Peranakan nights held to raise funds for the Singapore Children's Society

(From left) Mr Tay Chiew Teck and Mr Alvin Yapp, recipients of the Platinum Award at the Singapore Children's Society's Awards Presentation ceremony.
(From left) Mr Tay Chiew Teck and Mr Alvin Yapp, recipients of the Platinum Award at the Singapore Children's Society's Awards Presentation ceremony.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

SINGAPORE - Singapore Children's Society donor Alvin Yapp, 46, is the embodiment of "Rasa sayang", the popular Malay folk song which means "full of love".

The head of corporate affairs at an advertising firm has raised $338,913 for the society over the past three years, by combining his love for Peranakan culture, music and charity into yearly fundraising events with a cultural twist.

These events are Peranakan-themed nights of food and music, and take place at a Joo Chiat shophouse that is a Peranakan museum by day, and Mr Yapp's home by night.

Visitors pledge donations to the society to help them with their programmes and activities. The next event will be on Sept 4, 2016.

"Donations... will be used to support programmes to help rebuild the children's sense of self-worth and character," said the society in a statement. "It also aims to instill proper values and impart life skills to the children which they may not have been exposed to, given the lack of parental guidance and love at home."

Mr Yapp was recognised for his fundraising efforts on Wednesday evening, and received a Platinum Award during the Singapore Children's Society's Awards Presentation ceremony at the Pan Pacific Hotel. This award is given to those who raise between $300,000 and $499,000 for the society.

Twenty-seven donors and volunteers received awards from Mr Ong Ye Kung, Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills), during the annual event.

Volunteer Tay Chiew Teck, 39, was another winner at Wednesday's event. He marked his 15th year of service by receiving a Platinum Award - given to this who have served for at least 15 years - during the event.

"To be able to lend a listening ear or provide some form of companionship or mentorship, even though it can just be over a short time span of a few hours, may have quite an impact on a child," said Mr Tay, a process innovation manager at Singapore Polytechnic.

Chairman of the Singapore Children's Society Koh Choon Hui thanked the volunteers and donors in his speech, saying that 2015 was a fruitful year for the society. It had reached out to 67,577 beneficiaries that year.

"Since 1982, we have been presenting our awards annually to many deserving volunteers and donors. We believe that this is a meaningful way for us to encourage and recognise the spirit of giving and selfless service to others," said Mr Koh.

"What we do tonight in presenting these awards is a small gesture in comparison to the countless hours and resources given by our volunteers and donors to continue to make a difference, transforming the lives of our beneficiaries and making Singapore a better place for all."