Chung Cheng High students help elderly commuters

Chung Cheng High School (Yishun) students, wearing white wristbands, helping an elderly commuter at Khatib station yesterday. They also distributed balloons to commuters at MRT stations and bus interchanges.
Chung Cheng High School (Yishun) students, wearing white wristbands, helping an elderly commuter at Khatib station yesterday. They also distributed balloons to commuters at MRT stations and bus interchanges. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Students of Chung Cheng High School (Yishun) brought cheer yesterday to elderly and disabled commuters at MRT stations and bus interchanges.

The 1,200 students from Second-ary 1 to Secondary 5, accompanied by teachers and volunteers, fanned out near MRT stations and bus interchanges in Khatib, Yishun, Ang Mo Kio and Yio Chu Kang. They approached elderly and disabled residents who were having difficulty climbing stairs or struggling with heavy groceries.

Wearing red to mark the school's 80th anniversary and carrying green and blue balloons, the students distributed free umbrellas to the commuters and told them to approach students with white wristbands, identifying them as Caring SG Commuters, for any extra help.

The event was initially called Kindness @ Northwest, a Values In Action activity initiated by the school's student leaders.

Public Transport Council (PTC) chairman Richard Magnus saw the impact and wanted to replicate the efforts of a similar event held at Chong Pang Market.

Mr Magnus, who accompanied the students on their rounds yesterday, told The Straits Times it was important that the students owned the idea as it encourages them to cultivate sensitivity to their community at a grassroots level. There were also several PTC staff present.

"Public transport acts as a common platform," he said. "It is not just about building infrastructure - it is about building a caring culture.''

 

Madam Linda Lim Swee Im, 69, was pleasantly surprised when a group of students offered to carry her groceries across the overhead bridge and to her flat in Yishun.

"I feel so blessed," said the mother of three, who had hurt her leg and was recently hospitalised. "I know someone's watching over me as these students are here to give me help."

Not all residents welcomed the offers of help.

But student Chua Zea Ra, 13, was not disheartened. She said: "Because they have been taking care of themselves for so long, they don't think they need help."

Schoolmate Edward Fung, 16, said it was the act of asking that was more important. "Although we may get rejected, it lets the public know that we are willing to help when needed."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 07, 2019, with the headline 'Chung Cheng High students help elderly commuters'. Print Edition | Subscribe