Singapore: The Red Cross, my second love

On 27 September of this year, the Singapore Red Cross (SRC) had two reasons to celebrate: first, the launch of its mobile museum, and second, the 65th anniversary of its founding. Red Cross stories and a Presidential speech featured prominently at the day's celebration.

"For a long time, I have regarded the Red Cross as my second love, after only my family" was the first line of Charis Tan Soke Chin's Red Cross story. Her passion for the Singapore National Society seems boundless as she talks about her over 50 years of service – from 1958 to 2012 – with the SRC. Her story is just one of some 65 powerful stories of lives moved by the SRC. The stories are being showcased at the SRC's Roving Heritage Museum, set to travel the country over the next month; and they aim to inspire people to support the SRC's lifesaving work.

Republic of Singapore President Tony Tan officially launched the museum on 27 September, in the presence of SRC volunteers and supporters, and other members of the public, at Singapore's Toa Payoh Housing & Development Board Hub Mall. Attending the launch were Jeremy England, ICRC Head of Regional Delegation, Kuala Lumpur; Anne LeClerc, Head of the South-East Asia Regional Delegation, Bangkok, of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC); and Giorgio Ferrario, IFRC Head of Delegation, Jakarta.

The SRC’s Roving Heritage Museum is all set for its official launch!

The SRC celebrates 65 years of serving humanity

The museum launch coincided with the celebration of the SRC's 65th anniversary. According to Mr Tan: "The Singapore Red Cross has over the past 65 years, since its establishment in 1949, remained steadfast in serving the most vulnerable among us. SRC also rallies our people in humanitarian work and relief efforts in times of disasters and emergencies in Singapore and the region. I congratulate SRC on its 65th anniversary and wish SRC continued success in its mission."

At the celebration, Mr Tan presented the SRC Awards. Recipients ranged from youth to members of the pioneer generation, as individuals or organizations. All were recognized for their priceless contributions of time, expertise and resources helping the SRC's humanitarian mission. As Mr Tan explained: "I was pleased to present the Red Cross Awards to this year's recipients. I hope that they will inspire more people to join them in the meaningful work that SRC is doing."

Also speaking at the celebration was SRC Chairman Tee Tua Ba: "Singapore Red Cross (SRC), a home-grown humanitarian organization, has a significant place in Singapore's history. From running a home for crippled children and hospital car in the aftermath of World War II to a well-established organization today that serves groups who fall between the gaps in the social safety nets, SRC's mission has been clear – to serve humanity and save lives."

Active in the region and beyond

From its origins as a branch of the British Red Cross 65 years ago, operating out of rented premises in Empress Place, the SRC has grown to become a key player in the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. It has hosted the "11th Annual South East Asian Red Cross Red Crescent Leaders Meeting 2014", and it has offered many contributions and initiatives to deal with various humanitarian crises in the region.

The ICRC works closely with the SRC on various projects, with the SRC recently pledging to raise S$500,000 for ICRC & IFRC operations in Gaza through its Middle East Appeal. Moreover, SRC volunteer doctors were deployed to Samar in the Philippines to support ICRC operations for communities affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

SRC Secretary General Benjamin William (right) demonstrates how Red Cross stories can be uploaded on the move. Looking on are SRC Chairman Tee Tua Ba (centre) and President of the Republic of Singapore Tony Tan.