SINGAPORE - Central Singapore Community Development Council (CS CDC) and bubble tea brand Gong Cha are showing their appreciation to Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) staff for bravely "sticking their necks out" to help in Singapore's fight against Covid-19.
They will be giving all 12,000 TTSH doctors, nurses, and staff an appreciation pack. Ride-hailing service Gojek is also pitching in to support TTSH staff by distributing ride vouchers to hospital employees.
Following the emergence of a Covid-19 cluster at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) last month, TTSH staff have reportedly faced discrimination from members of the public, being refused services or asked to move out of homes.
"This is a very worrisome trend," said Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong in Parliament on Tuesday (May 11). "We are concerned about the well-being of the healthcare workers and do need to find ways to help them and support them."
"People are understandably fearful, but it is no less distressing to see," Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a Facebook post last Thursday.
Organisations and businesses are now stepping up to show their support, commitment, and appreciation towards TTSH staff.
The initiative by CS CDC and Gong Cha, launched today, ties in with the CDC's "Giraffes Singapore" movement, which encourages everyone to "stick their necks out for the common good". Each Giraffes Appreciation Pack includes a thank-you card and free drink voucher from Gong Cha, among other things.
Citing TTSH's heavier workload due to the latest cluster outbreak, Ms Denise Phua, Mayor of Central Singapore District, said she hopes everyone at the hospital sees the initiative as an encouragement and a show of support.
"I hope this gesture of love brings a little cheer to all the staff as they work tirelessly to keep Singapore safe, oft-times at the expense of themselves and their families," said Ms Phua. "The situation is challenging, but we want TTSH to know that many are standing by them."
Similarly, Gong Cha said it was only right for them to step forward and partner with CS CDC in this meaningful initiative. Mr Kang Puay Seng, chief executive officer of Gong Cha (Singapore), said: "We hope the cups of bubble tea can bring some joy to their days."
Ms Loh Shu Ching, the executive director of TTSH's Division for Central Health and co-chair of the TTSH Staff Wellness Committee, said: "We are heartened to receive the strong support from the community. These special beverages serve as a morale booster as we stand united in the fight against Covid-19."
For TTSH staff, challenges come from many directions. One of them shared on Twitter how drivers with ride-hailing services repeatedly cancelled her rides after they saw that she was going to TTSH.
In support of TTSH employees, Gojek is extending its GoHeroes initiative, which was launched last year to ensure that healthcare workers can travel to and from their workplaces safely and comfortably.
Mr Lien Choong Luen, general manager of Gojek Singapore, said: "We've partnered with Tan Tock Seng Hospital to distribute Gojek ride vouchers (worth $10 each) to hospital employees. Thousands of Gojek driver-partners have also virtually pledged their commitment to fulfil trips originating from hospitals."
Gojek driver Justin Lam, who was among the first to pledge his commitment to GoHeroes, said: "I've always been more than happy to pick up healthcare workers. Since I started driving, I've made sure to say thank you to them. Too often it is a thankless job."
Fellow GoHeroes pledger and full-time Gojek driver Terry Ng said: "I'm happy and proud to be part of GoHeroes. These workers need our care and support during this period. While we know the risks, we really want to support the healthcare workers."