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seacare group photoPhoto credit: Seacare Co-operative Ltd

It's that time of the year again where EXCO/Standing Committee members of Singapore Organisation of Seamen (SOS) and Seacare Co-operative Ltd (Seacare) organise their yearly Hari Raya home visit to the residents at Jalan Kukoh estate.

On 8 June, SNCF staff and interns joined members and staff of SOS and Seacare Co-operative in their yearly corporate social responsibility initiative. A total of 41 volunteers gathered for a briefing at Seacare Building at 7pm before spilt up into seven teams to cover a total of 10 blocks, touching the lives of 100 families.

Volunteers With Beneficiaries
Photo credit: Seacare Co-operative Ltd

Accompanied by Jalan Kukoh Residents’ Committee (RC) representatives, families pre-selected by RC were each presented with a ‘green’ packet containing a cash gift of $60 along with a customised chiller bag filled with $100 worth of goodies like seafood, cookies, dates and chocolates.

Jiaqing With Beneficiary"The CSR activity is a reminder for us to be appreciative of the little things we take for granted in our everyday lives." - SNCF Scholar Goh Yu Xuan

Not only did the recipients are delighted to receive the gifts of love, the volunteers are happy to be able to contribute to a worthy cause.

The event ended about 9.30pm with volunteers soaked with sweats after going up and down the blocks to distribute the gifts. Many have expressed a strong sense of accomplishment and fulfilment for doing good!



Sncf Interns VolunteerSaid SNCF Scholar Goh Yu Xuan: “The CSR activity is a reminder for us to be appreciative of the little things we take for granted in our everyday lives. Such activities and the continual support provided by the RCs help ensure that the less privileged are taken care of, in terms of material and emotional needs. With many of such CSR activities organised throughout the year, Seacare Co-operative really exhibits the co-operative value of doing well and doing good!”

SNCF Intern Jazlee Wee echoed: "It was a rewarding experience doing door-to-door visits and interacting with these families. I am glad to be able to contribute meaningfully to the lives of these people."

Age is just a number. As long as you find passion in what you do, you can contribute to society.

Ntuc Health Pauline Grad
    Ms Pauline Leong is proof that age is no barrier to learning!

Kudos to Mdm Pauline Leong Wai Chan who has recently attained her Specialist Diploma in Community Gerontology Nursing, at 60 years young! 

As a Senior Nursing Manager at Care@home in NTUC Health Co-operative, Pauline oversees the Interim Caregiver Service for discharged patients returning home for recuperation. Her key responsibilities include providing short-term nursing care for patients at home while they await long-term caregiving arrangements such as the engagement of foreign domestic workers.

Pauline finds immense satisfaction whenever she sees the delight in her clients’ faces. Her selfless dedication and deep commitment to providing high quality care and services has motivated her to upgrade her skills and knowledge to give patients better and more effective treatment, while showing empathy and concern.

It all started with Pauline accompanying her friend who enrolled in the one-year part-time Specialist Diploma in Community Gerontology Nursing offered by Ngee Ann Polytechnic, in collaboration with Tsao Foundation. Pauline eventually signed up for the same course too! Her morale was greatly boosted when her employer of two years, NTUC Health Co-operative stepped in to sponsor her studies.

From April 2017, Pauline attended weekly classes at Ngee Ann Polytechnic for a year. When asked how she juggled work, course and her personal time, Pauline confidently replied, “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail!”

Pauline shared that the course empowered her to be ready for the next decade of patient-centric community care, equipping her with the professional skills required to provide holistic care for seniors within the community.

As a strong advocate of lifelong learning, Pauline, with a deep sense of conviction, shared her life philosophy:

The more we learn, the more knowledge and skills we have, the more we can benefit the people around us and the community.

 RH2017 warmup article

To promote the well-being and integration of Persons with Special Needs (PWSN), Run for Inclusion 2018, is back for its fourth edition under a new banner. Following the success of Runninghour 2017: Run So Others Can, the event returns this year with the aim of spreading awareness and understanding towards a wider group of PWSN, through the avenue of physical fitness. This year’s run will be held across Bishan Park and Bishan Stadium on 26 August 2018, 5pm.

Run for Inclusion 2018 is Singapore’s only mass running event where participants run alongside hearing, intellectually, physically and visually-challenged runners. Held annually by Runninghour Co-operative Limited since 2015, the event seeks to provide a platform for PWSN to be included in a mainstream event, and to promote awareness towards PWSN.

Running in their shoes

RH2017 Run   ArticleMaking its debut this year is the Empathy Run segment, where participants will undergo hearing, physical, sensory and visual challenges to experience the difficulties faced by PWSN. Participants can take part in the Hearing Impairment Challenge – where they run with earplugs on, Cerebral Palsy Challenge – where participants traverse a distance with uneven terrain, Autism Challenge – where participants go through a sensory tunnel experience created just for the event, and the Mental Health Challenge – where they advocate support for people with mental health issues by finishing the last 400 metres of the race together with no less than 10 people (as social support is an important factor in helping mental illness patients cope and recover). Not to be missed is Runninghour’s signature ‘Blindfold’ run – where participants run in pairs, with one of them guiding the other along, as he or she runs blindfolded.

Registration Details

Run for Inclusion 2018 introduces a new category this year – Personalised Distance, where PWSN participants can customise their run distance according to their preference and ability.
Sign up for Run for Inclusion 2018 now with $5 PROMO CODE: RR5OFF here!

For enquiries on the complimentary slots for special needs runners, please visit this link. For enquiries on the event please email
Registration closes on 12 August 2018.

About Runninghour Co-operative Limited

Runninghour Co-operative Limited was co-founded on 18 April 2009 by Mr John See Toh and Ms Chan Jan Siang with the aim of providing an avenue for mildly-intellectually challenged youths to participate in sports and integrate with mainstream society. In 2012, the club expanded to include visually challenged runners. Recognising that the club has the potential to create positive impact in more lives, Runninghour officially registered as a co-operative in May 2014, to promote the well-being and integration of people with special needs. Besides organising yearly running events, the co-operative holds regular sports activities such as Weekday Fun & Fit fitness sessions, weekly Saturday runs, tandem biking, dragon boating and other activities for Hearing Challenged Runners (HCRs), Intellectually Challenged Runners (ICRs), Visually Challenged Runners (VCRs) and Physically Challenged Runners (PCRs).

worldwide foundation new websitePhoto Credit: Worldwide Foundation

The Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions (WF), the official philanthropic arm of the World Council recently launched its new website, and tagline, Do Good. Do Global Good., as a new vehicle for credit unions to participate in the global credit union movement.

“The Worldwide Foundation now has its own platform from which it can offer a unique toolkit for credit unions to participate and engage with the global credit union community, while forwarding their social mission and growing their business,” said Worldwide Foundation Executive Director Mike Reuter. “Our Global Good Toolkit supports World Council credit union international development programs worldwide and changes the lives of individuals and their communities through the credit union difference.”

Credit unions worldwide provide financial empowerment enabling members to make the financial choices to improve their lives. Each tool on the Global Good Toolkit provides an opportunity for a credit union to help members globally, while improving their business and their members’ lives, locally. Each tool supports the needs of a credit union’s heart (social) and their head (business):

  • Supporter contributions bring contributors together with peers as part of a global movement to work together to solve issues facing the global movement;
  • The Global Good Card grows membership, especially Millennials, by adopting credit card branding into the product portfolio that provides a quality product and is socially responsible;
  • The Charitable Donation Account earns income and supports the international movement while not expensing contributions from the profit and loss statement (P&L);
  • Field Engagements allow credit unions to network with peers, learn new approaches and personally make a difference in the field;
  • The Gift of Service honors the storied career of a retiring executive or board member by allowing them to continue to leverage their skills to make a positive impact with volunteer service in the international field;
  • Disaster Relief supports partners with WF to get ahead of the storm by providing relief that will be used when disaster strikes and disrupts the lives of credit unions members and operations.

The Worldwide Foundation’s Case for Support, provides more information showcasing the Global Good Toolkit. For more information on the Worldwide Foundation’s new toolkit and engagement opportunities, visit

About Worldwide Foundation

The Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions is a non-profit organization that shares the World Council’s commitment to fostering financial inclusion and empowerment to millions worldwide through credit unions. Inspiring and encouraging credit unions and their members to “Do Good. Do Global Good.” by participating and engaging the global credit union movement is the key strategy to its sustainability. For more information, visit

The article was first published in the Co-operator (April - June 2012 issue).

Cv Devan Nair Article… this is what the NTUC seminar on the ‘Modernisation of Organised Labour’ is all about. To take a hard look at ourselves and at our surrounding circumstances, and provide some positive ideas about how to become unstuck from the grooves of the past.

- Former President of Singapore, Mr C V Devan Nair in his speech at the NTUC Modernisation Seminar

These “positive ideas”, which were shared with passion and clarity, took root deeply and started a social revolution with the birth of the NTUC Co-operatives, whose ideals invigorated Singapore’s co-operative landscape.

Janadas Devan Article
 Janadas Devan, son of C V Devan Nair

On 16 November 1969, a 14-year old boy and his brother were ‘dragged’ by their father to the Singapore Conference Hall. There, these boys heard what was to become of the labour movement as it stood on the threshold of transforming the way workers lived, played, and worked. Now, an Associate Editor with the Straits Times and Director of the Institute of Policy Studies, Janadas Devan recounts how his father, former NTUC Secretary-General Devan Nair championed the cause of co-operative co-ownership.

“I found myself enraptured by what I heard – the creation of a co-operative enterprise where co-ownership is the key. That’s what’s behind the NTUC modernisation seminar and the essence of the Co-operative Movement - giving people a sense of co-ownership. It’s not about whether I own it and you don’t, but we all own this together.”

Start with Insurance

“My father was very much taken by the idea of using co-operatives to improve people’s lives. As a result of talking to the Swedes, Germans and Israelis, the idea was actually to start a co-operative bank. A few days before the modernisation seminar, Dr Goh Keng Swee called my father. Dr Goh was naturally skeptical that the trade union would really modernise. He said: “Devan, are you serious about this? Are you really going to do this?” My father told him: “If this doesn’t work out, you and Kuan Yew (Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew) can find me something else to do.” Having heard that, Dr Goh must have taken it very seriously indeed. He was a brilliant man. He sat down and wrote this remarkable paper for the modernisation seminar. Almost the entire programme was laid out with such clarity that even a 14-year old could understand. And it was Dr Goh who said: “Don’t start with the bank, start with insurance.” Thus, was NTUC Income born.

“The idea of a consumer co-operative – to break the rice cartel and benchmark the cost of staples was mooted later. The consumer co-operative was birthed with NTUC Welcome, which is now known as NTUC FairPrice.”

NTUC Comfort – From Gangsters to Stakeholders 

“NTUC Comfort was my father’s idea. This is where his knowledge on Marxism came in useful – in particular, the concept of the “Lumpenproletariat”, which means “rogue proletariat” in German. They were not your usual workers, but people who existed on the fringes of society. They included gangsters, secret society members, day labourers, vagabonds, and so on.”
“Marxists didn’t do much with this category as they didn’t think there was much revolutionary potential in them. But Mao Zedong thought otherwise and had in fact organised the “Lumpenproletariat” in his first base area in Jiangxi. In Marxist theory, the revolution doesn’t come from the peasantry, but from industrialised workers. It was Mao who turned that around.”

The Comfort co-operative started with the aim of providing a stake in society to taxi drivers and pirate taxi operators. These were people, who, at one time, had no stake at all. The greater majority of them could not even dream of one day owning their own vehicles. But today, through the efforts of NTUC Comfort, a most significant change has taken place. Many of them are also proud owners of their own HDB flats, because as members of the Comfort co-operative, they are also regular contributors to the CPF. 

- An excerpt from an address by Mr C V Devan Nair at a meeting for 200 minibus operators in July 1976

“So my father had this idea about organising the “Lumpenproletariat” – in this case, the pirate taxi drivers, the ba ong chia, quite a number of whom were members of secret societies. He suggested organising this “Lumpenproletariat” into a co-operative, give them a stake, and after three or four years, own their taxis so that they could become taxi owner-drivers. And there were not just taxis but mini-vans to take children to schools. All this was made possible by the Government’s agreement to provide NTUC Co-operative with a low-interest loan, at World Bank rates, to finance the bulk purchase, at a satisfactory discount, of taxis and mini buses. The idea was truly inspiring.”

“These were marginalised people. Give them a stake in society; bring them into the tent, so to speak. That’s very important. That was the essential reason why the modernisation of the trade unions was launched - to give a new role to trade unionism and use the Co-operative Movement to give workers a greater stake in society. The old model of trade unionism became more and more irrelevant.”

“It comes as no surprise that my father was awfully unhappy when he heard years later of Comfort’s corporatisation. The situation had changed, the relationships had been drastically altered and it was no longer possible to have owner-drivers. Taxi drivers could no longer own their taxis or remain as members of the co-operative. The former sense of co-ownership was no longer possible. Hopefully, we can find new platforms to nurture that sense.”

Co-operative Ideals – The Foundation of Singapore

“The inspiration for the building up of Singapore among our founding generation was in fact more aligned with the ideals of co-operative movement than corporate culture. Corporate culture only came later.”

“Many people forget this, but the first generation of Singapore’s leaders were not the products of corporate culture. Yes, some of them came from well-off backgrounds. But the core of the leadership – including founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and Dr Goh Keng Swee, and certainly my father -- rose from the trade unions. That’s where they started, that was their base. They all began as democratic socialists. They grew disenchanted with socialist economics but never gave up their social-democratic ideals.”

Sense of Dedication

“What I remember most was the sense of dedication these leaders had. They weren’t in it for position, power or money. First of all, there wasn’t much money to speak of. And a lot of the times, they worked without the assurance they would succeed. Much of it was very experimental. After all, what experience and training did they have to run co-operatives? What made them think they could do this? But they did. They studied, found out how things were done elsewhere, and they adapted things to our circumstances. It was a small group who did this, but they had courage, dedication, and a deep sense of mission. And sometimes their ideas were quite zany – for example, one of my father’s ideas was for all unions to pool together their money and buy the Singapore lottery! Fortunately, that was never put into effect.”

cv devan nair present award article kraken
Photo courtesy of the United Workers of Petroleum Industry: A unionist receives and award from Mr Nair

The Relevance of Co-ownership and Co-operatives today 

“Co-operatives are one way of addressing social and income inequality. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has spoken about this several times. Social mobility has in fact declined in Singapore, owing partly to our previous successes. Whatever the cause, it is not good for society to have an underclass. How do you mitigate the effects of income disparity? I believe co-operatives can help play an enormously vital role not in solving income inequality, but in ameliorating its effects.”

“Of the three main issues (housing, transportation, and healthcare) facing Singaporeans, I think the biggest is healthcare since it concerns existential questions, with the huge bulk of the healthcare expenditure in one’s lifetime usually incurred in one’s twilight years. How do you make healthcare more affordable over the long run? How do you solve this problem? It’s a complex subject which I don’t mean to simplify. But if co-operatives can come alongside in this regard, they may be able to play a significant role in helping to resolve this problem. At any rate, we should emulate the spirit of adventure, and experiment of our founding generation.”

Learning Tips

• Give people a sense of co-ownership
• Embrace the spirit of adventure and experiment in addressing social issues
• Have a deep sense of mission

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Singapore National Co-operative Federation
510 Thomson Road #12-02
SLF Building, Singapore 298135
Tel (65) 6602 0747, Fax (65) 6259 9577

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