Sunday, December 31, 2017

Article: Service to mankind, as I go on the campaign trail

Mental illness struck close to my heart and the next logical step was to advocate better rights for the mentally ill.”

-  Raymond Anthony Fernando -

 “You’re a talented person, Raymond and you can be very successful.  But you have a lot of obstacles in life, so you have to very careful,” predicted Tania (not real name), an attractive Taiwanese lady who could foretell a person’s future. 


“Obstacles?  At work or in my personal life, Tania?” I probed.


“Both, my dear, both.  But you can overcome them, Raymond.  Your strength is your resilience.  And one day, you will go on to be of great service to mankind,” Tania concluded.


“Service to mankind?” I wondered what that statement meant.


Tania would call over every week at the TV station where I worked and we soon became good friends.  I would always have a warm smile for her and she would do likewise.


Tania’s prediction mirrored that of another colleague.  


“Raymond, look, look at the many lines on your palm!  You will face many difficulties in life, even though you are a talented and hardworking individual,” cautioned Mohan (not real name), a producer.

I have faced death right smack in the face in 1995 over a failed suicide attempt, but I am glad I survived.  Perhaps my survival gave me the strength to be a “voice” for the thousands out there who are suffering in silence.  Or perhaps, it was a mission that I was fated to undertake.

And having seen the growing number of people, both foreigners and locals lose the will to live, I decided to start lobbying for better support for the mentally ill and their caregivers as far back as 2005.  In fact, it was the birth of my novel, “Loving a schizophrenic” that spurred me on to write to the media and raise awareness of mental illness and to seek better support for psychiatric patients. 

On Friday night, 6th March 2009, Mr Zhou Zheng, a Chinese national from Hubei, was found hanging in the balcony of his apartment at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) – just five days after Mr David Hartano Widjaja, another foreigner leapt to his death.   These incidents are scary. 

People who are lonely or isolated and cut off from their loved ones can fall into depression.  This is also the case of our senior citizens who lose key social support after they have retired.  There were many cases of the elderly falling into depression and committing suicide in 2008.

Singapore's suicide expert Dr Chia Boon Hock who has spent 40 years collecting and studying suicide data, mentioned in an exclusive interview with the Straits Times on 22nd April 2009 that there have been four major suicide peaks in Singapore over the past 100 years.  Dr Chia is concerned that the current recession may see more people committing suicide.  He feels that suicide is a sad reflection of society's failure to help those that desperately need help.  I fully agree with Dr Chia. 

Though advocating for the mentally ill is a seemingly thankless task, somebody has got to speak out for these neglected citizens.  Perhaps it is because I have seen how schizophrenia and depression has ravaged my wife’s life that I have this on-going passion to speak up for both psychiatric patients and their caregivers, many of whom are suffering in silence. 

Besides writing to the media, I have gone on national television ten times and on radio 11 times –  to create more awareness of schizophrenia and speak of the pain of looking after a loved one struggling with this horrifying illness.  On four of these TV programmes, Doris was also brave enough to talk about her battle with this brain disease. In addition, I was also interviewed by students from polytechnics and volunteers who show a keen interest in mental illness. 

I have been uplifted by the encouragement that I have received from so many people. 

“Raymond, you are a staunch advocate.  You are a “fighter” who is brave enough to write to the press even before the media contacts you. I have read practically all your letters to the forum pages in the Straits Times, New Paper, Today and the other newspapers and I'm truly impressed by your compassion for others.   That is what makes a true advocate,” Tammy, one of my faithful readers told me. 

“You are right, Tammy, I adopt a never-say-die attitude.  And it is encouraging words from people like you that keeps me pressing on,” I replied.

“Singapore will be a far better place to live in with people like you, Raymond,” one of my ex-bosses emailed me.

My journey as a advocate has garnered several commendations -  from letters and emails, including one from a 16-year-old girl who was inspired by my book (“Loving a Schizophrenic”) to pursue her interest in psychiatry.

This morning a friend who believes in my advocacy work asked me what my wish for 2018 would be. My answer:  To continue with my passion to fight for the rights of the marginalised and to become a world class writer and motivational speaker and to be able to find a producer who can convert my bestselling novel, Loving A Schizophrenic into a movie.

Let me now leave you with this inspiring poem:

Poem: No drifter, no quitter


I do not have to agonise and work for unreasonable people or bosses

For it will only end up in my having physical and emotional losses

I would rather work for mature ones

Then working life will be enjoyable and fun


Though I do not possess a university degree

God has given me eyes to see,

And a clear-thinking mind,

That has been tested many a time

I have hands to write,

So, I will excel and not give up the fight


When the chips are down,

I will not frown

All my life I have not been a drifter

I choose not to be bitter

And I am certainly no quitter


Failure can lead to success

And bring out in us, the best

I will not raise the white flag

My learning skills have brought dividends

And in acquiring knowledge,

There is never any time lag


Why do I need to indulge in self-pity?

When there are opportunities here in Singapore

Our beautiful lion city

Why do I need to bury my head in the sand?

When I can go out there and conquer with a bang

My poetry, my stories, my handful friends and my quest

These I have, and I can be the very best!




Raymond Anthony Fernando




Thursday, December 28, 2017

Raymond Anthony Fernando's letter to The New Paper: Help those with special needs at checkpoints

My letter to The New Paper on the above matter is published today, Thursday, 28th December 2017 on page 10.


I am saddened that a 63-year old, Mr Mohd Ismail Abdullah, who was travelling with his wife from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, suddenly collapsed and died at the immigration counter at the Sultan Abu Bakar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine complex last week.


Elderly people who are not so fit need better support at these road crossings as the long hours of the journey can sap their energy and cause serious health issues.

Most airlines give priority and help arrange speedy clearance for travellers who need special consideration.

There is bound to be a longer waiting period for immigration clearance these days as more detailed security checks are needed in view of the threat of terrorism.


So it would be helpful if a lane is allocated at immigration checkpoints for those with special needs.




Airlines such as those in America allow travellers needing special consideration to board the plane first –no questions asked whatsoever.  Here this group requiring special assistance can board the plane before other passengers through a priority boarding.

The Philippines Airlines is yet another elderly friendly service provider. They give some priority to those with special needs. When boarding the plane, the elderly aged 60 and above will be allowed to move up the plane immediately after the passengers who have book the first-class flights board the plane.  


In the spirit of ASEAN solidarity, I urge the authorities from Singapore and Malaysia to allocate a separate clearance lane at the immigration check points for those with special needs – who include senior citizens age 60 and above so that they can at least have a proper place to rest, whether on board a bus, coach or plane.


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Raymond's letter to The Straits Times: Be resilient, take all steps to preserve life

My letter on the above subject is published today, Wednesday 20th December 2017.


I agree that instead of supporting assisted suicide, all steps must be taken to preserve life (A good life to the end, or a quick death; Dec 16).

Resilience can help us beat the odds and overcome adversity.

The world needs to learn a thing or two from the Philippines, where typhoons and storms destroy lives and properties every year - with the most recent one killing at least three people and causing thousands to be driven from their homes (Thousands flee homes as deadly storm hits Philippines; Dec 17).

Yet, despite the magnitude of endless calamities and suffering, Filipinos have not been known to raise the white flag.

They pray and they keep their faith intact, celebrating Christmas even in badly damaged areas.

Dedicated nurses who are well trained in palliative care - showing empathy, love and understanding - can contribute greatly to patients' well-being.

And it is comforting to know that Singapore has such dedicated teams in place at hospitals and hospices.

Raymond Anthony Fernando

Monday, December 18, 2017

Raymond’s letter to The Straits Times: Do more to ensure the elderly are cared for

My letter to The Straits Times on the above matter is published today, Monday 18th December 2017

It is such a sad state of affairs that some of the elderly sick are being neglected by their own families and have to find solace in dedicated and compassionate befrienders (Volunteers who ensure no one dies alone; Dec 10).

The volunteers who befriended Mr Tay Cheng Tian and committed to spending time with him till the end are heroes and a rare breed.

Feelings of loneliness and being unloved can have serious health consequences for the elderly.

It can shorten the lifespan of seniors who live in isolation. According to a study by the University of California, San Francisco, loneliness among the elderly increases the risk of an untimely death by 45 per cent.

It was also troubling to read reports of how the elderly in Japan have resorted to committing crime because of poverty and loneliness (More seniors taking to crime in Japan; Dec 10).

Those who neglect their elderly sick relatives need to do some soul searching. They must ask themselves whether they are making the effort to visit their elderly loved ones regularly.

Everyone, irrespective of their status in society, should be allowed to die with dignity and be remembered by their loved ones.

Attitudes need to change, and our schools, religious organisations and employers have to reinforce the message that filial piety should be observed at all times, and that taking care of our elderly should be part of our culture.

Raymond Anthony Fernando


Sunday, December 17, 2017

Article for Beautiful nightingales who walk with us in our last journey

When we are in our final days, we need someone to walk alongside us. Whether it is a spouse, a parent or a close friend, leading by the heart and keeping the love flame burning bright and alive throughout the final moments of the person who is going to die will help a great deal for the dying to go off peacefully, happily and contented.  

At hospices and in some hospitals, palliative care nurses play a vital role in rallying around the dying who are reaching their final days, as well as providing emotional support to their immediate relatives.  Some of them will be severely depressed. Patients could be facing life-challenging illness like cancer or organ diseases, leaving relatives in deep worry and anxiety.

Besides showing compassion and understanding, the most important quality which palliative care nurses must possess is EMPATHY.

Nurses who are well trained to take care of the sick and help them to a full recovery must always be treated with utmost respect – and I admire all of them for their dedication and commitment.

To me, nurses who stand out are those who are trained in palliative care.  Many of these ‘nightingales’ develop a special bond with the dying patients so much so when those under their care passes away, it is not uncommon for the professional carers to cry their hearts out. In my opinion, those who cry can so easily feel for another human being because they have love in their hearts. And love unquestionably is a powerful healer.

Besides providing words of comfort that includes deep gratitude for the love that kept the relationship beautiful – in good times and bad, relatives holding hands of their dying loved ones will find that this is yet another effective communication tool to show love.  Palliative nurses also do this.

Nurses who showered me with love and tender care

During the late 70s when I was trying to cope with kidney problems where I was passing blood, I felt severely depressed as the pain in my back was unbearable. Each time when I wanted to ease myself, it was so painful when I had to ‘force’ the urine out of my bladder.  Added to that, I was worried sick about my beloved wife who had to struggle with schizophrenia.  I recognised the symptoms of my depression that was ‘haunting’ me and upon my wife’s advice got myself warded in the then-Toa Payoh Hospital which was directly opposite my work place in the national Radio and TV station.

It was during the few days that I was hospitalised that I discovered how beautiful and adorable nurses can be.  The Chinese nurse manager there who was in her fifties knew how to lead by example and despite her hectic schedule in the ward, found time to talk to both me and my wife.

I recall being unshaven for 2 days and I looked awful.

“Your husband is handsome and you are a loving wife, just can’t understand why he is losing the will to live.  You both must pray ok,” Sister Tan gave some motherly advice.

“No, he does not look so good, Sister, he is so unshaven,” Doris told the Sister.

“No true, Mrs Fernando, he is terribly good-looking,” Sister Tan shot back much to the amusement of my wife and the nurses. 

“Preaching again, Sister,” a female staff nurse teased.

Knowing that I was severely depressed with suicidal thoughts provoking me from time to time, Sister Tan asked a North Indian nurse in her thirties to talk to me at night until I slept. She was a beautiful nurse, not only in appearance, but she had a beautiful heart. She held my hand throughout the night, giving me lots of encouragement, and in the process, with some medication, I slowly came out of my depressed state.

I am not sure if the Indian nurse was trained in Palliative care ward, but boy she sure qualifies in that area.

Tan Tock Seng Hospital provides Palliative Care

It is heartening to know now that some hospitals like Tan Tock Seng Hospital have Palliative Care Nurse Clinicians whose services include:

  1. Management of pain and symptoms
  2. Psychological, emotional and spiritual support for the patient and family
  3. Grief and bereavement support and counselling
  4. Maintaining care continuity as the patient moves from hospital to home or to other institutions of care (e.g. hospice)
    Fulfilling a dying wish
    Like many others, I could not hold back my tears when I read of how an Australian ambulance crew in Sydney carrying a dying woman to hospital took a detour to grant her final wish – to visit the beach which she loved so much – for one last time.  The crew was patient to the palliative care unit of the local hospital. This moving account was reported on 23rd November 2017.  True to every sense of the word, the virtue of empathy shone so brightly – like a sparkling diamond.
    I am sure when the lady passes on, she will do so happily knowing that love brought pure magic to her.
    Let’s value and cherish all our loved ones every step of the way, embracing a life of no regrets, but only beautiful memories to fondly remember for all the days of our lives.
    Raymond Anthony Fernando


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Raymond Anthony Fernando's letter to The Straits Times: Allowance to ease caregivers' stress

My letter to The Straits Times on the above subject is published today, Wednesday 13th December 2017.


I second the call by Professor Kalyani K Mehta for the Government to provide family caregivers with a caregiver allowance (Families under pressure in ageing society; Dec 9).

It is just not practical for caregivers to balance caregiving responsibilities with activities such as work, household chores and other family commitments.

Those who are employed will most likely experience interruptions at work, frequent leave of absence and reduced productivity, as caregiving takes up so much of their time. There are some caregivers who are taking care of more than one relative, and this can be extremely stressful. This is more so when their relative has mental health issues.

It is not uncommon for caregivers to fall into depression when they suffer burnout. Often, they neglect their own health to focus all their time, energy and care on their charges.

Almost all caregivers experience financial stress associated with providing care. In fact, lack of funding and financial support is one of the biggest pain points that many caregivers will attest to.

Given that caregiving is often a 24-hour task, many have little or no choice but to give up their jobs, and this places them in severe financial hardship.

To this end, it will help a great deal if the Government provides a monthly caregiver allowance to enable caregivers to cope better.

Caregiving should be viewed as a noble responsibility rather than a burden.


Raymond Anthony Fernando

Monday, December 11, 2017

Launch of Website: Beautiful, unforgettable memories

We are a group of like-minded individuals who are passionate in giving back to society with our primary objective of keeping the memories of those who passed on, very much alive. 
2. Death is often viewed as a taboo subject which most people avoid talking about. Yet dying is very much a part of life’s journey.
3. Our website,, the first ever in Singapore, was founded on two fundamental principles:
(a) To enable everyone to be remembered.  As conventional obituaries are too costly for many Singaporeans, our website provides free online obituaries for any of these citizens who passes away.
(b) We want to improve individual and societal well-being through the expression of words. In reaching out to the living who have lost their loved ones, we are committed in helping them cope with grief as we rally around them in their recovery, taking into account the negative impact of post-traumatic stress disorders which is documented in many academic studies in the field of psychology.
4. Our flagship feature is the online time capsule, which is the first of its kind in the world. Scheduled emails will be fired to the recipients at the user prescribed date, 20 years, 25 years and beyond. For example, your child will receive your message at his or her 21th birthday, 30th birthday, so on and so forth. There is deep emotional closure and reassurance in play.  Moreover, this special feature will be beneficial to those with dementia or life-threatening illnesses such as cancer.

The media is a useful platform to highlight social issues, which we are staunch advocates of and to get the public to understand that it is perfectly alright to discuss death given that Singapore faces a fast ageing population.
I am now a Feature Writer and Public Relations Director of, a beautiful website, the first of its kind in Singapore.


Our tagline: Life is a book. We fill the pages

Zinnia means remembrance, and Afternote means a note after the main body of a text. And in our case, the text is life, the main body is the deceased.

The zinnia flower has several meanings including thoughts of friends, endurance, daily remembrance, goodness and lasting affection. The Victorian meaning of zinnias is thoughts of an absent friend. Of the heart. Lasting affection.

More than 20 years ago, I was involved in Public Relations (PR) work in the then-Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) where I handled media relations, guest relations, liaison work, conducted tours and planning and executing VIP shows,

I loved my PR job, and in some strange way, another PR job now comes back to me.

The articles that I write have been well received from near and far. For instance, the article that I wrote on MY BLUE CHRISTMAS has, within 48 hours, garnered 1,500 likes, from Indonesia, USA, Thailand, Malaysia and here in Singapore.

We are going to launch our website in mid-January 2018.  

Do pass the word around &  rally around us to help us make this website a successful one.

Thank you.


Raymond Anthony Fernando

Feature Writer & Public Relations Director

Website of




Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Open Community Labs Application: Education on depression and schizophrenia to migrant workers and domestic by Model Caregiver Raymond Anthony Fernando

From the desk of Model Caregiver Raymond Anthony Fernando


7th December 2017


To whom it may concern


Dear Sir/Madam,

Working or studying or abroad comes with a wide range of emotions. Happy, excited and thrilled for the opportunity to live in another country and meet people of different races and cultures, but at the same time feeling homesick and grappling with separation anxiety later when the excitement wears down. 

For foreigners – whether they are migrant workers or domestic helpers, the most crucial part of adjusting to life in a different country is during the first three months. This group will begin to show signs of homesickness and being without their loved ones after a couple of months; and then they could be struggling with anxiety disorders which in the worst-case scenario could lead to depression.

While local can easily reach out to their families, it is more difficult for foreigners to do so as some could be bottling pent-up emotions.

In the case of domestic helpers, they work long and draining hours to serve the many needs of their employers, who at times can be demanding. The helpers could be suffering in silence and may not be aware that they could be showing classic signs of some mental disorders or even becoming suicidal. We have read media reports of maids either harming their charges or harming themselves when they are unable to cope.

But if migrant workers or helpers are able to fully recognize the symptom of their stress levels, they as well as their employers may be able to save or reclaim a life.


As part of my on-going public education of mental illness in which I have got 40 years hands-on experience in taking care of my late wife who had coped with schizophrenia, I go all over Singapore on my own accord or at times partnering IMH or VWOs to educate people on mental illness conditions.

I enclose a document from IMH confirming my commitment in this area.

I would love to reach out to migrant workers and domestic helpers and if need be to their employers to educate, inspire and motivate everyone to be in a good position to manage mental illness.


(a) Schizophrenia

In this 45-minute talk, I will cover my wife's 37-year battle with schizophrenia and depression, the trials and tribulations of our courtship and 37-year marriage and her miraculous recovery. 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, students, parents, employers, employees, volunteers and even a layman need to look out for in helping someone cope with schizophrenia – believed to be the most distressing mental disorder.

My talk also promotes the sanctity of marriage- caring for a spouse, " in sickness & in health."

(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.

Facilities needed

I require a LCD Projector, laptop that can screen my power-point slides onto a screen, windows media player with speakers to broadcast my montage (5.6-minute video), and a table to promote a book on real life experience of persons who have been healed from mental illness.



Raymond Anthony Fernando is a motivational speaker, poet, author, trainer, songwriter, freelance television actor, ghostwriter, media celebrity and a regular newspaper forum page writer.  He is a volunteer with Silver Ribbon Singapore and the Institute of Mental Health; and is Singapore’s leading advocate for the mentally ill.   The author of 30 books was married to Doris Lau whom he groomed to become an author of 8 books.  Raymond has written on a wide range of subjects through the media and in his books, and it includes real life stories, relationships, marriage, social issues, advocacy, ghost stories, humour, children’s stories, poems, creative suggestions and spiritual content. Raymond who was chosen as Model Caregiver 2007 and Mental Health Champion 2010 is born on Valentine’s Day.  He has contributed 31 years’ service in the public sector, has 15 years’ experience in public relations work and has received several awards and commendations from government organisations.  


May I look forward to securing the $1,000 sponsored project? And to get a reply from you – soonest. Thank you.




Raymond Anthony Fernando


Saturday, December 2, 2017

Letter to The Catholic News: Education, advocacy effective in removing stigma on mental illness

My press letter to The Catholic News on the above matter is published this weekend, and will reach out to 300,000 Catholics in Singapore  


I refer to the report, Discussing discrimination surrounding mental illness, (CN, November 26).


The move by Clarity to create a platform for people to talk openly and share personal stories about mental health issues is the step in the right direction.


More of such discussions and sharings by those who have walked the journey and have stayed resilient in the face of adversity can help a great deal in eradicating stigma, as well as paving the way for family members to embrace caregiving as a noble job.


All of us in the mental health community need to raise our voices against stigma – in every possible way.  Stigma prevents people struggling from mental health issues from seeking help.


Wrongful assumptions that persons with mental illness cannot recover must be corrected. This is where advocates should come out in full force to debunk this misconception. Combating stigma is by no means an easy task. Stigma leads to discrimination where sufferers of mental disorders become isolated and are the prime target of all kinds of humiliating remarks within the community and at the workplace.


Most people fear what they don’t understand. In the case of mental illness, a lack of understanding can give the wrong impression that all psychiatric patients are violent and cannot function properly.  This is far from true as there are many success stories of how recovered patients are contributing as useful members of society through the support, love and care of their caregivers.


The media has an important role to play in de-stigmatising mental illness as it can so easily sway peoples’ thinking.  Patients and caregivers are the best people to speak out against stigma.  By expressing their thoughts and opinions through public forums, letters to the media and on social media, they can gradually change perceptions of the mentally ill.  


In managing a loved one with mental illness, it is important to observe the 3Ps –Patience, Perseverance and Prayer. 


Recovery from mental illness takes time, so be patient and don’t set your expectations too high.  Above all, don’t get discouraged.  Some days will be worse than others, but just like the clouds, these will pass away. 


Raymond Anthony Fernando


More concreate measures needed to protect the vulnerable: An open public suggestion to the Singapore Government

It is troubling to read reports of how a couple had systematically abused and caused grievous hurt to 26-year-old Annie Ee Yu Lian for 8 months, which eventually led to her death (“14, 16.5 years’ jail for couple who tortured tenant to death”, December 1, 2017, MediaCorp’s TODAY Newspaper).

Ee had borderline intelligence and the couple knew about her condition.

The vulnerable in our society who include those with mental illness need far better protection and support.

To this end, I would like to propose some suggestions to help improve the structural support for this marginalised group.

Appoint Estate Mental Health Ambassadors (EMHA) to serve in the respective estates.

♦ Firstly, I propose we train suitable people in the neighbourhoods on mental illness by well-established mental health providers who could include professionals from the Institute of Mental Health, Silver Ribbon Singapore and the Singapore Association for Mental Health.   After they are trained, they can be appointed as Estate Mental Health Ambassadors (EMHA) to serve in the respective estates.

These trained EMHAs whose contact numbers can be given on HDB notice boards, community clubs and on a given website can be contacted to help anyone grappling with mental illness. 

It must be made abundantly clear to both the EMHAs and the person/s being helped that patient confidentially will be respected at all times.

As it is difficult to secure volunteers, an allowance can be given to the EMHAs for their time, efforts, meals and paper work every time they handle a case. The funds can come from the community clubs and all cases must be handled with privacy and confidentially on the person being helped.  Once a case has been handled professionally, the EMHA submits a simple report to the grassroots leader to make a claim.  Such allowances can also come from any charity or organisation that supports mental health.

Vital to ensure psychiatric patients don’t default on their medical appointments /medications

♦ Secondly, mental health providers need to ensure that those with mental health issues keep to their medical appointments and counselling. For example, the Community Psychiatry Department of the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) must constantly keep in touch with patients so that they do not default on their treatments and medications.  If need be, part-timers with some basic knowledge of mental illness can be hired by IMH, with funds provided by the Health Ministry.


(a)Tie-ups between HDB, MSF and MPs/Mayors

♦ Whenever a registered flat owner takes in a tenant, it is compulsory that the HDB is informed. Therefore, my third proposal is that both the HDB and the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) are kept duly posted when the flat owner rents out a room to anyone with any vulnerable condition. In doing so, the tenant with special needs can be closely monitored by MSF, and abuse can be prevented.  The respective Member of Parliament (MP) and Mayor can be kept informed.

 (b) MPs and Mayors need to stay connected to residents

♦ Last, but not least, it is important for Members of Parliament, Mayors and their grassroots leaders to stay in touch with the residents so that they are in a good position to understand sentiments on the ground. They can do this either through quarterly home visits or tea or breakfast sessions at the nearest void decks where the residents live.  This is also an opportune time for the elected officials to get to know the residents better – and to explain government policies and directions, if any.



Friday, December 1, 2017

Opinion: Touch has the right touch for the new mental incapacity scheme

With a fast ageing population coming on-stream that might see more seniors becoming mentally incapacitated, I applaud the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) for being proactive in developing the Community Kin Service for people who are unable to make decisions on their finances (Social workers can get powers to manage seniors’ finances and Touch staff are like family, says 85-year-old widow; November 30, 2017).

Every one of us has a one percent chance of developing mental illness, but that figure is expected to go up amid global challenges, uncertainties, relationship issues and rising costs.

It is always a challenge to leave money in the hands of people or organisations we are unfamiliar with, but with the safeguards that have been put in place by MSF, seniors aged 60 and above can be assured that their money is in safe hands.

The Touch Community Services has always been very supportive of the elderly and the needy.

The staff of Touch Senior Activity Centre are caring, loving, trustworthy and above all committed in taking care of the elderly and those in need.

On a personal level, my late wife, Doris and I have benefitted much from Touch Home Care whose staff are patient, understanding, supportive and who go the extra mile in bringing on smiles to their beneficiaries.

Certainly, one such person from Touch Home Care who has so much love in her for those facing challenges is Occupational Therapist Ms Sandy Goh who was recently promoted to Manager of Touch Home Care in Jurong. Sandy took great pains to provide a safe home environment for my late wife Doris who had mobility problems in the last stages of her life.

Raymond Anthony Fernando 

Opinion: The Royal Romance; a match made in heaven

The whole world is talking about it; the media is running so many reports on the royal romance of Prince Harry and his future wife, America actress Meghan Markle.

When couples are able to give back to society and give love to those in need, somehow or other, beautiful relationships can emerge, as with the case of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (The Life Section of The Straits Times, November 29, 2017).

Prince Harry has followed in the footsteps of his beloved mother Princess Diana by focusing on doing charity work, in particular to support the welfare of military veterans and carrying on the legacy of his late mother’s work by helping those with Aids and those grappling with mental health issues. 

Clearly Prince Harry’s love for his mother lives deep in his heart as he got the designers to use two diamonds from Princess Diana’s personal jewellery collection to design the beautiful engagement ring for his bride.

His fiancĂ©e, Meghan has much love for the human race too.  She is very much involved in charity work. In 2016, she became a World Vision Global Ambassador after making a trip to Rwanda where she was involved in the new clean water pipeline.

With the couple possessing a shared love for charity work, society will benefit and with their dedication and commitment, it will surely inspire and motivate others to step forward and give back to society – so that the world will be a far better place to live in.


Raymond Anthony Fernando