Grassroots volunteers aren't in it for rewards

There is a growing wave of criticism, especially on social media, about rewards that were offered to grassroots volunteers.

Many grassroots organisations are wary about prospective volunteers joining them for the rewards.

They know that these people will not last long, and may even be a liability.

Many people would be surprised to realise how committed many grassroots volunteers are.

They make sacrifices of their time, energy and even money to develop plans and programmes for residents.

They provide all kinds of services to the community, such as bridging and bonding communities, and improving unity and building stronger relationships in Singapore.

Many serve out of the goodness of their hearts and for the greater good of society. They do not seek personal recognition, rewards or returns.

It is not easy to be a grassroots volunteer.

If parents want to volunteer to enjoy priority in registering their child in a preferred school, it is probably easier to go directly to the school than to be a grassroots volunteer.

Over the years, grassroots volunteers have been subjected to much negative criticism, and suffered an unfair share of pressure, politickings and abuses.

Their voluntary services often affect their work and quality of life.

Yet, they live with and through the inconveniences and challenges, and continue to sacrifice for our people and Singapore.

Patrick Liew Siow Gian (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 22, 2017, with the headline 'Grassroots volunteers aren't in it for rewards'. Print Edition | Subscribe