Thursday, September 13, 2018

Level of service from Singapore Post getting from bad to worst




 

The delivery of normal local mail takes between 1 to 2 working days. That is on paper. but the reality is that the mail is now being delivered as late as 4 days or more.  This places residents in much anxiety if the mail is very important.

 

My brother posted me an important mail to me on Monday 10th September morning and rightfully, I should have got it by Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest. Today is Thursday 13th September and I have yet to get that mail.

 

Added to that, the postman has on two occasions placed my letters in the wrong letter boxes in my block.

 

To add insult to injury when I called SingPost at 3pm to provide feedback on my long overdue mail, as I could not get the PR Executive at the time, I was pushed from pillar to post. The manager refused to take my urgent call and the customer service officer told me he was, Busy” and could only return my call before 6pm.  This is horrendous service!

 

Finally, after several attempts I managed to speak to the Head of PR, one Robin Goh.  He was helpful and assured me that he will get the supervisor of mail, one Filipino by the name of Isabelo to urgently look into this matter.

 

Isabelo just phoned me and told me they will investigate the matter and revert to me, but cautioned that as the mail was not registered, it would be difficult for SingPost to track it.

 

So much for quality service and the move towards a smart nation in Singapore!

 

Sincerely,

 

Raymond Anthony Fernando

 

 

 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Opinion piece: Strengthen filial piety and family bonding for caregivers through more support measures and subsidies : An open proposal to the Singapore Government


 
As a caregiver to several immediate relatives, past and present, I fully appreciate and support the suggestion to allow the use of Medisave to pay for nursing home charges (Allow use of Medisave to pay nursing home charges; Sept 10, 2018, The Straits Times).

Many Singaporeans who have and will become caregivers suffer burnout as it is very draining to look after a loved one with chronic conditions, be it physical or mental.  Some will lose key social support, become isolated and lose a monthly income when they have to take on the unenviable task of caregiving.

Many caregivers will not feel comfortable to place their sick loved ones in a nursing homes as they will become guilt-ridden, feeling that they are abandoning them. So, they opt to hire a helper, but that will place the family caregivers in much anxiety as they would find it difficult to pay for the helper’s salary. 

Faced with this dilemma, some may fall into depression and then there is just too much problems for everyone in the household to manage and cope with. We should prevent this from happening– more so when Singapore facing a rapid ageing population.

To this end, I propose that the authorities consider opening a Medisave account to allow such caregivers to pay the helper’s salary through this special scheme so long as there are sufficient funds to meet the caregiver’s current and future medical needs.

Yet another way to support caregivers is to provide more and better subsidies for both residents in nursing homes and for hiring of helpers.

Such support measures will help to a large extent to strengthen filial piety and family bonding. Moreover, government needs to rally around our ageing population and those with special needs

 

Raymond Anthony Fernando

 

Monday, September 10, 2018


Outstanding services, care & compassion from Mount Calvary Bereavement Services, St Theresa’s Nursing Home and St Stephen’s Church

 

Reference the above matter.

 

Ii was not easy for my siblings and I – together with the children my late mother looked after (Michelle Koh& Stephanie Choo) trying to cope with the loss of my wife Doris, my sister, Veronica and now my mother, Mrs. Pearl Fernando within a space of 4 years. 

 

Grief is never easy to cope with, it will come and go.

 

Mount Calvary Bereavement Services

 

When a loved one passes on. there are so many things to organise. But through the wonderful support and meticulous planning of Jeffrey Herman Vierra and his team at Mount Calvary Bereavement Services, my siblings and I were able to have a good night’s sleep knowing that my late mom was in good hands.

 

Mount Calvary, not only provided top-notch professional services, but every single staff member displayed compassion and much respect for all our relatives and friends who turned up at the wake.

 

This is the third time that I have secured the services of Mount Calvary, confident that they would always do an excellent job. Certainly, I would recommend them to anyone who needs funeral services.

 

St Theresa’s Home

 

St Theresa’s Home also gave wonderful support to my mother during her 4 years or so stay at this home. Her administrator Victor Seng has so much love for the residents and even though my mom had to struggle with several chronic conditions that include Parkinson’s Disease, Dementia which was a big challenge to the healthcare workers there, not once did they grumble or show disrespect and impatience with my mother.

 

All these kindness and compassion by the nursing team are probably inherited by Victor Seng who has always guided the nurses to show love, understanding and unflagging support to all the residents there.

 

The nurses adored my mother so it was no surprise that they took the trouble to pay their last respects to my mother at the wake on Thursday 6th September.  I was deeply touched.

 

With a rapid ageing population coming on-stream, Singapore could well do with the compassion of these kind of nurses.  They come from poor countries like the Philippines, Myanmar and India, but they are so rich in their hearts.

 

So, Victor, Seng, my family and I wish to record our deepest gratitude to you and your team. On several occasion, Victor you went the extra mile to render that ‘WOW’ service! 

 

St Stephens Church

 

In closing, it’s only fitting that we record our fondest gratitude to Rev Father Gerard Weerakoon, Parish Priest of St Stephen for conducting the funeral masses at the church and at Mandai crematorium with so much of God’s love. We were all uplifted by the manner in which Fr Gerard gave spiritual guidance, advice and professionalism during the 3 days that we were in prayer at his church.

 

I also would like to record my deepest appreciation to Faith, Fr Gerard’s secretary who rendered support, guidance and care to ensure that everything went smoothly.

 

God bless each and every one of you.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Raymond Anthony Fernando

& the Fernando Family

 

Monday, August 13, 2018

Installation of night light in homes and sensor lights in organisations in support of the elderly : An open proposal to Lawrence Wong, MND Minister & Masagos, NEA Minister



Certain health issues can increase the risk of falling and these include leg weakness, mobility problems, and balance issues. These are very common problems which many of our seniors face as age catches up on them.

With the steep increase in water and electricity bills, homes and organisations now need to cut down on water and electricity consumptions. 

While the HDB has taken positive steps to improve the safety features in housing estates to prevent the elderly from injury by installing hand bar grips and non-slip tiles in toilets, there is also a dire need to ensure that seniors do not grope in the dark while visiting the toilet at night.

 In other places when lights are not turned on at night or the early hours of the morning, such as in churches, there is a high risk of seniors with mobility problems falling down. We must take concreate measures to prevent this from happening.

In ‘light’ of this, I propose that a night light be installed at bedrooms so that the moment seniors wake up at night to go to the toilet or kitchen, he/she will not fall as visibility is clear.  A night light  switched on does not consume much electricity even if the light is on most part of the night.

In malls or places where there are 24-hour services, such as hotels or eating houses, installing such sensors saves the owners a bundle on electricity bills

In other places such as in columbariums at churches, a sensor light should be installed so that relatives who go there to pray will not fall down as they grope in the dark.

I fell down twice in my church around 6.15am while praying to my late wife and sister at the columbarium. Here the lights are only turned on at 6.30am.

The light comes on the moment someone enters and this way, electricity bills will not rise.  Praying is crucial for all who practice a faith, but more so for those who have lost their loves ones and trying to cope with grief.  No one should have to pray in the dark.


Automated lighting that turns on only when someone enters the room is definitely cost saving.

 
RAYMOND ANTHONY FERNANDO

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Opinion piece: It’s a crying shame that our lonely seniors are resorting to suicide



An open proposal to the Singapore Government

"A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles."
-Christopher Reeve -

It is most disturbing to read the report of many of our senior citizens who are ending their lives through suicide due to lack of support (“Number of suicides among senior hits record high”, The Straits Times, Monday, July 30, 2018).

 

Besides forming a task force to tackle depression and suicides which I proposed on my blog and in the media much earlier, every citizen must take it upon themselves to feel for the elderly lonely. After all, our elderly seniors were the ones who contributed to the economic growth of Singapore during their younger days. Many people, myself included, find it hard to believe that Singapore is a first world country that has third world practices.

 

To abandon the elderly lonely who include those who have lost their loved ones is just not right and is not in keeping with the government’s on-going effort to building a gracious, caring and inclusive society.

 

Give love, until it hurts: Let’s take lessons from Mother Teresa

 

I have always admired Mother Teresa for the love and care she had given to the less fortunate in society and I am deeply influenced by her. To better understand the true meaning of providing support and love to our lonely seniors, let us take lessons from the late Mother Teresa.

 

In one episode of her charity work, Mother Teresa went to visit a Hindu mother of 8 children, all of whom who had gone without food for several days. She brought them a small bag of rice. As soon as the mother of 8 children received the rice, she took half the packet of rice and ran out of the house. Mother Teresa was puzzled. When the lady return home, Mother Teresa asked her where she had gone to with half the packet of rice.

 

The lady smiled and replied that she gave the rice to a Muslim family, her neighbor, who like her, had gone without food for days.  Clearly, this Hindu lady knows how to give love – until it hurts.

 

Recently, I came across some painful postings by a young pretty Filipino girl on Facebook, a friend of mine, just 21 years old, but often depressed. She ended up living in a park as her home has been taken away as she could not pay the 2 months’ rent. I comforted her and advised her to value life and to go to church and pray every day – for prayer works wonders.  Then I sent her some groceries from the few books I sold. She was so uplifted, knowing that someone in Singapore cares for her well-being.

 

It is extremely painful to go without food for days, feel abandoned and to come to the reality of being all alone and uncared for in this world. I then searched the Facebook to find her Mayor in Albay, Philippines, and advised her to write to him for assistance. I continue to keep in touch with her, giving guidance and showing care for her.

 

Never underestimate the undying, unconditional love from God

 

I lit a blessed candle for her that night and asked Jesus to help her. The next day, a friend she met at the park brought her to her home to stay, and now at least she will have a roof over her head and probably a decent meal.

  

Staying ‘alive’ to the realities of suicidal depression and other mental disorders

 


 

I had proposed a detailed report on how we can tackle suicides and depression, giving practical and workable solutions, but it appears – real or imagined, that my proposal has fallen on deaf ears. What a sad state of affairs!

 

A monthly allowance to help our seniors cope with living expenses

 

Many of our seniors who are drawn to suicide don’t have money for their daily expenses. Where feasible, I urge the government to provide a monthly allowance of anything between $200 to $300 to our seniors who live all alone.

 

Recreation is also so important for the lonely elderly to find comfort, Surely, some outings by church groups or government agencies can be organized to provide some measure of support.   When my wife was alive, we were fortunate to benefit from such outings that were organized by the Saint Vincent De Paul Society of my church. But now that Doris has died, everything has died with her and I am left all alone to fend for myself.
 

Stay connected through WIFI

 

Often social media can be a useful platform for the lonely elderly to keep in touch with friends and even find new ones. Given the push by the Singapore Government to build a smart nation, shouldn’t WIFI be installed in HDB estates, especially for those who live in flats all alone?

 

Don’t play God by legalising euthanasia, but value life, promote love, support and understanding

 

The media, because of its huge outreach must promote love, understanding and support, bringing people from all races, ages and religions together as one big family. It should in no way cause divisions in society and give undue attention to those who have absolutely no value for life. Only cowards will want to support euthanasia to get rid of seniors who lose the will to live.

 

I was deeply troubled that a regular forum writer wrote about giving euthanasia options to lonely seniors who struggle with sickness and find it difficult to secure support. Who is he to play God? Being a born Catholic, I am deeply offended by his letter which has been published. If suicide is a crime, then why is euthanasia being suggested?  Let us not be a party to abetting a crime.

 

No religion, to the best of my knowledge will support killing oneself.

 

During my 31-year-old career in broadcasting, our journalists were so well trained and such letters or any others causing division or gossip in society would never be published.

 

The late Mr Lee Kuan Yew would come down hard on news editors who paint Singapore or her citizens in bad light.

 

So, let’s put a grinding halt to gutter journalism – period.  Minister Iswaran, the ball is in your court.

 

RAYMOND ANTHONY FERNANDO

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Opinion Piece: Artistes should set aside differences, embrace kindness and work towards reconciliation



It is somewhat disturbing to read of the spat between two popular TV actresses (“Pan Lingling's alleged comments on relationships of Hong Huifang's children led to their split” (July 25, 2018, The Straits Times).

Even more troubling now is that a former Ex-MediaCorp actress Julie Tan has joined in the fray – as reported in “Julie Tan hits back after Hong-Pan spat casts spotlight on love life” (The New Paper, July 25, 2018).

Relationships can be so tricky, and even the best of friends can fall out when hurtful words said on the spur of the moment causes anger, bitterness, jealousy, envy and resentment.  Spats can also take place in homes when relationships turn sour.  

Given that these two artistes have a large fan base, it does not augur well for both of them as well as for MediaCorp to vent out their dispute that has caught the attention of the media. Added to that, morale among their fellow artistes can take a beating. If these issues are not handled properly, the reputation of MediaCorp will suffer. We should not allow this to happen to our national broadcasting station.  It would help if the MediaCorp HR department counsels the celebrities involved so that others who feel upset about this spat will not jump on the bandwagon.

MediaCorp has done exceptionally well by showing kindness to the less fortunate in Singapore through their on-going fun-raising shows on TV, programmes that raises awareness of those with special needs and through their staff who do community work.  Such kindness must be ingrained in all their employees.

In all relationships, we need to embrace understanding, forgiveness, love and care for one another, as life is so very fragile. Just read the reports of people in Vietnam and Philippines who are struggling to cope with natural disasters, the collapse of a dam in Laos and the heatwave that has devastated the lives of thousands in Japan to fully understand what an uncertain world we now live in. 

Though these events are mind boggling, we have also seen that out of such human tragedy, it is the milk of human kindness that has united people together –  against the odds.

Many people and organisations will readily step forward to provide that much-needed assistance and give a glimmer of hope to those in chaos.  And on all accounts, it so important to practise the virtue of kindness.

If we want to build a better home here in Singapore – for both locals and foreigners who live here, then everyone of us, including the media, must take on that added responsibility of bringing people closer together and bonding them.  More so when we live in a fast-paced environment with so much uncertainties coming on-stream.

This brings to my mind, my number 1 choice song which is, “Try a little kindness”, sung by well-known country and western singer Glen Campbell.  It is one of my favourite songs because to me, the lyrics bear an important message, a forgotten virtue, often overlooked in this complicated world of increasing stress and strain, greed and selfishness.  The message is one of showing kindness to another. 

The Hollies smash hit, “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother”, is yet another meaningful song because it too touches on the struggles in life and the apparent need for people to help one another.

That said, I urge both Pan Lingling and Hong Huifang to set aside their differences, don’t hold anymore grudges, embrace kindness and then work towards reconciliation.

 

Raymond Anthony Fernando 

Monday, July 2, 2018

Support , compassion for Raymond & his causes

Through the wonderful support of Rev Father Colin Tan , Parish Priest of St Ignatius Church, I had the opportunity to raise much more awareness of mental llness, promote my novel "Loving A Schizophrenic" and market a book produced by CLUB HEAL, A PLACE IN THE SUN.
 
I was fortunate to raise some funds for my own special needs and medicare care through this promotion. The Parishioners at this church displayed compassion and kindness to me with one elderly lady taking the trou...ble to buy me lunch and a drink as she knew I was dead tired from selling the books the whole day.


Rev Fr Colin Tan went the extra mile and got his IT staff to put out a lovely slide on the monitor and both he and Rev Fr Jerome gave glowing testimonies of the love I had for my late wife to the church goers, even asking at the end of mass how my sales were doing. These are the kind of priests who makes me so proud to call myself a Catholic.


At the church, I met up with the humble and caring Member of Parliament (MP) Christopher De Souza who has bought some of my books. This MP told me that he loves reading my press letters to The Straits Times , Today Newsaper & The New Paper as well as my propdsals to the Government through my blog where from redaing my articles, he gets the chance to implement my ideas and suugestions to the community .


We need these kind of MPs
The MP just sent me an email:


Hi Raymond,
Thank you for sending on the photo. And thank you for your passion for the subject of assisting those with mental illness, and their companions.

With kind regards – and thanks,
Chris de Souza
*******************************
Next up, my talk on schizophrenia at the British Council this Friday.
Have a nice day:)
Sincerely,
Raymond Anthony Fernando

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Very poor and questionable service from DBS Bank


27th June 2018

 

Heng Swee  Keat

Finance Minister

Cc: DPM Tharman

PM Lee Hsien Loong

 

Dear Mr Heng,

 

Very poor and questionable service from DBS Bank

 

I refer to the above matter.

This morning around 8.39am after praying to my late wife and sister in church, I withdrew some money from the DBS Thompson Plaza branch and while the deduction of $1,110 was made, the money did not come out from the machine.

The hotline number manned by the bank staff told me they can only rectify the mistake after investigating the incident and I can only get back my money in two days.  What would happen to the lower income group who need the money urgently for their daily expenses?  Has DBS bank got no compassion at all?

The staff proved most unhelpful and as a result of which I had to wait till 10am for the bank to open its doors before I could lodge an official report. and all my household chores including cooking and washing my clothes were delayed. A lot of customers at the bank in the queue were grumbling why the bank has to start operations at 10am when they ought to do so at 8.30am – just like other banks.

In addition, the bank at Avenue 4 Ang Mo Kio near the 628 market in Ang Mo Kio has taken away all staff, making it most inconvenient for many elderly Singaporeans. In what way is DBS Bank being supportive of our silver haired citizens?

Last month while updating my bank book, the book got stuck in the machine and the bank staff told me I will get back the bank book one week later. What kind of service is this from a bank? The bank boast of top-notch service, but is this any way to do it?
It is abundantly clear to me that the machines which I gather  is managed by a vendor are very badly maintained.

So, what next, wait two days to get my money back, then make another trip to the bank, all on account of poor systems in place?

I would appreciate a speedy reply and an apology from the bank, and an assurance that such incidents will not take place ever again

Thank you.

 

Sincerely,

 

Raymond Anthony Fernando

 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

LOVING A SCHIZOPHRENIC reprinted for the 9th time

I managed to clear one big hurdle in getting sponsorship to do a reprint of my novel, Loving A Schizophrenic .When the 400 reprinted copies come in this week, I will have to jump over the next big hurdle which is to sell as many copies as I can. But with the love of Jesus & my late wife who watch over me, I will overcome and beat all odds. For there will always be kind-hearted people who believe in me and my causes despite the biasness and discrimination person with mental illness face everyday in their lives


Raymond Anthony Fernando
Author , Loving A Schzophrenic

Monday, June 25, 2018


25th June 2018

 

Mr Ong Ye Kung

Education Minister

 

Dear Mr Ong,

 

NUS students alleged stripping and Ngee Ann Poly questionable lap dance

Schools and tertiary institutions must provide moral education and inculcate good vales in students: An open proposal to Education Minister Ong Ye Kung

 

I refer to the press reports on the above incidents and have analyzed and come up with some possible solutions.  NUS and Ngee Ann Poly are reputable institutions and we should not just criticise the wrong doings, as anyone can do that.  

 

Rather, we should, as active citizens, contribute useful ideas to make our home a safe, healthy and conducive environment. We need to build a culture of thinking ‘out of the box’ and have the mindset to engage in creative thinking and problem-solving techniques to help the government of the day build a bright future for all of us.

 

The highly improper behaviour displayed by some students from the National University of Singapore during an unofficial orientation outing at Sentosa and a video recording of two students from Ngee Ann filmed in a less than desirable lap dance places these two educational institutions in the spotlight – but for all the wrong reasons as reported in The Straits Times and The New Paper.


Such unhealthy behavior that has the tendency to promote sex outside marriage, encourage cohobating, promote wrong values, demean women and have adverse psychological effects on the students who were unwilling to participate in the activities must never be condoned.  Some people who are under stress find engaging in sexual behaviour a way to release their pent-up emotions.


While we can allow some form of expression, we should not blindly ape western lifestyles as there must be some levels of decency in the upbringing of students.

Parents invest a great deal on money on education and thus need to be assured that their children are learning the right values.


All schools and tertiary institutions have a role to play in passing on common morality.  To do this, they must provide moral education which should be part and parcel of the curriculum. 


There must be discipline and self-regulations during school terms.   


Educators, through the direction of the Ministry of Education must give moral guidance, rewarding students for doing the right things and punishing them when they step way out of line, as well as modelling good conduct and modelling appropriate reactions to the conduct of others.


Both students and parents need to come together with the educators for open and frank discussions and reflection on the nature and justification of moral values.


Even though it’s a challenge with our youths wanting more freedom, promoting the moral development of the young is vital as relationships handled poorly can lead to much bigger social problems in later life –  be it at the workplace, in homes and in the community.

 

RAYMOND ANTHONY FERNANDO


Footnote: 
Minister has responded positively.

Dear Mr Fernando

Thank you for sharing your views. The IHLs draw a clear line between appropriate and inappropriate behaviors during orientation.  The students can have fun, but activities must always be carried out respectfully and in good taste. For the NUS incident, the students organized the activity outside of campus and it was not part of the orientation program. Notwithstanding, NUS felt that as freshmen were invited to the event, it will take the necessary actions to send a clear message that the activity conducted was inappropriate, and in fact, illegal in Singapore. 

Regards


MOE Ong Ye Kung

 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Perspectives: Staying ‘alive’ to the realities of suicidal depression and other mental disorders : A proposal to Gan Kim Yong ,Minister of Health



Within just a week, two high profile celebrities have lost their lives in a most cruel way.

First, it was fashion designer Kate spade who hung herself and left a suicide note to her teenage daughter. Then it was Anthony Bourdain, Celebrity Chef and CNN food critic who was found dead in a hotel room in France.

Kate Spade, 55 died in an apparent suicide on Tuesday June 5, 2018 while Anthony Bourdain 61, died also from suicide on Friday, June8, 2018. 

Both celebrities had hanged themselves.

I, like many others – worldwide are deepened saddened by these tragic incidents and thus it’s important to keep their loved ones in prayer during this difficult period.


But make no mistake about it – depression and suicide are silent killers.  So too are other mental disorders such as bipolar and schizophrenia. Even though these issues are sensitive and delicate, we need to come alive on these matters by discussing it openly and rationally.

 

Some of the risks factors of suicide include:

♦ Loss of interest or pleasure

♦ Insomnia

♦ Decreased appetite

♦ Retardation, fatigue or agitation

♦ Feelings of worthlessness, guilt

♦ Impaired concentration, indecisiveness

♦ Financial distress

♦ Isolation

♦ Personal issues, such as marital problems

 

Relationship can be tricky and not everyone can manage break-ups as it is by no means easy to cope with.  For like grief, the emotional pain from failed relationships can be overwhelming.

 

The other important matter to note is that children and loved ones are in real danger of going through psychological issues as it can be traumatic for them to cope with loss.

 

In yet another horrific incident, the media had reported that a Frenchman had committed suicide at Mecca’s Grand Mosque on Saturday, June 9. There were no details released on the identity of the man, or why he threw himself off mosque roof in Islam's holiest city.

Was it suicide as reported by the press? Or was it a mental illness such as Bipolar that caused the death.

Patients with bipolar can believe that they can fly or do the impossible. It is part of the symptoms of the illness.

A case in point is how Blake LeVine, now aged 35 who as a child believed that he could fly. As a teenager, Blake would spend hours in the library frantically reading all that he could about how humans could take flight. His parents grew so concerned that he would attempt it by jumping off of one of New York City’s skyscrapers that they had him institutionalised. After being hospitalised several times, Blake was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder.

In another media report, this time by Channel NewsAsia,on June 14, “SCDF rescues woman walking on roof of overhead bridge in Yishun”, Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers  had managed to rescue a woman walking on the roof of an overhead bridge.

The woman was brought to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital and was arrested for attempted suicide.

Was this suicidal depression or was it a mental illness gone untreated?

We need to have a clear understanding of all types of mental disorders.

 

Family, friends, employers, religious groups and the media all have a part to play in helping depressed people overcome their struggles which can prevent suicide.  We can do this by showing empathy and concern to depressed people coupled with a listening ear; and by being in tune with the warning signs of depression.  We must never dismiss a cry for help as a sign of weakness or view the sufferer as being bothersome.

 

Certainly, suicide survivours can reinforce the message that taking one’s own life is not the solution as treatment is readily available and recovery is always possible.  These valuable sharing experiences can be carried out at schools, workplaces, religious places, community clubs and during talk shows on radio and television networks where these issues can be discussed candidly.

 

Listeners can call in with their questions and shared experiences. It will be good to also invite enlightened employers and marriage counsellors who can give guidance and directions on how to better manage challenges in life’s journey.

In addition, counselling, group therapy and supportive psychotherapy can give encouragement and support to anyone who finds life meaningless.

I should additionally add that there are stress management solutions that are available to provide anonymous education and support which we need to educate more people about.

Let us not wait till the situation gets out of hand and more tragedies take place –for one life lost is one life gone too many.

Raymond Anthony Fernando

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Opinion piece: Keep alive the realities of mental health issues and suicide, through survivours and talk shows: By Raymond Anthony Fernando



For a lady who was so successful in the fashion industry, it is so hard to believe that Kate Spade would have lost the will to live (“Designer Kate Spade suffered depression for years, husband says”, Channel NewsAsia, June, 7). 

I like many others – worldwide are deepened saddened by this tragic incident and it’s important to keep her family in prayer during this difficult period.


But make no mistake about it – depression and suicide are silent killers.  So too are other mental disorders such as bipolar and schizophrenia. Even though these issues are sensitive and delicate, we need to come alive on these matters by discussing it openly and rationally.

 

Certainly, suicide survivours can reinforce the message that taking one’s own life is not the solution as treatment is readily available and recovery is always possible.  These valuable sharing experiences can be carried out at schools, workplaces, religious places and at the community clubs.  

 

Some of the risks factors of suicide include:

♦ Loss of interest or pleasure

♦ Insomnia

♦ Decreased appetite

♦ Retardation, fatigue or agitation

♦ Feelings of worthlessness, guilt

♦ Impaired concentration, indecisiveness

♦ Financial distress

♦ Isolation

♦ Personal iisues, such as marital problems

 

Relationship can be tricky and not everyone can manage break-ups as it is by no means easy to cope with.  For like grief, the emotional pain from failed relationships can be overwhelming. We must never dismiss a cry for help as a sign of weakness or view the sufferer as being bothersome.

 

Instead, family, friends, employers and religious groups all have a part to play in helping depressed people overcome their struggles which can prevent suicide.  We can do this by showing empathy and concern to depressed people coupled with a listening ear; and by being in tune with the warning signs of depression.

 

Radio and television networks can play a supporting role as well, by raising more awareness of mental health issues and suicide through regular talks shows where experts and suicide survivours can discuss these issues candidly.  Listeners can call in with their questions and shared experiences. It will be good to also invite enlightened employers and marriage counsellors who can give guidance and directions on how to better manage challenges in life’s journey.

 

In addition, counselling, group therapy and supportive psychotherapy can give encouragement and support to anyone who finds life meaningless.

 

RAYMOND ANTHONY FERNANDO

 

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Inspiring & educational talks on mental illness By: Raymond Anthony Fernando




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


 

In this solid one-hour talk, I will cover my late wife’s 40-year battle with depression and Schizophrenia, the trials and tribulations of our courtship and marriage and her miraculous recovery that enabled her to become an author of 8 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 30 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.

Facilities 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) 


 


Portfolio of Raymond Anthony Fernando
Raymond Anthony Fernando is a motivational speaker, poet, author of 30 books, 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.