Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas 2014: Raymond's letter to The Straits Times: Spread some love this Christmas

My letter to the Straits Times on the above matter is published today, Saturday 20th December 2014.

Beautifully decorated buntings, colourful lights, greeting cards expressing messages of goodwill, and turkey dinners with family and friends are some of the joys of Christmas that many can look forward to.

But for some people who have lost their loved ones, or whose loved ones are grappling with life-threatening illnesses or mental illness, Christmas can be a time of sorrow.

 Even as Christmas carols are aired on radio and in shopping malls, it can literally be a "silent night" for them.

Christmas can be a joy for these people if love is offered in small ways. The true meaning of Christmas can be summed up in one word: love.

For some people, Christmas means basking in the warmth and love of their families. For others, Christmas means showing love for others.

They can do this by taking the lonely and depressed out for a simple meal, visiting them in a show of neighbourliness, or simply calling them to extend good wishes.

With such simple and thoughtful gestures, Christmas can be a time of healing and renewed strength.

Raymond Anthony Fernando

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Caregiving can be fulfilling experience - Raymond A Fernando's letter to The Sunday Times

My letter to The Sunday Times on the above matter is  published today – Sunday 14th December 2014.

Mr Toh Yong Chuan’s article last Sunday gave us an insightful peek into how professional caregivers take on the noble task of caring for elderly folk, many of whom are struggling with sickness and isolation.

The task is physically and emotionally draining. Moreover, many of the elderly and the sick tend to be bad-tempered and stubborn, and are not easy to get along with.

Yet, with the unflagging support of caregivers, these folk can enjoy a better quality of life, for nothing beats the human touch.

Providing love, understanding and care for our seniors can be a fulfilling experience.  Our parents gave us life, and it is only proper that we provide them with a better quality of life in their twilight years.

It saddens me to read of elderly folk who are left to fend for themselves when they become sick.

While nursing homes and eldercare services can lighten the load of caregivers, we must never forget to give our seniors the emotional support that can lift the human spirit and allow them to enjoy more good years.

Raymond Anthony Fernando




Saturday, December 13, 2014

Raymond's letter to  The Straits Times Life Section: Writing a good way to heal

My letter on the above subject is published today, Saturday 13th December 2014 in The Straits Times, Life Section.

While writing about our struggles in life, though may be painful at the initial stage, it is a good way to heal, and I speak from my own experience.

With the success of her first novel, former Miss Singapore Universe Marion Nicole Teo can perhaps write more books and give motivational talks (Beauty Queen’s Struggle With Hair Loss, Depression, “Life! Dec 6).

Not many people will want to talk openly about depression as this illness carries a heavy social stigma.

But those who are brave enough to talk about it can inspire others to cope with life’s challenges, knowing fully well that they are not alone in their difficulties.

We will all face adversities in life, but the important thing to always remember  is that with perseverance and determination, backed by the love from family and friends, we can become stronger than ever – in body, mind and spirit.


Raymond Anthony Fernando 


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Raymond 's letter to The New Paper: With treatment, most patients can lead normal lives

My letter on the above subject is published in The New Paper today, Thursday 11 December 2014.

Two lives could have been saved if only treatment of Ms Andrea Tay’s mental illness was sought, and I fully concur with the views of psychiatrists Dr Thomas Lee and Dr Lim Boon Leng as reported in “5 minutes of fury & frenzy” (The New Paper, Dec 4).

One of the biggest obstacles to mental illness recovery is when the patient or even the caregivers are in denial of a loved one’s mental illness. 

In addition, myths and misconceptions surrounding mental illness often prevents caregivers from seeking professional help for their stricken ones.

But the good news is that with medication, psychotherapy or a combination of both, most people with mental disorders can lead normal lives.

It is imperative that the family finds sources of support. With the Ministry of Social and Family Development now rolling out more programmes for caregivers, the journey in caring for loved ones with mental illness is going to be much smoother.


The Institute of Mental Health (IMH) has a competent team that can help to stabilise patients. It also has a community psychiatry department to monitor their outpatient treatment. 

Indeed, it would be most helpful if friends, grassroots leaders and religious groups play a supporting role so that the mentally ill and their caregivers will not feel alone. 



Friday, December 5, 2014

Raymond A Fernando’s letter to the press: Denial about mental illness a big obstacle to recovery

My letter to the press (TODAY newspaper)on the above subject  is published today, Friday 5 December 2014,
I was saddened to read about the murder-suicide reported in “AMK double deaths: Daughter in ‘unsound state of mind’” (Dec 4). Two lives could have been saved if only treatment for Andrea Tay had been sought.
When a person or even his/her carers are in denial about his/her mental illness, it is one of the biggest obstacles to recovery.
In addition, myths and misconceptions surrounding mental illness often prevent carers from seeking professional help for their stricken ones.
Public education on mental illness must be intensified islandwide because many people still believe that faith healers, bomohs (Malay shaman) and mediums can cure sufferers of mental illness. By taking this route, the patient becomes more confused.
When professional treatment is delayed, the patient’s condition worsens. In contrast, with medication, psychotherapy or both, the majority of people with mental disorders can return to a normal lifestyle. Indeed, there are many success stories.
Family members can help by finding sources of information that can help them to understand how the illness affects the person.
Caring for the mentally ill is anything but easy, so it is imperative that the family also finds sources of support for themselves.
With the Ministry of Social and Family Development now rolling out more programmes for carers, the journey of caring for loved ones with mental illness is going to be smoother than it was previously.
The Institute of Mental Health has a competent healthcare team: Doctors, nurses, psychologists and counsellors who can help to stabilise patients, as well as a department of community psychiatry, which monitors outpatient treatment.
Those who are unable to pay for treatment can approach the social workers there for support. My late wife, who coped with schizophrenia for four decades, had benefited from these programmes.
To help patients and families cope better, it would help if friends, grassroots leaders and religious groups play a supporting role, so that the mentally ill and their carers do not feel alone.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Raymond 's letter to The Straits Times: Get all parties up to speed on mental illness

My letter to The Straits Times on the above subject was published on Wednesday 3rd December 2014.

It is very true that the onslaught of mental illness takes a heavy toll on caregivers (“Mental illness: Caregivers are forgotten collateral damage”; last Saturday).

Many caregivers experience much anxiety, frustration and anger while their loved ones are battling their mental conditions.

These caregivers are often all alone in trying to help their loved ones.  Those who do not have the willpower to press on will give up.  When this happens, the patient’s condition worsens.

With the discovery of new and better drugs, however, there is a good chance of recovery.  Public awareness of this must be reinforced so that people who need help will step forward for treatment.

Public education for everyone – from government agencies to grassroots leaders to the community – must be intensified.

The case of the Pasir Ris resident who kept banging on walls for years, disrupting the lives of his neighbours, demonstrates the lack of understanding of mental illness (“Mental health check for Pasir Ris ‘neighbour from hell’”; last Friday).

I wonder why the authorities took so long to have the man referred for psychiatric assessment.
With early treatment, the chances of a speedy recovery are better. If cases go untreated, people with mental illness will be viewed as nothing but troublemakers, and stigmatisation of this group will deepen.

This is not the way to go, at a time when the Government is working to build an inclusive society.

Raymond Anthony Fernando







Friday, November 28, 2014

Raymond' letter to The Straits Times: Sterling service from cruise ship's foreign staff

My letter to The Straits Times on the above subject was published on Friday 28th November 2014.

Whenever there is a shortage of staff, service standards are likely to fall.  So I am not surprised that tourists are displeased with the service levels in our hotels and restaurants (“More tourists unhappy with hotels, restaurants”; Wednesday).

Generally, when customers have to wait longer than necessary for their meals, it is inevitable that they will become unhappy, bearing in mind that “a hungry man is an angry man”.

With the Singapore Tourism Board spending millions of dollars to attract tourists, it is crucial to ensure that the food and beverage industry is adequately staffed with employees who are trained to go the extra mile to please customers.

Although there are objections in some quarters to the hiring of foreigners, it would be helpful to learn from them a thing or two about customer service.

On my recent two-night trip on board the SuperStar Gemini, I observed how the foreign service staff – Filipinos, Indians, Vietnamese and Indians – took so much pride in their work. Their hospitality, friendliness and thoughtfulness, coupled with their willingness to go the extra mile, will no doubt entice customers to book holidays on this ship again.

Raymond Anthony Fernando

Thursday, November 27, 2014

PUBLIC TRANSPORT FARE REVIEW : Companies profitable, so why raise fares? - Raymond writes to the press

My letter on the above subject is published today, Thursday 27th November 2014 in The New Paper on page 18.

With a fare review on the cards, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew has urged the Public Transport Council (PTC) to study if it is possible to insulate vulnerable groups such as senior citizens from fare increases or at least mitigate the impact on this group as reported in “Protect certain groups from hikes” (The New Paper, Nov 20).

Despite this assurance from the minister, the majority of our citizens are going to finding it hard to cope with non-stop price increases.

With the transport operators reaping in profits year in and year out, why is there the need to increase fares every year? 

What about those who are without jobs and have families to feed?

What about medical costs and food prices that are rising?

Last year, despite a hue and cry from Singaporeans, the PTC went ahead and increased the fares.

The government says it values feedback, but is it really listening? 

Raymond Anthony Fernando


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Raymond's letter to The New Paper: BUSES STOPPING FAR AWAY FROM KERB -Risk of elderly falling is higher

My letter to The New Paper on the above subject is published today, Thursday 20th November 2014 on page 17.

Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo has announced that the Government is studying ways to make transport facilities more elderly-friendly as reported in “Better public transport for elderly: Minister” (The New Paper, Nov 17).

With the Land Transport Authority (LTA) holding focus group discussions with the elderly, our seniors can look forward to improvements in transport facilities that include more sheltered walkways and added lifts to overheads bridges, as many in this group find it difficult to climb staircases due to mobility issues.

But the LTA must also advise the public transport operators to stop their buses closer to the kerbs at bus stops, as very often, they do so a fair distance from the kerbs. For the elderly, this poses a risk of them losing their balance and falling down.  Many of these seniors make use of quad sticks to help them move about and with the buses picking and letting passengers alight a fair distance from the kerb, chances are that accidents can take place more easily.

For a person with mobility issues, going up the bus or coming down when the bus stops far from the kerb is a real challenge.



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Letter to The Straits Times: Why not let residents choose their mayors? - Raymond's suggestion

My letter to The Straits Times on the above matter was published on Tuesday 18th November 2014.

It has always been the practice for the Prime Minister to appoint mayors in the five community development councils (CDCs) to serve the needs of residents.

Over the years, Ministers of State and elected People’s Action Party MPs have taken on the role of mayors in the five districts.

The CDCs are key agents in ensuring that help is delivered efficiently and promptly to needy Singaporeans.

Generally, most residents are more acquainted with their MPs than their mayors, as they are in touch with the former through Meet-The-People Sessions and community events.

Perhaps it is time to test out a bold idea.  
Just as citizens get to vote for their MPs through the ballot box, why not allow them to also select their mayors through the same process?  This will help to move Singapore towards being a more democratic society.

Raymond Anthony Fernando


Monday, November 10, 2014

Raymond Anthony Fernando’s press letter - to The New Paper: ON THE SIM LIM SQUARE SAGA

Letter to The New Paper:  ON THE SIM LIM SQUARE SAGA
Tourists need better protection  
My letter to The New Paper on the above subject is published today, Monday 10th November 2014.

It is outrageous that the Sim Lim Square retailer Mobile Air stooped so slow as to humiliate a Vietnamese tourist into going down on his knees and crying after being told  to pay an additional $1,500 for the warranty of an iPhone that he bought for $950 as reported in “Sim Lim’s nightmare” (The New Paper, Nov 5).  

Earlier the notorious infamous shopkeeper Jover Chew had, out of spite, refunded a Chinese national $1,010 in coins after she took her case to the Small Claims Tribunal.

I find it most disturbing that consumers, both from Singapore and overseas, have to put up with such horrendous treatment even as the Government is investing heavily in training for good customer service and attracting tourists to shop here.

The Consumers Association of Singapore has recognised that such unfair business practices exist, but it should do more by working closely with the Ministries of Trade and Industry and Law to stamp out such behaviour.    

It should be made easier for consumers to seek action against such recalcitrant retailers who are tarnishing the image of Singapore.

Raymond Anthony Fernando

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Raising awareness of mental illness, marriage and other social issues by Raymond -through Weekender

There are several articles which I have written to the newspaper– “Weekender” and it can be read here by clicking onto the links provided.

Long live advocacy!
Happy reading, folks.

(1) Dedicated caregiver to wife with schizophrenia shares his heart-wrenching journey

(2) Reach out to the mentally ill for an inclusive society

(3) So what if you are a graduate?

(4) Palliative care–not just for patients with cancer

(5)  Kindness of good Samaritan, Ms Noriza, can build a better society

(6)  Let’s understand mental illness from those who walk the journey

(7)  Hawker food prices increase: A CASE of high rentals

(8)  Take a leaf from those in a blissful inter-racial marriage

(9)  Consider giving writing grants to persons with disabilities and caregivers

(10)  Workers will be motivated when bosses care for their well-being


(11)  Have a variety of ordinary honourable Singaporeans cast in wax

More articles written by me….coming your way–real soon. Stay tunedJ
Raymond Anthony Fernando




Friday, October 31, 2014

Monkey business" Raymond Anthony Fernando writes to the press: Monkey nuisance at HDB blocks

My letter to The Straits Times on the above matter is published today, Friday 31st October 2014.

Several months ago, I raised the issue of monkeys causing havoc at my HDB block and the surrounding ones in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5 to the National Environment Agency (NEA).

Just across my block is a small forest, from which the monkeys venture out to look for food in the wee hours of the morning and at night.

Sadly, nothing concrete has been done.  The NEA says it “can’t find and catch them”.

On Wednesday afternoon, a rather big monkey entered my flat through the front gate. I was using the computer in my room and got the shock of my life when I saw it.

I yelled at the monkey and it ran into the kitchen, jumped out the window and climbed up to the higher floors.

I do not want to come home to find a monkey under my bed, or have to look over my shoulder all the time.  Residents need to have peace of mind.

There are many elderly residents as well as a childcare centre in my block, and the monkeys could pose a threat to the old folk and young children.

While I understand that monkeys can be very elusive, there must be an all-out effort to stop this nuisance.

Raymond Anthony Fernando

P.S: I hope this problem can be resolved because the safety of the residents must be top priority. There must be better teamwork for all ministries. With the LTA now building the MRT lines near my place (Lentor Road), the noise generated could cause stress to the monkeys and they run out.  In addition,the forested area opposite my block has so many large trees and the monkeys can hide inside.  Right now for my safety, I have to close up all the windows and the front door, and with the Home Improvement Programme (HIP) being planned for year-end, it is going to be very unhealthy and stuffy. Which is not good for one's health. The MPs and the mayor must take a vested interest in the welfare of its residents.  Many a time it is not that we don't want to take care of our health , but it is the environment in itself that is unhealthy.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Raymond's letter to The New Paper: BOY BEATEN ON MRT TRAIN

My letter on the above matter is published today, Monday 27th Oct 2014 in The New Paper, page 16.  
What happened on an MRT train in full view of many passengers was shocking, as reported in “Woman whacks boy with umbrella until it breaks” (The New Paper, Oct 24).

Attempts should have been made to stop her because children who are victims of verbal and physical abuse can suffer the psychological effects later in life. 

If the abuser is daring enough to beat the child in such a way in public, I cannot imagine what is happening at home.

I find it disturbing that the other passengers did not seem to have done much, other than record the episode on video. Couldn’t someone have at least pressed the emergency button in the train to alert the MRT staff?  

As rightly pointed out by SMRT’s vice-president Patrick Nathan, commuters must take social responsibility to offer assistance in such cases. 

As active citizens, taking care of each other should be part and parcel of our daily lives.

I hope the authorities will thoroughly investigate this incident, and send the woman for counselling.


Friday, October 24, 2014

A nation of ideas: Read Raymond A Fernando’s letter to The Straits Times: Get citizens to brainstorm ideas to improve the nation

My letter to The Straits Times on the above matter is published today- Friday 24th October 2014.

Last  Friday, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong called on citizens to value integrity and deeds, and help find solutions to improve the country (“Aim to be ‘democracy of integrity and deeds’”; last Saturday).

I support his call.  Active citizens are those who identify problems and come up with ideas to improve the lives of those around them.

We have in place the PS21 framework, where public officers are incentivised to submit useful suggestions and proposals, either individually or in teams.

I propose that the Government expand this to include the whole nation, to tie in with Singapore’s 50th birthday.

Under this National Suggestion Scheme, ideas can be submitted at the constituency level, before being raised to the respective ministries for evaluation.

Good ideas with national reach can be evaluated by a high-level steering committee, with awards for outstanding contributors.

Raymond Anthony Fernando



Saturday, October 18, 2014

Raymond's letter to the Life Section of The Straits Times: Huang great as a devoted mother

My letter to The Straits Times’ Life Section on the above matter is published today, Saturday 18th October 2014.

With the growing importance of women taking on a bigger role in society, I am glad that three-time Best Actress Huang Biren is returning to Chinese TV dramas.

She will play a dedicated wife in the new MediaCorp drama series, 3 wishes (Huang returns to TV, Life , Oct 15).

As rightly pointed out by executive producer, Molby Low, “Women are usually the ones who hold the families together.”

Huang is indeed a devoted mother.

I have seen her taking good care of her children in the Catholic Church I worship.  When we face challenges in life, we are able to better identify with the situation, as was the case with Huang, who had to cope with surgery to remove a 10 cm cyst in one of her kidneys in April  last year.  

I have every confidence that the actress will be able to give a shining performance as the mother who, despite facing many challenges, remains dedicated to her family. 

It is a show that I am sure many of her die-hard fans will look forward to.


Raymond Anthony Fernando


Raymond's letter to The Straits Times: Staying employed helps seniors stay healthy

My letter to The Straits Times on the above matter is published today, Saturday 18th October 2014.

Most certainly, the move by the public service to rehire civil servants up to the age of 67 is a step in the right direction (“Public service takes lead in raising rehiring age to 67”; Oct 3).

With this bold change, workers who are gainfully employed will not lose key social support. 

It is vital for seniors to receive the support and encouragement of a network of colleagues and friends, in order to continue leading meaningful lives.

Interaction with others keeps them engaged and involved in life’s journey.  Sharing their human situation can help them better understand themselves and create meaningful relationships.

Moreover, when older workers have a steady job, they will be financially secure and be better able to socialise.  If they are not gainfully employed, chances are, loneliness will creep in and they may face health issues like depression.

Employers who are sceptical about hiring older workers because they fear incurring extra medical costs should realise that people who have a job will be able to stay healthy in body, mind and spirit.

I am also encouraged by the Government’s shift to allow non-degree holders, many of whom are older workers with vast work experience, to have the same career opportunities as degree holders. 

Undoubtedly, this move will allow diligent and hard-working non-degree holders who have the skills and experience to move up the corporate ladder.

Many of our senior workers may not possess degrees, but with their wealth of experience, they can be mentors to younger workers.  Such mentors ought to be given the opportunity to contribute to the economy and even move up the corporate ladder.

What is needed for increased productivity is for all workers – young and old – to have the right attitudes, commitment, dedication, skills and professionalism.

Raymond Anthony Fernando

Monday, October 13, 2014

Raymond's letter to The New Paper: CARE-GIVING ARRANGEMENTS -Community help vital in mental health cases

My letter to The New Paper on the above matter is published today, Monday 13th October 2014.  

 I agree that while the authorities can watch parents with mental illness or a history of violent behaviour, those around them should also be involved, as reported in, “Community can help by being vigilant” (The New Paper, Oct 9).

Minister of Social and Family Development (MSF) Chan Chun Sing gave this reply in Parliament when MP Janil Putucheary raised the issue of care-giving arrangements for parents with mental illness.

I share the the Minister’s view that the community needs to play its part by being vigilant and alert the authorties when they come across children in vulnerable circumstances.

However, given the nagging social stigma that plagues the mentally ill, not everyone will step forward to help.  

Moreover, all those with mental illness may not know how to reach out for help as some of them may not have access to computers or the media and may have few friends or neighbours who would want to associate with them.  

To reach out to them, I propose that neighbourhood watch groups be formed, perhaps one for every two block of flats in our housing estates, with the grassroots leaders and the local MP providing support and advice. 

Monthly visits to the residents can help to build a rapport between the residents and government officials and at the same time reach out to vulnerable groups who may be in dire need of social support.

This will let us become a caring community for those who may be suffering in silence.





Sunday, October 12, 2014

Raymond A Fernando's letter to the press: Speaking of loss lessens the burden of grief

My letter to The Sunday Times on the above matter was published today-Sunday 12th October 2014.

It was both heart-rending and inspiring to read about how Mr Chow Yen Lu lost his son and is now helping others (“After the heartbreak of son’s suicide”; last Sunday).

Coping with a loved one struggling with mental illness, or losing a loved one through suicide or a sudden illness, can be a very painful experience.

Speaking openly about the loss makes the burden of grief easier to bear. To this end, I am encouraged that Mr Chow has been open about his late son’s depression, in an effort to destigmatise mental illness.

It is also commendable that he used this experience to help others, by setting up the Over The Rainbow foundation to promote mental health and wellness.

I have overcome depression and a suicide attempt, and have four decades of caregiving skills from looking after my late wife, who had schizophrenia.

I believe that when you have the skills, experience and knowledge, you should share them with others.  So I hope to offer my services to Mr Chow’s foundation as well as to Singapore Creations ETC, which seeks to help youth from different backgrounds find themselves through the performing arts.

Raymond Anthony Fernando



Saturday, October 11, 2014

Raymond's letter to ST Life: Lim Kay Tong right for LKY role

My letter to the Straits Times Life Section on the above matter was published on Staurday 11th October 2014.

I fully endorse Lim Kay Tong to play the role of Singapore’s founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew in the upcoming film 1965.

The veteran actor with his stature, stern look and superb acting skills is well positioned to draw out the unique non-nonsense personality of the politician who is respected by world leaders. 

The movie 1965 is timely as it will accord recognition to Mr Lee – the man who turned Singapore, a modest trading country into a vibrant and dynamic nation, and I have every confidence that Lim will rise to the occasion and give a sterling performance. 


Raymond Anthony Fernando   

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Greater support for carers of mentally ill can prevent tragedies- Raymond Anthony Fernando's letter to the press

My letter on the above matter is published in MediaCorp's TODAY newspaper .

I refer to the report “Mum who pushed son out of window gets 10 years’ jail” (Sept 25) and share the writer’s sentiments in the letter “Tragedy shows need for better coordination among agencies” (Sept 29).

Not adhering to medication that helps in managing mental illness can indeed lead to dire consequences.
The Institute of Mental Health (IMH) must collaborate more closely with the Caregivers Alliance Singapore and the Singapore Association of Mental Health to better support carers of the mentally ill.

To that end, I suggest carers of patients seeing doctors at the IMH be referred to either of these voluntary welfare organisations, so families can better manage their loved ones.

With monthly reports exchanged among these three organisations, I am confident such tragedies can be avoided. Also, forensic psychiatrists and social workers from the IMH should manage forensic patients in the community.

The treating psychiatrist in the forensic ward should continue to see his or her patients upon their release, as he/she would be well positioned to understand what they have gone through.

Finally, support from family, the community and the authorities can be crucial to sustain convicted patients along their journey towards rehabilitation.

Thus, I suggest that volunteers from the Roman Catholic Prison Ministry, which is doing a good job in helping prisoners to turn their lives around, step forward to help Rebecca Loh when she is in a more stable condition.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Increase train services on pedestrian nights - Raymond Anthony Fernando's letter to the press

Letter to The Straits Times: Increase train services on pedestrian nights

My letter to The Straits times on the above matter is published today, Monday 29th September 2014.

It is a good move to close a section of Orchard Road to vehicles once a month (“Stretch of Orchard Rd to be closed on ‘pedestrian nights’”; last Friday).

Shoppers who patronise the shops and restaurants will bring in more business that will, in turn, spur the economy.  Once the economy is boosted, more social support can be given to our needy citizens.

Pedestrian Night is also an opportunity for families to spend quality time together in a more conducive setting.

As motorists will not be able to drive their vehicles into Orchard Road during Pedestrian Night, it is important to ensure that MRT train services are sufficiently increased to meet the expected crowds. Additional MRT staff must also be deployed for crowd control, in the event of train breakdowns.

Organisers of Pedestrian Night need to work closely with the MRT management, Traffic Police and Land Transport Authority to make it a success.

Raymond Anthony Fernando

Friday, September 26, 2014

How to improve medication compliance- Raymond Anthony Fernando’s letter to the press

My letter on the above subject is published today in The Straits Times, Friday 26th September 2014.

I agree that compliance with medication and a good doctor-patient rapport help keep patients in a stable condition ("Patients don't always know best"; last Saturday).

There are complex reasons for non-compliance with the medication regimen. This is why family caregivers must be involved and have a proper understanding of the illness and medication regimen - the dosage, benefits and side effects, so they can monitor the patient properly.

Patients often forget to take their medication. So caregivers can make taking it part of the daily routine.

For example, the medication can be placed on the dinner table alongside supplements that other family members take regularly.

An alarm clock can be used to remind patients to take their medication, if the dosage is more frequent.

Lastly, packing the pills in containers with the date and time for consumption helps caregivers check that the medication has been taken correctly.

For patients who do not want to be reminded of their mental illness, caregivers can ask the doctor for injectable medication every few weeks.

Raymond Anthony Fernando


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Death and dying: Read Raymond's letter to the press: Letter to The New Paper: Let’s be open about end-of-life issues

My letter on the above matter is published today –Tuesday 23rd September 2014, in The New Paper.

The exhibition Both Sides, Now presented by the Lien Foundation and the Ang Chin Moh Foundation, is a good attempt to get people to talk about death and dying, as reported in “Would you take my obituary shot?” (The New Paper, Sept 20).

Death is something we will all have to face to face sooner or later, but we may not understand it.  And people tend to be afraid of what they do not understand.

It may also be a touchy topic, so we may not raise it for fear of offending someone.

But if we are open about it, we can talk about it in a practical and rational manner.

Our loved ones can spend their last days differently if they are fully aware that they are not alone, and that they are loved and valued till their last breath.

In reaching out to Singaporeans in the heartlands in Khatib and Toa Payoh Central, the organisers hope to capture a wider spectrum of the public.   But not everyone, especially the elderly who are less mobile, can make their way to the exhibitions. 

So it would be good if our broadcasters could have TV forums and radio shows on end -of-life issues to compliment the exhibition.

Counsellors, doctors in palliative care and relatives who are coping with the loss of a loved one could participate.

As most of elderly citizens tend to embrace a faith in their final journey, broadcasters could also invite religious leaders to participate in these programmes.  

Also, as our Chinese dramas have a large following; it would be helpful if the topic is covered in a positive way in such productions.