My letter to The Straits Times on the above matter was published on Saturday 19th October 2013.
Outgoing National Council of Social Service (NCSS) head Ang Bee Lian’s suggestion to prepare an adult in every household to be a caregiver is practical and timely (“Scene of family having meal on floor moved her”; Monday).
During her tenure at NCSS, I sought her assistance periodically and she would help us wherever possible, because she fully understood how difficult caregiving for the mentally ill could be.
Many people view caregiving as a burden rather than a responsibility. My former boss fervently believed that caregiving was a vocation, and I fully endorse his wisdom.
In any job we undertake, if we love what we are doing, we can be very productive. The same applies to caregiving.
We must never view caregiving as a burden, otherwise we would give care grudgingly and family ties could become strained.
With Ms Ang’s move to the Ministry of Social and Family Development, I hope she will be in a better position to provide a wider scope of support for caregivers.
With the Government’s support, we can promote caregiving as a noble vocation and raise it to a much higher level. This also has to be done in schools, in the office, in religious organisations and in the community. If we can succeed, we can transform lives and make Singapore the best home to live in.
Raymond Anthony Fernando