Monday, October 8, 2012

The Need For A More Compassionate and Gracious Society (Our Singapore Conversation)

Hi guys, my humble perspective on the need for us to create a more compassionate and gracious society. Appreciate if you can drop in some of your personal comments through the FB link! ^^

By Stanley Chia, OSC member

I am heartened by the sharing of Yeo Yue Ann on how we as a country should come together and “do our part to make Singapore a nation for everyone whose heart is here”.

I also agree with Ann Lee that “We (Singaporeans) need to be a more caring society showing compassion towards the less fortunate, the less able, the handicap and the lower income group.”

Based on the Individual Giving Survey 2010 and past reports from NVPC, Singapore’s volunteerism rate has been increasing every year, reaching 23.3% (2010), which is a significant increase from the previous results of 16.9% (2009).

Although this is something that we can be proud of, we should note that there is still a long way to go. The volunteerism rates in many western countries are commonly above 40%, with active participation by citizenry of all walks of life.

Another worrisome trend to note is also the huge drop in volunteerism by fresh graduates as they transit into their careers. Seeking to understand the reasons behind this problem, I realized that there are two common schools of thought:

1. Making student volunteerism compulsory in our education system has failed to help most youths develop a genuine desire and willingness to contribute back to the community when it is no longer required of them.

2. Due to work stress and intensive work load, we are no longer able to derive time for active civic engagement and/or volunteerism.

This got me thinking. Since many of us do sincerely recognize the need to be a more gracious and compassionate society, what else can we do to ensure that our graciousness extends beyond giving up our seats on public transports, donating a few cents during flag days, or proclaiming the need for the government to do more? We ourselves are not doing enough! I recently reminded a group of youths that social-change is not the sole responsibility of the government, but also that of the community, and of each and every individual! 

True volunteerism arises from the attitude of “Genuine Giving”. Giving without any expectations of rewards, awards or recognition for doing so.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

SIFE's re-branding to Enactus

It has just been officially announced on 30 September that SIFE will now be re-branded to "Enactus".

6 years with SIFE has certainly made no small impact in my live. It is the first club which introduced to me the entire concept of Social Entrepreneurship (Although, it does encompass an even greater scope beyond SE), the first club in which I met and worked with a truly close-knit high performance team, and most importantly the place where I have found my live's calling.

The people, the culture, and the entire organization had taught me so much, and I am thankful for all the opportunities granted to me to grow as a servant leader.

For in SIFE, the very emphasis of engaging and empowering the disadvantaged to create sustainable enterprises or initiatives, to help enable better quality of life and standard of living, was certainly one of the most inspiring mission I have ever encountered. And one which requires those who believes in this mission, to seek to serve all those around him/her. From the beneficiaries to the student members, from the corporate sponsors to all other stakeholders.
Through service, I have attained great appreciation of how fortunate I am as a Singaporean living in such comforts. Through service, I have attained great satisfaction from seeing our beneficiaries or student members grow as value-adding members of society.

Conclusively, I will like to shout out, and thank God and SIFE for this live-changing experience.

Even as it is re-branded to Enactus, which aims to drive the importance of "Entrepreneurial Action in/by Us", I believe that the organization will continue to change even more lives, and touch even more hearts!

A Head for Business, A Heart for the World!