Happy birthday 58th Singapore!
By Sng Ler Jun
This National Day, Singapore National Co-operative Federation spoke with three co-operators from three co-operatives – SeaCare Co-operative Limited, Singapore Malay Teachers’ Co-operative Limited, Singapore Government Staff Credit Co-operative (SGS Co-op) – on their favourite of the parade and how their co-operatives do their part in nation building.
Hear from Kathryn Ang (Senior Manager of SeaCare Co-op), Martin Nathan (General Manager of SGS Co-op), and Fazihan Duriat (CEO of Singapore Malay Teachers’ Co-op).
How did your co-operative contribute to nation building?
Kathryn Ang: By creating and working on initiatives that uplift the less privileged in Singapore. One key initiative is the Seacare Community Shop which allows us to give back to the community through gift vouchers. Beneficiaries and residents in various communities receives gift vouchers (some on monthly basis) to buy nutritious seafood products, including codfish, prawns, and scallops at the Seacare Community Shop. The initiative is especially beneficial for low-income families, helping them alleviate the high cost of seafood.
Fazrihan Duriat: Singapore Malay Teachers’ Co-operative Limited (SMTC), also known as Syarikat Guru Melayu Singapura Koperatif Bhd (SGM) plans to promote financial literacy and Shariah-compliant financing for the Muslim community (in line with philosophy of sustainability). The co-operative also hopes to revive the lost heritage of the Malay community.
Martin Nathan: From the very beginning, co-operatives have taken the leap of faith and played fundamental roles in the establishment of facilities like childcare centres, supermarkets, mini-markets and provide services like loan facilitation services and bursary awards to support the needs of the community. These activities have been the major driving forces in our economy.
What are you most proud of as a Singaporean?
Kathryn Ang: On a personal level, it is Singapore’s reputation as a clean, green country. The meticulous upkeep by the Town Council and the inspiring work of NParks in my estate are testaments to this. The abundance of plants, flowers, and trees, coupled with the cleanliness and safety of our surroundings, are truly commendable. Moreover, the harmonious coexistence of our multicultural society, where neighbours look out for each other, amplifies my pride in being a Singaporean.
Martin Nathan: I am proud to be a Singaporean and also equally proud to be part of the Singapore Co-operative Movement! The various co-operatives’ achievements and contributions towards national-building efforts – cultivating a society that is progressive, multiracial, and harmonious – are achievement worth celebrating.
What is the most favourite part of the National Day Parade (NDP)?
Kathryn Ang: My favourite part of NDP is the Red Lions parachute jumps, an iconic and breathtaking aerial display symbolising Singapore’s courage and determination to overcome any challenges. It embodies the spirit of unity as it brings together Singaporeans from all walks of life, cheering and celebrating our nation's independence.
Fazrihan Duriat: United as “one” people; where everyone is present and celebrate with the nation.
Martin Nathan: At its end, when we recite the pledge and sing the national anthem.
Interviews have bene edited and condensed for clarity.