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Feature Image Teachers Day 2021

A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart.

On September 3, 2021, Singapore celebrated Teachers' Day — a day to commemorate the collective efforts of teachers as well as their selflessness. In the spirit of expressing our gratitude to the nurturers, SNCF has reached out to some of our co-operatives and a scholar who penned their tributes to the teachers. Read on to find out the responses from Mr Daniel Chua (NTUC First Campus), Ms Phebe Kwek (POLWEL Co-operative Society), Mr Vincent Ng (A Good Space), and Ms Denise Ong (SNCF scholar). 

Who was the teacher that made an impact in your life? How did he or she inspire you? 

Daniel Chua: I have many wonderful memories of teachers from my school days. If I had to pick one who impacted me significantly, it would be my Kindergarten teacher. This story is from 55 years ago! Her name is Ms Tang and I will always remember her kindness and understanding. As a child, I had separation anxieties about going to school. My parents would send me to school in the morning and my routine was I needed to see them leave the school compound before I settled into the school day. Ms Tang observed this and each morning, before I arrived in class, she placed a chair by the window so that I could step on it to see my parents leave the compound. This chair was always in place before I arrived in the classroom.

As a young child with anxieties, this thoughtful act made a big difference. Having been inspired by such a caring teacher, I try to pay-it-forward by being kind to people I come across. I never had the chance to show my appreciation to Ms Tang. Wherever you are, Ms Tang, I would like to thank you for having a heart that understood the anxieties of that little boy, which enabled him to discover the joy of school and learning. 

Phebe Kwek: I met Mr Loong during my Secondary School days. He was my Sec 3 and Sec 4 Principles of Accounting teacher. He was very engaging when he was teaching the class and was always sharing about his experiences in the finance sector before he was a teacher. It was those talks that piqued my interest in the finance industry. As such, I went on to pursue a banking and finance diploma and a banking and finance degree.

Vincent Ng: The teacher that made an impact in my life is Ms Lucy Oliver Fernandez, my English Literature teacher from 2007 - 2008 when I was in Sec 3 and Sec 4 in Catholic High School. Looking back, taking English Literature was the first decision I made where I followed my heart. Many of my friends took Geography and I had wanted to take it to be in the same class as them but deep down, I knew that I liked Literature better. 

Through the different books, plays and poems she brought us through, she opened up a world of rich characters, stories and life lessons that have stayed with me ever since. She taught us to ask questions instead of only seeking answers and from her, I learnt the value of being curious. She taught me to be a person of integrity, to have empathy and to always look beneath the surface to uncover fresh perspectives. 

In 2017, just before I graduated from University, I had co-authored a book with a friend and I managed to find Ms Fernandez again. She was no longer teaching at Catholic High, but had been assigned back to National Institute of Education to teach the next batch of teachers. I had lunch with her and passed her a copy of my book. I would not have developed a love of literature and for reading (and all the benefits that followed) if it weren't for her. 

Denise Ong: "A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart.” I’ll never forget my secondary school form teacher, Ms Joanne. Thank you for helping me see the strength and the good in me. Thank you for inspiring me to be brave and be kind. Thank you for coming to class cheerfully. In your own spontaneous and caring ways, you made me excited to grow and embrace the different experiences in life to learn, to help, and to live. Happy Teachers’ Day!

 

 

 

IYD 2021 Image Feature 1 of 1

On August 12, 2021, we commemorate International Youth Day. Inaugurated by the United Nations in 1999, this special day celebrates the qualities of young people and recognises the multi-faceted challenges youths face in society today.

At SNCF, we interviewed three outstanding youths – our very own scholars Mohamad Raihan, Alycia Wong, and Raena Leang – on what being a youth today means to them, the social causes they champion for, and how best to navigate the social media landscape.   

In your personal capacity, what are some social causes you are championing for at the moment? How do you go about doing it?

Raihan: I volunteer weekly to help tutor children from less privileged backgrounds.

I am a firm believer that everyone should be given equal opportunities to perform and excel. In the field of education, some children may require additional support due to financial constraints or other external factors. Providing tuition and one-to-one guidance is one of the ways to make a difference to their lives.

Alycia: I am currently involved in NTU’s Welfare Services Club (WSC), a volunteering Co-curricular Activity (CCA) that supports vulnerability groups in Singapore. I have spent a bulk of my time helping primary school children from disadvantaged families by conducting weekly tutoring lessons and activities. I will be starting my role as Vice Centre-Head in one of the centres this academic year. Some of my new responsibilities include handling the student volunteers from NTU, planning and conducting CCA sessions, and working closely with the social workers in-charge of the children.

Raena: I have been involved in projects for two main causes this year: promoting inclusivity for people with disabilities and reducing the impact of socio-economic inequality.

For the former, I have been involved in organising Purple Outreach, a series of eight activity sessions, for students with special needs at Mountbatten Vocational School (MVS). I joined this initiative to understand more about interacting with individuals with special needs which is key to promote inclusivity. With my team, I planned the programmes for the volunteers and student beneficiaries to include a range of interactive lessons, such as urban farming. For the latter, I take time off to tutor children from lower-income families and organise occasional holiday programmes. Being able to support these children by developing their character and improving their academics is something I am passionate about.

As a youth, what empowers you?

Raihan: Surrounding myself with like-minded people who are goal-oriented and passionate about the things they do. I feel that it creates a healthy environment for me to learn more about others and the world around me. It also encourages me to step out of my comfort zone and strive towards a better society.

Alycia: I am empowered by the opportunities and platforms youths have in Singapore to try and make a difference to the community. I started volunteering since I was a Secondary One student and despite my tender age, I have never once felt dismissed. The community here has been encouraging and supportive, especially towards youths who have interest in community work. 

Raena: Being a youth means having energy and time to pursue what I find meaningful and joy in. I also have a safer space to experiment, make mistakes, learn from them, and try again. To me, this is a precious phase of my life where I get to explore and learn. These empower me to have courage to pursue what my interests are.

When we speak of youths, the use of social media comes to mind. How can youths today better make use of social media to learn more about the world?

Raihan: Information is so readily accessible these days with the Internet. Besides being a source of entertainment, social media can also be used for educational purposes too. We can use them to learn about pressing issues happening elsewhere in the world, and all you need to do is to follow accounts that promote these current affairs. Sharing these posts on our social media can also help raise awareness on these issues. On top of that, social media can be used as a platform to express personal opinions and views, allowing us to learn about different perspectives from others.

Alycia: Social media has become such a powerful medium for youths to glimpse a world outside of their own. For instance, we can follow organisations that champion different social causes on Instagram. Many of these accounts post weekly happenings pertaining to their causes or updates on the activities youths can participate in.

Raena: The very idea of what social media aims to do is to allow us to share what’s going on in our lives. Youths may leverage these platforms to understand people with various backgrounds and develop understanding, empathy, and take on less critical and judgemental lenses.

Having interned with us for a while, what are your takeaways from SNCF and of co-operatives in Singapore?

Raihan: It has been really enlightening and insightful to see what SNCF does behind the scenes for co-operatives in Singapore. In particular, there are frameworks that SNCF has established or are striving to put in place for the best interest of co-operatives. Overall, I find it meaningful that SNCF and co-operatives have the goal of doing good for the community, and I aspire to do the same as well.

Alycia: My internship at SNCF has allowed me to better understand SNCF’s vital role in Singapore’s co-operative scene. As the apex body, SNCF is responsible for disbursing grants to co-operatives to help them in their business development or through hard times, especially with the pandemic impacting all sectors. Throughout my internship, I caught a glimpse of the needs different co-operatives from different sectors have. It was a very enlightening experience on the whole for not only did I get to learn skills related to my degree, but also things like grant processes. 

Raena: Being highly involved in the grants review process and planning women outreach activities made me realise the great power that SNCF can have in guiding our affiliates to improve. Our actions and decisions have a ripple effect across co-operatives and greatly help our co-operatives improve. Through research, data analysis and discussions, I have also learnt in greater depth of how different co-operatives in Singapore can have feasible business ideas and still show concern for the community.

These interviews have been edited for clarity.

sccl tea session 15062020 01

The sessions will be held on Zoom. To register, Whatsapp Silver Caregivers Co-op (SCCL) at 98303165.
A small admin fee of $3 for SCCL members and $6/for non SCCL members is applicable.

Zoom Session Date Time

 Resilience: How to develop it

  • Have you ever desired that you could overcome your hurdles with ease?
  • Have you admired people who bounce forward from their problems and wish you could do the same?

 

Sccl Tea Session WendyChua 26MarGuest Speaker: Ms Wendy Chua-Sullivan

Wendy started her own leadership practice in 2003, WAND INSPIRATION, after working as a School Psychologist at Raffles Institution.She has over 20 years of experience as an educator for personal transformation,applying Psychology to help leaders and teams build resilience and better performance.She has written 23 books based on the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, and developing resilience. Since March 2020, Wendy has given PDF copies of her book “The WAND Way to Resilience” to healthcare workers and anyone who wants to bemore resilient. Wendy is married, with four grown up children, and a volunteer for families at risk programmes. She will share on how caregivers can develop resilience and build confidence andstrength to live reenergised lives.

26 March 2021 (Fri)  6.30 - 8.30pm

 Seeing & experiencing the positive in caregiving

  • When do we experience gain in caring for an older parent or spouse who needs care?
  • “Even in the pain there is gain” said a caregiver
  • What might these positive outcomes be & how can they be experienced?
  • Dr Yap will share from his professional experience and local research on caregivers

Sccl Tea Session DrPhilipYap 30AprGuest Speaker: Dr Philip Yap

Philip Yap is a geriatrician and palliative care physician in the Dept of geriatric medicine KTPH. He is also an Adjunct Assoc Professor in Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS & Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, NTU. His interests are in dementia care, end of life care & long term care.

30 April 2021 (Fri)  6.30 - 8.30pm

 

  

What does it mean to write a National Day Parade (NDP) theme song that speaks for a nation amidst a global pandemic? For singer-songwriter Linying, 27, and music producer Evan Low, 31, it’s both a daunting and difficult task.

Under the supervision and direction of Music Director Dr. Sydney Tan, the duo joined hands to write and compose the piece, The Road Ahead. The theme song is performed by Linying, former Singapore Idol winner Sezairi Sezali, up-and-coming artiste Shye-Anne Brown, and Singapore Youth Award winner Shabir.

Memorable, heartfelt and echoing the ethos of resilience, the NDP 2021 theme song has since garnered plenty of praises from locals and foreign fans alike. Some of whom have compared it with the Kit Chan classic, Home.

Since its release on YouTube on July 2, 2021, the music video has amassed a whooping 1.7 million views (as of this writing), with many viewers commending the composers’ and organiser’s creative efforts. The music video was directed by film-maker Huang Junxiang, 33, and animation film-maker Jerrold Chong, 30.

In one of Evan’s Instagram posts, he revealed that conversations of a possible collaboration surfaced over the dining table when the composers were having sushi. Regardless, the duo hoped that the NDP theme song would serve as an apt reminder for listeners to press on during times of crisis, especially in today’s pandemic-fuelled climate.

NDP 2021 Social Media Post Evan 1

In an exclusive interview with SNCF, the composers shared with us their creative inspiration and how the chorus evokes the spirit of ‘Emerging Stronger’.

We find the chorus (See this island, every grain of sand // Hear this anthem, it’s the voice of our friends // Come whatever on the road ahead // We did it before, and we’ll do it again) memorable and we do see the theme “Emerging Stronger” surfacing here. What went on in your mind when penning this?

Evan Low: I think what went on in both of our minds, was the idea of what it truly means when you say that there's strength in the collective. The theme of unity and strength isn't something new. But I hope our honest perspective on the theme, based on the needs and concerns of the people during these times, has represented our generation's voice well.

Linying: Getting the lyrics for the chorus right was particularly important to me because that portion of the song will be most remembered by the people. I wanted to drive home the idea that every single person matter, no matter how diverse our backgrounds and experiences are. Strength isn’t about brute tenacity and displays of power, it’s in the quiet resilience we’re capable of practising when we acknowledge one another’s contributions; it’s this understated side of Singapore that I had hoped to expound upon in the lyrics.

The music video has since received 1.7 million views and many Singaporeans have expressed their love for it. On the YouTube comment section, some even said: “We’ve found our new ‘Home’.” How are you feeling when you see such outpouring of support?

EL: I'm honestly really overwhelmed, and very humbled. We were definitely not expecting this level of positivity and support from the public. I must say, it feels really validating, because we wrote it as honestly and sincerely as possible.

LY: I feel affirmed, and also a little surprised! But I’m mostly thankful that my personal sentiment seems to have been shared by so many others. It’s heartening to see.

NDP 2021 Social Media Post LinYing 1

What are your hopes for the nation?

EL: At this point in time, it's for us to have a staunch perseverance amidst any obstacles that come our way. We've overcome hardship before, and we'll do it again.

LY: I hope we can practice compassion for one another, especially in times of difficulty. Unity is meaningless until we acknowledge the importance of one another’s wellbeing. We only have one another to count on. Only by remembering that and treating each other with mutual respect and empathy can we truly overcome adversity.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Tng
Mr Tng Ah Yiam, newly appointed Chairman of SNCF

Mr Tng Ah Yiam has been appointed Chairman of the Singapore National Co-operative Federation (SNCF). Previously SNCF’s First Deputy Chairman, Mr Tng takes over the Executive Council position from the late Mr Kwek Kok Kwong.

Mr Tng will continue to work closely with the board and management of SNCF to promote and develop the strategic direction of the Singapore Co-operative Movement, which has been rooted in Singapore for over 95 years. Today, there are 64 affiliated co-operatives serving the needs of more than 1.4 million members in Singapore by providing affordable daily essentials, education and training, healthcare, financial services, recreation, and employment opportunities, as well as increasing inclusion of the less advantaged, such as the elderly and vulnerable.

Mr Tng is also the Chief Procurement Officer at FairPrice Group, comprising NTUC FairPrice Co-operative, NTUC Foodfare Co-operative, Kopitiam and NTUC Link.

On his new appointment, Mr Tng said: “Co-operatives have come a long way, helping to improve lives since its early days by tackling social issues and supporting members through difficult times. Our co-operative values such as mutual help and co-operation are even more relevant in this current climate. Besides working together with our co-operatives to create more value, opportunities and impact for our members and the broader community. I also look forward to continuing Kok Kwong’s work in advocating for collaboration and youth engagement to help businesses and upcoming generations embrace and embody the unique business model of co-operatives to do good and do well.

He continued: “To that end, it heartens me to see the establishment of three new co-operatives – A Good Space, Helmet and The Penguin, and Agape Energy Efficiency Co-operative, despite 2020 being a very challenging year. It is encouraging to see a new generation of purposeful co-operatives set up to inspire collaboration and innovation in the community (A Good Space), provide affordable haircuts to senior citizens at nursing homes as well as vocational training and employment opportunities to marginalised groups in Singapore (Helmet and The Penguin), and to provide technical education and training to youths-at-risk (Agape Energy Efficiency Co-operative).”

SNCF Chief Executive Ang Hin Kee said Mr Tng has much to offer to the co-operative movement from his many years on the ground addressing community needs as a co-operator. He said: “I look forward to Ah Yiam’s leadership in his new role as we steer the co-operative sector to adapt and thrive in these volatile times. The embracing of co-operative principles such as self-help and mutual assistance will also enhance the cohesiveness of society and to build one that is more caring and inclusive, something that we need in these disruptive times.”

From MCCY

 

21 MAY 2021

Update on Holding of Annual General Meetings (‘AGMs’)

  1. As Singapore has entered Phase Two (Heightened Alert) on 16 May 2021, co-ops should avoid organising physical work-related events (including AGMs) unless critical, and should conduct virtual meetings instead. All work-related events that proceed must adhere to prevailing workplace Safe Management Measures (‘SMM’) (https://www.mom.gov.sg/covid-19/requirements-for-safe-management-measures) and are subjected to the following requirements:
    1. Up to 50 persons (or a lower number, depending on venue capacity based on safe management principles) may attend.
    2. Strict adherence to SMM requirements, e.g. attendees must wear masks at all times, with at least 1 metre safe distancing between individual attendees.
    3. Food and drinks are not allowed at work-related events.

Work-related events at third-party venues will also be subject to any additional premise owners’ safe management policies. Separately, co-ops should note that social gatherings at the workplace are disallowed.

  1. As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve rapidly, co-ops should ensure that they keep abreast of the latest requirements as and when they are announced, which may supersede the information in para 1 above (or otherwise provided by the Registry).

 

  1. Co-ops should rely on the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Alternative Arrangements for Meetings for Charities, Co-operative Societies and Mutual Benefit Organisations) Order 2020 (‘Order’) to hold their AGMs virtually. Please refer to the Guidelines and FAQ for co-ops on our website (mccy.gov.sg/coop => “Resources and useful links”). We encourage co-ops to seek the advice of legal or corporate secretarial professionals if they need assistance in preparing for the AGMs.

 

  1. For info, the Order was amended (in Apr 2021) to further extend the alternative meeting arrangements beyond 30 Jun 2021, until the Order is revoked or amended by the Ministry of Law (‘MinLaw’). It is envisaged that the Order will continue to be in force for at least as long as the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020 is in force. To provide certainty to co-ops organising meetings, MinLaw will give at least 6 months’ advance notice before the alternative arrangements cease to be available.

 




20 APRIL 2021

COVID-19 Relief Measures: Duration of Alternative Arrangements for Meetings has been Extended


The Ministry of Law, in consultation with relevant Government agencies, has extended the duration of legislation that enables entities to hold meetings via electronic means, beyond 30 June 2021. The COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Alternative Arrangements for Meetings for Charities, Co-operative Societies and Mutual Benefit Organisations) Order 2020 will continue to be in force until revoked or amended by MinLaw. This provides co-ops with greater legal certainty to plan their meetings, and the option to hold virtual meetings to minimise physical interactions, amid the continuing COVID-19 situation.

You may refer to the Ministry of Law’s press release issued on 6 April 2021 here.

The guidelines and FAQ for co-ops on the conduct of virtual general meetings were updated on 16 April 2021.

View more links and resources here.

More than 500 youth competed in Singapore’s only co-operative social enterprise business challenge

creathon2021 group photo semifinals 16012021Group photo of CREATHON 2021 participants during Semi Finals held on 16 January 2021

Singapore, 18 January 2021 – A ground-up initiative connecting people with urban food sources to tackle food security, an issue that came into the spotlight during the global COVID-19 pandemic, clinched the top prize comprising a cash prize of S$4,000 and a funding of S$10,000 if their application as a co-operative is successful, at the CREATHON business challenge organised by the Singapore National Co-operative Federation (SNCF). The business challenge provides a platform for local enterprising youth to collectively come up with innovative solutions to address social and economic challenges facing Singapore today.

The winner of the Open Category is Urban Origins, a five-person team led by Suzanna Farid Tang. Their business plan revolves around a co-operative platform dedicated to all local food sources in Singapore by being a marketplace that aggregates local urban farm produce, agri-food tech products, upcycled food, alternative protein and home-based Food and Beverage businesses, for consumers. Its social mission is to fortify local food sources for the future of our food security. It prides itself in providing consumers with a curated list of all local food options, from ingredients to ready-to-eat, that are fresh, safe, traceable, sustainable, and lowest in food miles.

URBAN ORIGINS 2Winner of CREATHON 2021 Open Category, Urban Origins, featuring Suzanna Farid Tang (bottom) and the judges.


Suzanna Farid Tang, 28, founder of Urban Origins, said: “The biggest takeaway from participating in CREATHON was to attend workshops and openly getting feedback from mentors from different co-operatives and social enterprises. They gave us valuable feedback on how we can structure and run our co-operative business better and take it to the next level. Moving forward, we want to engage our local food companies to partner them and collaborate closely with them. Onboarding them onto our platform along with home-based Food and Beverage businesses will help us build an ecosystem of local food sources, making it much more convenient and affordable for consumers to support and buy a variety of locally-produced food.”

Back for its second run, CREATHON is the only co-operative social enterprise business challenge in Singapore. An idea accelerating event aimed at triggering innovative thinking, entrepreneurial spirit, and business development in youth, CREATHON challenges participants to conceptualise and develop solutions using the co-operative business model, to help address any particular social issue of today.

This year’s competition saw a record participation of 104 teams, up from just 40 teams last year, competing across three categories: School Category (aged 13-17), Institute of Higher Learning Category (aged 17-23) and the Open Category (aged 17-35). The Institute of Higher Learning (IHL) Category is introduced this year to cater to IHL students.

Following two rounds of evaluation in December and January, 15 finalists presented their business ideas in the live finals yesterday (17 Jan), which took place over Zoom and Facebook Live on SNCF’s Facebook page.

LIFE CHANGERS 1 Fortino 1
Winner of CREATHON 2021 IHL Category, Life Changers, featuring team members from Life Changers (bottom) and the judges. Winner of CREATHON 2021 School Category, Fortino, featuring team members from Fortino.

The winning idea in the IHL Category came from ITE College Central (IHL Category) who presented their plans to create a mobile app platform to support ex-offenders by connecting them with job opportunities and offering them free IT and resume writing workshops that are conducted by volunteers and counselling services. Raffles Girls’ School (Secondary) emerged the winner of the School Category. The team presented the idea of a food delivery service that aims to alleviate the food waste problem by using soon-to-expire ingredients and turning them into affordable, nutritious meals.

Loke Jun Hui, 22, team leader of Life Changers from ITE College Central, shared that their CREATHON journey started out when their lecturer knew about the competition and reached out to them. They felt encouraged when their lecturer, Ms Peh Bee Ling, believed in them. The journey has evolved into one that is also inspired by their own personal encounters with ex-offenders as the team learnt how difficult it was for them to start afresh. “Through this idea, we wanted to help them to get back on the right track,” said Jun Hui.

Mr Ang Hin Kee, Chief Executive Officer of SNCF said: “I am heartened to see so many youth taking up the challenge to come up with innovative solutions to help address the social challenges that we are facing in our society. Seeing the exchange of ideas also paints a good picture on the concerns of the next generation – from reducing food waste and promoting sustainable living to looking after the mental wellness of youths and supporting vulnerable groups such as the elderly and single mothers. More importantly, we get to hear from them on new ways to tackle social and economic issues and impact the community in a positive and sustainable way.”

Judging the finals were Tines Anabarasan, committee member of A Good Space Co-operative and a co-founder of SerendipET, a social enterprise which offers experiential learning programmes for all demographics and psychographics; Leow Teck Sim, Chairman of Ngee Ann  Polytechnic  Consumer  Co-operative and  Chairman  of  Campus Co-operatives Sector; Russ Neo, Founder of Social Collider, a collaborative, co-working, and co-innovation community for impact organisations; and Kristy Ho, Registrar of Co-operative Societies.

Participating youth also had the opportunity to gain entrepreneurial and business advice through talks, workshops, and mentorships with affiliated co-operatives such as Agape Energy Efficiency Co-operative, social entrepreneurs such as the founders of Infinite Transports and Inclus, and SNCF. They also networked and connected with like-minded individuals with a strong entrepreneurial spirit and exchanged ideas with one another.

News Highlight

Members of Singapore's Co-Operative Movement Share...
Members of Singapore's Co-Operative Movement Share Which Teachers Inspire Them

A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart. On September 3, 2021, Singapore celebrated Teachers' Day — a day to commemora [ ... ]

Read More ...
International Youth Day 2021: 3 SNCF Scholars Shar...
International Youth Day 2021: 3 SNCF Scholars Share What They Are Championing For

On August 12, 2021, we commemorate International Youth Day. Inaugurated by the United Nations in 1999, this special day celebrates the qualities of  [ ... ]

Read More ...
Composers of NDP 2021 theme song explain how choru...
Composers of NDP 2021 theme song explain how chorus emphasises the spirit of ‘Emerging Stronger’

     What does it mean to write a National Day Parade (NDP) theme song that sp [ ... ]

Read More ...
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