Saturday, July 16, 2011

APPLICATIONS TO INCREASE BUS, MRT FARES: Spare a thought for our elderly citizens

My letter to The New Paper  on the above matter is published today, page 20 , Sat 16 July 2011.

I cannot understand why our two transport operators (SBS Transit and SMRT) are seeking an increase in public transport fares when they reap in huge profits year in and year out.

We hear the same record being played over and over again when these operators want to justify an increase in fares: Rising fuel costs.

If our transport operators are in the red, then it makes sense to increase fares. However, there is absolutely no justification to do so now.

The high cost of living has affected many of our citizens, especially the needy and the elderly sick.

A report “1 in 3 elderly S'poreans no eating right (The Straits Times, July 15) paints a depressing picture of how our lonely elderly are at risks of suffering from malnutrition.

How can this happen in a first world country like Singapore?

Recreation is so important for our seniors and many of them depend on public transport to travel. This group of Singaporean has limited savings and need to be prudent in their spending.

By increasing fares, these seniors will have to cut down on travelling to meet friends and go for outings.

Why deprive our senior citizens a chance to live a fruitful life?

Even if our transport operators are bent on increases fares, I urge the Public Transport Council to not increase the fares for seniors who have hit 60, as every dollar matters to them.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Building resilience through adversities

5th July 2011
Mr Heng Swee Kiat
Education Minister
cc: PA: Ms Leong Hui Lan
Dear Mr Heng,

Building resilience through adversities: Talks, workshops and seminars conducted by Model Caregiver 2007 and Mental Health Champion 2010 Raymond Anthony Fernando
   Reference the above matter.
           Over the past few years there have many cases of people, both young and old falling into depression and committing suicide as they are unable to cope with the stresses of life.
Re       Recently, there were calls for teachers to learn and understand mental health issues. This is often not talked about or discussed even though it is becoming a problem. The reason: stigmatization- the biggest hurdle that prevents people, even educated ones from raising the subject.
A         A reader wrote to The New Paper wrote in early this week suggesting that a good way to tackle suicide is to get adults who have experienced and overcomes adversities to talk about mental health issues to students, teachers and parents. To this end, I would to help out. Here's my proposal:
 Here  are 4 different types of talks that I can offer to schools and to your MOE collegues at HQ.

(a) Talk: Understanding Schizophrenia - a talk on a true-life experience

In this solid one hour talk, I will cover my wife’s 37-year battle with depression and Schizophrenia, the trials and tribulations of our courtship and 37-year marriage and her miraculous recovery that enabled her to become an author of 5 books- 4 of which are bestsellers. The talk will also provide an insightful peek into caring for a loved one stricken with mental illness. I will also provide useful caregiver tips in managing loved ones with mental illnesses and what are the warning signs that people, including supervisors, caregivers, retirees, office colleagues, teachers, students, parents, employers, employees, volunteers and even a layman need to look out for in helping someone cope with Schizophrenia – said to be the most distressing mental disorder.
My talk also promotes the sanctity of marriage- caring for a spouse, “ in sickness & in health.”
The fees I charge for this talk is $250.

( b ) Talk: Depression – Beat it, Defeat it
In this 45-minute talk, I will cite some of the causes of depression, provide useful tips on how to better manage depression and what are the warning signs that one must look out for in tackling depression. This talk is also based on my own battle with depression for several years and how I overcame this illness and charted several new directions in life. Today, I am an author of 11 books.
The fees I charge for this talk is $250.
(c) Workshop: How to turn a life experience into a book.
Here, I will give an insight into how budding writers can come up with their first book. I will provide useful tips on the real world of self-publishing.
The fees I charge for this talk is $250.
(d) Seminar: The writer, the entrepreneur, the panther
A 45- minute talk in which I will provide 16 steps on how writers can market their books based on my own success story.
The fees I charge for this talk is $200.
Facilites required:
I require a LCD Projector, laptop that can screen my powerpoint slides onto a screen, windows media player with speakers to broadcast my montage (5.6 minute video), and a table to promote my *books and that of my wife (*if and when our books are available for sale)
I invite you , Mr Heng to visit my website and blogs to learn more about myself, my wife and the community work I do.
Website & Blog of Raymond Anthony Fernando 


Raymond Anthony Fernando is a motivational speaker, poet, author, trainer, songwriter, freelance television actor and a mental health activist. He is also a volunteer with the Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH) and IMH and the author of 11 books. Raymond is also a caregiver to his wife, Doris who has recovered from schizophrenia and depression. Raymond has 37 years’ experience in caring for his wife.
Raymond has contributed 31 years in the public service, has 15 years experience in public relations work and has received several awards & commendations from government organizations. In 1998, he was commended by the Singapore Police Force for promoting road safety in the republic. Raymond also holds a “Certificate in Public Relations” from the Institute of Public Relations of Singapore (IPRS).
Raymond has attended formal training at the Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH) and was awarded a “Certificate of Participation” for the “Family Link Program” conducted for 9 weeks from 19 January 2006 to 23 March 2006. He has also obtained a “ Certificate of Achievement” on 10th October 2005 from The Social Service Training Institute for a course on “Reclaiming lives: Helping people with persistent & serious mental illness”.
I look forward to our collaboration and await your early response, Mr Heng. Together, let us manage mental illness before it manages us.
Thank you & have a nice day!

Raymond Anthony Fernando
Live like a Legend”