If we could care for strangers (around us), then caring wouldnt be strange (amongst us) and (within us) is the call to five million hearts in Singapore towards becoming one caring nation.

Mercy Relief (MR) and the South East Community Development Council (South East CDC) launched theCultivating The Grateful & Gracious Spirit (CGGS) Campaign 2011. With support from the Singapore Polytechnic (SP) and the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM), the CGGS 2011 seeks to showcase and promote gracious acts by Singaporeans and the Singapore Spirit, both locally and regionally.

Using remote controls, Guest-of-Honour Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong and MR Advisor Abdullah Tarmugi launched the Campaign by unveiling the Campaigns scrolls from 2 life-sized Robo Rabbits developed by the Singapore Polytechnic.

SM Goh and MR Advisor Abdullah launching the Campaign

SM Goh manoevering the Robo Rabbit with Mayor Yao looking on 

MR Chairman Udairam addressing the guests

Excerpt from SM Goh’s speech: “In 1984, myself and my younger colleagues in the cabinet – our dream was to build a city of excellence and a society of distinction. As we go along Marina Bay, we can see the city of excellence. But the society of distinction is more difficult to be formed because it is something intentional, but we are getting there. The society of distinction will encompass at least two points – Graciousness and a Generous Spirit…

These are not just words of thoughts. We have to translate to what we mean about the gracious and generous society into action. So fortunately volunteers like you, organization like Mercy Relief, are the vehicles in which our ideas of a generous and a gracious society are being translated into action.  So when I got the invitation from Mercy Relief for today’s event, I came. I came here because this is something which I support, and we have to encourage young people to do that. So as I stepped in, I am very happy to see the Singapore Polytechnic students. It is people like you who must carry the kind of spirit into the future. The spirit of volunteerism, the spirit of giving, and the spirit of cultivating others to follow that example.

Mercy Relief has done very good work. I have attended many functions because I support the work of Mercy Relief both in Singapore and especially outside Singapore.

And of course, Mercy Relief cannot do its work unless they have generous donors. So please give generously to Mercy Relief.”

The theme of the Campaign was highlighted to the public through an exhibition which showcases the compassion of native Singaporeans, new citizens and expatriates who had extended their hearts and hands to support Mercy Relief’s regional humanitarian efforts. Over the years, many Singaporeans from all walks of life have rallied around and supported Mercy Relief’s humanitarian relief efforts within the region.  These have been incorporated into the campaign’s collateral –The CGGS Pledge Book, which includes insights into how the Japanese responded with great resilience and grace in the wake of the recent disasters.

In sharing Mercy Relief’’s motivation for the Campaign, Mr T K Udairam, Chairman of Mercy Relief explained that “As a humanitarian organization that is active in disaster response, Mercy Relief often witness gracious acts, usually bound by the spirit of philanthropy and volunteerism during our overseas missions.  Our volunteers, donors and beneficiaries who have sacrificed their time, energy, money and comfort to cushion the pains of others –they are the inspiration behind our work, and this Campaign”.

Mayor Matthias Yao of the South East District said “It is heartening to see Singaporeans had generously lent a helping hand towards disaster-hit victims during times of adversity. We hope to encourage more Singaporeans to spread this ‘Pay-It-Forward’ spirit among ourselves.  The South East CDC is glad to partner Mercy Relief in support of the campaign to build a more compassionate yet resilient community.”

CE Hassan briefed on MR’s overall Japan relief operations

Carol shared Singaporean volunteers overseas expeditions with MR

SP Senior Director Lim explained how the ‘Tremorlator’ functions

The Campaign, which includes a series of road-shows around the heartlands and school engagements, serves to remind Singaporeans of their good fortune to be in Singapore and to encourage them to Pay-It-Forward.  School students are encouraged to pay-it-forward, not with money, but by sharing this Grateful-Gracious message to their families and friends, and encouraging them to take a pledge to pay-it-forward to others. CGGS 2011 is Mercy Relief’s local engagement initiative to enhance the Singapore Spirit of compassion, care and volunteerism. Explaining the campaign objective further, Mr Udairam added, “We hope that this Campaign will help encourage everyday Singaporeans to break the inertia to care for others who may not be related to us.  Hence, we encourage each and everyone to look beyond our own needs and comfort, to search within ourselves for the community, or that kampong spirit, to engage the community in promoting acts of graciousness and ultimately to naturally embrace humanity.  We hope that this will be the basis of the Singapore Spirit”.

The 7-month long campaign will culminate with the collection of 100,000 Pay-It-Forward pledges at the end of the year. Beginning on Launch day, the first 10-day long exhibition supported by local outdoor advertising firm BusAds Pte Ltd will run till 8 May 2011 at Marine Parade Promenade (11am –8pm daily). Apart from viewing the photo exhibition, visitors can try operating the pedal-powered iWater filtration system which Mercy Relief deployed to disaster areas and experience an earthquake situation by going onboard the ‘Tremorlator’ earthquake simulator vehicle jointly operated by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)and the Singapore Polytechnic.   Singapore’s National Cheerleading Champions, SP Gusto, will showcase their energetic, creative and courageous moves over two Saturdays (30 April and 7 May) from 4-–6pm.

Heads and representatives of the Rahmatan Lil Alamin Foundation of MUIS, the Chen Su Lan Trust, the Sri Krishna Temple, Mr Bean, the Singapore Polytechnic and the CHIJ St Theresa Convent, presented their contributions for the Japan tsunami relief to MR Chairman T K Udairam.  They raised over $330,000 in total to support MR’s ongoing relief efforts in Japan.

Rahmatan Lil’Alamin Foundation – $ 125,000

Mr Bean – $70,000

CHIJ St Therea Convent – $51,399.67

Chen Su Lan Trust – $50,000

Singapore Polytechnic – $23,000

Sri Krishnan Temple – $15,000

Background on CGGS Campaign

While Mercy Relief focuses on poverty alleviation and community development abroad, back in Singapore, it recognizes the importance of developing a caring and socially-conscientious society.  Hence, it actively engages various stakeholders – public, donors, volunteers and youth through public exhibitions and talks at education institutions to advocate greater awareness of the plight of the less fortunate in the region and to develop an interest in community service in Singapore. Since launching the ‘Cultivating the Grateful & Gracious Spirit’ (CGGS) Campaign in August 2008 to embark on its first structured local engagement programme, community and institutional outreach have remained the core of MR efforts to promote awareness of the humanitarian sector in the region. As the humanitarian sector is still in its infancy, with limited resources, MR is committed to develop  an active social platform which will help champion the humanitarian cause to  the general public in Singapore.

The CGGS platform form the basis of this thrust to attract dedicated individuals to come together to create opportunities for social change with the aim of cultivating a grateful and gracious society that places the needs of others before themselves such that the community avoids being passive bystanders and fair-weather friends to our needful neighbours in the region. Through this, Mercy Relief hopes to cultivate a greater appreciation for the peace, stability, security and prosperity that Singaporeans often take for granted.  To this end, Mercy Relief partners various local social and educational institutions to advocate a civic life of compassion, care and volunteerism to the wider public, locally and globally, to encourage Singaporeans to be active and effective members of the global village; hence the Campaign’s slogan, “If we could care for strangers, then caring wouldn’t be strange.”

About Mercy Relief

Mercy Relief is a Singaporean humanitarian organisation which engages in both disaster relief and sustainable development programmes. It was established in 2003 as an independent non-governmental humanitarian charity responding to the human tragedies in Asia. Mercy Relief’s aid programme focuses on providing timely and effective assistance to disaster-stricken communities and has maintained the delivery of emergency aid within 72 hours from the point of appeal for assistance.  

In the past 12 years, Mercy Relief has disbursed over S$32 million in aid across 40 disaster relief and 53 sustainable development initiatives. Mercy Relief has impacted an aggregate of 2 million lives in 24 countries and areas, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, DPR Korea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal,  Pakistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and Yemen.

For more information, you may call us at 6514 6322 or email corporateaffairs@mercyrelief.org