Virus Vigilantes: Doing good in trying times

One of Belanja Eat's belanj-ers making a donation to sponsor a meal.
One of Belanja Eat's belanj-ers making a donation to sponsor a meal.PHOTO: BELANJA EATS

SINGAPORE - From selling postcards and curry for charity to cheery pen pals, here are nine uplifting ways virus vigilantes here are supporting Singaporeans.

BELANJA LAH: PAYING IT FORWARD WITH MEALS


Since Belanja Eat's official launch on April 10, 2020, more than 80 hawkers have gotten on board the project. PHOTO: BELANJA EATS

There is such a thing as a free lunch. Belanja Eat, launched April 10, is a pay-it-forward initiative that lets you belanja (or treat) someone to a hawker meal.

For belanja-ers and belanja-ees, go here and find a stall nearby using the map. From there, either sponsor a meal or request one.

Since the project's official launch, more than 80 hawkers have gotten on board and an estimated 300 meals have been donated.

Public servant Michelle Tan, 35, coordinator of the project says: "Belanja Eat intends to make a free meal readily available to anyone who needs it. We hope to get the word out and reach out to as many as we can."

SUPPORTING SINGAPORE WITH PACKETS OF CHICKEN RICE

There is nothing more quintessentially Singaporean than supporting the community with our national dish, chicken rice.

Mr Khoo Leng How, owner of House Of Chicken Rice in Tanjong Pagar, is offering chicken rice at 90 cents. Patrons above 55 enjoy a packet for free.

The 40-year-old says: "Everyone is suffering because of Covid-19, I wanted to do my part. I also wanted to pass on the kindness of my landlord. He waived rental for March and the next two months."

Mr Khoo has prepared an average of 450 packets a day since April 4. He intends to do this until his savings run out, or end April - "whichever happens first".

BUY A POSTCARD, SUPPORT A MIGRANT WORKER


One of the postcards on sale by Project Postcard. PHOTO: PROJECT POSTCARD

Youth are supporting the migrant worker community one postcard at a time with Project Postcard.

An initiative by alumni of School of the Arts (Sota), the team will be selling postcards featuring original art. Proceeds will go directly to supporting non-profit Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics' (HOME) projects.

Postcards will also be given out to migrant workers for them to write home to their loved ones.

 
 

Mr Russell Chong, 19, head of the project, says: "We were struck by news on the rapid spread of the virus amongst the migrant worker community and their alarming living conditions."

"The migrant worker community in Singapore has contributed immensely to the development of our country. This is our way of giving back."

BUY A DRINK, HELP A BAR STAY AFLOAT


Wheels On The Bars is an initiative that aims to increase the site traffic to bars by providing listings. PHOTO: WHEELS ON THE BARS

Wheels On The Bars is an initiative that aims to support bartenders by "bringing bartenders to the heartlands".

This includes providing free listings for bars to help them generate traffic to their websites, as well as processing and delivering orders made on the site itself.

One hundred per cent of the proceeds go to participating bars, which includes Employees Only and Atlas.

Ms Sarah-Jane Chua, spokesperson for the initiative, says: "We are ordinary Singaporeans who enjoy a good drink from time to time and we see it as part of our social culture. We hope to play our part in supporting these local businesses."

CHICKEN CURRY FOR CHARITY


It is a speciality of Mr Jason Tan's 65-year-old mother. PHOTO: @CHEFJASONTAN/INSTAGRAM

Last weekend (April 10 to 12), the former executive chef of one-Michelin-starred Corner House Jason Tan, 37, raised about $1,500 for Fei Yue Community Services by selling chicken curry. The "slightly spicy" and "lemak" dish has a rempah (spice blend) which calls for long hours of continuous stirring. It is a speciality of his 65-year-old mother, who rules the kitchen of their three-room flat. His older brother and father also helped prepare the 150 servings.

CANIGO.SG


The site has had about 3 million page views since it was launched. PHOTO: CANIGO.SG

Do you have a question about the latest circuit breaker measures? Canigo.sg may have the answers. Users can select from a drop-down list of activities like "get bubble tea" or "visit my family" to find out if they are allowed to do so.

The site has had about 3 million page views since it was launched on April 8 by Singapore Polytechnic lecturer Jaffry Jalal, 44, and his wife Grace Tan, 40, a user experience director. They update it regularly, with their 11-year-old daughter Eliza sometimes pitching in to type out the answers.

"We were mentally compiling a list of places our elderly parents should avoid, and realised there seemed to be a lot of confusion online, so I started building this reference," said Mr Jalal. "We're just happy to be of some use to someone out there."

MEALS FOR MIGRANT WORKERS


Thai basil chicken rice cooked by Ms Chuenkamon Sonna, her mother and sister. PHOTO: CHUENKAMON SONNA

Last Saturday morning, 24-year-old Chuenkamon Sonna was up before sunrise, preparing 50 boxes of Thai basil chicken rice with her chef mother and 22-year-old younger sister. Around noon, her father, who works as a superintendent in construction, distributed the meals to some migrants workers he knew in Serangoon Gardens. The university student says her family, who is from Thailand, wanted to do "something small to brighten their day" after hearing news of some workers falling ill and being quarantined in cramped dormitories.

POSITIVITY PEN PALS


Social distancing does not have to be isolating. PHOTO: @LETTERS.FOR.JOY/INSTAGRAM

 
 
 

Social distancing does not have to be isolating. If you want to connect with someone new, try dropping a message to lettersforjoy @ gmail.com. You should receive an uplifting letter from one of their volunteers within five days, according to their Instagram page. The initiative was started by 28-year-old Petrina Yuen to promote mental health awareness and spread positivity within the community. She chose letter-writing as it is a "low barrier to entry activity" that "anyone can do to make a difference".

SUPPLYING SURGICAL MASKS

Since becoming a Singapore permanent resident 10 years ago, Mr Xu Songqing, 50, has wished to "make a contribution to the country". In October last year, the Hong Kong businessman became the chairman of non-profit organisation Lions Club Of Singapore Nanyang, which engages about 6,500 senior citizens here in various activities. In a show of support for Singapore's healthcare workers, he donated 10,000 surgical masks to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital on April 17 in the organisation's name.


Correction note: The article has been edited to accurately reflect where House Of Chicken Rice is. We are sorry for the error.