Coronavirus: $1m more in donations for affected people; masks, bird’s nest to thank healthcare workers

(From left) Secretary general and chief executive officer of the Singapore Red Cross Benjamin William, Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Roland Ng and Chinese Ambassador to Singapore Hong Xiaoyong. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - More organisations have come forward to help people affected by the coronavirus outbreak by donating cash and medical supplies, as well as showing support for frontline healthcare workers.

The Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI) and Singapore Press Holdings' (SPH) Chinese Media Group (CMG) said on Monday (Feb 17) they had raised $1.1 million and $188,000 respectively to help communities in China hit by the outbreak. These donations were made to the Singapore Red Cross.

SCCCI collected its donations from council members. Its members also contributed items to healthcare workers in Singapore, with the Singapore Metal and Machinery Association donating 3,800 sets of personal protective equipment, and Tat Hong Group contributing 10,000 surgical masks.

During a ceremony on Monday at the Trade Association Hub, SCCCI president Roland Ng said of the donations: "At a time of crisis, coming together in this manner is a key characteristic of the Chinese entrepreneur spirit.

"Since the chamber's inception in 1906, the Chinese business community has undergone many upheavals and trauma. But each time, the chamber was able to rally our members and come forward to serve the community and contribute whatever we could."

The chamber and 10 of its trade associations are also publishing a Chinese poem on Tuesday, written by local poet Tan Chee Lay titled As Courageous As You to pay tribute to all frontline healthcare workers for their selfless acts of courage when dealing with the virus.

Mr Ng told reporters in Mandarin that inspiration for the poem was drawn from how front-line healthcare workers were shunned as the public feared that they might pass on the infection.

"Writing a poem is a unique show of gratitude for their efforts on the front line. We translated the poem to English for healthcare workers of other races and this is our way of showing our appreciation and thanks to them," Mr Ng said.

The public can also make donations via SCCCI till Feb 29. They can deposit their cheques made payable to "Singapore Red Cross Society" in collection boxes at the SCCCI office or 10 other collection points island wide.

The SCCCI will send all the donations to the SRC for consolidation.

SPH's CMG raised its funds through online donations and cheques after the telecast of a live event - which featured local celebrities such as Joanna Dong, Jack Neo, Sharon Au and Liu Lingling - on Feb 9 to show appreciation to medical workers and others on the frontline.

Artworks created by CMG's artists will also be printed and distributed to frontline staff of hospitals and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority "as a gesture of our appreciation for their sacrifice and dedication", said Ms Lee Huay Leng, head of CMG.

OCBC bank also raised $140,000 and rallied its employees to distribute food items, as well as handwritten cards, to cheer on healthcare workers at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) and the National Centre for Infectious Diseases who have been working during the outbreak.

The bank procured 20,000 bottles of bird's nest drinks and more than 45,000 packets of drinks and snacks, which will be delivered to TTSH over the next two weeks, starting from Wednesday.

OCBC also made arrangements with Gong Cha to offer hospital staff up to 1,000 cups of bubble tea daily for the next two weeks.

Four Halal restaurants also pitched in by contributing food to show support to 100 healthcare workers at Singapore General Hospital (SGH).

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Home Affairs Amrin Amin, together with representatives from three eateries - Rumah Makan Minang, Positano Risto and Deng Dengduo - delivered curry puffs, kuehs, samosas and pasta to SGH staff on Monday in a show of appreciation for their efforts.

Among them, Rumah Makan Minang will be offering 1, 000 curry puffs every Friday to hospital staff for the next four weeks.

A fourth restaurant, Hajah Maimunah, is giving them 500 pieces of samosa.

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