Chung Cheng students mark school's 80th anniversary by helping elderly commuters

Students of Chung Cheng High School (Yishun), carrying balloons and wearing white wristbands, approached elderly and disabled residents who were having difficulty climbing stairs or struggling with heavy groceries on March 6. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Students of Chung Cheng High School (Yishun) brought cheer to elderly and disabled commuters at MRT stations and bus interchanges on Wednesday (March 6).

The 1,200 students from Secondary 1 to 5, accompanied by teachers and volunteers, fanned out near MRT stations and bus interchanges at 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 balloons, the students also gave out free umbrellas to the residents, asking them to approach students with white wristbands identifying them as Caring SG Commuters for any extra help.

Initially called Kindness @ Northwest, a Values In Action activity initiated by the student leaders of the school, a similar event held at Chong Pang Market last year caught the attention of Public Transport Council (PTC) chairman Richard Magnus.

He saw the impact the activity made and wanted to replicate the students' efforts in the context of public transport.

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 hurt her leg and was recently hospitalised. "And now I know someone's watching over me because they sent me help."

But not all residents welcomed the offers of help.

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

She added that she was taught to expect this from her Character and Citizenship Education, and was not disheartened.

But Edward Fung, 16, said it was the act of asking that was more important.

"Although we may get rejected, it helps the public to know that we are willing to help when needed."

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