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Sayang Sayang Fund – Let’s do more together!
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Sayang Sayang Fund – Let’s do more together!

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Healthcare professionals in scrubs engaged in a variety of tasks.

The Sayang Sayang Fund has reached our initial target of $500,000!

A big thank you to our generous donors, who helped us reach this amount in less than seven days.

From the $500,000 raised, CFS will be distributing transport vouchers to healthcare institutions from 19 February 2020. Grants will also be distributed to charities that help disadvantaged individuals who have been further challenged by the heightened precautionary measures, such as vulnerable seniors and low income families.

The heart-warming outpouring of love and support has motivated us to extend our target to raise another $150,000, to support healthcare professionals like home care nurses, as well as those in nursing homes and shelters. The money will be used to appreciate these equally selfless heroes, who are committed to continuing their services for the vulnerable.

Launched on 11 February, CFS has designated the Sayang Sayang Fund a community impact fund that will support the vulnerable in our community during times of national crises.

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The competition was organised by City Harvest Community Services Association and received support from FUN! Fund, a Community Impact Fund jointly established by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the Agency for Integrated Care, with the aim of addressing social isolation among the elderly.

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of National Development Mr Tan Kiat How attended the event. He encouraged the elderly to stay physically and mentally well, as well as urging them to participate in community activities and enjoy their golden years together.

Learn more about FUN! Fund at https://www.cf.org.sg/fun-fund/.

 

The programme provides the children with a non-threatening platform to connect with peers and have positive conversations. In addition, it exposes them to different people who can assist to broaden their perspectives.

L.S., a volunteer with the Reading Odyssey programme @ Spooner Road

中心“常胜将军”胡锦盛:比赛限时反应要快

现年92岁的胡锦盛是最年长的参赛者。自2017年退休后,他几乎每天都到活跃乐龄中心报到,从此爱上了玩拉密,每次可玩上三个小时,在中心是“常胜将军”。

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News

Business Times: The beauty of giving to those you do not know

John Doe
John Doe
A snapshot of a newspaper Business Times: The beauty of giving to those you don't know

Govind Bommi, 71, is well known to regulars at the Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre for the Elderly.

The businessman and philanthropist spends his Thursday mornings volunteering at the Tampines centre, befriending seniors who are there to receive physiotherapy or other forms of rehabilitative care after conditions such as a stroke, Parkinson’s or arthritis.

He does not speak Mandarin or any of the Chinese dialects that most of the regulars are most comfortable with. But that’s been no barrier to friendship.

“You hold their hand, and usually offer the hand that they can use, as some are stroke patients. It’s all about connecting,” says Mr Bommi, a Singapore permanent resident and naturalised US citizen.

One might think this began with his decision to set up a charity fund in Singapore, after spending 20 years here. But Mr Bommi would tell you that seeds were sown far earlier in his childhood, by his mother’s selfless giving to people she did not know.

A mother’s influence
“We didn’t have much when we were growing up… it was hand-to-mouth,” says Mr Bommi, originally from Bangalore, India. All five children shared a small bedroom, and the family lived off their father’s hard-earned income. “Yet, whatever we had, we shared.”

He wasn’t speaking merely of siblings sharing. Beggars would knock at their doors each evening, and his mother, Andal, always found something to give. “It was not leftovers. Even though we didn’t have much, she would cook and keep some aside because she knew that they would come ask for food,” he recalls.

His mother’s largeness of heart only grew with time.

Once, as a grown man in his 40s, Mr Bommi made his annual trip back to India to visit his then 75-year-old mother. One of the first things she said? She had told a young man with a terrible skin problem, boils all over his face, to come see her son, and Mr Bommi was to take him to his doctor friends.

“I asked her, ‘Who is he? How do you know him?” And she just looked at me and said, “I don’t know. Do you have to know who he is, to help him?” That really struck a chord,” says Mr Bommi.

“When you want to help, helping someone you know is easier to do. My son, my child, my niece, my friend, my neighbour – when you have a “my” attached to anything, it is easier. It’s an extension of you, it’s easier to give. Now, to give to somebody that you do not know – that’s what my mother talked about.”

Mr Bommi himself has been on the receiving end of strangers’ kindness and giving too.

Arriving in the US as a 21-year-old, on money borrowed from a friend, Mr Bommi knew no one. Through those early months of adjusting to life in a foreign land and navigating the stress of changing schools and moving, he found some solace each night in lighting up a little prayer lamp his mother had given him.

A rough settling-in was made smoother by strangers who helped, says Mr Bommi. There was the Jesuit priest who helped him find accommodation, and then the Canadian-French family whose home he eventually lived in, among others.

These experiences led him to believe that most people are compassionate. “You see someone not well, hurt, the human instinct would be to go help. Thought manifests itself into words. Further on, the words manifest into actions… Most people will have the thought, but for whatever reason, it’s not shown.”

Taking action
Mr Bommi is not one to just let a thought be.

2015 marked his twentieth year in Singapore. He had arrived in Singapore as an expat, posted by his American company to be a regional director here. But when his term was up, he decided to stay on, started his own water filtration and purification business, and married a Singaporean.

Singapore is now home to him, he says. “I thought: now that I’ve settled down in Singapore, I wanted to do some charity work here.”

He had already set up a charitable foundation in India, Andal Cares, named for his mother. “All the blessings that we have – good health, good family, good wealth – all of that, we have to share…. We are only temporary keepers of this wealth – we have to share it. It’s been given to us for a purpose, to share.”

And so, he told his lawyer, he wanted to do the same here. But, he soon realised that it would take considerable time and resources to set a foundation up, find the right people to run it, meet governance requirements, and handle the administrative work involved. His lawyer pointed him to the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), as an option that could provide charitable fund management and philanthropy advice.

Given his desire to support eldercare services, CFS staff took him to visit nursing homes and rehabilitation centres to give him a better appreciation of Singapore’s eldercare landscape. Which is how he first discovered the work of Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre.

“Through the visits, I got a clearer idea of the different types and needs of eldercare support here. CFS helped to build on my interests, and hone in on the causes and impact I want to make, so that I could find a focus for my giving,” he said.

In March 2016, Mr Bommi started the Andal Cares Fund with S$250,000, under CFS, to support the Metta centre. He has since pledged to raise that sum to a seven-figure amount over several years.

Getting to know those you help
“CFS did an excellent job of setting up and managing my charitable fund, taking care of all the ground work for me – from evaluating programmes, conducting due diligence and disbursing grants, to reporting on impact. That’s a big relief for me as it frees up my time to concentrate on my volunteer work with the community,” says Mr Bommi.

His people-centred approach of giving also led Mr Bommi to support, through CFS, a pilot programme by Metta Welfare Association called “We are Bonded”. The programme introduces young befrienders to elderly persons, with the aim of building emotional bonds and enhancing well-being, while studying the benefits of inter-generational bonding.

“From my volunteer work with Metta, I observed that even though seniors are being physically rehabilitated, many of them experience loneliness or isolation and are emotionally withdrawn. Through this programme, we hope that we will be able to better understand and tackle the emotional issues of an ageing population.”

Because as much as he believes in the value of giving to those whom you don’t know, he also believes in getting to know the ones receiving his gifts.

Source: Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

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The competition was organised by City Harvest Community Services Association and received support from FUN! Fund, a Community Impact Fund jointly established by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the Agency for Integrated Care, with the aim of addressing social isolation among the elderly.

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of National Development Mr Tan Kiat How attended the event. He encouraged the elderly to stay physically and mentally well, as well as urging them to participate in community activities and enjoy their golden years together.

Learn more about FUN! Fund at https://www.cf.org.sg/fun-fund/.

 

The programme provides the children with a non-threatening platform to connect with peers and have positive conversations. In addition, it exposes them to different people who can assist to broaden their perspectives.

L.S., a volunteer with the Reading Odyssey programme @ Spooner Road

中心“常胜将军”胡锦盛:比赛限时反应要快

现年92岁的胡锦盛是最年长的参赛者。自2017年退休后,他几乎每天都到活跃乐龄中心报到,从此爱上了玩拉密,每次可玩上三个小时,在中心是“常胜将军”。

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Opinion

Sustainable Philanthropy Matters: The History of Caring and Charity

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John Doe
poster about sustainable philanthropy: the history of caring and charity

In this three-part series ‘Sustainable Philanthropy Matters’, we explore the surprisingly intimate relationship between philanthropy and sustainability and how the practice of one can in fact, lead to the advancement of the other. Both of these issues are close to our hearts here at CFS and we want to share how our philanthropy can help preserve our planet, our communities and our future.

Believe it or not, philanthropy and sustainability are concepts that have been around for millennia. Our forefathers understood the need for charity and living with the future in mind long before we had frameworks and modern models for them.

Examining the Roots of Giving

Although the word philanthropy, or philanthropia as the ancient Greeks called it, first emerged about 7000 years ago, it meant a love for one’s fellow people, not so much the donation of drachmas.

In fact, it was not until about 5000 years later, as described in the Bible, that a form of community where those who shared what they had with those who had not really began. Although some may argue that this was communism, not charity; however, this was an early record of giving resources to help those in need. While the term sustainability seems like a pretty modern buzzword, elements of this actually existed 3,000 years ago. It was discovered that humans in the late Neolithic period had developed a method of sustainably obtaining their firewood, avoiding deforestation and ensuring they would always have a way to keep warm (Dufraisse, 2008, pp199-210).

This could be said to be the distant ancestor of the 1713 Principle of Saxony formulated by Hans Carl von Carlowitz. His forestry treatise discussed the “continuously enduring and sustainable use” of the forest for wood (World Ocean Review, 2015).

Philanthropy in the Present

Giving to others has continued to exist till today, expanding from religious origins to permeate many facets of society. Tithes still exist but now one can donate through the Government or via non-profit and voluntary welfare organisations. The range of beneficiaries has also expanded, with those in need ranging from children and people with disabilities to isolated seniors, ex-offenders and so much more. The underlying commonality is that they are almost always in financial need of some sort. And it is the act of giving a monetary donation to support these beneficiaries that is the philanthropy we have come to know today.

However, evidence of financial contributions towards the environment only came along in the middle of the 20th century. It began in 1941, to be exact, with Rockefeller funding conservation activities across the United States, amongst his numerous other philanthropic efforts (Rockefeller Brothers Fund, 2022). And it was only seven years after that that the International Union for Conservation of Nature—the oldest environmental organisation in the world, mind you—was only established on 5 October 1948.

The Purpose of Philanthropy and Planning Ahead

For those who give, whether to social or environmental causes, there is a variety of reasons as to why we do so: a sense of obligation, concern over a particular issue, a desire to see a better future and, yes, even tax relief. It is alright to be pragmatic!

However, giving towards social causes has a deep-seated, almost unconscious need to grow the community. From ancient times, we humans have understood the strength in numbers, which is why we formed communities, or tribes as they were called back then.  

However, in banding together, there was an inevitable strain on resources. This created the need to be responsible for how we consumed our natural resources and, in a larger sense, be mindful of how our actions impacted the environment.

Charity + Conservation = Sustainability

Without the ever-present danger of a larger tribe taking over our own, or at least not in Singapore, there is little direct and personal benefit to us as a donor, apart from tax deduction and a sense of well-being.

We give simply because we care. That is the link between the two.

Whether it is towards social or environmental causes, community or green philanthropy, our contributions show that we care for others. It could be for the present, through financial assistance for daily living for instance, or for future generations, through conservation efforts. Because, after all, the children of our children will need a liveable world in which to grow up.

It can be a little daunting, given the sheer range of needs that society faces today, to consider also the needs of those who have not yet been born.

Leave a Legacy

Thankfully, the world (and its needs) does not rest on one’s shoulders alone. With years of experience in studying philanthropic trends and working to understand the needs of the community and environment, The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) can help you add your footprint to humankind’s long and ongoing journey of giving.

We value the creation of positive impact while keeping in mind the bigger picture of how the contribution will create sustained change.

At CFS, we steward our donors, through their funds, to make their mark on our community and our planet. Whether they contribute today or over the years, it will be their legacy. To find out how you can leave your legacy for tomorrow, please visit here.

To learn more about CFS’s Corporate Sustainability efforts, please read more here.

To read the other 2 stories in the ‘Sustainable Philanthropy Matters’ series, please click below:

This article was written by Adam, a Principal Consultant with CFS and an experienced sustainability practitioner. He is an advocate for sustainable practices. His colleagues are still wondering how his monthly household utilities bill is only around $70.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of CFS or its members.

References

  1. Alexa Dufraisse. (2008). Firewood management and woodland exploitation during the late Neolithic at Lac de Chalain (Jura, France). Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 17(2).
  2. World Ocean Review 4. (2015). Sustainable Use of Our Oceans – Making Ideas Work. https://worldoceanreview.com/en/wor-4/concepts-for-a-better-world/what-is-sustainability/
  3. Rockefeller Brothers Fund. (Accessed 2022). Conservation and the Environmenthttps://www.rbf.org/about/about-us/conservation-and-environment
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News

“最后一桶金”规划新现象 别让财富添乱使尽不留遗产

John Doe
John Doe
a person in a wheelchair throwing coins into a bag of money

这些年来越来越多人把部分遗产捐给慈善,甚至出现鼓吹“现在就花掉孩子遗产”的SKIN(Spend Your Kids’ Inheritance Now的缩略语)“使尽”现象。

世界首富之一比尔·盖茨多次承诺,把1130亿美元(约1595亿新元)财产几乎全捐给慈善,三个孩子各获1000万美元;他坚信留大笔钱给孩子绝对不是好事。

沃伦·巴菲特则宣布,一分也不留给三个孩子,会捐出所有给慈善。

本期《实况报道》请擅长信托和遗产事务的律师、法学教授和老年学学者谈SKIN“使尽”现象,并访问退休人士,了解不准备留太多给孩子的原因。

“不要留太多给孩子”的趋势渐长,有越来越多找律师办理遗嘱或信托事务的人,把部分遗产捐给慈善,或自设信托,以便更好地管理所支持的慈善事业。

两名擅长处理信托和遗产事务的资深律师告诉《联合早报》,积极行善的客户越来越多,一些甚至已定期捐钱给慈善机构,而不是等到过世后才这么做。

王律师事务所(WongPartnership LLP)专业人士及私人客户争议业务组负责人沈木英律师说,不论是用在自己身上、当礼物送给孩子或至爱,或是捐给慈善机构,财富在一个人还活着时是最有价值的。

“有的施予者享受从金钱得到的快乐,比如孩子或慈善机构向他表达感激之情,或通过捐钱做了好事而乐在其中。

“从这个角度,我可以明白为何一些人想在有生之年花光一切。”

她就见过一分钱也不给孩子的父母,有的因为跟孩子的关系恶劣,有的则因孩子挥金如土。相反的,也有继承遗产者积极行善,打算捐出大部分遗产。

福鼎律师事务所(Fortis Law Corporation)创办人陈子佳律师说,把遗产留给孩子是根深蒂固的传统价值观,但“花光”个人财产的做法也有益处。

他指出,父母留遗产给孩子理由很多,比如,在孩子成长期间常“缺席”,所以用遗赠示爱或表达愧疚。

有的因孩子是特需者,就用遗产设立信托,让孩子在他们离世后生活有照应。

“不论什么原因,孩子可能真的需要帮助,而留遗产给孩子的做法本身就能教导孩子施予的价值。”

沈木英说,虽然有客户认为孩子有一半的可能性会乱花遗产,但也有客户认为给孩子一笔钱,将有助于孩子取得成功。

 

设立慈善基金更好掌控财富

她指出,多数客户“守住”财富,是为孩子所需。一旦满足了孩子的需求,他们便会开始捐出行善。

不过,她留意到捐献者更有主动权,“与其直接捐钱给慈善机构,更多客户设立自己的慈善基金,以便更好掌控”。

她的一个客户选择帮某慈善机构设立医疗设施,再给予资助,而不是直接捐钱。

一些则每年把资产或生意赚取的部分收入捐给慈善,另一些把部分资产纳入慈善信托或基金,为慈善机构创造收入。

“还有一些给每个孩子一份财产,也给一份做慈善。也有客户设条件,要孩子先捐出所得遗产的10%,才能继承剩余的90%。”

沈木英指出,微软创办人比尔·盖茨累积的财富是子孙享用不尽的,所以设立慈善基金。但一般打工族以养家育儿为己任,慈善可能不是第一选项。

“事实是,越没钱的人,越要孩子过得比他们好,所以想方设法留下资产,但我认为帮孩子,不该凌驾于自己的需求和生活享受之上。”

陈子佳也认为,必须在SKIN和留遗产之间,取得平衡。

“我已立好遗嘱,也制定了持久授权书(LPA)。我确保自己有足够资源办好三件事:应付医药和退休开销,以及清还所有贷款和债务。”

 

孩子主动要求不要遗产

这些年来,陈子佳看到不少客户定期捐钱给慈善机构,有的甚至把遗产全捐给慈善。有些是因为他们的孩子能自给自足、明理和善良,叫父母留给较不幸者。

“我看到许多孩子,坚持父母不要列他们为受益人,把遗产转给有需要者或其他家庭成员,我就是其中一个。”

陈子佳坦言,他叫母亲把遗产留给兄弟姐妹、侄甥和慈善,“我希望以后我的孩子,也叫我不要列他们为遗产受益人”。

他感激父亲给他最好的教育:“做人要舍得。大舍大得,小舍小得,不舍不得。”

 

个案① :防子女争财产 卖掉大洋房

为了避免留下房子惹“后患”,七旬退休专业人士数年前毅然卖掉住了几十年的大洋房,搬到市区公寓,口袋满满地与老伴安享晚年。

问有三个子女的林大悟(化名),这样做难道不心痛不可惜?难道没想过把洋房留给其中一个孩子?

他语重心长说道,屋子太旧了,修理或重建都得花钱,租出去的话,租户不一定会爱惜房子,有问题也会来烦你。

“留的话,留给哪一个孩子?大家一定有不同意见。继承的人也未必喜欢屋子和地点,还是卖了干脆。我虽然知道房价以后会涨,但留下也有后患,除非你只有一个孩子。”

林大悟说,把财富传给下一代的传统观念是时候该调整了,但也不是改变一切,一分钱都不给儿孙。

他认为,给孩子的最佳礼物就是按他们的能力,让他们接受最好的教育,在有生之年尽可能帮助孩子,使他们可以自立、自组家庭,过安定的日子。

“给他们过多遗产,他们不会知道那些是你一辈子省吃俭用积攒而来的。钱到了他们手上变成零用钱,一下子就花光了,有时还嫌不够。”

“老年人必须确保能经济自立。钱在你口袋,总比在别人口袋好。你的辛苦钱一天不用,不花在自己身上,都还不是你的。但这么说也不是鼓励你挥霍乱花。”

他也说,儿女在事业和家庭起步阶段都须要帮助,但每个的情况不同,不要顾虑分配公平与否。

“最好孩子不需要你帮太久。他们有本事的话,其实不需要你,没本事,你即使有大把钱,也会惹争端。”

他感叹,有的父母尚在,手足之间就为了争夺资产而闹上公堂。“沒教好啊。父母尚未去世已经如此,不敢想象两老不在后,会搞出什么乱象。”

他眼看一些已故名人的孩子对簿公堂,“家家有本难念的经啊!身居高位的他们已是如此,平民百姓如我更不用说了。”

他指出,自己的孩子即使多好多孝顺,他们的伴侶却是未知数,“许多纷争都由此而起,因为他们对你这个长辈以及其他家庭成员的感情不同,到头来是利字当道。”

林大悟已立了遗嘱并制订LPA。“遗嘱和LPA直接了当,我俩其中一个有事,动产与不动产全交给还在的那一个,不会牵涉下一代。”

他说:“新加坡应该有中高档次、包伙食和提供医疗等服务的退休村,让付得起的老人有私人的服务式住所。”

林大悟的许多海外老年朋友就是这样卖了大房子,把钱用在退休村,有尊严地享受剩余岁月。

林大悟最后再三提醒,每个家庭的情况都不同,关键是老年人要有经济自由。

“不要太早分家产,也不要让他们知道将得到什么。如果孩子一直要钱,不断争吵,就索性捐给可以信任的慈善机构。”

 

个案② :多年沟通与磨合 父母终于安心“花钱”享乐

多年打拼后累积可观财富,年长父母想为儿女规划财产安排未来,但儿女更希望父母专注当下享受生活。两代人为彼此着想却一度引起不愉快,但如今达成共识,老两口放心“花钱”,晚年活出精彩和意义。

陈丽丝(化名,29岁,项目经理)的父母40多年前顶下红山一家小店铺,从小买卖一步步发展。随着公司规模越来越大,陈家的经济条件越来越好,21年前搬入了荷兰村一带的独立式洋房。

“父母特别疼爱我们四个孩子,花钱毫不吝啬。但我们从小目睹父母打拼的精神,也立志像他们一样,努力自力更生。”

陈丽丝说,大哥10年前结婚时打头阵,对想要为新人买房的父母说,以后都不会拿爸妈的钱。兄妹四人借机向父母提出,希望他们能够提早退休,去享受晚年生活。

“记得当时父母的反应很激烈,还问是不是觉得他们老了没能力赚钱养家,让我们哭笑不得。”

对陈丽丝和哥哥来说,父母从小的疼爱、付出和栽培才是最宝贵的财富,再多的遗产也不及看到父母在有生之年开心重要。

经过多年的沟通和磨合,如今年近70的父母终于完全理解儿女的立场,也就遗产事宜达成了共识。

父母在疫情暴发时退休,积极投身义工和慈善。随着边境开放,两人开始出国旅行,尝试年轻时没能享受的体验。

“我们告诉父母,他们最好把所有的钱都花完,不留任何遗憾。他们看到我们事业和生活都有足够保障,也就放心让我们自理。”

妥善安排遗产 儿女父母须坦诚沟通

老年学和信托专家认为,遗产或许不是越多越好,但究竟多少才“合适”、剩余的如何安排,还须要父母和儿女坦诚开放的沟通。

新加坡管理大学法学院教授陈汉吾说,多数新加坡人都要留遗产给孩子,希望子孙过得比上一代好。《回教法执行法令》就规定三分之二遗产须留给包括孩子的受益人。

针对SKIN的趋势,他认为,老练、超高净值者认为,留太多钱给孩子不是祝福而是祸害,“要达到目标努力奋斗,太多钱反而成了障碍,也会一直怀疑人们接近他们是为了钱”。

新加坡新跃社科大学副教授(老年学课程)和体验式教育中心高级专家马学嘉博士说,多数普通收入的家长担心留给孩子太少,因此可能省吃俭用,努力存钱给孩子,给他们带来更多金钱保障。

不过,遗产积累越多,越影响父母的生活质量。

她解释,这种心态和行为源自传统的集体主义(collectivism)价值观。不论是几十人的大家庭或是仅有四五人的核心家庭,成员之间都会考虑共同利益,必要时更是准备牺牲自我利益。

随着我国社会的变迁,家庭结构有所改变,有年轻一代选择单身,即使结婚,也可能计划只养“毛孩”(意宠物)、不要儿女。他们的日常开销因此可能更少,不大需要额外的金钱贴补生活。

马学嘉说,与其父母省吃俭用、拮据度日,相信孩子更乐意看到他们安享晚年,“父母和孩子两代人的观念不同,须要坦诚开放地沟通”。

生老病死是人之常情,但人们或因恐惧而忌讳讨论,孩子该如何开口与父母讨论遗产事宜?

马学嘉强调,每个家庭有个别的相处模式,但最重要的是以父母的意愿为中心。

她分享自己做义工的经验说,一些老人家对立遗嘱所需的程序和考量不了解,儿女就说教似地告诉父母该怎么做,附加自己对遗产的设想和要求,没考虑父母想要怎么安排。

“作为儿女,我们应该帮助父母了解过程,并尊重他们的意愿,在需要时帮助他们完成。”

陈汉吾是新加坡社区基金会(The Community Foundation of Singapore)捐献者指示委员会(Donor Advised Committee)成员,也为本地慈善组织提供咨询。

他说,一些富人觉得生活在危机重重、极度不平等的世界,所以希望捐一些遗产,改善贫困甚至气候问题。

“年轻一代对留遗产给慈善事业相当正面。这一代非常热衷于一些事项,例如气候改变。”

但陈汉吾认为,为慈善捐赠财产不仅是有钱人的专利。儿女如果有一定能力,以父母的名义给学校或大学捐钱设立奖项,也很有意义。“用大概5万元设个奖项,可以纪念死者多年。”

他指出,早前的殖民时期,英国政府没提供足够的社会服务,只能靠社群自发提供援助。

本地著名的华人慈善家就有陈笃生、陈嘉庚、陈六使和李光前,陈汉吾说:“从殖民时期,慈善早就成为新加坡DNA的一部分。”

信用:联合早报©新报业媒体有限公司。复制需要许可

This article was originally published in Zaobao here. Source: Zaobao © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

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Opinion

Four ways to give back through the arts

John Doe
John Doe
a group of people in a room with a stage and a group of people in chairs

To put things into perspective: giving to the arts means more than just supporting a company’s artistic endeavours – support for the arts helps build a more inclusive society and brings benefits to the community in many ways.

Many of Singapore’s artists, art companies and institutions are passionate about social causes, and make it part of their mission to give back through the work they do. These efforts often go beyond cultivating art appreciation, to include efforts to reach out to the less privileged, nurture the young and bring the joy of the arts to a wider audience.

To help navigate the dynamic field of the arts, we have identified key areas in which the arts is making strides within the local community:

Arts education
An arts education is considered vital in helping children develop creativity and imagination – key skills to thrive in the future economy. These efforts can be bolstered by supporting spaces for early arts exposure, such as the Keppel Centre for Art Education at the National Gallery Singapore, or access to dedicated arts training and programmes as exemplified by The Rice CompanyArt Outreach Singapore and Playeum.

Alongside their artistic season, many local arts companies have also developed outreach programmes for children and youths, including Singapore Repertory TheatreThe Necessary StageOdyssey Dance TheatreThe Fingers PlayersThe Theatre PracticeTheatreWorks and Temenggong Artists-In-Residence.

Active aging
Empowering our seniors to lead meaningful, active lives is a priority for Singapore, and the arts can play a significant role. Events such as the National Arts Council’s Silver Arts Festival have demonstrated how the arts offer seniors a safe space to try new activities, and also a platform to engage their minds through enjoying a performance or work of art, as exemplified by Beautiful Mind Charity which runs free concerts at various elderly homes. The Singapore Chinese Orchestra plays to patients and healthcare workers in hospitals and care centres through its ‘Caring Series’ to provide the healing touch through music.

Others like contemporary dance outfit The Arts Fission Company have channelled art towards practical benefits. The company runs Everyday Waltzes for Active Aging, a programme which utilises movement to help the elderly maintain strong core muscles and reduce their risk of falling.

Mental health
In some instances, the arts contributes to the mental health of different segments of our society by helping to recognise and bring deep issues to light. Take for instance theatre company Drama Box, which develops theatrical work mirroring our social fabric. The company has worked with many marginalised and underserved groups, including migrant workers, out-of-school youths and the elderly, and continues to use theatre to explore important social issues from mental health, dying, resilience and identity.

Special needs
The arts celebrates the value of every human being, making it a natural fit when it comes to engaging individuals with special needs and disabilities. Superhero Me, a ground-up inclusive arts movement turned charity, has been championing the power of art to bring joy and empowerment to children from needy families and those with special needs.

Arts companies can also use their expertise to give back. Contemporary dance company RAW Moves runs A Little RAW, an inclusive children’s dance company bringing dance to children with special needs, while Beautiful Mind Charity has been offering free professional music education to children with disabilities since 2014.

Photo: National Arts Council

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