Category Archives: 2014

Selling Cardboard for a Living: A Morning at Collection Point

A peek into the work of Singapore’s elderly cardboard box collectors by Joy Liu

Even before the heat settles in, the corner stalls of Toa Payoh Industrial Park — tucked between the highway overhead and residential apartments across the street — are filled with the whirling and beeping of vehicles and forklifts moving back and forth. The lined rows of long buildings are sectioned into storefronts, denoted by open garages spilling metal rods or parked trucks onto the narrow streets.

One of these is a collection point. There is no storefront label, just a sweat-soaked man behind a large scale balanced by a dangling metal disk. It is his job to weigh everything.

26 Dec 2014Photo credit: The Kapturist

Most of what he weighs are cardboard boxes — brown, of various sizes, some collapsed, most still labeled with names of the products they once carried. The man buys them for 10 to 12 cents per kg. He scribbles a few numbers on a notepad as a receipt, digs out a few bills (or more often, a few coins) from two tin containers, and hands them to his seller.

Mr. Ong* has forgotten to collect his money. His bow-legged gait limits his effort to unload the boxes and few metal rods that he is selling in halting, jolted movements. He has already turned away before he is followed and given the $4.10 that he is owed. He looks at the money and points to his chest questioningly. Then, a toothless smile spreads across his face as he takes it in comprehension.

He is in his eighties. He wears a cap, shorts, and printed button-down shirt. As he returns up the road pushing his now empty cart except for cloth bags dangling from the handle, he talks about chiding his unmarried daughter with a smile.

ONE (SINGAPORE), in collaboration with J’s Restaurant and Happy People Helping People Foundation is organising a Feast of Giving, an end-year celebration for some 200 low-income elderly and cardboard collectors on Sunday 28 December.

There are no statistics for the number of cardboard collectors in Singapore, however one merchant who buys their stock says he sees 20 different elderly vendors every day. “They come here multiple times a day,” the man at the collection point says, nodding after Mr. Ong. He says most of the sellers are men and women in their sixties to eighties, who spend a majority of their day collecting, transporting and selling boxes.

Ms. Jaen* estimates that she is one of “sometimes twenty, no more than thirty,” in Toa Payoh. At sixty-five, she has a diminutive but stocky stature enlarged by an oversized faded T-shirt and maroon sweat pants. She has been collecting boxes in Singapore for over a decade, not being able to find any other work.  While she has no family, she answers a ringing phone in a bulky fanny pack tied around her waist with exclamations that carry halfway across the street.  “My friend,” she explains in a softer voice, after pulling out her upper dentures, picking off a speck, and replacing them in her mouth with attentive precision.

Unlike Mr. Ong, Ms. Jaen’s cart does not have metal scraps, which fetch over a dollar per kg.  She has only boxes collected from stores in the area. While the stores give her their unneeded boxes, it is not always generosity that she faces.  Ms. Jaen says people have also stolen boxes from her cart when she wasn’t looking.

26 Dec 2014 (2)
Photo credit: Daniel Seidel

Her visit to the collection point around noon with a mostly full cart of some collapsed and stacked boxes earns her $2.30. This is a morning’s work.

She stops to chat with another woman coming to sell boxes. When she isn’t in conversation, she stands silently. Her brown eyes, ringed with grey around the pupils, trains onto a fixed spot. She waits. Behind her, the boxes she just sold are tossed into a rusting cage. When the cage is full, a forklift hoists and empties it into two large freight crates jutting onto the road. They are going to be shipped off, re-purposed, made useful again.

On her third sell of the day, Ms. Jaen earns four coins for a stack of boxes that reaches her shoulder. They total to a dollar. She shakes her head as she jangles the coins in her hands. A moment later, she lets out a questioning gasp when she discovers she’s only holding three coins. The next second, she stoops in front of the scale, face centimeters from the ground, retrieving the lost coin and tucking it into her fanny pack.

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those interviewed.

Related article

Run, So Others Can

By ShuQi Liu

4 Nov 2014 (1)

Walking towards the starting point of the Colour Run on Sentosa Island – a 5km race in which everyone starts out in white, but finishes plastered with colour – I was overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of more than 5000 youngsters sporting brightly coloured running shoes, tutus, headbands and knee-length socks.

I was here though – not just for a fun day out – but also to be The Chain Reaction Project’s running buddy of someone from Runninghour, a co-operative that promotes the integration of people with special needs through sports. Runninghour seeks sporty volunteers to team up with people who are intellectually, physically or visually challenged so that their members can more confidently participate in mainstream sporting events.

That morning, Zhang Tingjun – the co-founder of The Chain Reaction Project – WhatsApp-ed me and suggested that we make an eighties fashion statement. Great, I thought, that’s a good excuse to put on my electric blue leggings! Little did I know that they would come in useful later in the day.

Flashback

A week before the Colour Run, I woke up bright and early for Runninghour’s training session. Like most Singaporeans, I grew up in a mainstream environment surrounded by people with ‘normal’ intellect and health. While this seemed ordinary, it’s really just a bubble. Sadly, I had never interacted with anyone who just needs a little more special attention . . . until this morning, when I would be a running buddy for the first time.

Although it was 7.30am on Saturday, a large group of Runninghour members and volunteers had already gathered at the carpark for warm-up exercises. When we first got going, I jogged along like a fish out of water, wondering how I could fit into the group’s dynamics. Then one of Runninghour’s members – a young woman who is a cleaner at Clarke Quay – ran towards me. When she caught up with me, she was huffing and puffing, crying “I can’t run anymore! I can’t run anymore!”

4 Nov 2014 (2)

Here was my chance to really be part of the group, to step up as a Running Buddy.

“Swing your arms more,” I coached. “Lift your knees higher. Keep it up!”

She did as I advised and we chatted as we jogged. With a few words of encouragement, the barriers between us were broken.

Unlike previous adventures with The Chain Reaction Project – climbing a mountain or biking with my dad through Manila’s slums to raise awareness about human trafficking and urban poverty – being a Colour Run buddy was low risk and easy to do. All you need is a dose of empathy and patience to bond with someone with special needs. Isn’t this what social inclusion is all about?

Race Time

Back at Sentosa on the day of the Colour Run, I was paired up with Helen, a teenager with a ponytail and funky Barbie-pink running shoes before flag off. Despite a limp in her leg, Helen was upbeat and excited about the race. I was pretty pumped too.

“Just to let you know, I am partially blind but I can see your bright blue legs!” Helen chirped.

My unique fashion sense became her reference point for the rest of the day.

For the next 5km, we had a wonderful time bonding over splashes of colours and stories about our lives. Helen told me how she was born with a leg impairment, then years later, a high fever caused her to partially lose her sight. Nevertheless, she enjoys weekly canoeing sessions with her school mates at Hwa Chong Institution and studying biology. Her physical disabilities never dampened her positive spirit, and certainly have not slowed down her intellectual pursuits.

It is not the destination but the journey that counts, and I am glad to be part of the journey as Singapore progresses towards an inclusive society ONE by ONE . . . by ONE.

4 Nov 2014 (3)

If you would like to get involved in a social cause through sport, Runninghour will be organising its first nation-wide race themed “Run So Others Can” on 22 March 2015. The co-operative hopes to attract over 5,000 participants, involving visually, intellectually and physically challenged runners as well as the general public, in a display of self-reliance and empowerment to do good and to do well. For more information, please visit http://www.runninghour2015.com/.

This article was edited by Michael Switow. Photos courtesy of The Chain Reaction Project.

Related Articles

Global Slavery – It’s not only the trade, but the lies that destroy

By Thulasi Mahadevan

The buzz words are glaring – exploitation, enslavement, trafficking, money, virginity sale, sex trade, brides for sale and modern day slavery. The list of words goes on. Unfortunately, so too does the list of victims.

More than 20 million people are victims of forced labour, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The victims usually comprise immigrants, both legal and illegal, who have willingly come to major cities in hopes of a better life, attracted by the large supply of jobs and better wages. However, they fall prey to organised crime syndicates and recruitment companies whose mandate is corruption and exploitation.

And the situation is getting worse in parts of Asia, according to the U.S. State Department, which ranks countries’ responses to these crimes in its annual Trafficking in Persons (TiP) report, most recently published on 20 June 2014. Malaysia dropped to Tier 3 – the lowest ranking – alongside North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Zimbabwe. Thailand also fails to meet the minimum standards to fight human trafficking.

“The Malaysia government has continuously failed to provide basic rights protections to migrant workers and instead has created a system where unscrupulous labour brokers, corrupt police and abusive employers can have a field day,” says Phil Robertson, Asia’s deputy director of Human Rights Watch, in a recent article in The Guardian.

Meanwhile, a six month investigation by The Guardian recently uncovered horrific and alarming stories and statistics of the fishing industry in Thailand. It’s a systematic industry that enslaves and even kills workers onboard vessels that have been dubbed Thai ‘ghost ships’.

Singapore – which has drafted a National Plan of Action Against Trafficking in Persons – has been recognised for making significant efforts. But it still does not meet minimum international standards.

A coalition of civil society organisations has called on the government to do more and to ensure that people who have been trafficked are not further victimised by Singapore laws.

“We are also deeply concerned that trafficked victims are being penalised for immigration and work-related offences,” the migrant workers advocacy group HOME notes in a statement. “Without an effective victim-protection system, it is highly unlikely that trafficked migrants will file complaints and cooperate with the authorities,”

This is the reality, these are the facts uncovered by years and months of investigation, rescuing victims, talking to survivors, telling their stories to the world and in one fell swoop it gets seamlessly undone. It all unravels because of one big lie: Somaly Mam: The Holy Saint (and Sinner) of Sex Trafficking.

Millions of people read, wept and donated to her global campaign. There were glitzy galas, headlines in reputable publications and Hollywood endorsements. Yes, she saved lives. But she also lied and falsified stories.

One could say, it’s a beautiful lie. But did she really have to lie? Human trafficking exists, the truth is ugly. So why ‘the pressure to package the right story’? Is the fundraising pressure really so immense?

“Trafficking and abuse in Cambodia has become an image of a young girl locked in a cage in a secret brothel, waiting for a hero to burst through the doors and rescue her. Or at least donate to do that,” writes Dale Edmonds, managing director of Riverkids Project Limited, in an open letter titled The Beautiful Lies that Broke my Heart.

Riverkids – a Singapore charity that works to prevent child trafficking and exploitation in Cambodia – was kickstarted by one little girl’s bravery and is now home to 600 children. Some of their stories are told in a book called ‘Eight Stories’, unedited, uncut and untarnished. The tales are raw and real and nowhere near packaged as, the “beautiful lies (that) grab all the loving compassion and generous support that good people are moved to give to children in Cambodia and send it to the least effective ways to help them.”

The global reports, the news, the stories, the reality, the people and children are all there. They are not just statistics. Raising awareness comes with responsibility. It should never be gambled away for better donations. It hinders the goal – putting a stop to all human trafficking. Let’s remember that.

Resources and Related Articles

Ruminations on a (dastardly) theme: Xenophobia, Racism and Nationality by Kirpal Singh

By Kirpal Singh, Singapore Management University

Adelaide, Australia: March 1976

My first experience/encounter of xenophobia – I was shocked. Days later I write the following poem:

This Man

6 June 2014

This man, immaculate, eloquent,
How could he say such things?
Excuse me, sir. Nothing personal –
The opening was polite
I had to listen –
Sir, nothing racial either, please note.
But cultural purity, sir, is top priority.
Immigration –unhealthy– contaminating–
The immigrant, too, suffers, sir.
Sir, you’re a nice lad;
But sir, please don’t make this your home;
We have too many already, alas.
I thank you for your patient, sir.
This man, immaculate, eloquent,
How could he think such things?
–Kirpal Singh

Chicago, USA: October 1997. I was sitting on a bench in the jazz(y) part of this amazing city whose skyline, to my mind, is the best in the world (I think our Singapore skyline comes a close second!). As I was truly enjoying myself just watching people go by, children playing, some musicians trying to get ready for a gig, this Afro-American woman came and sat beside me. After some silence, she said “U from here?” I replied, “No”. Good, she said and then went on to give me a short but sharp sermon on how Asians were really ruining the prospect of blacks in the USA getting jobs. The whites, she said, don’t give us good, top jobs and the jobs that the blacks like her can do and want and are able to are increasingly taken by Asians, especially Indians and Chinese. Best you don’t stay here, she warned. Her tone was rough, her message pointed. I looked at her in disbelief and wondered why she had picked on me!

Singapore. Around now. So many non-Singaporeans are telling me there is this rampant xenophobia making Singaporeans blind to global reality and making them feel wretched. Go back to where you came from. Leave our jobs to us. Have you nowhere to go?…just some of the sentiments expressed by Singaporeans to non-Singaporeans, either directly or through the various social media. Not a very healthy development.

And so I reflect on xenophobia: xenon=stranger/foreigner/guest. Phobia=fear/hatred/dislike/distrust. Roughly speaking these suggest that xenophobia is irrational and an attitude/practice that is almost inherently distasteful and very unpleasant. My two examples from Adelaide and Chicago are meant to illustrate my experience of xenophobia in two distinct, foreign-to-me places. Both cities pride themselves on being cultured, sensitive, educated, rational. So increasingly does Singapore. What then is the matter? Where does the problem lie?

Once upon a time at the old University of Singapore at the Bukit Timah Campus, we had a guy come from Uganda who became the centre of all attraction. Whenever Theo Luzuka was spotted, people stopped, stared and sometimes ventured questions. Once upon a time. Theo was here between 1974- 1977. I, too, became a minor attraction when, being out with a lovely blonde in Australia’s scenic Gosford, we found ourselves surrounded by a band of young boys and girls (about 7-10 years of age) chanting, in unison, Ali Baba, Ali Baba, Ali Baba, Ali Baba. Curiosity? Ignorance? Racism?

As societies develop, grow, mature, new sets of beliefs, values and expectations begin to shape their sensibilities. So as the USA, Australia, Singapore become modern and people from different parts of the globe find jobs, new relationships are forged. But the old demons of racism (is xenophobia also equal to racism?) and nationalism (does xenophobia transcend colour/ethnic backgrounds?) begin to rear their ugly heads when things don’t go right. So long as all is fine and dandy, everyone is happy to share the candy. But when things begin to go a little awry, then we all look over our shoulders, necks, thighs and see who else is occupying spaces we feel we should occupy. And so xenophobia manifests itself….

It is frightening, this experience of being xenophobic or being the subject of xenophobia. I know because I stand at the centre of it and have been thus since birth. Am I irrational or doomed to be the object of irrational hate/dislike?

The recent strides made by the Euro skeptics in Europe must make us stop and wonder: after all the talk and the walk, the climb and the swim, the tarry and the parry, what do we see emerging? Xenophobia writ large.

All of us are implicated. All of us have a lot to think about. And ruminate.

Notes

Hakim at the World Gourmet Summit’s Inaugural Junior Pastry Chef Workshop 3 April 2014

The inaugural Junior Chefs’ Pastry Workshop saw a dream come alive for 13-year old Hakim who, through the sponsorship of the World Gourmet Summit, was given the opportunity to work alongside Chef Escribà.

Hakim is a beneficiary of Project FRENS, which is a programme that provides mentoring and financial assistance to at-risk students from low-income families. 4PM, a grassroots charity, runs the programme along with support from ONE (SINGAPORE). During one of the monthly cash disbursement ceremonies, Hakim shared his passion for baking that he inherited from his grandmother. ONE (SINGAPORE) wrote to the World Gourmet Summit about Hakim’s love of the art of pastry, noting that it would be a fantastic opportunity for the youth if he could join the workshop; his application was accepted and given the opportunity of shadowing the masterchef Christian Escribà and Patricia Schimdt at the Junior pastry workshop.

Project FRENS is supported through ONE (SINGAPORE)’s Concrete Actions Programme that matches companies, groups and individuals with organisations working to assist and empower impoverished communities. To date, ONE (SINGAPORE) has sponsored 16 students with Project FRENS, with the help of Corporate donors and individual benefactors.

World Gourmet Summit 2014
Chefs teach kids pastry-making

Broadcast Media Coverage
Channel NewsAsia

7 April 2014

23 Apr 2014 (1)

Click on the image above to watch the video.

Pastry-loving youth sponsored
at international chefs’ workshop

Print Media Coverage
Berita Harian

13 April 2014

23 Apr 2014 (2)

Interview with WGS founder
Peter Knipp

The Living Room
938LIVE

25 March 2014

23 Apr 2014 (3)

Hear about the interview with WGS founder Peter Knipp on 938LIVE’s ‘The Living Room’.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Chefs from the World Gourmet Summit Volunteer at Willing Hearts

Three chefs from the annual World Gourmet Summit – Australia’s Ian Curley, Lucas Glanville of the Grand Hyatt Singapore and Dallas Cuddy of Prime Society — have volunteered their time at Willing Hearts to help cook-up over 3500 meals for the underprivileged, following an introduction by ONE (SINGAPORE).

27 March 2014 (SINGAPORE) – Non-profit community organisation Willing Hearts had extra hands today as world-renowned Chef Ian Curley spent the morning in their soup kitchen, helping the team of dedicated volunteers prepare close to 3,500 meals for the underprivileged in Singapore. Chef Curley was joined by Grand Hyatt Singapore’s Executive Chef Lucas Glanville and the Head Chef from premium Australian Steakhouse Prime Society,Dallas Cuddy. All three Chefs are taking part in this year’s 18th World Gourmet Summit. Chef Curley, a champion of similar initiatives in Melbourne, Australia, and a close friend of both Chef Glanville and Chef Cuddy rallied the gentlemen to take part in this charitable cause close to his heart.

 

27 Mar 2014 (1)

[L-R] Chef Lucas Glanville (Grand Hyatt), Chef Ian Curley, Willing Hearts Vice President Charles Liew and Chef Dallas Cuddy (The Prime Society)

 

Speaking after his morning at Willing Hearts, Chef Curley said, “It’s a privilege to be able to volunteer here at this incredible organisation and support this amazing team of volunteers, day-in, day-out. As an advocate for similar initiatives in Australia, I wanted to spend my time wisely when in Singapore for the World Gourmet Summit, not only with the events lined up over the next week but also getting in touch with the community at all levels and helping out wherever I can. It was even more special with Chef Glanville and Chef Cuddy joining me and sparing their time for this incredible cause.”

 

27 Mar 2014 (2)

Chef Ian Curley (Left), The Prime Society Head Chef Dallas Cuddy (Centre) and Grand Hyatt Executive Chef Lucas Glanville

 

Speaking after his morning at Willing Hearts, Chef Curley said, “It’s a privilege to be able to volunteer here at this incredible organisation and support this amazing team of volunteers, day-in, day-out. As an advocate for similar initiatives in Australia, I wanted to spend my time wisely when in Singapore for the World Gourmet Summit, not only with the events lined up over the next week but also getting in touch with the community at all levels and helping out wherever I can. It was even more special with Chef Glanville and Chef Cuddy joining me and sparing their time for this incredible cause.”

Chefs Curly, Glanville and Cuddy were introduced to Willing Hearts by a partner organisation, ONE (SINGAPORE), which works to raise awareness of social issues and eliminate poverty both locally and overseas. “This partnership between the World Gourmet Summit and Willing Hearts is a great example of how companies can apply their core competencies to make a positive contribution to the community,” says ONE (SINGAPORE) President Nichol Ng. “Food issues are close to our heart and we take our hats off to Chefs Curly, Glanville and Cuddy for taking time to volunteer and share their expertise, despite very hectic schedules.”

Charles Liew, Vice President of Willing Hearts, said, “We consider every volunteer a blessing, and were very happy to hear that an international chef such as Chef Curley and his friend, the renowned Executive Chef of the Grand Hyatt, Lucas Glanville, were making time to spend with us here at Willing Hearts to help in our mission to help prepare daily meals to the underprivileged, needy, and marginalised members of our society. Chefs Curley, Glanville and Cuddy have been an incredible help here today, and more importantly, we hope that their time with us this morning will help to spread the word of what we are doing and to inspire others in Singapore and beyond to volunteer their time for those less fortunate, even if it is just a few hours a week.”

27 Mar 2014 (3)WGS International Masterchef Ian Curley (Front) and Grand Hyatt Executive Chef Lucas Glanville (Back) help cook meals at Willing Hearts

 

Mr. Peter Knipp, CEO of Peter Knipp Holdings, parent company of World Gourmet Summit organisers A La Carte Productions, said, “Food and water are perhaps the most critical elements in our existence. As a former Chef, I absolutely loved preparing meals for my diners, be it for their special evening or a simple night out. When I prepare a meal now, I still know it makes a difference and means a lot to those close to me.”

“But it goes beyond my kitchen – the work done by Charles and his team at Willing Hearts is simply incredible. Charity is a big part of what we do, specifically our annual World Gourmet Summit Charity Dinner which has raised over S$5 million over the years. But what Chef Curley, Chef Glanville and Chef Cuddy have done today is simply incredible. We are proud of the three Chefs and their dedication to helping the community,” said Mr. Knipp.

Chef Curley was full of praise for the Willing Hearts volunteers. “I’ve only been able to spend a morning here, but together with Chefs Glanville and Cuddy, we were just blown away by these wonderful folks at this kitchen, led by Charles. It was incredibly heart-warming for all of us to see people giving up their own time for those around them, and I would encourage everyone to find the time to spend even just a few hours here whenever they can,” said Chef Curley.

Related Resources

For media enquiries please contact:

Ananya Singhania
Fulford Public Relations
E: asinghania@fulfordpr.com
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Fulford Public Relations
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About Willing Hearts

Willing Hearts is a 100% volunteer-based non-profit organisation, registered as a society, with a vision of improving the lives of the underprivileged and marginalised by providing them with daily meals, and helping them to become useful members of society. Founded in 2005, the organisation operates a soup kitchen, preparing, cooking and distributing 3,500 meals across Singapore everyday.

Would-be volunteers can visit the Willing Hearts website at www.willinghearts.org.sg/volunteer to find out more on how they can help.

About the World Gourmet Summit
The World Gourmet Summit is an international gastronomic extravaganza organised by À La Carte Productions (a division of Peter Knipp Holdings Pte Ltd), supported by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), and presented by Citibank. The World Gourmet Summit will celebrate its 18th anniversary in 2014.

An annual epicurean festival that showcases the intricate craftsmanship of prestigious chefs; it is also an exposition of internationally acclaimed vintners. Encompassing a series of dazzling events like the vintner dinners and celebrity dinners, it is a gourmet spectacular specially crafted for discerning individuals who appreciate fine wines and gourmet cuisine.

Since 2000, the World Gourmet Summit has been raising funds through its annual Charity Dinners in support of the Community Chest, the fund-raising arm of the National Council of Social Service (NCSS). The charity dinners have raised over S$5 million (approximately U$3.9 million) with the generosity of its distinguished guests through table sales, charity auctions as well as donations.

www.worldgourmetsummit.com

The ONE (SINGAPORE) Awards 2013

At ONE (SINGAPORE), we are fortunate to meet like-minded companies and individuals who share our passion to Make Poverty History and create The World We Want. Often, they go about their work quietly and we would like to recognize them for their extraordinary dedication and service to the community. So without further ado, we bring you The ONE (SINGAPORE) Awards!

27 Jan 2014 (1)

The ONE Hero: Jolovan Wham

The ONE Hero Award recognises an individual who is making an outstanding contribution to the community and positive impact in the world around them. The ONE Hero shares our passion to Make Poverty History and create The World We Want.

Jolovan consistently stands up for the rights of impoverished migrant workers and locals alike. On any given day, you might find him rushing to the airport to stop the forced deportation of foreign workers who have injury or non-payment cases pending with their employer. Or he could be making a late night visit to a worker dormitory to document appalling sanitary conditions. Although Jolovan is best known for his work with the migrant community, he is increasingly involved in other rights issues as well.

Johan van Vuuren, Dimension Data’s Director of People & Culture for Asia Pacific (centre) with ONE (SINGAPORE)’s Joe Wan and Michael Switow.

Corporate Community Engagement Award: Dimension Data Asia

This award is presented to a company in recognition of outstanding community initiatives that are in line with the campaign to Make Poverty History. The winner should demonstrate a commitment to the community, not just profits.

Dimension Data Asia has a strong employee-driven culture, which extends into their operations, of giving back to society. Across the region, the company’s employees have joined the global campaign to Stand Up and Take Action Against Poverty as well as purchased student-made t-shirts to fund the distribution of malaria nets. With ONE (SINGAPORE), Dimension Data has supported flood relief in Pakistan and contributed to our MDG Fund, which works with a number of MDG-related projects throughout the region. The company also has a great internal CSR programme called Heads, Hearts and Hands (HHH) that operates across the breath of their global business, involving 51 countries across five regions.l.

Schneider Electric’s Country President for Singapore and Brunei, Ang Koon San, is presented The ONE (SINGAPORE) Award by NMP Laurence Lien while ONE (SINGAPORE) co-founder Michael Switow looks on.

Corporate Community Engagement Award: Schneider Electric Singapore

This award is presented to a company in recognition of outstanding community initiatives that are in line with the campaign to Make Poverty History. The winner should demonstrate a commitment to the community, not just profits.

Schneider Electric Singapore has put its core business strengths to use to help non-profit organizations. For example, instead of simply donating money (which they also did) to Willing Hearts, Schneider sent some of their best people to the soup kitchen to help it find ways to cut its energy costs, which is a win-win for the environment and Willing Hearts’ bank balance. Schneider Electric is also a key supporter of The ONE Food Drive.

This article was written by Charlene Ng and edited by Michael Switow. The photos were taken at The ONE Ball 2013, where the inaugural awards were presented.

See the winners of the 2015 ONE (SINGAPORE) awards here.