On 9 January 2009, the cancer site of Cancerstory.com became dormant.
However, the web contents can still be read like a book without further update.
Sharing with Students & Parents
- 01/1/2003 Recognition from MOE
- Write-up in school textbook
- Volunteerism
- Bringing Up Children

Sharing of Moral Values
    Content :

  1. Balloon
  2. 'Charity' Money - Integrity
  3. 'Charity' Money - Cause vs. Creative Fundraising
  4. Consequence
  5. Family Bond(yin shui shi yuan)
  6. Human vs. Animal-Mt Huang Shan
  7. Man-made Cattle
  8. I want to be a doctor
  9. "Jing Ying"
  10. Story of Xinglin
  11. The Reality of Giving
  12. Betrayal-Hindrance to Growth
  13. Sad Reality of Life

Spirit of Caring & Sharing
- Our mascot, Humanity
- Our Cartoon Show
- Pika's Challenge

Being A Volunteer

It's not for money, it's not for fame,
It's not for any personal gain.
It's just for love of fellow man,
It's just to lend a helping hand.
It's just to give a tithe of self,
That's something you can't buy with wealth.
It's not for medals won with pride,
It's for that feeling deep inside.
It's that reward down in your heart,
It's that feeling that you've been a part.
Of helping others far and near,
That makes you be a volunteer!

Sharing with volunteers

On 18 March 2004, I received the following sms from Mdm Yong Bee Hong. Indeed, all volunteers are a part of their beneficiaries' space.
SPACE seems like an empty word, but it is full of :

Thank you for being a part of my SPACE.

My views on true spirit of altruism and volunteerism

Since the launch of CancerStory.com in Year 2000 I have engaged in many interesting dialogues with cancer patients and their caregivers, members from the public, and journalists. I was constantly posed many personal questions that often stirred up some disappointments and brought out the selfishness of the human creed. Being a straight-talking person, I will always give spontaneous answers that are often not diplomatically delivered and may displease some.

I have decided to share some of the many presumptions often made. I hope that web surfers will receive them with an open mind and be motivated to support volunteerism even though voluntary work can be tough in our present society which is predominantly based on the application of the business model even in the social service sector. Whether one likes it or not, the operations of local charities in the present context has to undergo a "revolutionary change" in the process of Remaking Singapore.

I wrote to the Ministry of Community Development and Sports(MCDS) to express my concerns. I was given a report (please click here to read write-up) to read and encouraged to adopt a business model to sustain my non-profit work. Click here to read reply from MCDS (now known as MCYS).

I resigned to the fact that the spirit of altruism and volunteerism can never be 100% true and pure in the wake of present societal moral value.


Presumption #1 : You must be rich in order to commit in your work to help cancer patients.

       Answer #1 : No, I am not rich but I lead a simple lifestyle so that I can put aside some money to help the less fortunate.

Presumption #2 : You are a single. Therefore, she can spare time to help others.

       Answer #2 : Yes, I am a single but this does not mean that people who are not single do not have spare time. The fact is everybody has one's own leisure time and it is up to each individual to choose how to make use of one's spare time.

Presumption #3 : You must be a religious person to feel for the less fortunate.

       Answer #3 : No, I am a free-thinker who respect all religions. I believe all human beings are born with a "kind heart" and endowed at birth, with the ability to show compassion for others.

Presumption #4 : You are getting great satisfaction from practicing good deeds.

       Answer #4 : Satisfaction is an abstract word to me. I only help within my ability.

Presumption #5 : Getting sponsorship must be easy for your work.

       Answer #5 : Only people who work in the voluntary organizations will share my experience and realize that getting sponsorship is never an easy task. Therefore, I am always inclined to use my hard-earned money to carry out my project of passion.

Presumption #6 : Getting publicity must be easy for you.

       Answer #6 : The media game is a tough one. What is newsworthy? It is entirely at the media owners' discretion. Similarly, it is not easy to get the medical institutions and other public bodies to share my mission.

My experience with the media

On one occasion, the spouse of a cancer patient made the following comment : -

"I noticed that you had many write-ups on CancerStory.com by the various media in the earlier years. Your publicity dwindles as the years go by. Why is this so? You should continue to generate publicity in order to reach out to cancer patients and their families."

This is indeed my toughest challenge - getting ongoing free publicity. The fact is that I have managed to secure a good footing for CancerStory.com such that the local media is aware of its presence. Whenever they need stories about cancer patients and general comments on cancer and related issues, they will contact me for help. Likewise, if they are keen to provide ongoing free write-ups about CancerStory.com, they are free to do so. Unfortunately, the "media" game is such that if one has no new story to share, the "stale bread" will be discarded. Sadly, it is beyond my ability to "stir up" new stories as I am just an ordinary Singaporean.

Some people will argue that I could generate publicity through other means such as distribution of flyers and display of posters at public places, which were already carried out. Indeed I had tried many other means to generate publicity, even going the extra mile to write to the Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts. Please click here to read this letter. This letter was also copied to the CEO of SPH Holdings Ltd.

Luckily with the help of search engines, many web surfers have been acquainted with the existence of CancerStory.com, saving it from becoming a "dead" site.

Extract - My letter sent to Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts on 7 March 2004.

The establishment of the National Volunteer Centre (NVC) was in line with the Government's commitment to the Singapore 21 vision - embracing volunteerism as a way of life to build Singapore into a world class home. In March 2003, as part of the Government's strategic efforts to bridge social divides and create a culture of "giving back" to society, NVC assumes a new role in promoting philanthropy in Singapore. Now it is known as National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre(NVPC).

Despite the government's commitment to promoting volunteerism and philanthropy, the local media remain inclined towards featuring high fliers in the business world and celebrities in the entertainment industry.

In the process of Remaking Singapore, I propose that more support in the form of free publicity should be given to voluntary organizations. If only the major newspapers such as Straits Times and Lianhe ZaoBao were generous enough to provide a special section for write-ups on voluntary organizations and regular updates on the activities of National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre, it will certainly help to reach out to more people who are seeking help, and those who are keen to take up voluntary work and to "give back" to society. What is newsworthy? Indeed, all voluntary organizations are formed to carry out worthy missions in support of humanity. Would the readers be keen on such news? I believe that readers will be keen to know where they can seek help and where they can volunteer their services. This will also enhance the image of Singapore being a community-spirited country in line with the Singapore 21 vision. My friend from China, once made the following remarks : "I noticed that your local newspapers mainly carry reports on murder, rape, accident, robbery, theft and other negative local news that do not reflect well of Singapore. Before I came to Singapore, I was told that it is a safe country but now I think otherwise."

If you share my views, I hope that you could encourage the media to "give back" to society, as it is also a form of philanthropic act to provide free publicity to voluntary organizations that do not have financial resources to embark on publicity campaigns. If only more people know of the existence of these voluntary bodies, all resources will then be adequately deployed in support of humanity.

Reply from MITA - 22 March 2004

Thank you for your letter dated 7 March 04 to Minister Lee Boon Yang.

We agree with your suggestion that the media could consider more programmes to promote volunteerism and philanthropy. The media does support volunteer groups and regularly report their activities. For example, NCSS collaborated with MediaCorp on ComChest's charity show, which has given higher profile to VWO beneficiaries and has helped to educate the public on VWOs and their work.

Each voluntary group has to creatively strategise to capture the attention of the limited space and airtime in the media.

Update in Year 2005 - After the NKF's saga in July 2005, I noticed that there are weekly write-ups on local charities and fundraising events in the Straits Times - "Charity at Home".
Reply from MCDS - 5 September 2003

I refer to your letter of 11 August 2003 to the Minister for Community Development And Sports, Dr Yaccob Ibrahim. We understand that you sent a similar letter to Minister of State, Mr Chan Soo Sen.

We thank you for feedback and for allowing us to clarify with you our concept of the Social Enterprise Fund(SEF). The SEF is set up to foster and support emerging social enterprises. A social enterprise is a sustainable business with a social mission and reinvests a significant portion of its surpluses in the business or in the community to fulfil its social objectives. It combines the entrepreneurial skills and business principles typical of the private sector with the philanthropic spirit and social mission characteristic of people sector. A feasible and sustainable business model is therefore necessary.

The noble initiatives of charitable and non-profit organisations help to enhance invaluable social capital of our society. This does not change and there are existing support for such initiatives. In today's economy, however, traditional sources of financial support have become unstable. Even as donors demand greater accountability, the number competing for funds have risen. The real challenge for non-profits is, therefore, how to create and sustain social value. Operating in a market economy, all non-profits have to be innovative and enterprising in order to serve their causes. For some non-profits, social enterprise may well be a possible strategy to earn income to achieve their social mission in a more sustainable and self-directed way.

Singapore's own non-profit organisations, like the Society for the Physically Disabled and Highpoint Halfway House, have ventured into social enterprises to provide meaningful employment opportunities for their clients and to 'create their own donations'. Other inspiring example overseas that have successfully blended 'business' and 'social' objectives include Grameen Bank of Bangladesh, Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind of USA, and the Population and Community Development Association of Thailand. We hope more non-profits here would be able create viable social enterprises.

Once again, we thank you for your views and wish you all the best in your endeavours.

Updated on 28 November 2005

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