Morning call, January 3 2016

Jan 03, 2016 08.27AM |

GOOD morning! News from the Singapore society and its people make the headlines this morning.

Singapore is the OCD – or obsessive compulsive disorders – capital of the world, according to the first and only Mental Health Study released in 2011 by the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), which found that one in 33 people in this country are suffering from it. And these comparatively higher rates of the mental illness have continued to rise, even if the numbers are not necessarily complete, because many remain undiagnosed or do not seek treatment. ST added that as of November last year, 850 adults were treated at the IMH, an increase from the 640 adults in 2010.

Through anecdotes, the report further stressed the roles of IMH psychologists and charity counsellors – as well as family members – when helping patients with OCD.

Help is also given to youth volunteers in the community, who come from households with a per capita income of less than $2,000. Sovereign wealth fund GIC, through its GIC Sparks and Smiles scheme, is offering cash grants of $3,000 to $5,000 to these youths for 25 hours of community service, with 48 university students benefiting thus far. Mr. Gerald Ee – executive director of Beyond Social Services, one of the charities hosting these student-volunteers – said: “What’s special about this programme is that it bridges these young people … to contacts at GIC and people who will be useful for them in their careers going forward, but … also bridges them to parts of society that they will generally not have much contact with.”

In addition, along this tangent of charities and charitable giving, the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) announced that its “Giving Week” initiative in the first week of December 2015 – which aims to motivate Singaporeans to give back to the community – raised 24 per cent more money, with a sum of $751,822, compared to the same period in 2014. Money was raised through the new NVPC portal, which is expected to benefit more than 350 charities in Singapore.

And moving to public housing, two-thirds of singles now make successful applications for Build-To-Order (BTO) flats. Zaobao reported that after the Housing and Development Board (HDB) relaxed restrictions for singles in July 2013, 7,700 of the 11,600 invited to book new flats have done so, and 700 have already collected their keys to their new homes. ST added that while 57.5 singles applied for each BTO unit in July 2013, the number has fallen to 7.5 in November last year. It “will continue to monitor this group of homebuyers and calibrate its supply of two-rooms flats,” the HDB said.

Finally, those wishing for a nostalgic blast from the past should look out for the “Be My Movie Kaki” bus by the People’s Association, which will travel around the island for outdoor movie screenings. Both ST and Zaobao made reference to the kampung spirit of the past, further alluding to the Jurong open-air movie experience and gatherings at community centres to watch television shows. Hundreds of residents turned up in Ang Mo Kio for a screening last evening.


Featured image by Chong Yew. 

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