The Unseen Singapore

Willing Heart
Willing Heart

What comes to your mind when talking about Singaporeans? To me, the adjectives “wealthy” and “prosperous.” This particular thought was spurred up when a group of friend-classmates invited our class to wake up early one morning—at 6:30 sharp!—to cook at Willing Hearts. What? Cooking?I went along with them anyway. I went with them to a building, which looked more like a warehouse, and went into a place with the signage “Willing Hearts Soup Kitchen.” Inside, people had already started working.

Cucumber Peeler They were preparing the food, hot meals for 3500—yes! — Families in need. Are there really needy in this rich country? There were quite a number of us and we were divided into groups: some were assigned to the cooking preparation, some to cook, some packing and some to delivery. I was assigned to the preparation area and my job was peeling cucumbers. I am a little ashamed, but this is so true: this was my first time to see and use a cucumber peeler. (I think, I am going to buy one for my house). Some of my friends cooked and the rest, packed.

Who needs this food? How are we going to deliver them? Is Willing Heart sure that there are people who need this? I was asking these questions the entire time I was peeling. I did not notice the time until a friend, at 10:00 o’clock, asked me to join her in delivering the food. Voila, just the moment I’ve waited for! There were several distribution areas and the area assigned to my friend and me was in Yishun. We first came to a church where a middle-age woman waited for the Willing Heart delivery. We arrived next in an HDB area, called a woman who later came to meet us. Judging from her appearance, she seemed to be from the low income population. She said that the people who needed the food would come soon and she was right. As we were leaving, we saw a group of grandmas sitting and beginning to have the meal.

Woa, they were waiting for our delivery!

The HDB that we went to next looked good. There, we went to the 7th floor and rang a doorbell. A woman greeted us. She was wearing shorts, shirt and socks. She thanked us profusely for our delivery was just in time for her to drink her medicine on time. The woman was about 50years old and orphan. The government had provided her this shelter in this HDB. We had quite a nice chat and I was particularly touched to have received her “thank you.”

The last place that we went to was also an HDB and, for the first time in Singapore, I felt uncomfortable. When we arrived, a lot of people loitered on the ground floor, sitting and chatting. They were smoking. Their eyes were opaque and sad and they looked at us in a peculiar way. This was my first time to have this kind of experience and to see an “unseen” Singapore.

Finally, we went home.

There have been lessons learned from this “unseen” Singapore. First, even though the government provides Singaporeans with shelter, not like in my country, there are still needs to fill. Second, it was really nice to have someone say “thank you” to me only because they had their meals on-time. One grandma even gave me a blessing: “God bless you, abundantly!” I feel lucky to have this new experience. It is great to make a difference in less than a day and have a mind opened to see an “unseen” in Singapore. The food delivered was cheaper than our regular food, but the “thank-you” was beyond worthy.