This year, our management council bids adieu to some members, thanking them for their contribution. At the same time, they extend their welcome to a couple of new members coming on board who also share the same values as Club Rainbow. We are happy to speak with some of the new members and get to know them better.
Miss Wong Qin Lei joins the Management Council of Club Rainbow (Singapore) for a term of one year as the Programmes Director. Before coming on board, Qin Lei found herself drawn to humbly giving back to the community through the form of supporting the elderly group by helping to create awareness on elderly living in solitude to all walks of life. Over ten years of devoting her time, she experienced personal nourishment in the process of developing empathy and patience for this group of pioneer generation who contributed to the building of our nation.
Loving her profession in the industry of early education by day and giving hours of volunteering when she can, one may say that community work is in her blood… We catch up with Qin Lei recently for a chat and uncover her secret of what keeps her driven in community work.
Q: What about CRS mission and work motivates you?
QL: Working with children of varying needs, I believe that children shape our future to the type of society we would see moving forward. The key highlight of CRS’s work that impresses me lies in its holistic ecological approach in offering services to the children and their families across the spectrum with the aim of uplifting the quality of life for both the children and their families. This, in turn, translates to child-centric solutions that would bring greater and more significant impact on the beneficiary and the family.
Q: What do you reckon the difference would be compared to your previous experience with charity?
QL: Go along with me on this one; imagine the philosophical view of the Circle of Life.
The elderly and the child stages are the closest to one another. They are at the phases of a typical lifecycle where they are at the most vulnerable.
A child potentially has to learn how to fend for him or herself, acquire certain life skills and also how to navigate when they eventually become a contributor to our society in their own ways. I think it’s the same thing for the elderly where after going through the whole journey of life, and they are at the stage of life where they have become frail and the same thing being vulnerable. They are at the mercy of their body, people around them, caregivers, etc. I think at the end of the day, these two groups of people need care and attention.
In my opinion, I don’t see much difference, except for the difference in the types of care and attention required between the two groups.
Q: Juggling between work and volunteerism, what challenges did you face, and how did you manage it?
QL: In the pursuit of a career path in my early years, both satisfaction and purpose were not achieved easily at work. Through committing time to community work over the weekends is when I feel recharged with a sense of purposefulness and joy. Among the ups and downs that I faced during this period, the thing that challenges me most was the lack of understanding from my family on my decision to dedicate time to volunteerism.
“Through committing time to community work
over the weekends
is when I feel recharged
with a sense of purposefulness and joy.”
- Qin Lei -
Due to the difference in views of community giving, Qin Lei shared that she does face occasional disagreements with her family. Setbacks such as children not turning up for the arranged tuition sessions certainly did not help to make situations any better. Still, she held on to her resolute belief of ‘a simple act of giving brings joy’ which kept her connected to social service regardless of being surrounded by negativity.
QL: So some of these things do happen at the same time. I guess that there are just little things that may occur throughout, and in life, whenever you run a project, there could be a setback. You’ve got to ask yourself then why do we want to do this? Why do I want to do it? So let’s say today my outreach failed and I can’t help this person but can I help the second person? Can I try again for the second person at all? This persistent prompting is what kept me going towards community giving, bringing me happiness, and that is important to me — my way of self-care.
Q: What advice do you have for fellow professionals in considering volunteerism?
QL: I like to share that regardless of whichever juncture of life you are at and if you have a moment with yourself, to take a step back and reflect on what you have done and achieve in the past years. Asking yourself, would you count it as a blessing? Feeling blessed, would you be able to give some and if yes, then how would you like to give and what would you like to give? So I guess it’s not an advice, it’s more of a question that you could ask yourself. It is not easy for people to tell themselves ‘I am blessed’. I don’t have a perfect life and not a religious person, but I dare to say that I feel that ‘the guy up there’ has been rather kind to me in general. The key thing here is not ‘I need to give’ but ‘I want to give’. When you want to give, you will give wholeheartedly — the intent.
The key thing here is not ‘I need to give’ but ‘I want to give’.
When you want to give, you will give wholeheartedly.
- Qin Lei -
Q: Qin Lei, thank you for sharing with us so much! Before we go off, please do tell us one thing about you that would surprise us and Club Rainbow followers.
QL: I walked around with a bone fracture in my foot for 15 years without realising it. I was advised by a medical professional to leave the broken piece alone since it did not interfere with walking. So I walk around with a bit of a broken bone in my foot these days!