A chance to meet more neighbours

Mrs Kavita dancing with a beneficiary at the Chinese New Year reunion lunch event organised by Henderson-Dawson CCC yesterday.
Mrs Kavita dancing with a beneficiary at the Chinese New Year reunion lunch event organised by Henderson-Dawson CCC yesterday.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

For the past 16 years since moving to Singapore from India, Mrs Kavita Raha has had her circle of friends limited mostly to people from her workplace as well as expatriates.

But yesterday, the 50-year-old, who became a Singaporean last year, finally found the perfect opportunity to meet more of her neighbours.

She was one of more than 40 volunteers at a Chinese New Year reunion lunch organised by Henderson-Dawson Citizens Consultative Committee (CCC) for 130 elderly residents.

Mrs Kavita, who lives in the constituency, said she enjoyed talking to the residents at her table and was delighted to be part of the event.

This is the first time the grassroots volunteers were joined by new citizens and permanent residents, as well as volunteers from the American Women's Association and Hua Yuan Association, for the annual reunion event.

Ms Joan Pereira, an MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC and host of yesterday's lunch, said that such events help to build relationships between volunteers and beneficiaries. "What's most important is that there is trust and the elderly residents know the community is here for them in good times and bad."

In a blog post yesterday, Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin reminded members of the public to "look out for those around us even as we visit our families and friends", in order to build a more inclusive Singapore.

Madam Teng It Hong, a resident, said she used to make do without a reunion event before Henderson- Dawson CCC started organising the lunches in 2010. The 81-year-old, who is unmarried and lives alone, has been to all of the lunches. "I'm happy that they invite me for a reunion meal every year," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 28, 2017, with the headline 'A chance to meet more neighbours'. Print Edition | Subscribe