Monday, April 27, 2015

Do more to reward duo who saved child : Raymond's letter to the press

My letter on the above matter is published in The Straits Times today, Monday 27th April 2015.

The bravery of the two construction workers who saved the life of two-year-old Naurah Fitria Auni has won the hearts of many citizens (“Rescuers’ only thought was to save toddler”; last Saturday).

Children, especially toddlers must never be left alone because when they wake up and find that their parents are not around, they get frightened and start searching for them. This was probably the case with the young child.

This is where helpful neighbours who can give a helping hand to those in need of support can make a big difference in the neighbourhoods.

The two workers, Mr Subramanian Shanmuganathan and Mr Ponnan Muthukumar, risked life and limb to save the child and have taught all of us a thing or two about kindness, bravery and what it takes to to act with a clear head during a crisis.

I applaud the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) for presenting the duo from Tamil Naidu with the Public Spiritedness Award, but I am sure we can do more to recognise the bravery of the two workers.

For a start, I hope that some cash rewards and a meal or two in a fine restaurant can be offered to Mr Shanmuganathan and Mr Muthukumar by generous companies and sponsors.

The SCDF could also consider offering the duo positions in its agency in its rescue operations. If full-time employment is not possible, take the duo in as volunteers to inspire and motivate staff in the agency.

Raymond Anthony Fernando

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Raymond's letter to The Straits Times’ ST Life on TV actress Rui En: Give Rui En a break

My letter to The Straits Times’ Life! Section On TV actress Rui En is published today.  

I read with interest the article, Why the gloom at Star Awards, Rui En (Life!, April 21).

The shots of the actress did give the impression that she was unhappy.  Given that she had performed well in many Chinese dramas, it is understandable that she appeared displeased at the ceremony.  

But in whatever we do, we must never be afraid to fail.  In a competitive acting industry, stars will not be able to clinch awards all the time. 

Many leading Hollywood actors and actresses took years before they received an Oscar. 

For instance, the late John Wayne who always gave sterling performances in many western and war movies managed to clinch an Oscar only late in life for True Grit.

I have always found Rui En’s performances in several dramas delightful and entertaining.  She has clinched awards in the past, and that is something she must remember and cherish so that she has the drive to push on.

You may have walked home empty handed on Sunday, Rui En, but you will always be a winner in my eyes.

Raymond Anthony Fernando

Monday, April 20, 2015

Raymond's letter to The Straits Times : Give caregiver allowance to help with costs

My letter to The  Straits Times on the  above  matter is published  today, Monday 20th  April 2015.
I am a caregiver to my 90-year-old mother, who is grappling with Parkinson's disease and resides in a nursing home. My mother is heavily dependent on her six children for emotional support and to keep her spirits high. Unfortunately, not all my siblings can visit regularly as they work long hours, and some have their own health issues.

Caring for the aged sick is a mammoth task. With many adult children having to work long hours, there is hardly any time for them to look after their aged parents.

Those in this predicament have little choice but to turn to nursing homes so that they have peace of mind knowing the professionals can provide the best care to their aged parents.

While hiring a maid to take care of the aged sick is an alternative that will reduce the financial costs, there have been cases of abuse on either side.

I agree with Mr Leong Kok Seng that government support would help better manage Singapore's ageing population ("Make it easier to care for Singapore's aged"; last Friday).

One way is for the Government to provide a monthly allowance for family caregivers.

This can be in the form of a ride-on under the Silver Support Scheme.

The maid levy can also be made more attractive so that it does not place a heavy financial burden on caregivers.


Raymond Anthony Fernando

Monday, April 13, 2015

Raymond 's letter to The New Paper: MARRIAGE STATISTICS : Inspire young couples with real-life stories

My letter to The New Paper on the above matter gets published today, Monday 13th April 2015.

It is sad that love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, and ends with a tear drop.

Given the pressures of today’s fast paced lifestyle, I am not surprised by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) study which found young couples giving up on their marriages as reported in “Recent marriages more prone to split” (The New Paper, April 7) .

Money issues are often the reason.  Material aspirations are important to most Singaporeans – the 5Cs of cash, credit card, car, condominium and country club membership.  But what is just as important are the 3Ls – love, laughter and life. 

While I support MSF’s efforts to roll out more marriage preparation courses, I believe that nothing beats sharing a hands–on life experience.

Young married couples need to be inspired and motivated from dedicated and committed spouses who have stuck by their partners through thick and thin.

MSF and other related agencies should invite such dedicated spouses to share their success stories and remind couples that if they put their hearts and souls into building a solid partnership, they will experience the joy and happiness a fulfilling marriage can bring. 



Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Three Ps to a successful marriage: Raymond's letter to The Straits Times:

My letter to The Straits Times on the above subject gets published today, Tuesday 8th April 2015.

As compared with the slower pace of life in the old days, our lifestyle today is going at break-neck speed that many people find it hard to cope.

Thus, I am not at all surprised that young couples are calling it quits (“Recent marriages not standing the test of time”; yesterday).

Often, when couples are dating, there is room for patience and understanding, but when couples live with one another, after some time, they tend to take each other for granted and get on each other’s nerves.

Then, fault finding becomes the norm when long and draining hours at the workplace see them losing patience with each other.

In any successful relationship, be it at the workplace or in a marriage, practising the 3Ps – patience, perseverance and prayer can achieve excellent results.

It is not always the easiest thing to do, but these virtues have made my 40-year marriage to my late wife successful, despite the huge challenges I faced in caring for her – mental illness and all.

Practising a faith is also a useful tool in keeping the marriage alive, for it teaches us to love unconditionally.

Next, there is emotional support.  Israeli researchers found in a study of wives with breast cancer that when their husbands were emotionally distant, the wives suffered more stress. This is why it is vital for couples to provide that much needed emotional support – in good and bad times.

Effective communication is also a must in a marriage, and there are many instances that where marriages also break down, when communication breaks down.

A phone call, rather than an SMS, is still a more effective means of communication.

Raymond Anthony Fernando