Date: 13 July 2019
Time: 9.00 am – 5.30 pm
Address: Lifelong Learning Institute, 11 Eunos Rd 8, Level 4, Singapore 408601
Hours: 8.5 hrs
How can we do more for the social issues and communities we care about?
Come learn about our society’s most pressing issues through a variety of innovative activities! From mental health to single parents, discover how you can contribute to creating a more inclusive and caring Singapore.
Extract from A Good Space
I was invited by Dexter (Relationship Banking) to attend this workshop. Held in conjunction with the SkillsFuture festival, A Good Day is the annual flagship event conducted by A Good Space that brings all their changemakers together for one day to share their passion for different social causes. Participants had to choose 2 out of the 6 main activities to attend on the actual day. The 2 activities I chose were Breaking the Silence and Game for Change.
The event started at 9 am. We were given a short tour of the venue. After that, we had some free and easy time to get some refreshments and mingle with others while we waited for the other participants to complete their registration. There was also a Needs and Offers board where participants could ask for help and can also offer assistance for others as well. At around 10 am, the event opened proper with short speeches from the organisers. Ms Anthea Indira Ong, A Good Space co-founder, gave her addressing speech. We also engaged in some ice breaker activities where all participants had to talked to 3 person in the room that they have not talked to and learn 3 things about each of them. The activity was rather fun but was too short to really get to know about each other. Soon, we had to break up into the different activities that we signed up in advance.
Activity 1: Breaking the Silence
Breaking the Silence addressed 3 social causes: seniors, Aphasia and single parents. Participants could take part in games and conversations with 2 out of the 3 groups. I joined Chit Chat Cafe (Aphasia) and U 3rd Age (seniors). Before we broke up for the separate activities, we did laughing yoga together as a combined group activity. The activity involved us clapping our hands and doing voluntary laughter. This helped to stimulate certain acupuncture points and to increase energy level. We were also asked to do actions like unzipping our skull, taking out our brain, washing it, and putting it back into our head.
Chit Chat Cafe (Aphasia)
The organisers from Chit Chat Cafe started the activity with us by asking if we knew what Aphasia was. Most of us had never heard of that word before. Aphasia is inability to understand or difficulty to understand spoken or written words and/or to express thoughts and emotions. Aphasia is caused by brain injury most commonly from a stroke, but may also result from head trauma, brain tumors, or infections. We were shown a short informative video and then proceed to play a competitive quiz game to test our understanding.
We played charades where each colour paper had different food and drink items written on it. We had to stimulate the action of ordering food and drinks without the use of words and conversations. This game was especially effective as participants could feel the frustration (albeit of a much smaller degree) that people with Aphasia feel when others do not understand their requests.
We ended the activity with a matching game where we had to match different facts to the correct questions.
U 3rd Age (seniors)
Activity 2: Game for Change
After a short break for lunch, we gathered again for Activity 2. Jacey, Executive Director, from Camp Hiro hosted Game for Change. At this activity, we were introduced to various traditional games that the younger participants might not be familiar with. Although I did played some of these before during my childhood, there were also some that I didn’t. It was fun to see some of the seniors teaching the younger participants how these games should be played.
Besides the traditional games, we also played a card game designed by Youth Corps called Share Lah where there were questions written on them and everyone had to take turns to draw and answer.
At the end of the whole activity, everyone was asked to write one thing that they learnt from the experience. I felt that we need to open up ourselves more to others and also to new experiences. Communication is the key for us in advancing towards becoming a more inclusive society.
Activity 3: Human Library
We were given 45 min to choose different human “books” to hear their stories and to ask any questions we had. The objective was to dive deeper into the social issues and discover ways in which we can contribute. The 3 speakers I listened to were Yee Mun Choy from National Volunteer Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), Radha Basu from Lien Foundation, and Thomas Kuan from U 3rd Age. Yee Mun shared with us the latest findings from NVPC’s survey into senior volunteerism rate in Singapore, why it is important to empower seniors to volunteer and how we can do our part to empower the seniors in our lives. Radha shared her experiences and insights from her research in the eldercare sector. Thomas shared his experiences of starting U 3rd Age and also the workshops and events they organise.
After almost 8 hours of games and activities , all participants gathered again for the closing activity. Anthea led the last activity which involved participants doing personal reflection. Everyone to close our eyes and reflected on the event — what we did, what we learnt , the purpose of today etc. We also did a word cloud together and most of the participant described the event as inspiring.
This event showed that sometimes change doesn’t always happen top-down from government, policymakers, and institutions. Change can start from the community as well — bottom-up by ground-up initiatives. Sometimes it might even start from one single person, but this will lead to a ripple-effect and inspire others around you. It was inspiring to see how the changemakers were so supportive of each other’s causes and providing great support to one another.