since March 23, five videos have been posted on its YouTube channel and these have had more than 1,300 views collectively. Each video is two to three minutes long. It aims to release a sixth today, which will illustrate the spread of the virus in Singapore to date.

4 ‘MINI LOANS’ TO LOCAL BUSINESSES

Chope and save not a seat, but a local business.

ChopeAndSave, which is not linked to the online restaurant reservation platform, is a volunteer initiative which aims to help local businesses tide over the Covid-19 outbreak by allowing customers to buy gift cards for future use at participating businesses.

The gift cards are “basically a mini-loan”, the site says.

So far, the site (chopeandsave.com) has piqued the interest of more than 90 businesses here, including familiar names such as Awfully Chocolate, BooksActually and Ya Kun.

The people behind the site say Singaporeans should “put our money where our mouth is and support (local businesses) before it’s too late”.

5 FROM YOUTH TO YOUTH

Many young adults have displayed a complacent attitude towards the virus, thinking themselves “immune” or “invincible”.

Last Thursday, a group of 27 medical students from around the world published a letter urging their peers to “stay home and practise physical distancing whenever possible”.

Titled #moreviralthanthevirus, the letter is available on their website in 27 languages and accompanied by a video recorded in about 15 languages.

It was initiated by (from left) medical students Ian Soh,19, and Aaron Goh, 22, and their friend Klaus Tan, 19, who is serving national service. The trio are friends from Anglo- Chinese School (Independent).

“Youth are more likely to listen to other youth, so we hope to support our frontline workers by spreading this message,” said Mr Soh.

6 DIM SUM WARRIORS VS VIRUS

Yumcha Studios, the company behind the comic book series Dim Sum Warriors, has developed a quiz to ensure that both children and adults can learn “the right kung fu to deal with this terrible sickness”.

Dr Woo Yen Yen, chief executive officer and co-founder of Yumcha Studios, says: “Dim sum literally means ‘a little bit of heart’ and this project exemplifies that for us. There are many, many ‘public service’ messages, but few are funny and we know humour is very effective in enhancing learning, not to mention alleviating anxiety.”

The quiz comes in many languages, including Chinese, Spanish, Bengali, even Singlish – in a version humorously titled “10 ways chewren can hantam the covid-19 coronavirus together wif the dim sum warriors”.

7 JUST THEIR CUP OF TEA: BOBA FOR DELIVERY DRIVERS

Boba fans are harnessing the power of this sweet treat to beat the heat and do some good – supporting food delivery drivers who work tirelessly to get food into people’s bellies.

In a Twitter post on March 30, delivery rider Nor Amirul Azman shared that he had received an order to send 10 cups of Koi drinks to Pasir Ris. But he later received a message which informed him that it was a treat and encouraged him to share it with others. Mr Amirul said other Grab drivers “really appreciated it”. He wrote: “God bless this customer’s kind soul. It really means a lot to us.”

8 FREE MUGS FOR HEALTHCARE HEROES

Department store OG last week gave out free thermal mugs to medical workers, helping to sustain them as they work to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Ms Sally Tang, general manager of marketing communications at OG, says: "We hope to give our healthcare workers warm drinks to warm their hearts. They work so hard, it'll be good for them to come out and take the mugs."

Many did - more than 4,000 mugs were given out from last Thursday to Sunday.

9 FISH SOUP TO GO

Mr Chia Meng Guai  was once a regular customer at Jun Yuan House Of Fish, a hawker stall in Old Airport Road Food Centre. Now, he rides his bicycle to deliver bowls of their Teochew fish soup to customers’ doorsteps for $1 an order.

The stall owners began the service after Mr Chia, who had a gig delivering food to entertainment venues in Geylang, saw orders dry up. Customers who are within 1km of the stall, including those working at Mountbatten Square, can text it at 9321-1866 to make an order.

“This gesture is simply to help Ah Guai put some food on the table for his family,” the stall wrote in a Facebook post on Monday. Within a day, the post went viral, with netizens pitching in to donate about $700 and several free meals to Mr Chia.

10 MAKING RESOURCES ACCESSIBLE

Over the past few days, 23-year-old Lim Jingzhou has spent about five hours collating a comprehensive list of financial assistance schemes available to low-income households.

“Many people don’t realise that information which comes in bits and pieces can be confusing and difficult to navigate for people who are already under huge stress and anxiety,” said Mr Lim, who is a founding member of non-profit organisation Cassia Resettlement Team.

His five-page document is organised into columns which show the application details, target beneficiaries, eligibility criteria and benefits of each scheme.

It has been shared more than 500 times since he posted it on his Facebook page on Monday.

Similarly, 22-year-old Aleesha Khan, a graduate student in psychology, has compiled a list of resources for vulnerable groups, such as those who have existing medical conditions or live in unsafe homes.

She posted it on her Instagram account @self_ally, which is dedicated to raising awareness about mental health issues in the community, last month.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 03, 2020, with the headline 'Acts of kindness'. Print Edition | Subscribe