Initiated by Chao Loy of Apex Club, a lunch gathering for some 400 old folks at Tse Toh Aum Buddhist Temple in Sin Ming was arranged today and as many volunteers were required. Both Winnie and Irene agreed to join me.
Winnie had to work this morning, thus at about 0930 hrs I arranged to pick up Irene at her house first and then, drove over to HarbourFront to pick up Winnie before heading to Telok Blangah Crescent, one of the pick-up venues for the old folks. We arrived slightly early at Blk 5 but Nicole, the assigned co-ordinator called to inform that the pick-up venue had been changed to the Community Centre, not too far away from Blk 5. While walking to the CC, we witnessed a brawl at the coffeeshop. A fat man who was bloodied on the face, was seen gesturing & shouting at someone and bystanders were simply watching the fracas. We were walking on the opposite of the road to the direction of the CC. What an ugly morning unfolding before us, couldn't some people just exercise restrain instead of coming to blows? Sigh!
Finally, we met up with Nicole and some volunteers at the CC. Many elderly folks were already waiting for the coach. We realised the coach capacity will be filled to the brink, there were no enough seats for us. I then told Winnie & Irene that I'll walk back to the carpark to pick up my car while they stayed back to assist the embarkation of the old folks. On my walk back, I saw policemen talking to someone at the coffeeshop and that fat man, now calmer was seated at one side waiting to take his statement I suppose.
I was not too sure of the direction, therefore took the route I am more familiar with though it was a longer distance. When we arrived, the coach had also just arrived. It was drizzling, Winnie and Irene dropped off first with the umbrellas to help with the disembarkation while I find parking.
I saw Chao Loy who was busy arranging the table setting and I had quick word with him. Everyone went into auto-gear with chores. There were no specified instructions who was to do what but simply, 'see-what and do-what lor'. Winnie and Irene were preparing the Chinese tea, I went to help them out. We had to wait for more groups from other pick-up venues before lunch can be served.
Finally, lunch was ready to be served. The kitchen was packed with eager volunteers who can't wait to bring out the dishes to the old folks. I had a big tray which can contain 5 different dishes for one table, once ready to be taken out, I simply carried it on my shoulder - remembrance of my student days when I part-timed as banquet waiter on weekends...hehe! Man, I enjoyed it. I went back to the kitchen, filled up another 5 dishes and I think I repeated the drill for 3 or 4 times. Everyone was helping out, either at the kitchen or serving at the tables. Very quickly, all the dishes despatched were out. By the way, it was a vegetarian meal. We had our fills too, quickly tucking in the simple but savoury veggies meal.
After lunch, we had to get ready to escort the old folks back to the coaches, area by area. Again, no specified instructions on 'who was to do what', it was an automatic drills for all. Still drizzling, we needed as many umbrellas to cover the old folks from the elements. Some carried the goodies to the coaches, some escorted & held on to those weaker old folks on wheelchairs or clutches, some held the umbrellas to keep them dry while some cleaned up the area. Winnie was doing the escorting, helping out the folks and I did likewise while Irene was cleaning up the area.
By 1400 hrs or about, we had despatched all the old folks and the area was also cleaned up. Satisfied with our feat, we were ready to leave too and bid good-bye to Chao Loy and rest of the volunteers. What a fulfilling day for us, truly meaningful task and I felt fantastic. Thanks too to Winnie and Irene for their hep.