For the last 12 years, I had to make do with watching the National Day Parade on Youtube, miles away from home. Each time, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride at seeing how this tiny country has grown and made its mark in the world. We are a people – left behind by the British, and then by Malaysia, to fend for ourselves.
Growing up, my grandparents used to tell me about the Japanese Occupation during World War II, that iconic image of LKY tearing up on TV at the beginning of Singapore’s Independence, and the sense of uncertainty surrounding their future in the immediate years after. Yet today, we are a people who have brought our country from third world to first – within a single generation.
It is easy to forget how hard our forefathers, the Pioneer Generation, worked to get us where we are now.
It is easy to take things for granted and fall into complacency. With our economic strength and affluence, we also tend to overlook the fact that there are less fortunate people around us.
A COMMON HUMANITY
I left Singapore 12 years ago, because of the needs I saw beyond our shores. Through working with communities that were unwanted and largely forgotten – I was reminded that Singapore had similar beginnings.
Our Pioneer Generation overcame great challenges to better their lives and for their countrymen. Being a recipient of the blessings as a result of their struggle, I was inspired to pay it forward. After all, we all share a common humanity – no matter who we are and where we come from. I believe we can work together to level the playing field and better the lives of the most disadvantaged in our region.
A SINGAPOREAN FOOTPRINT IN MAKING A DIFFERENCE
This mindset played a big role in how RADION began, and how we conduct our work. In the last 12 years, RADION grew from being a 2-man team to having long-term relief & development work in Thailand, Laos and Singapore. Throughout this time, we served others with an approach that bears the Singapore hallmark – financial prudence (in using donor funds), diplomacy in building bridges with people, and resilience in seeing through our commitments.
We did not do it for profit, we did it for people – because lives matter. This is why we work hard to ensure that RADION’s beneficiaries do not have to suffer more than what they already did. At the same time, we consistently encouraged Singaporeans to join us for this work and in building cultural bridges.
I’m glad to say RADION’s efforts have not been lost on the ones we serve and work with. A foreign ambassador who has been a friend of mine for many years told me this: “Thank you for doing this for my country.” I replied that it was the least that one can do for friends.
In the course of our work, hundreds of Singaporeans have served together through short and long-term projects. Every one of them returned becoming more aware of societal issues, cultural sensitivities, and the importance of empathy when serving the underprivileged.
It is our desire that as we continue this work, we will help nurture a kinder and more compassionate generation of Singaporeans who will go the extra mile for the needy – both overseas and locally.
BRINGING LESSONS HOME
Earlier this year, the RADION team made a decision to invest more of our time and energy in Singapore. We recognise that young Singaporeans are concerned about social issues, they want to do meaningful work and contribute to something that can make a long-term impact.
This is why we are bringing our expertise and experience back to Singapore to help organisations, businesses and youths do good better. We believe it’s a worthwhile effort to invest in Singaporeans, and to help them catalyze change across the region and at home.
A BRIGHTER FUTURE
We dream of a future where our young play an active role not just in maintaining Singapore’s economic progress, but to make our country known as a hub for societal change and impact. Where young people take on the responsibility to find solutions to difficult issues and make a difference in our region and beyond.
This is a future where Singaporeans create change together.
I believe this can be done.
So on this occasion of our nation’s birthday and the bicentennial of this little island, may we recall the courage, fortitude, and resolve of our forefathers, and rise to the challenge.
Eugene Wee, Founder & Executive Director of RADION International