The moment one steps into the entrance, one will be greeted with brightly lit, lovely drawings, colourful Jing-Si Aphorism posters and publicity posters that are filled with heartwarming messages. This is not a square, neither a gallery nor exhibition hall, but a community care facility (CCF) where infected cases of COVID-19 with mild symptoms are isolated.
After the CCF @ Tuas project, Tzu Chi Foundation (Singapore) collaborated again with dormitory operators and government agencies, to decorate the CCF @ Jurong East on 27 Jun 2020, to create a living space filled with love and warmth.
The CCF @ Jurong East is the second CCF under the responsibility of the National University Health System (NUHS). While planning for the construction of the CCF, the NUHS’ Head of Group Ops Support Office, Ng Bee Ling shared that the communal space was surrounded with empty walls and isolation fences and the environment felt void and monotonous. As she had worked with Tzu Chi before, she initiated an invitation with the hope of gathering the volunteers to create a living space filled with love and warmth.
"We were surprised by what Tzu Chi volunteers did at the CCF @ Tuas. The volunteers showed their care and concern towards the front line staff at the facility by setting up tables and arranging food and snacks for them to enjoy," said Ng, who believes that what Tzu Chi had done would make the migrant workers and staff feel settled and bring joy to them.
Do not underestimate the value of simple and kind acts. At times, a simple and kind gesture could mean a lot to others. Tzu Chi Foundation (Singapore) Deputy CEO, Khoo Kean Yee said, “Do not underestimate a simple and kind act. When you offer a cup of tea to another person who has been in a hot weather or who is tired after working for long hours, this kind act is priceless.”
Khoo hoped to bring more positivity to the migrant workers, as well as providing spiritual comfort during the pandemic. He further added, "They (infected cases with mild symptoms) are confined here for two weeks. There are many restrictions and they can only use their mobile phones. In addition to that, the frontline staff are also exploring (methods to deal with various issues). As such, these may cause mental well-being issues, such as the feelings of panic."
A total of 67 volunteers had turned up for the decoration of the CCF, including putting up publicity posters, message boards, children’s paintings from Tzu Chi Great Love Preschool, and Jing-Si Aphorisms in three different languages. The convener of the Tzu Chi Collegiate Youth Association (a.k.a. Tzu Ching), Gan Ming De revealed that the Tzu Ching’s response towards decorating the message board was enthusiastic. However, as a precautionary measure, the number of volunteers was cut down. He shared, "Now that the universities are on vacation, everyone hopes to pay it forward, and seize the opportunity to contribute to society during the pandemic."
It took less than three days to complete the decoration. Despite the short deadline, Gan cherished the opportunity without any complaint. He said, "It’s a good way for young people to contribute their love and kindness. We don’t have to be frontline staff to help the quarantined. There are other ways to help.” He also shared his thoughts about the pandemic, “This is a good time for us to do some self-reflection while moving at a slower pace. We should not take for granted of the things that we can usually do. "
Besides, the volunteers also used the publicity posters to spread the message on environmental protection. One of the volunteers, Susan Tan was very thoughtful towards the sequential arrangement of the posters. She hoped that those who had no prior knowledge could eventually understand the environmental issues. She shared, "First, let them see how the Earth is being polluted, and then bring them back to the environmental issues in Singapore, including the amount of garbage, the pollution from the use of plastic bags and the damages caused by the livestock industry to earth."
Susan felt that she had learnt a lot during the pandemic, she said, “The pandemic has clearly shown us how our lifestyles and consumption behaviour could result in carbon footprints, which have great impact on the environment. During the pandemic, everyone must stay at home and that has reduced our carbon footprints and consumptions, which resulted in a greener environment. It is evident that a reduction in carbon footprints will benefit the environment."
In late April, Tzu Chi Foundation (Singapore) collaborated with dormitory operators and government agencies in the "Here for you" Pandemic Relief Programme, to build a "home" at the CCF which entered operation in mid-May 2020. Entering the second phase of reopening, the Singapore government continues to be vigilant in implementing preventive measures to avoid large-scale community infections and rebounds. The foundation continued to collaborate with the dormitory operators, by assisting in the decoration of the venue, and rostering volunteers to provide care and warmth for frontline staff.