Committee of Supply debate: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Egging on the community to help build a caring society

OCBC group chief executive Samuel Tsien getting a cookie at a booth set up by the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (Minds) at the launch of the bank's expanded CSR programme yesterday, as Minds CEO Keh Eng Song looks on.
OCBC group chief executive Samuel Tsien getting a cookie at a booth set up by the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (Minds) at the launch of the bank's expanded CSR programme yesterday, as Minds CEO Keh Eng Song looks on.PHOTO: OCBC

Egg supplier Ang Song Mong was inspired to chip in when he heard of an initiative by Food From The Heart to provide eggs to needy families.

His firm, Ang Seng Eggs Supplier, will offer a discount on eggs sold to the charity group and also donate 1,500 eggs monthly.

In all, the charity will distribute 300,000 eggs regularly to 2,500 families over the course of a year, in hopes of enhancing the nutritional value of the food they consume.

Mr Ang is doing it with support from OCBC Bank, which will pay him the discounted price for the eggs he supplies.

The egg distribution scheme is one of several initiatives funded by #OCBCCares, which is the bank's expanded corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme launched yesterday.

Speaking at the event, group chief executive Samuel Tsien said the bank wished to do more for society through the programme.

"These initiatives must deliver long-term benefits to the beneficiaries," said Mr Tsien.

"Having interacted extensively with various types of volunteer groups over the past many years, we have a good understanding of their needs," he said.

The expanded programme has an annual budget of $600,000, which will be used for promising initiatives proposed by its 15 charity partners.

The causes range from vulnerable children, youth, the disadvantaged elderly and those with special needs, to environmental sustainability.

The programme was soft- launched last December, with the bank already committing to fund nine CSR projects at a total cost of $300,000.

Another project is the first disability clinic of its kind in Singapore, run by the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore.

"Having a clinic manned by doctors who are trained to work with such patients would minimise the risk of an erroneous diagnosis," said Mr Tsien.

He also noted that volunteer hours put in by OCBC staff in Singapore increased threefold from 2011 to last year, with one in four employees volunteering his time.

The bank has also used its data analytics expertise to help boost volunteer rates among its staff, such as finding out the preferred timing for volunteering among different age groups.

As for Mr Ang, he hopes that his act of charity would help egg on others to do likewise.

"If everyone chips in, we will succeed in building a caring society," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 03, 2017, with the headline 'Egging on the community to help build a caring society'. Print Edition | Subscribe