Busy, Busy, Busy

I know I haven’t published in a while. Not because things are bad, but because things are exceptionally well. I am super busy doing super things. And this is how it began.

After we moved into our current home, we had more stuff than we could fit in. So I wanted to donate all the things I hadn’t used in years, but who to? The most obvious/well-known option would be the Salvation Army, but they told me – politely – they would only come and pick it up for a fee of S$ 60. I wasn’t even sure it was worth that much…

I browsed further on internet and somehow landed on the website of the Netherlands Charity Association (NCA); the NCA raises money among expats and then passes it on to local Singaporean charities. And they were looking for stuff to sell alogot their garage sale! That all sounded perfect and even better: they came and picked it up for free! While talking to the woman who came to pick up my stuff (who turned out to be the president of the association), I offered ‘loosely’ that if they needed help, I would be interested in volunteering. So, I became a salesperson at the same garage sale. It was the weirdest thing to see all ‘my’ stuff in the hands of others and to hear their (sometimes not so) appreciative comments.

Back to the NCA and what they do. When first I arrived in Singapore I was gob smacked by all the malls, the bling-bling and the obvious luxury that seemed so normal to everyone. I had the biggest culture shock, because after Mexico it just seemed too much. It certainly didn’t seem necessary to have charities raising money for the needy in Singapore. What needy could there be in one of the richest countries in the world?

Now I know better. I know that thousands of people live here without money to buy food. I know that the old, mentally challenged and the sick are being kept hidden out of shame (a cultural difference). I know that the maids (oh how I hate that word) are being treated badly, sometimes so bad that they end up in hospital or even get killed. I know that there are human traffickers that sell other people like animals to work in Singapore for next to nothing. Actually, most get treated even worse than an animal.


I mostly sit behind my computer of course, but here a few action shots when we helped out on a food run for Willing Hearts, a soup-kitchen that prepares and distributes about 4,000 meals per day to people who cannot afford to buy their own.

I also know that there are a lot of good-hearted Singaporeans that want to help and/or change things. But to reach the expats is difficult. They come and they go and to build up a strong network is almost impossible on an individual basis. So that’s where NCA comes in. They raise money and then distribute it among the local charities.

I know all this because since February I am actively involved in the work NCA does. I am the webmaster of NCA as well as a member of the marketing committee and the workshop committee. This all sounds fancy- schmancy, but the majority of the work usually gets done by only a few people so most of us have many different titles.

It’s keeping me busy, so much so that it seems like having a day job. A fun job actually, because I love doing this stuff. If you want to see why, or what I’m working on, check out the website.


13 thoughts on “Busy, Busy, Busy

  1. It’s great to hear you are doing well and thriving. If we all could look a little deeper at our world it would be interesting to learn what we would find. The truth is most of us don’t look and pretend life is wonderful. It sounds like you’ve looked deeper and found a way you can pay it forward. Have a great week.

  2. That’s a great concept, bridging the gap between the expat community and Singaporean charities. I read on the donate section of your website that you sell souvenirs in local shops. Do you happen to sell the Merlion chocolates? For some reason those are hugely popular in Phuket.

    • No, no chocolates haha. But we would have, had we thought of it first 🙂 Especially now that I know they love ‘m in Phuket. How was your trip to Singapore?
      I’m sorry that was a while ago, but I am incredibly behind on all my personal things.

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