Category Archives: News

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
D: +65 6327 2284
M: +65 9847 5306

Alex Jafarzadeh
Fulford Public Relations
E: ajafarzadeh@fulfordpr.com
D: +65 6324 5286
M: +65 9698 2472

  

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.

The ONE Ball 2013 – The Stars & Entertainment

19 Aug 2013 (1)Thank you to our Entertainers

Hosted by The Legendary Duo

The Flying Dutchman

19 Aug 2013 - 2 (2)

Vernetta Lopez

19 Aug 2013 - 2 (3)

Performances by

Rob Collins

19 Aug 2013 - 2 (4)

The Trisno Trio

19 Aug 2013 - 2 (5)

Ishtar Bee

19 Aug 2013 - 2 (6)

Clifford ThePartyman

clifford

ONE (SINGAPORE) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to raising public awareness and taking concrete actions to Make Poverty History and create The World We Want, a just world where no one is poor. Our initiatives include public forums, film screenings, food aid projects and ‘Concrete Action Programmes’ that link individuals and companies with organisations working to assist and empower impoverished communities.

ONE (SINGAPORE) is currently funded by the ad-hoc generosity and goodwill of our supporters. You can help us have a greater impact.

Come dressed as a Legend, enjoy dazzling performances and dance the night away! Prizes for the Best Dressed, amazing celebrity memorabilia and holidays on auction, plus meet the winners of the inaugural ONE (SINGAPORE) Awards for community and corporate heroes. All in ONE Legendary Evening!

With a stronger foundation and your kind support, we can do more to achieve our goals of raising awareness and taking concrete action to Make Poverty History.

Additional Information:

The ONE Ball – Thank You to Our Sponsors

19 Aug 2013 (1)

Thank you to our Sponsors

The ONE Official Sponsor

19 Aug 2013 (2)

Official Venue Partner

19 Aug 2013 (3)

Official Events Management

19 Aug 2013 (4)

Norbreeze

no logo

LASplash Cosmetics

19 Aug 2013 (8)

The Fabulous Baker Boy

19 Aug 2013 (11)

Fitness Buffet

19 Aug 2013 (5)

Zardoze

19 Aug 2013 (9)

Bread5 Studio

no logo

Kim Robinson

19 Aug 2013 (6)

LAMC Production

no logo

Frame316

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GroXers

19 Aug 2013 (7)

The Studio Loft

no logo

Daughters Of Tomorrow

19 Aug 2013 (14)

ONE (SINGAPORE) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to raising public awareness and taking concrete actions to Make Poverty History and create The World We Want, a just world where no one is poor. Our initiatives include public forums, film screenings, food aid projects and ‘Concrete Action Programmes’ that link individuals and companies with organisations working to assist and empower impoverished communities.

ONE (SINGAPORE) is currently funded by the ad-hoc generosity and goodwill of our supporters. You can help us have a greater impact. Please click here for more information and details on sponsorship packages.

Please click here for more details on sponsorship packages.
With a stronger foundation and your kind support, we can do more to achieve our goals of raising awareness and taking concrete action to Make Poverty History.

For more information on Sponsorships, please contact Cynthia at cynthia@onesingapore.org.

Additional Information:

EU Nations urged to implement Robin Hood tax

By Melissa Chong

ONE (SINGAPORE) has joined hands with more than 350 civil society organisations from around the world, urging the heads of 11 European countries to implement a Financial Transactions Tax (FTT).

This comes after the European Commission announced plans to severely scale back the FTT, amid opposition on the economic damage it could cause.

5 Aug 2013

But civil society groups continue to argue that a Global tax of just 0.05% on financial transactions could raise up to US$650 billion a year, channeling much-needed funds to fight global poverty and climate change.

They urge that the tax could also dis-incentivize risky speculation and short-term trading, which poses high risks to economic stability. A Europe-wide FTT could set the precedent for reforming the financial sector, which has so far been exempted from the contributing to the common good.

The 355 signatories to the letter include Oxfam International, Greenpeace, WWF International and the World AIDS Campaign. A copy of the letter was sent to Algirdas Šemeta, the European Commissioner in charge of tax policy, who said she was impressed with the level of international support for the FTT. The special advisor of French President, Francois Hollande, has also agreed to pass the letter on to Hollande.

Seven months ago, Germany and France led nine other countries – Italy, Spain, Austria, Portugal, Belgium, Estonia, Greece, Slovakia and Slovenia – to press ahead with the levy, having failed to persuade all 27 EU members to sign up.

The financial lobby continues to attack the levy, raising alarm bells about the economic damage it could cause to industry, jobs and finances. Britain remains fiercely in opposition, believing the levy would drive business from London to New York instead. Sir Mervyn King, Bank of England Governor, said he “could not find anyone within the central banking community who thinks it is a good idea.”

Amid the criticisms, the European Commission announced in July 2013 that it is prepared to consider a redesign of the original proposal. It may now be rolled out six months later than the intended start date of January 2014. The levy could also be reduced by up to 90%, raising just a fraction of the amount hoped.

As the debate in Europe continues, it is likely that anti-poverty campaigners will continue to lobby relentlessly for the Robin Hood Tax to be implemented in full. David Hillman, a spokesman for the Robin Hood Tax campaign, said: “There remains a firm intention to agree to a strong FTT that will be popular with the public and raise tens of billions from the banking industry.”

This article was edited by Michael Switow

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Robin Hood Tax, Not Corporate Greed, Should be Focus of Climate Finance Meeting, Say Activists

By Lacy MacAuley and Janet Redman

30 Apr 2013 (1)

Chanting, “Human need, not corporate greed! Robin Hood Tax now!” protesters dressed as polar bears, farmers, and bankers engaged with officials entering the meeting to urge them to support a Robin Hood Tax.

Robin Hood Tax campaigners converged on Washington, DC, where officials from the finance and climate ministries of select developed countries met to discuss how to mobilize private sector investment in developing countries to address climate change. Chanting, “Human need, not corporate greed! Robin Hood Tax now!” protesters dressed as polar bears, farmers, and bankers engaged with officials entering the meeting to urge them to support a Robin Hood Tax.

30 Apr 2013 (2)

demonstration drew attention to the fact that trillions of dollars of public money have been spent to bail out Wall Street while government officials pay short shrift to untapped and extremely promising innovative sources of public money like a Robin Hood Tax. In doing so, officials risk putting corporate profits over the needs of climate-impacted people.

Both the financial crisis and the recession have left a massive hole in public finances, threatening job creation, community services, and the ability to address climate change. While Wall Street has already bounced back, ordinary people are still trying to recover from problems caused by corporate abuse in the financial sector. The Robin Hood Tax calls for the institution of a small tax of less than half of one percent on Wall Street transactions in order to generate many billions of dollars each year toward crucial public goods and services, like healthcare, education, and helping the world’s poor confront the climate crisis.

Related Articles

Vernetta Lopez’s speech as outgoing President of ONE (SINGAPORE)

15 Mar 2013

This is our 8th AGM and I’m very proud of where ONE (SINGAPORE) is now.

It’s been such a pleasure watching the society grow with its different events and benchmarks. We’ve identified our strengths and continue to do what our mission requires: to spread awareness and take concrete actions to Make Poverty History.

And we’ve progressed in our mission through various film series’, through dialogue sessions where we’ve had luminaries join our panel like Mdm Yacob Ibrahim, Bridget Tan and Braema Mathi.

And through 2 different benchmarks to make a tangible difference in peoples’ lives. Our Everyone Can Warehouse Sale where everyone was invited to purchase a list of items for our designated charity, and our One Singapore Food Drive where droves of cars with generous citizens helped us to raise several thousands of dollars worth of food for the needy.

Our efforts have also grown with the help of amazing corporate partners who have demonstrated an amazing CSR spirit. Like Schneider Electric, Lenovo, GPS Azea and Dimension Data, Pernod Ricard to name a few, especially so through CAP, our Corporate Adoption Program.

My role with ONE (SINGAPORE) has been a small but meaningful one and I’m not being self-effacing. Nope. Because I’ve been working with a team of truly amazing, hard working, self-sacrificing, passionate, earnest, exceptional, impassioned, fun bunch of people, who have made every event meaningful, and given so much of their time, and truly their personal lives, to make every event that ONE (SINGAPORE) does, count.

It’s been my absolute honor to be a part of this and having been President for 5 years, I feel it is time to pass the baton onward, to keep the spirit growing with fresh ideas, new inspirations and perspectives.

So as of today I officially step down as President and pat down the seat, to make way for a new President to take the reigns and gallop into a new frontier, to go where no President has gone before.

I’m a Star Trek fan.

Our President Elect is someone who is passionate, talented, vocal and is very active within her personal and professional life. And if she is elected, I am very sure she will do an excellent job at bringing ONE (SINGAPORE) forward!

I will still be an active volunteer and member of ONE (SINGAPORE) especially so with my links within the media.

I would like to especially thank Michael Switow, Co-Founder of ONE (SINGAPORE), his invaluable advice, amazing persistence, incredible integrity and never dying innate spirit to help. And that goes for the Exco as well.

I really wish to thank the Exco for putting up with me, for allowing me to take us into new projects and different directions, and for supporting me in so many ways. I apologize for anything that I may have done wrong. I truly am grateful for your partnership and amazing energy and spirit. And I wish you a continuing and fruitful journey towards Making Poverty History.

Thank you and have a great 2013!

Watch her speech