I was unable to join the NUS IMOOC group trip to Willing Hearts in April, as such my views are based upon the video that was compiled at the end of the trip and prior experiences.
When I heard that the NUS IMOOC group would be traveling down to Willing Hearts for a field trip, I was surprised. This was because though I have heard of Willing Hearts prior to undergoing this module in NUS, it is not well-known charity organization. We probably all have heard of charities such as National Kidney Foundation, Ren Ci and such, but rarely is there publicity about food pantries.
Reading a reflection by Cephas on the field trip, reveals that perhaps Willing Hearts really does need greater publicity. Perhaps greater publicity would really be useful as it would be able to inform those who need help, that there is an avenue to source for hope.
Through the video, I was able to see youths from junior colleges and corporations helping out at Willing Hearts, this made me think about the age-old philosophical question once again, "Is altruism really possible?"
However, whether altruism is really possible or not does not make a difference, those youths and adults were still there to lend a hand. They made a difference. That mattered.
On the other hand, I hope that the experience that they had would make a lasting impact in their lives and they will go home changed, out of their spheres and active for marginalized people. Because Singapore is a community, a community is a family, a family means no one gets left behind.
Reading Seng Chin Teck's reflection really made me question myself further with regards to this issue. To be honest, I like to solve problems and I often think of solutions in a timeline, Long term versus Short term. In application to this, I find food pantries a really short term solution to the problem of hunger. A simple search on Google shows the same issue with food pantries.
This is not in condemnation of food pantries, I respect the effort the founder and the volunteers put into helping those who are hungry. However, I really would appreciate that society comes together to solve the issue together and look for a long term solution, alas, the level of apathy and lack of compassion is too high in Singapore.
Yet I do not blame our society, because of our context, our culture is slowly losing its ability to think for the better good of others. Yet, I do yearn and urge readers of this blog to campaign for empathy in our own little ways. A little empathy shown today can move someone to save a life tomorrow.