Pay it forward: Singaporeans urged to donate S$600 payouts to those who (really) need them

Actor Paul Foster, at left, and lawyer Tommy Koh in videos appealing to Singaporeans to donate their S$600 relief payouts. Images: Tan Chuan-jin, Tommy Koh/Facebook
Actor Paul Foster, at left, and lawyer Tommy Koh in videos appealing to Singaporeans to donate their S$600 relief payouts. Images: Tan Chuan-jin, Tommy Koh/Facebook

More people today joined a Singaporean lawyer’s call for people to donate cash payouts received from the government to those in greater need during the COVID-19 economic crisis. 

An actor and politician are among those taking up yesterday’s pledge by attorney Tommy Koh to donate his S$600 (US$424) share. Koh, 82, said he would donate to a nonprofit that helps migrant workers and urged others to do the same for causes they care about. 

“I am making an appeal to Singaporeans, who do not need the S$600 from the government, to consider donating it to a charity or NGO,” Koh wrote yesterday in a post that included a widely shared video clip.

 

I am making an appeal to Singaporeans, who do not need the $600 from the government, to consider donating it to a charity or NGO.

Posted by Tommy Koh on Monday, 13 April 2020

 

His appeal came as all Singaporeans 21 and up began receiving one-off cash payments as part of the third round of COVID-19 financial relief, worth S$5.1 billion.

Actor Paul Foster and Parliament Speaker Tan Chuan-Jin are now also urging people to pay their S$600 forward. 

“Friends, quite a number of you messaged me that you won’t really need the Solidarity payout of S$600 given by the Govt and hope to donate it to those who need it more,” Tan wrote online today, pointing to government-linked charity sites such as Giving.SG. “I know that a number of us have donated and I hope you can do the same.”

 

HELP DONATE N SHARE! Friends, quite a number of you messaged me that you won’t really need the Solidarity payout of $600 given by the Govt and hope to donate it to those who need it more. 👍👍That’s a great idea and very kind of you! 😷We have established a few possibilities indicated below that you can explore. I know that a number of us have donated and I hope you can do the same. Or, help share this video and get the word out. Together, we will get through this! 💪🇸🇬

#IPledgetoGive #SharingisCaring #SGUnited
#SGCares #SGTogether #TotalDefence

Here are some suggestions on where you can donate:

www.giving.sg
www.sgunited.gov.sg/donate
www.comchest.sg/thecouragefund
www.comchest.sg/theinvictusfund

The team that initiated this from ground up wishes to remain anonymous! Thanks for organizing this!

Tks to Prof Tommy Koh, Paul Foster and Jeffrey Low for doing this! 🙏🏻

Posted by Tan Chuan-Jin on Tuesday, 14 April 2020

 

Many low-income citizens who suffered pay cuts or unemployment due to the pandemic were also able to claim S$500 payments under the Temporary Relief Fund scheme. It’s not yet known publicly how many Singaporeans have lost their jobs. 

“Many people in Singapore need this to help them go through this great crisis,” Koh said in his video appeal, standing in front of a bookshelf, hands clasped. “But for those of us who don’t need the money, I want to make an appeal to donate this money to a charity or a non-governmental organization that’s close to your heart.”

Koh added that he would donate his money to an NGO supporting Singapore’s migrant workers, citing recent news of horrid living conditions accompanied by outbreaks at their dormitories. He recommended the group Transient Workers Count Too in the comments. 

“I know what I’m going to do with the money. I will donate my $600 to one of the NGO helping our foreign workers. Thank you very much,” he said. 

Other charitable movements that have surfaced online in recent weeks include the #WeGiveInSolidarity campaign on Give.asia, which has since raised more than S$60,000 for migrant workers, victims of domestic abuse and violence, the elderly, and low-income families. 

“Living in isolation is no excuse for us to become disconnected from our humanity. Let’s turn this ‘circuit breaker’ into a real distribution of power and make the choice to help our fellow human beings, especially those who may not have the privilege to sit with the anxiety of this situation with loving family in the comfort of a well-stocked home,” the page read.

Last week, Singaporean influencer Preetipls and friends successfully raised over S$260,000, more than twice their goal of S$100,000, for two NGOs helping the migrant community.

Other organizations that also created fundraising campaigns aimed at helping migrant workers in Singapore are Support Migrant Workers SG, Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (HOME), and Covid-19 Migrant Support Coalition.

Nearly 20 migrant worker dormitories have been hit with COVID-19, of which eight are now on lockdown. The S11 Dormitory @ Punggol remains the worst hit with 718 cases.

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Ho Ching sort of thanks Taiwan after backlash to ‘rude’ donation response
Advocates and patients fume after Singapore deems mental health services ‘nonessential’
Filthy, cramped dorms come to light as virus afflicts Singapore’s migrant workers
MP put on blast for saying ‘it takes a virus’ to clear field of foreign workers
Singapore locks down 4th migrant worker dorm as new COVID-19 cases hit record high

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