AHMAD FAIZAL YAHYA / Shutterstock.com
We understand if charity seems to you like an insurmountable task and lending a helping hand to the needy appears inaccessible, but it seems like the perfect solution has sprung up. While many in Singapore are evidently eager to help the less fortunate and make a difference in the lives of the poor, it seems the biggest obstacle is how inconvenient it all feels. In light of this, it might be exciting for Singaporeans who have recently found out about the “CHOPE FOOD for the NEEDY” campaign.
RELATED: Teach your kids the value of giving and sharing
Charity at the your fingertips
The Singaporean culture of “choping” hawker centre tables with almost un-noticeably small packets of tissue papers is a familiar habit in every nook of the island, and this uniquely Singaporean quirk has inspired the creation of the “CHOPE FOOD for the NEEDY – ‘Suspended Food Revolution’ to Pay It Forward” campaign. A budding initiative as a Facebook page by local Michelle Tan, this nascent campaign has quickly garnered hot hits and spread throughout the city like wildfire, with numerous now keen on this method of giving to the underprivileged.
With over 8,000 Facebook “likes” currently, the campaign has also been featured on local media and sparked the interests of many who have plucked the courage to approach their favourite hawkers to “chope” food for the needy. Since its creation early this month, the movement has already been commended by TEDx Singapore Conference, as well as gained the support of local celebrities, such as Pam Oei, who proudly shared her experience online on “choping” food for the poor.
Originating in Italy as a symbol of social solidarity, the movement of such anonymous charity started its humble beginnings when people began ordering an extra cup of coffee, in addition to their own, for someone who cannot afford it. Dubbed “Caffè sospeso”, the idea spread to countries like Britain, America, Australia and Ireland, where the “suspended coffee” movement emerged.
RELATED: 20 ways to teach your child kindness
Mandatory Singaporean cynicism
“CHOPE FOOD for the NEEDY”, while receiving many thumbs ups, has also been the subject of a myriad of doubtful skeptics. As with all things, Singaporeans are always quick to critique and are naturally fast to point out the flaws of this initiative. Locals griped about the pervasiveness of dishonest hawkers who would selfishly pocket the donations as well as the possibility of misers posing as poor people in order to get free food.
While initiators defended their campaign by asserting that it is the hawkers who will discern who to approach to provide the meals, it is disappointing that Singaporeans fail to appreciate the compassion and love behind such a movement. As advocate Pam Oei believes, there will always be dishonest people around but that should not deter one from doing good as after all, “If we can feed just one hungry person, it’s worth it”.
RELATED: Teaching your child to be compassionate
“Chope food for the needy” campaign in Singapore
Seeing the best in people
While the movement explicitly promotes sharing and an awareness of the needy’s plight, perhaps we Singaporeans can also learn a little optimism from it and try to see the best in our fellow people. Widespread distrust has sadly seen hawkers lament that they fear receiving donations as they are afraid of being branded as a dishonest person should they forget or delay their food deliveries.
In our Singaporean society where we hope to believe that each and everyone of us are intrinsically good-hearted and willing to lend a helping hand, perhaps our lives would be more meaningful and less burdened if we are willing to let our worries be assuaged by everyday kindness we witness on the streets. This way, not only would see past some empty fears, we would also be able to realise that perhaps the grass is indeed green enough on this sunny island we are proud to call home.
RELATED: Teaching kids to appreciate kindness