Taking the Lead On Giving Back to the Community

With the Covid-19 pandemic still prevalent, James Ho Kai Shian is just one of the many Singaporeans left idle during the circuit breaker period.

The measures put in place by the government prompted his business to cease its operations temporarily. While his family members could still keep busy with working from home, James unexpectedly had a substantial amount of free time on his hands. ‘What is something meaningful I can do?’ he wondered to himself.

He decided to sign up as a volunteer with Thye Hua Kwan (THK) to assist in the Temporary Relief Fund scheme at Cheng San Community Center. This initiative allows those who have been affected by Covid-19 to receive financial assistance. James had initially thought that not many individuals would turn up to help, but was pleasantly surprised by the support of the THK Aviators. He described how he had met people from all walks of life – whether they were young or old, a Singaporean or foreigner – coming together to lend their helping hands.

“Every Aviator I got to know had a different story to tell, but they all selflessly took on volunteering despite the difficult circumstances,” he recounted.

James soon stepped up as a volunteer leader and worked alongside THK to guide his fellow participants. He swiftly discovered that it was challenging to explain the scheme’s process to non-English speaking applicants. However, through the eyes of patience and empathy, he soon realised that these community members were one of those groups most in need of assistance during the pandemic. When asked if this role has impacted his perspective on volunteerism, James acknowledged how important it is for everyone to play their part in rendering support to the society.

“A tough situation like this is where the rubber meets the road, and it shows how a community rallies together to overcome trying times,” he added.

On 21st April 2020, it was announced that the circuit breaker measures would be extended till 1st June. Understanding the need for more volunteers to help THK’s beneficiaries pull through this period, James hopes to inspire others to help out whenever they can. As for his fellow THK Aviators, he wholeheartedly thanks them for dedicating their time and efforts to others in need. “While we continue helping the public, we should also look out for the people we volunteer next to,” James urged.

“Let us take care of one another throughout this crisis. We are stronger when united.”