Coronavirus: Singaporeans in solidarity with Indonesians through donations

Harapan Kita National Heart Centre medical record officer Agung Sutrisno, 24, with donations from SGPeduli. ST PHOTO: HARAPAN KITA NATIONAL HEART CENTER

Three boxes bearing a sticker of the Singapore flag and the words "Together We Fight the Virus" arrived on a Go-Jek motorcycle at a heart hospital in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, last week.

Inside, 70 hazmat suits greeted healthcare workers at Harapan Kita National Heart Centre, who have had to face suspected coronavirus patients every day.

A delighted medical record officer, Mr Dawnis Sa'adaty, 41, told The Sunday Times: "We are so grateful. We must protect ourselves but what choice do we have when there's a shortage of personal protective equipment? When we run out of surgical masks, we use cloth masks."

The donations came from SGPeduli, a group of Singaporeans living and working in Jakarta, who are "standing in solidarity with Indonesians" in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Led by Ms Sonya Lee, 60, who is married to former Singapore ambassador to Indonesia Edward Lee, SGPeduli - standing for Singaporeans Caring for Indonesia - has so far raised around $12,000 from the public, including from Indonesian fund-raising platform Kitabisa.com.

Through their contacts, they have secured protective gear such as hazmat suits, masks and face shields from local factories as well as from overseas and distributed them to four hospitals in Jakarta.

In the coming weeks, they will be donating basic essentials such as rice, oil and sugar for the poorest households in the capital.

"Singaporeans are giving back to a place which has effectively been a second home," Ms Lee told The Sunday Times.

She also said she was thankful for the support of generous Singaporeans as well as Indonesians, including Mr Setyono Djuandi Darmono, chairman of industrial estate developer Jababeka Group, who connected her to the national disaster management agency (BNPB) in charge of tackling the pandemic.

Singapore-born coal tycoon Dato Low Tuck Kwong of Bayan Resources also donated S$2 million, she added.

Besides SGPeduli, the Singapore Government and other organisations have also provided assistance to Indonesia, a close neighbour and a country with which it shares warm and friendly bilateral ties.

Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on April 3 the Government had contributed a total of 30,000 diagnostic tests and five polymerase chain reaction machines to detect Covid-19, as well as 1,050 sets of personal protective equipment, 100 viral transport media and four thermal scanners.

Facilitated by the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore, Temasek Foundation has also donated among other things, test kits, ventilators and hand sanitisers.

Its spokesman told The Sunday Times: "As neighbours, we are in this together. We all play a crucial role to stay united, and help one another to emerge stronger, even more so during challenging times like these."

Interested donors can check out the SGPeduli group's Facebook page on https://www.facebook.com/sgpeduli/

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