As a patron of a grassroots organization, district councilor, former Chairman of a Citizens Consultative Committee, and having held various positions in grassroots organizations, I like to compliment and commend grassroots volunteers.
Grassroots volunteers help to bridge and bond communities and build stronger unity and relationships in Singapore.
Unfortunately, they have been subjected to many negative criticisms from different people, including some politicians and activists.
They have suffered an unfair share of pressures, politickings and abuses.
In recent times, there were criticisms about the rewards that were offered to grassroots volunteers.
To be fair to them, these rewards were not the reasons why most grassroots volunteers donate their thoughts, time, talents and treasures, including money to the country. Many of them are not attracted to and won’t take the rewards.
For example, if parents want to enjoy priority in registering their child in a preferred school, it’s probably easier to volunteer directly to the school than to be a grassroots volunteer.
Many grassroots organizations are wary about prospective volunteers joining them because of the rewards. They know or will soon know that these people will not last long and may even be a potential liability to the organizations.
If these volunteers’ motives are in question, they’ll be sieved out before, during and after their initial involvements.
To those who question the need for the rewards, why not have a MORE magnanimous heart and be involved in thanking the grassroots volunteers?
Why not become a grassroots volunteer and help improve the system instead of casting the proverbial stone?
For those who know how long and hard grassroots volunteers have to work to serve the communities and how they have taken quite a few hits from many people, wouldn’t you agree that it’s more than worth it to reward these volunteers?
Or perhaps even add to the list of rewards? I’m sure every good volunteer is not expecting such a good and fair recognition of their services.
Many people from both Singapore and overseas are surprised when they realized how committed many of these grassroots volunteers are in developing plans and programmes for the residents.
These volunteers make personal sacrifices of their time, energy and even money to provide all kinds of services to the community.
They contribute to the nation-building process and strengthening Singapore
Like any organisation, there may be some black sheep among the advisors and volunteers.
However, by and large, most of the volunteers serve out of a good heart and for the greater good of society.
They do not seek any personal rewards or recognitions. In fact, their voluntary services oftentimes affect their work and quality of life.
Yet, they live with and through the inconveniences and challenges and continue to sacrifice for our people and Singapore.
Keep up the good work, grassroots volunteers!
I hope this message will find a place in your heart.
By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.
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