On Mar 7, while most of us were still asleep, a group of joggers in bright blue T-shirts were already bringing cheer to their neighbours around Our Tampines Hub (OTH).
The group, called The Morning Greeters, combined an activity that they love (jogging) with an action that they share (an encouraging smile). By greeting everyone they see as they run, they spur fellow Singaporeans to be friendly and helpful to one another, a sentiment that has become even more meaningful in this challenging time.
That was just the start to a weekend of festivities celebrating solidarity with those in the frontlines in the fight against Covid-19.
At the launch of the “Overcome as One” campaign, held at OTH, the sea of blue continued as residents and shoppers chipped in to show their support – through donations, artwork and video clips – for frontline workers and vulnerable groups in our community.
Initiated by the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM) and Tampines Kindness Movement, as part of SG United, the event, attended by DPM Heng Swee Keat, rallied Singaporeans to be more understanding and kind to each other.
Ground-up movements inspire acts of kindness
One such ground-up movement, Contribute SG, collected and redistributed Covid-19 essentials such as hand sanitisers and masks to those on the frontline and the needy.
Another, Be Kind SG, got passers-by to help fold origami hearts – 600 in all – to thank MRT cleaners for their hard work in keeping our trains clean and disinfected.
Yet another ground-up movement, Stand With You SG, recorded video clips – to be edited into a montage – of families and friends showing their appreciation towards frontliners fighting against the spread of Covid-19.
The Volunteer Switchboard encouraged children to pen messages which were distributed with hand sanitizers to underprivileged children at Child at Street 11 and old folks at Jalan Kukoh.
“(The message) was to remind parents and children that no matter how young the child is, he or she is able to help others,” The Volunteer Switchboard wrote in a Facebook post.
Throughout the day, volunteers gave away 10,000 yellow gerbera daisies – symbolising kindness – to passers-by, with a simple instruction, to spread happiness to someone they wanted to encourage.
Everyday Heroes SG and Contribute SG provided care packages to the cleaners and hawkers of OTH.
In a post on Facebook, they urged Singaporeans to help spread positivity and appreciate frontliners.
“Give up a seat to any hospital staff on public transport so that they can rest after a long shift. Smile and give the thumbs up to security guards directing traffic and keeping the premises safe. Give words of encouragement to hardworking bus drivers and cab drivers,” they wrote.
“Support nearby shops as their business may have been terribly affected… Show some love to all frontliners. Because every little bit counts.”
The campaign wasn’t just happening on Mar 7 though.
The next day, Back Alley Barbers, together with Singapore Migrant Friends and Geylang Adventures, distributed hand and body soaps, sanitizers, wet wipes and toothbrushes to the migrant workers at Kallang Field. They also shared information and cleared rumours about the virus, teaching the workers how to take care of their personal hygiene.
Organisations come together as one
It’s not just Singaporeans and volunteer groups that are coming together now. Companies are also lending their voice to the Overcome as One campaign.
From now till March 13, Starbucks has implemented a Pay-It-Forward initiative at all stores, giving away two cups of coffee on the house and encouraging customers to pass on the act of kindness. Look out also for baristas wearing the Overcome as One badge to show support towards the movement.
From fueling up on caffeine to fueling up on petrol, Caltex is distributing “Overcome as One” car decals at petrol stations nationwide. Ride-hailing company Grab has also joined the movement by distributing the decals to its drivers.
Spreading positivity on social media
Over the weekend, local celebrities such as musician Nathan Hartono, actors Rachel Wan, Adlina Adil and Munah Bagharib, as well as Ironman triathlete Cheryl Tay put on the Overcome as One T-shirt to share their own messages on social media in support of the movement.
“While staying healthy and responsible is crucial in times like these, kindness must never be forgotten. We should constantly remind each other to exercise empathy, love and community. Fear and anxiety is inevitable, but we can rise above it,” Hartono wrote.
“Every little act of kindness can go a long way, such as sharing a bottle of hand sanitiser with your colleagues or being more considerate to healthcare workers,” Tay wrote.
“So let’s Overcome as ONE, as in Offering help when needed, Not being selfish (like not ostracising anyone) and Empathising with anyone affected!”