Six years ago, there was no Pokemon Go.

Life was…a little less happening then.

I was only 20 and I was having my vacation so I did a short stint with one of the public transport companies in Singapore.

During that period, the company launched an inaugural Home Improvement Programme over the weekend.

Being the young, naïve and easily excitable girl I was, I jumped on the bandwagon to be part of the volunteering mission.

Volunteering experience in Singapore

My personal volunteering experiencE

I recall gathering near the one-room flats in Bukit Merah view, on an early Saturday morning, to collect our cleaning equipment and receive instructions on the allocation of duties.

This includes changing new mattresses, new heaters, and installing energy-saving bulbs and for some flats, a complete spring clean topped with a new coat of paint.

Till now, I find it hard to forget the image of a board director, casually dressed in the white tee and Bermudas, happily trooping off with her pail of cleaning tools. As you can tell, I was pretty impressionable then.

Collecting equipment - volunteering in singapore

The usual drill of cleaning equipment before setting off for duties

I wish I had photos from the past but I don’t so this is closest to what I experienced.

What has volunteering got to do with Pokemon Go?

Firstly, let me start by saying that it is actually really easy to get hooked on a game that is talk of the town.

Ask anyone that is playing and they will gladly share which rare pokemons they have caught and the best places to catch em’ all.

Volunteering is the opposite.

It can be a healthy addiction but it is hard to get started.

Some people do it because “bo pian”, it is part of the CSR programme in their organization but I know a few who do it with the pure intention of wanting to make a difference in others’ lives.

Happily painting - volunteering in singapore

Volunteering makes you feel good inside out.


Earlier this month, more than 160 volunteers from all walks of life (Unions, Young NTUC, Tampines GRC and public) helped some 60 residents from less-privileged households in Tampines spruce up their homes.

Sounds similar to what I did?

This is same same but different.

It is part of Project Refresh which aims to bring National Day cheer to families by helping them to spring clean, paint their walls and conduct bed bug fumigation.

*cue National Day song* “One people, one nation, one Singapore…”

Elderly buys cake to thank volunteers - volunteering in singapore

Auntie from low-income family buys a $40.80 cake to thank her volunteers. (Source: unscrambled.sg)


Desmond choo - volunteering in Singapore

An unglam shot of Desmond Choo you’ll never see in PAP propaganda (Source: unscrambled.sg)

Desmond Choo said, “Some of our fellow Singaporeans, especially the elderly, might not be physically able to make their homes safer and more comfortable for themselves. Through Young NTUC’s U Heart initiative Project Refresh, our youth volunteers are determined not to leave anyone behind in the progress of our nation and hope to bring the spirit of celebration and cheer closer to homes of these less-privileged families.”

TL;DR: No one will be left behind as Young NTUC’s U Heart will be there for you


It has been six years and I still remember how good it felt to bring smiles to people and warm their hearts (very cheesy, I know).

It is a refreshing experience, knowing that the little things you do, actually mean a great deal to others.

So instead of achieving momentary happiness from catching Snorlax or Vaporean (rare pokemons), try volunteering if you haven’t.

Happy beneficiary - volunteering in Singapore

One of the many happy beneficiaries of Project Refresh

Do something meaningful today and your future self will thank you for it. :)

Note to self: Connect with real people over real conversations. Help someone in need. Don’t get too caught up over things that are not real and start doing things that actually matter.

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