Thursday, August 29, 2019

Raymond’s on-going journey to bring a better tomorrow

Dear all,


My trip to Selangor (KL) for a meeting with a mental health NGO (MIASA) whose Patron is the daughter of the Malaysian King on 22nd August went well – and they are impressed with my sharing on how I took care of my late wife Doris Lau who battled schizophrenia for 40 years, eventually bringing her to a full recovery.  Before Doris died, she authored 8 books with my coaching.  MIASA plans to secure sponsorship and invite me back next year to speak on schizophrenia & depression at public forums. They have 500 caregivers.

There were concerns when there were disruptions at the KL airport over WIFI breakdowns and computer issues, but the staff at the hotel where I stayed and the airport officers were very helpful.  I prayed to Jesus and HE protected me and brought me home safe & sound.

The flight stewardess, Miss Cassie Wong at Jetstar was awesome, chatted with me during the 1-hour flight and gave me a delicious muffin. Nice to know that kindness and empathy is spreading. Going the extra mile helps a great deal.

 It has not been easy for me to secure support, as some critics have heavily criticized me. But I remain steadfast and am grateful for some kind Catholics who rallied around me and sponsored my trip including accommodation at KL   They include a European gentleman whose daughter has special needs. He told me he supports me as it is a worthwhile project I am embarking on.

I am indeed also grateful to IMH management & their staff for the wonderful support they have – and continue to give me as I try my best to help caregivers trying to cope with taking care of loved ones with mental illness. IMH. I manged to secure sponsorship for my late wife’s very first book COOK WITH LOVE.   

My next project will be another book on kindness (See covers attached).

I am encouraged by the support from kind people who believe in me, one of whom is a professional, His review of my earlier book on kindness sums up my commitment & dedication to make this world a far better place.  On all accounts we can each make a difference.

“Mr Fernando speaks from the expertise of vast experience; his tales are taken from everyday encounters that we sometimes underrate or understate in our haste to fill up every 24 hours as quickly as possible. Written by a HDB heartlander with heart well-grounded in the heartlands. Take a listen.”




Raymond Anthony Fernando

Monday, August 19, 2019

Open public suggestion to Mr Ong Ye Kung – Minister for Education: Include community work during orientation programmes

Despite warnings of disciplinary action against students and their leaders involved in questionable behavior during orientation programmes, yet another incident of crude behaviour has surfaced, as reported in” NTU probes video of students making crude chant and gestures” (The New Paper, Aug 16,2019).

A strong signal must be sent that such incidents will never be tolerated – period.

I am sure students can be taught more value-added lessons.

Singapore has a fast ageing population and we have an acute shortage of volunteers.

It's so heart-wrenching to see the elderly sick in hospitals. Often their caregivers are their own elderly spouses. Some of the elderly sick may not have children, some have children who are not able to care or visit them as the children fall into the sandwich class where they have children of their own to take care of.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) could make bold changes to its orientation programmes by exposing students to community work where students and their leaders can visit the elderly sick in hospitals and befriend them.  

Training can be provided by professionals from the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).

The collaborations between MSF & MOE on support for the elderly sick during orientation programmes could be a pilot scheme and if proven successful, could be included in all future prorgmmes at all tertiary institutions

Bottom line: Students must reject outright immoral activities and provide love and support to our seniors that will build the all-rounded student.




Dear Mr Raymond Fernando,
Thank you for your email to Minister Ong.
We agree with you that such inappropriate behaviour has no place in our universities. Besides taking disciplinary actions against students involvedin the incident, NTU will also counsel them, and emphasise to them the importance of values such as respect and inclusiveness in the NTU and wider Singapore society
Indeed, caring for vulnerable groups like the elderly is an important attribute we hope to nurture in our students. Today, our universities havea range of student groups who volunteer in the community, including in old folks homes and hospitals. We will share your idea with the universities, to see how elements of such activities could be incorporated into their orientation programmes.

Thank you,
Guo Yiran (Ms)
Assistant Director, Higher Education Policy Division
Ministry of Education (Singapore)


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Opinion piece to the Singapore Government: Healthy lifestyle, safety and public education takes priority over promotion of PMDs


I agree that usage of mobile phones by pedestrians should not be allowed when walking on our busy roads (Pedestrians also need to pay attention when walking; August 10, 2019, The Straits Times).  


However, I do not agree on the assumption by the writer, Murali that there is a witch-hunt on PMDs.


Our resources are being overstretched.  Healthcare workers, the traffic police and the courts are seeing an overload due to blatant disregard for traffic rules.


The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) mentioned on 26 July 2019 that there was a total of 54 reported fires involving such mobility devices from January to June this year. Additionally, the number of reported fires involving power-assisted bicycles (PAB) and personal mobility devices (PMDs) has more than doubled in the first half of 2019, compared to the same period last year.

What is just as important is to ensure that we all manage our health properly and that means exercising regularly.  More so with rising medical costs skyrocketing.

I have seen youths who are abled bodied using E-bikes and E-scooters that run at break-neck speeding along the common corridors and pathways leading to bus stops.  If our youths or the younger generation use these PMDs more often, chances are they will not exercise, and in the long run, their health will take a beating. 

On Sunday 11th August at around a young tall rider in his 30s came out of the blue in the darkness and rode his E-Scooter at break-neck speed, totally disregarding the passengers who were waiting at the bus stop at my block.  If I had not stayed alert, I would have been knocked down with severe injuries.  Must we keep looking over our shoulders all the time?   

Whatever happened to the government’s campaign to build a rugged society some years ago?

Let’s get it clear: Such devices must only be used by persons who have severe mobility issues. And if food delivery riders like grab food or food panda are allowed to carry cooked meals to clients, they must ride with strict regulations. For sure, on­-going publication education is a must.

To improve the quality of life in Singapore, the Ministry of Health and the Transport Ministry must work closely together to ensure that policies or schemes enable us to live, work and play in a safe and healthy environment.


Raymond Anthony Fernando


Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Preface to my next book on kindness


If I were asked to name the 5 best things in life, I would immediately cite these: Love, friendship, family, health and of course – kindness.  


What we can all do to make this a far better world is identify what we are passionate about and what we value. Then take steps to incorporate these passions and values into the workplace, in our family and in the community.


I am very passionate about social issues and I mainly focus on 3 groups: The elderly lonely, children with special needs and the mentally ill. I will speak and write passionately on those clinging onto the fringes of society.  


The first book I wrote in kindness, “Kindness is the bridge between all people” was well received – and I managed to sell 180 copies of this novel in just 3 weeks.   It was so encouraging to get accolades from people within Singapore and abroad on the work I do.  This has inspired me to write my second book on kindness.


One psychologist from the Philippines. Miss Celine Sugay who has heard of my advocacy work told me this: “I'm sure thousands of people are benefiting from what you're doing.”

I always apply the 3 Cs when coming alongside the needy: Caring, Compassion and Commitment.

Happiness and gratefulness go hand in hand. To be happy, we must be grateful for what we have or have acquired. For myself, I am grateful because I had a devoted mother and a good wife who both unselfishly gave me invaluable advice and unconditional love for 40 long years. And of course, I am grateful for acquiring good writing skills through the Divine Inspiration.

To take kindness to a higher level, we must not be judgmental when we do not have any idea of those who are struggling in life.  The homeless are often criticised because some people make the wrong assumption that they are in their state because they are lazy.

To those who are unshaven and begging for a meal or money, people will say that they are like parasites, not knowing that they could have lost their jobs. 

When your hair turns grey due to ageing and when you try to sell your books, how any people will rally around you and buy your book because they assume that being old, you do not have the ability to churn out a good story?  

When a prisoner has served his term behind bars, will we as a caring and gracious society give him a second chance, bearing in mind that as humans, we all make mistakes in life?

The media – because of its big outreach has a crucial role to play in promoting kindness – and we need enlightened journalists to encourage their viewers and readers to step forward with bright ideas.  Diverse and balanced views without biasness can help in nation-building.

In this sequel, Empathy and kindness make the world a better place”,

I will present inspiring true stories ranging from simple acts of charity, loyal kindness to royal kindness and many more moving accounts of how the milk of human kindness has healed the world.  


I hope that you will enjoy reading the book and be motivated to pass on kindness in small and big ways – to one and all. God Bless!




Raymond Anthony Fernando

(@ copyrightraymondafernando 2019



Monday, August 5, 2019

Opinion piece: Come down hard on abusers, bullies and uncivility



Austria has the most bullying in the Western world, Sweden has the least. In Europe and North America, boys report being bullied the most in Austria and the least in Sweden, according to a recent report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.


Decisive and concreate action must be taken against bullies and abusers – even after the bully has left employment. Bullying and harassment can also have a serious adverse effect on the success of the business leading to reduced productivity and profits. This is because bullying and harassment can cause: low morale and poor employee relations.


Uncivility is also becoming a growing problem in many parts of the world. In addition, favoritism has seen many productive workers and citizens losing out on rewards.


Bar abusive employers; counsel them from hiring helpers


I am shocked beyond words to read of the abuse to Ms Khalifa, an Indonesian mother of two from Indramayu, West Java by a husband and wife who were so cruel to their helper “Woman jailed 11 years after abuse left maid with deformed nose, scars”  (The New Paper; Aug,2, 2019)..



Due to the 6 months physical abuse, the 39-year-old the domestic helper has a deformed left ear, permanent and prominent scars on her forehead, on the back of her head and across her shoulders. Her left little finger is functionally impaired.


Justice has been served when the judge sentenced her Singaporean employers Zariah Mohd Ali, 58, and her husband Mohamad Dahlan to jail – 11 years jail to Zariah and 15 months and a fine of $1,000 to her husband.


Domestic workers make big sacrifices to leave their families back home to earn better wages here in Singapore so let’s show some kindness and understanding to them.


But questions are a plenty. Given that the couple was convicted in 2001 of abuse of another maid (“Abuse by couple left maid, 39, disfigured and traumatised, Aug 2”), it is baffling that they were allowed to hire another domestic helper.


 Serving a jail sentence is not sufficient to send a clear message to abusers. They need to be counselling while serving their sentences as well as when they are out of prison.   In addition, they should be barred from hiring helpers.


With Singapore’s rapid ageing population, domestic helpers served a useful purpose in helping families cope with caregiving and they must be valued.  Such abuses do not put Singapore in good light.








Opinion piece: Maturity and diligence have to be established between fake news and useful opinions and suggestion

Opinion piece:  Maturity and diligence have to be established between fake news and useful opinions and suggestion

By: Raymond Anthony Fernando


I have said it before, and I’ll say it again, no government in the world – Singapore include can solve all problems.  During my employment with our national broadcasting station, the then-General Manager of the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), Moses Lee encouraged all the staff to contribute ideas and suggestion to improve SBC which will in turn would raise productivity.

Lee’s reasoning was that the staff who were on the ground were in a far better position to see problems within their own divisions and then as a team, they could come up with constructive and workable solutions.  Many employees – myself included, encouraged by Lee’s management acumen were rewarded with outstanding SBC certificates and cash incentives.

Promote active citizenry

In the same vein, active citizenry where citizens who are willing to come up with constructive and workable solutions to social issues must be given the opportunity to air their views to help in nation-building. Their feedback can be useful for governments to draw up polices or fine-tune existing ones that will be beneficial to the less fortunate in societies.   

Six aspects of great feedback


♦ Be specific. We all respond better when we receive specific feedback


♦ Be immediate. The best feedback is immediate and comes while all the details are fresh in your mind


♦ Tie feedback to goals


♦ Ensure feedback is actionable


♦ Use the right language


♦ Don't avoid feedback


Daily ritual

I make it a daily ritual to read the media reports with special focus on social problems.  It is futile for the MSN to keep up publish articles on growing social problems, but reject outright well analyzed press letters that can improve lives. When I read the report of male teen suicides that went up 10 percent, I responded swiftly with some workable solutions to 3 local newspapers.

All 3 refused to publish my letter.  The why bother to write these reports?

Unfortunately, not all journalists, especially in our mainstream media are well trained to allow useful ideas and suggestions to be published. Or they are afraid to fall out of favour with the establishment. Either way this is this is not useful in improving the lives of those who are struggling to cope.  To stifle creativity is not the right thing to do Period!

High time we change this attitude.


Saturday, August 3, 2019

Opinion piece: Talk therapy effective in bringing down suicides

It  is troubling to read of the report where the number of teenage boys who took their own lives last year hit a record high of 19 as reported in “Male teen suicides hit record high” (The New Paper; July 30)


Everyone, young and old needs to value life and this message has to be ingrained so that lives are not lost when wrong decisions made bring much pain to families and friends.


The factors and risks that contribute to youth suicide could include academic pressure, alcohol consumption, relationship issues, frequent change of residency, and poor family patterns.  Harassment is yet another leading cause of teen suicide, along with abuse.


To tackle suicides head on, frank and candid discussion must be on the cards. Those who are suicidal need to release their pent-up emotions to people whom they can trust, show empathy and who will not be judgmental.  They need motivation and a purpose in life. Suicide survivors who have turned their lives around and become resilient in the process together with professionals will be able to help youths to overcome adversities and treasure life to the fullest.


Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be effective to address suicides. CBT is a form of talk therapy to get people who are suicidal to discuss their worries, anxieties and unhappiness in a conducive environment. 


To this end, I further propose that the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) work closely with government agencies like the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social and Family Development to carry out these programmes on a regular basis, reaching out to schools, tertiary institutions and religious organisations.