Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Raymond's letter to the press: Temasek Holdings sets up charity: Mentally ill & their caregivers need help

Temasek Holdings sets up charity:
Mentally ill & their caregivers need help

My letter was published in the New Paper on Tuesday 30 June 2009, Page 19.

I refer to the article, “Temasek to give $2m to charity programmes yearly” (The New Paper, 26 June).

I congratulate Temasek Holdings on its 35th anniversary and I am encouraged that it is committed to supporting the community in Singapore through its newly set up charity, Temasek Cares.

I would like to appeal to this organisation to help the mentally ill and their caregivers as this group of citizens have very little support.

Persons with mental illness are shunned, isolated and discriminated against because our society is still not ready to accept people with mental illness.

We must change this mentality if we are to become a first world country.

If Temasek Cares supports the mentally ill, it can be instrumental in changing mindsets.

Indeed, persons suffering from mental illness can be classified as underprivileged and less fortunate.

They desperately need help from the Government and other successful organsations.

Looking after a family member with mental illness is an extremely difficult task and many caregivers have to give up their full-time jobs to focus on taking care of their stricken ones who require round-the-clock supervision. I am in this predicament.

I appeal to Temasek Cares to help us in our extremely difficult journey, taking note of the wisdom of Winston Churchill when he said: “We make a living by what we get. But we make a life by what we give.”


Friday, June 19, 2009

NURSING HOMES: Whatever happened to compassion?

This letter was published in the NEW PAPER on Friday 19 June 2009.

I refer to the article, “ One day's stay, one month's fee” (The New Paper,17 June).

I am disturbed about the plight of the elderly woman whose family was billed one month's fee for her one day stay at the Orange Valley Nursing Home.

People place their elderly sick relatives in homes because they don't have a choice.

The No 1 one priority for hospitals and homes should be to take care of the sick and lead them on the road to recovery.

This is what makes for a caring and compassionate society.

At a time when many Singaporeans are losing their jobs and finding it so hard to cope with rising costs, shouldn't the sick and their family members be shown more compassion?

With the sudden passing of Madam Tan Kim Hong, her family members should receive more compassion and support.

The family is in bereavement and they would need to fork out money for the funeral expenses.

So, please, let's learn to be more understanding.

I am also shocked to learn that the Our Lady of Lourdes Nursing Home does not refund residents the balance from the mandatory deposit if they chose to leave early.

Who makes these rules that puts residents at a clear disavantage?

All nursing homes in Singapore should only bill patients for the exact number of days that the patient stays in the homes.

A complete review and change of all policies on nursing homes should be undertaken so that our fast-ageing population are given better support and care.

Let us create a compassionate society where people learn to feel the suffering of those in need, taking the cue from what the Dalai Lama once said: “You are the people who are shaping a better world. One of the secrets of inner peace is practice of compassion.”


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Raymond's letter to the press: On curbing road rage on public transport

Hire wardens to ease tensions on crowded buses

This letter was published in the New Paper on Wednesday 10 June 2009.

I am totally disgusted to read of the alleged assault of 68-year-old Madam A Nyanamani by a young commuter, and the vulgarities that were hurled at her by his friend,(The New Paper, 6 June).

With crowd congestion on our roads and in public places, our environment is getting more and more stressful.

When people are unable to manage their anger and frustrations, innocent and helpless citizens become their victims.

Lately, there has been an increase in the number of crimes committed against the elderly.
The alleged physical and verbal attack on the helpless housewife clearly demonstrates that our senior citizens deserve better protection.

Stiffer penalties for crimes against the elderly will serve as a deterrent for those who want to bully our seniors.
Recently while travelling on the MRT during the peak hour rush, I saw its officers asking passengers to move to the centre of the car and advising those who take up seats for the needy to give it up to senior citizens, pregnant women and those who are weak.

This practice should be carried out on buses as well. Part-time bus wardens can be hired to help ease tensions on crowded buses during peak hours.

Such an initiative can also help to create jobs for retirees and those who have been retrenched.

As more people give up their cars and stop taking taxis, it is high time that our bus drivers are properly trained to handle tense situations that are likelty to occur.

It is imperative that our public transport operators take proactive measures to ensure that every citizen can enjoy a smooth and safe ride on our buses.

They should take the cue from what psychologist Arnold H Glasgow once said: “One of the true tests of leadership is the ability to recognise a problem before it becomes an emergency.”


Monday, June 8, 2009

Coming your way: My Latest Book - The Face Behind The Front

Sequel to the Bestseller "Loving A Schizophrenic"

Price: SGD 20.00

“The Face Behind The Front” is the sequeal to my bestseller, “Loving a schizophrenic” .

The book reveals that beneath the mask of a happy face is a hidden face – a face etched with years of emotional pain, hardship and depression.

“The face behind the front” also speaks of the many people that have walked into my life and they include my classmates, teachers, office colleagues, his friends and his church – people that showed one face on the outside and another on the inside.

If you are a caregiver for your loved ones, “The face behind the front” will inspire you to continue the difficult journey, strengthen your resolve and help you find meaning in a seemingly thankless task. This is a story of a caregiver’s emotional pain and how I overcome tremendous odds to bring hope to the mentally ill as well as chart new directions in my life.

In this book, I will also provide useful caregiver tips in managing persons suffering from mental illness.

This book is not just about caring for a loved one stricken with two major illnesses (schizophrenia and arthritis), but it is also about how we can pick ourselves up and move on in life despite being confronted with huge challenges in life.

I am sure you will enjoy reading this heartfelt story that will inspire you to stay resilient if and when you are faced with your own struggles in life. So, readers, join me on my journey as I take you through periods of desolation and celebration, triumph and betrayal, love and hate, faith and fate.

The book will on sale in about 2 months' time.

Raymond Anthony Fernando

Date: 8th June 2009.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

FIRST CLASS PUBLIC SERVICE -Show compassion, offer needy support

This letter was published in the New Paper on Thursday 4 June 2009.

The photograph showing a blind Madam Esther Maleka lying in bed and the New Paper report, “Poor, too poor for maid (The New Paper, 3 June) has moved me to tears.
I commend the magnanimous gesture of volunteer Madan Mohan Singh.
But, shouldn't public sector officers be empowered to bend rules under exceptional circustances?

The Ministry of Manpower could have provided the extra mile by tying up with the Ministry of National Development to see if the family could apply to purchase a flat.
This, I feel, would be providing first class public service in the 21st century.
People who are sick and in dire need of help need better support.
Looking after a sick person can be extremely exhausting and many a time you are all alone in this world. I know this because I am in the same predicament.
Getting home help services is not always the best solution for the sick who may uncomfortable with unfamiliar caregivers.
All of us will grow old and get sick one day, so let us learn to show more compassion and support for those who are in less than fortunate circumstances, bearing in mind what US author and philospher Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.”