Is Singapore a caring society?
Do you care for the elderly lady selling tissue packets at the MRT station or the blind gentleman who plays the harmonica at the corner of the street?
How do we define a caring society? Or how do we define care in the first place?
Last year I attended a personal enrichment course which had a session which touched on “Care”.
Care, as defined by the trainer, can be further categorised into Duty, Pity, Sympathy, Empathy, and Benevolence.
In essence all of us can care out of duty, pity, sympathy, empathy or benevolence.
It is not just the act of caring but where the motivation for the act comes from.
There are poor and less fortunate people and families in Singapore. And there are government schemes to help them progress in life and make ends meet. But beyond that, how can communities initiative efforts to help the poor and marginalised?
There are certain social enterprises that aim to help the poor and marginalised. One of it is APSN Mystical Cafe For All.
The cafe is run entirely by trainees from the Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN). The trainees are groomed by instructors on basic hygiene and service skills on top of food preparation.
Whats’s interesting is that at the back of the cafe is a vertical greenhouse where they plant herbs, spices and vegetables that go into the cafe’s kitchen.
But hey, isn’t this article about care?
Here’s where the cafe allows you to practice care. The cafe has a “pay it forward” initiative where diners can purchase a meal voucher to leave on the cafe’s board, so that a stranger who could be less fortunate can have a chance to have a free meal.
This “pay it forward” initiative is not new. It has taken on many forms in cafes, restaurants and even hawker centres to get patrons to pay for a meal for a stranger. Some years back a Food Centre in Yew Tee launched a programme where residents can pay it forward by reserving drinks and breakfast for needy residents.
Another cafe recently initiated a programme to get diners to pay forward a meal for someone in need.
Care can come in many forms, but ultimately if done correctly can make someone in need feel warm and loved.
We live in a fast-paced society where sometimes the poor and marginalised get left behind. But if we stop to “pay it forward” then perhaps they can feel loved.
- Proud to be a Singaporean...although I have always wished that our temperature can be 3-5 degrees lower!!! ^^
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