I am heartened by the empathy and compassion that the students of SJII have evidently shown to Madam Jamaliah, “the mee rebus auntie.” (‘Everyone chips in for Auntie’ TNP 16/5/15 p.2).
There are various ways for us to show our concern when we receive news of an unfortunate incident. Some choose to purchase flowers, others will pen a get-well card, but the students of SJII have decided to rally their peers to initiate a very successful fund-raising drive to help Madam Jamaliah, who was injured in an accident.
She sells Malay food such as mee rebus in the school canteen. The fund-raising event for what has been dubbed Aunty Jamaliah’s Fund tells me a few important things. It tells me that the students respect and love Aunty Jamaliah. They appreciate her service to the school community and they do not take that service for granted.
It also proves that with kindness in our hearts, anything is possible. The teens raised a whopping $50,000 for her benefit. That is no small feat!
This inspiring act brings to mind the Singapore Kindness Movement’s tagline for the year – “Kindness, it’s up to us”. The students have shown tremendous initiative to lend a helping hand to their canteen vendor. Taking it upon themselves, they approached their teacher, Ms Frances Powell. It is commendable that Ms Powell empowered them and trusted them to take on such a huge financial project. She has faith in her students to do what is good.
These students show us the way to make kindness a way of life. They believe that the way to respond to a need is up to them, so they stepped up and enthusiastically raised the needed funds. One of them, Priscilla Layarda, just 15 years of age, challenged herself with a rhetorical question: “I could do something, so why not?”
That is the only question we need to ask when confronted with a need.
William Wan (Dr)
Singapore Kindness Movement
First published in The New Paper – May 23, 2016