For over 40 years since 1975, Mr Lim Hock Heng conducts curfew checks at the homes of probationers, night after night. His dedicated service as a Volunteer Probation Officer (VPO) with the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) was recognised and honoured at the MSF Volunteer Awards, an annual event where the Ministry shows appreciation to its volunteers and partners.
Besides Mr Lim, two other VPOs who have volunteered for 40 years, Ms Dass Elizabeth and Mr Yahya Bin Osman were also honoured. All three VPOs have tirelessly spent their free time helping the rehabilitation of probationers, so that offenders complete their probation successfully.
This year, MSF paid tribute to a total of 232 volunteers with seven Outstanding Volunteer awards, 16 “Friends of MSF” awards, and 181 Long-Service awards at the ceremony hosted by Minister for Social and Family Development, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin.
Highlighting the efforts of these volunteers, Minister Tan noted that it would take many helping hands and giving hearts to build a caring and compassionate society. He said, “MSF cannot do without their selfless generosity. Every act, big or small, can make a world of a difference to those who are in need. We can build top infrastructure and set the best policies, but we also need the private sector to bolster efforts and the wider community to reach out to the disadvantaged and vulnerable amongst us.”
The seven Outstanding Volunteer Award recipients have made significant contributions in their respective areas of serving the community. (Please refer to Annex A for detailed write-ups.) They are:
- Mr Ching Wei Hong – The Families For Life (FFL) Council chairman has actively led several initiatives to encourage families to spend quality time together, such as the popular monthly picnics at various parks across Singapore.
- Mdm Fong Wai Kheng – Mdm Fong has fostered 18 children over the past 15 years, and adapts her parenting style accordingly to meet the needs of each child. She enrolled her foster children in enrichment classes that could foster the development of their strengths.
- Associate Professor Fred Long and Dr Lim Yun Chin – A/P Long and Dr Lim have been members of the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) since 2007, and are key consultants on NCPG’s Expert Panel on Problem Gambling Manpower Development. Their guidance were instrumental in the development of help services and gambling counsellor training programmes.
- Associate Professor Ngiam Tee Liang – A/P Ngiam is one of the pioneers of social work in Singapore, and has devoted 40 years in the sector, both in his career and service. His continued passion for social issues and planning led him to volunteer as a research fellow with MSF since 2008.
- Mrs Mona Phua-Lim Beng Quek and Mr Henry Phua – Mr and Mrs Phua have provided love and support to a total of 9 foster children ranging from toddlers to primary school-aged children. She plays an active role in their lives. When one child encountered a school bully, Mrs Phua-Lim stepped in immediately to work with the school to mediate the incident.
- Mr Philip Tan – Mr Tan has been a long-serving volunteer in various areas at NCSS since 1983. He is currently the Vice President of National Council of Social Service (NCSS) Board of Council and Chairman of Community Chest.
Annex A: List of Award Winners