I deal with heart-breaking moments

  • by Kate Bowman
  • February 18, 2022

Singapore is small island country, almost right on the equator, nestling into the tip of the Malaysian Peninsula. It has roughly the same population as Greater Sydney but is only about half the size. It was colonised by the British in the early 1800s which was influential in it becoming the multicultural place it is today with no less than four official languages, English, Malay, Tamil and Mandarin.

Singapore is placed highly in key social indicators: education, healthcare, quality of life, personal safety, and housing, with a home-ownership rate of 91%. Singaporeans enjoy one of the world’s longest life expectancies, fastest Internet connection speeds and one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.

They also have two hospices which are well-stocked with around 400 volunteers. Volunteers are involved in all sorts of activities such as hair dressing, gardening, going on outings and ‘befriending’ patients for companionship and social support. Just like us in NSW, they have also suffered with COVID-19 restrictions severely curtailing volunteer activity.

This lovely article in Singapore Today introduces us to two hospice volunteers. Miss Yeo Tze Yee who was inspired to volunteer after caring for her dying grandmother.

“It’s a misconception that a hospice is a place where people are waiting to die. In reality, they are fully living out the rest of their lives,” says Yeo Tze.

Mrs Linda Hart not only volunteers as a companion to patients, she assists in conducting activities at the day-care centre and mentors new volunteer befrienders. She goes through the dos and don’ts while supporting patients and their caregivers.

“Not everyone has experience with people who are dying. Some are frightened or don’t know what to say. I help them to be a little bit more prepared on how to deal with various situations and emotions,” she explains.

It is wonderful to get a glimpse of volunteering in other parts of the world. I encourage you to read the full article here in the Singapore Today.

Photo: Miss Yeo Tze Yee (left) and Mrs Linda Hart (right) are volunteer befrienders at Dover Park Hospice.

Photo credit: Ili Nadhirah Mansor/TODAY


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