On the morning of 29 September 2019, the multipurpose basketball court opposite Khatib MRT station was filled with a lively crowd.
On this day, Nee Soon South's Active Ageing Committee, the Tzu Chi Foundation (Singapore) and a few other healthcare and charity groups jointly held the “Nee Soon South Health Carnival 2019 & Official Opening of Tzu Chi TCM Free Clinic”.
“Would you like to have a cup of multigrain powder drink? It contains 22 natural ingredients,” said a Tzu Chi volunteer, as she offered the drink to a visitor at the event. Besides introducing the new free clinic to members of the pubic, Tzu Chi also took the opportunity to promote its all-natural Jing Si products and healthy diets to people.
MP for Nee Soon GRC, Er. Dr. Lee Bee Wah, and Minister for Law and Home Affairs, Mr K. Shanmugam were the guests of honour at the event.
“This free clinic has started serving our residents. We thank Tzu Chi Singapore for their care for our residents,” said Dr. Lee Bee Wah in her speech.
Dr. Lee also expressed her hope for the residents and the various community groups to work together to foster the kampong spirit and to build a healthy society through caring and sharing.
A new milestone for Tzu Chi Singapore’s Mission of Medicine
“3, 2, 1…” announced the emcee as the curtains were drawn to unveil the inauguration plaque during the opening ceremony of the free clinic.
In the presence of Dr. Lee Bee Wah, Mr K. Shanmugam, Nee Soon South’s grassroots leaders, Tzu Chi volunteers and residents, the new Tzu Chi healthcare establishment is officially inaugurated, marking a new milestone in the Foundation’s Mission of Medicine.
The Buddhist Tzu Chi Traditional Chinese Medicine Free Clinic at Khatib is the second free clinic established by Tzu Chi Singapore (the first free clinic is located in Redhill). It is situation at the void deck of Block 812 along Yishun Ring Road, and occupies an area of 261 square metres.
With a bright and cosy newly renovated interior, the free clinic has a large picture of the Buddha caring for the sick on the wall near its entrance. There is also a digital kiosk at the registration area, where incoming patients can scan their ID cards and obtain their queue numbers.
Apart from four consultation and treatment rooms, the free clinic has a room for stretching therapy (La Jin). The services offered there include internal medicine, acupuncture, stretching therapy as well as health education and dietary therapy.
In an interview, Dr. Lee Bee Wah said that Tzu Chi is a well-known NGO, which has its origins from overseas. She shared that she had hoped that Tzu Chi would set up a TCM clinic in Khatib as there were already many western medical clinics in the vicinity, so that the residents could have an alternative choice of clinic.
While interacting with the patients at the clinic on this day, Dr. Lee was surprised to learn that some of them are already familiar with Tzu Chi and even came from other parts of Singapore. She believed that apart from providing quality TCM services, the free clinic is able to establish a close rapport with the residents through the emotional care and support from Tzu Chi volunteers.
On 16th September 2019, the free clinic started opening its doors to the public.
“My hands often shake uncontrollably, and I have a weak heart and weak legs. Now that we have this free clinic, I only need to cross the road and walk a short distance to reach here and see a doctor. It’s really wonderful!” said 74-year-old Huang Gui Ying.
“Grandma, where do you feel uncomfortable?” a volunteer gently asked a patient.
“My throat hurts recently and I’m also coughing a little bit,” replied the patient, Serafico Raymunda De Guzman.
De Guzman commented that all the doctors at the free clinic were very good, and they treated her like family. The volunteer sitting next to her shared with her the Jing Si Aphorism that she was holding in her hand: “Speak kind words, think goods thoughts and do good deeds”, and encouraged her to adopt a Tzu Chi bamboo coin bank to save up and help others in need. After listening attentively to the volunteer, De Guzman took one of the coin banks home.
The new Tzu Chi TCM Free Clinic is situated nearby two blocks of studio apartments, where many elderly people live. Many of the senior citizens with mobility issues are delighted to know that a new TCM free clinic has been set up there. Previously, they had to travel quite a distance to a polyclinic to see a doctor, but now, they only need to walk a short distance to reach the free clinic. Hence, the opening of the clinic is really “wonderful news” to them!