Mr Sium Yeap Tong
Volunteering with RSVP since May 2018
My working background was in the IT (Systems Development) division within the banking industry. When I finally retired in 2017, I wanted to give back to society as I was grateful for having benefitted from over 26 years of working in Singapore. I also wanted to bring cheer, positive values and hope to the clients.
In mid-2016, I googled “senior volunteer” and attended a volunteerism talk in RSVP Singapore. Two staff “interviewed” me and I was posted to Yumin Primary School under the Mentoring Programme.
I then left after some time for a short-term contract job and rejoined RSVP Singapore in 2018. I have been volunteering since.
Currently I volunteer in both the Mentally Disadvantaged Outreach Programme (MDOP) at Anglican Community Services (Simei) and Toa Payoh ADA New Horizon Center; and Mentoring Programme at Holy Innocents’ Primary School & Salvation Army SPS programme.
I participated in a wide range of programmes to not only keep myself challenged on different levels, but also to learn and open my mind to new experiences and knowledge all while contributing to society. I also enjoy the interactions with fellow volunteers and clients and the heart-warming conversations. The beneficiaries from Alzheimer’s Disease Association (Toa Payoh) and Anglican Community Services at Simei have interesting life stories – whether true or imaginary – that are really good life lessons.
It is good to see lots of laughter and fun among the beneficiaries and volunteers during the session’s activities and games (e.g. during scissors/paper/stone, memory recall games, etc). One of my best memories was while discussing most desired places to visit, one beneficiary mentioned a zoo in the US to see the gorillas as he had a close encounter over there many years earlier.
Also, not only does volunteering keep me active mentally and physically, I get to share some of my life’s learnings, knowledge and experience on matters relating to healthy living or financial planning for general discussion. I have also learned from the people I have met along the way. These include the beneficiaries, staff of RSVP and its partner centres, and my fellow volunteers.
My loved ones have noted that volunteering has given me a more relaxed and positive outlook in life.
Besides volunteering, I am also actively pursuing my interest in the visual arts including Chinese ink painting, portrait drawing and oil/acrylic painting.
I feel that volunteering gives one the opportunity to bring joy, hope, cheer to the clients and in return we get a sense of achievement, satisfaction, calmness – more so when the clients show their appreciation for the time and effort we put in during the weekly sessions.