Christian Outreach to the Handicapped (COH) was blessed with complimentary tickets from People’s Association (PA) to catch the special edition SG50 Chingay on Friday night, 27 February 2015. Our clients and their families took in the visual feast offered by various communities in Singapore and contingents from all over the world. They revelled the night with family and caregivers at the F1 Pit Building, and went home with warm memories of time spent together.
Look up all around you
The stars that surround you
As the light shines forth
Our dreams like a whisper
Take root, digging deeper
Surviving every storm
I believe we’ll shine
We’ll rise above, we’ll fly
~ Lyrics from Dreams,
Theme song for SG50 Chingay
COH client, Tat Hiang and his mother, Mdm Yip Lum Fong, were all smiles as they set off for the parade grounds. Being at the SG50 Chingay, themed “We Love Singapore”, brought back memories of the time she participated in a National Day parade in the 1960s!
“I wish for blessings upon our country in every way,” said Mdm Yip, an joyful lady in her 70s, packed with positive energy. She actively and naturally involves Tat Hiang in conversations, encouraging him to interact with people. And, 30-year-old Tat Hiang would respond with his ever ready, signature smile.
“Singapore has come a long way. I’ve witnessed a lot of changes in the last 50 years,” shared Mdm Yip. “I was a seamstress for a long time until the clothing manufacturing industry moved on to other countries.”
“Now I work as a cleaner. When Tat Hiang comes home from COH (Toa Payoh), that’s about the same time I come home from work,” said Mdm Yip. She values that Tat Hiang is occupied meaningfully and well cared for at the centre daily.
At the same time, she appreciates that COH makes it a point to bring the clients and their family members out for special events.
Several volunteers responded to COH’s call for people to help out with the night’s activities, and got to enjoy both a fun and rewarding time. COH staff, too, had a great evening with their family members, immersed in the spectacular extravaganza. Larry, Paige and Aaron came to volunteer as a family. While Larry accompanied Tat Hiang and Mdm Yip throughout the evening, chatting with them as they moved through the crowds, Paige and Aaron were with COH client Valerie and her caregiver.
COH client, Desmond Koh, was excited to catch the parade with his brother, Alvin, and sister-in-law, Daisy. “It’s my first time watching the Chingay and it’s fantastic!” said Daisy. “We came out together tonight with our helpers, Mary and Ann, who I also consider as family. Sometimes, we’ll go for walks with Desmond after dinner at Bishan Park.”
Another client, Desmond Lim, displayed admirable determination as he made the way to his seat with a walking frame. Climbing the stairs was difficult, but he persevered with Mum Jacqueline Lee and Volunteer Aloysius alongside.
“Doctors told me that he’d not be able to walk again…that he’d be a ‘vegetable’. See how far he’s walking,” Jacqueline pointed out. Desmond, an avid musician on the guitar and drums, plans to return to playing, as before. And, Mum has faith that he will be well!
“I’m glad that Desmond made it to his seat though it was tough for him. I just wanted to bring him safely there to watch the parade and enjoy the night. You can see the joy, happiness and smiles on the clients’ faces,” said Aloysius who was helping out with COH for the first time. “I will volunteer again, it’s a pleasure to do so.”
As with everyone at COH, Volunteer Joy Ngiam found the Chingay 2015, “a feast for the senses – festive and magical with colorful and creative performances!”
COH truly appreciates PA’s Chair for a Cause* programme for giving our clients the opportunity to attend this fantastic SG50 treat!
*Chingay Chair for a Cause is a ticket donation scheme of Chingay, which has allowed the People’s Association to invite caregivers, volunteers and beneficiaries from Voluntary Welfare Organisations to the Chingay Parade, to recognise and share festive love with them.
About the Author: The COH Resource Team comprises volunteers, content writers and experts, including psychologists, counsellors, educators and social service professionals.