Sunday, 3 August 2014

Launch of Pioneer Generation Card: PM Lee Hsien Loong hands out first 100 PG cards on 1 August 2014

By Charissa Yong, The Straits Times, 2 Aug 2014

PRIME Minister Lee Hsien Loong gave out the first 100 of about 450,000 pioneer generation cards yesterday, and promised there will be a "very big effort" to distribute the rest by the end of this month.

Among the 100 pioneers invited to yesterday's launch of the cards were retired nurses and housewives - people who left legacies in their professions, or toiled behind the scenes, said PM Lee.

He spoke in Malay, Mandarin and English on the country's gratitude to the pioneer generation for their contributions to Singapore, and concluded his speech by saying "thank you" in all four official languages, including Tamil.

In paying tribute to those who "have been pillars of support in their homes, for their spouses", he said: "Their contributions are no less important and no less valued."

One such pioneer last night was Mrs Theresa Stewart, 99, widow of Mr Stanley Stewart.

He was the head of the civil service when Singapore became independent in 1965, and was among the first to know of Singapore's separation from Malaysia in 1965.

"Like many other spouses, Mrs Stewart supported her husband in his work, and was there with him every step of the way," said Mr Lee, who wished her happy birthday in advance.

She turns 100 in about three weeks, on Aug 26.

Said Mrs Stewart's daughter Olivia, 71, a nun: "Mummy and Papa really helped forge a lot of interracial friendships and broke the barrier between colonials and locals."

The Stewarts are Eurasians.

Seniors who are aged 65 and older this year and became citizens before 1987 will receive a pioneer generation package in the mail this month.

It will have personalised red-and-white cards identifying them as pioneers. Mr Lee personally handed the packages to 100 pioneers yesterday.

From next month, the cards can be used to get more subsidies at polyclinics, specialist outpatient clinics, and participating general practitioner and dental clinics under the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS).

Seniors in Hong Kah North get new $100,000 community fund
Residents to raise money for the elderly
By Joanna Seow, The Sunday Times, 3 Aug 2014

Besides the health-care subsidies that can be obtained with their new Pioneer Generation cards, seniors in Hong Kah North will be able to get help from a $100,000 community fund launched yesterday.

The Hong Kah North Pioneer Generation Fund, believed to be the first set up for a constituency, will support activities and financial assistance for the elderly.

Half of the money will be raised by residents themselves through the sale of handmade friendship bands at $2 each.

"In this way, the fund will be truly one that is contributed by the community for the community," said Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower Amy Khor, at an appreciation event for pioneers.

The other half of the fund has been donated by civil engineering firm KKL Construction.

Dr Khor, MP for Hong Kah North, said the money will complement existing government schemes for pioneers, and can fund excursions and exercise programmes as well as transport allowances for the needy.

The aim is to help the vulnerable elderly aged 60 and above "who may be in need of financial help or who may have very little family support", she said.

Some 210 pioneers - those aged 65 and over, and who were citizens before 1987 - attended the event at the neighbourhood's community club. They were taught how to make the friendship bands by students from Westwood Secondary School.

Secondary 3 student Lee Hui Zhi, 15, said she enjoyed finding out more about what the elderly residents did in the past. "A few of them said they are quite lonely, so they appreciated our presence and they found the crafts fun," she said.

The seniors had their photos taken for free as keepsakes.

They were also presented with vacuum flasks and their Pioneer Generation cards, which provide access to special subsidies at health-care providers.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong gave out the first batch of cards last Friday. The rest of Hong Kah North's 3,400 pioneers, who make up around 7 per cent of the constituency's residents, will receive theirs by September.

Madam Lim Ah Keow, 69, who has lived in Hong Kah North with her daughter for nearly 30 years, said the new subsidies and assistance will be helpful. "Even a little bit of transport money will last a very long time for me because I don't go out much except to go to the doctor or buy things."

No comments:

Post a Comment