About 150 people were screaming and cheering as Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin scaled a 3.6m-high wall for charity last night.
He was in one of three teams - with five people each - taking turns to scramble up a wall to grab flags pinned at the top. They had three minutes to get as many as they could for disadvantaged children.
Each flag was worth $2,000 and the money collected went to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund and The Business Times Budding Artist Fund. Participants at the event managed to raise $242,000, which will be split evenly between the two charities.
"It's a way of engaging our staff and to let them give back to society in a way that helps them bond," said Mr Tony Cripps, chief executive officer of HSBC Singapore.
The event held at Masons at Gilman Barracks, a restaurant, was one of many that HSBC and The Straits Times Pocket Money Fund have been organising in the past few years.
One of the climbers, Ms Ng Ling Ling, 45, the managing director of Community Chest, said she had been taking part in these fund-raisers for five years. "When you put these children in your mind and you think about the disadvantages that they have to face, it's just very motivating," she said.
Mr Tan spoke about how such efforts change the face of volunteerism. "This is something I hope other corporates can emulate because I think it's only when you help on a more regular basis that you also have a more in-depth knowledge of what it is that you are supporting."
Besides the sum raised for the two charities, HSBC donated $300,000 for the educational programmes of six welfare organisations, including Pathlight School, Rainbow Centre Yishun Park School and Minds Towner Gardens School.