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Lim Mun Ching

After responding to a call for volunteers when COVID-19 struck Singapore, Lim Mun Ching, a Senior Optometrist with SNEC’s Optometry Service, received a call from her HR manager. “She asked whether I would be comfortable to volunteer at the Singapore EXPO Community Care Facility as part of the logistics and operations team. I agreed immediately as I was keen to support our heroes on the frontline,” she enthuses.

Mun Ching has since been deployed to support D’Resort @ Downtown East for one week, and is currently back at Singapore EXPO. She wears several hats wherever she is deployed, such as catering meals, setting up and maintaining inventory, and ensuring environmental cleanliness. The toughest task she faced was starting out at the EXPO, working with fellow volunteers to support frontline colleagues running the four halls managed by SingHealth. “When we first went in, there was nothing,” she recalls. “The team started from scratch — empty stores, a couple of tables, and limited shower facilities.” Her team helped to prep certain spaces within EXPO “so that they are conducive for staff to work and rest”. She easily clocked 12-hour days then.

When family and friends learnt of Mun Ching’s volunteer work, they were encouraging, yet concerned. “I allayed their anxiety by saying that I have no direct contact with patients, and that I wear an N95 mask all the time. I also promised to regularly keep them apprised of my situation,” she says. She also assured them that she will make time to exercise and eat right to boost her immunity.

While it has been a steep learning curve, Mun Ching appreciated the eye-opening experience. Firstly, she is getting a first-hand look at how back-end operations work. “My fellow volunteers from back-end ops are very effective and efficient — they know what to do, how to get things done at the snap of a finger. I had the benefit of learning from and working alongside these unseen heroes.” Secondly, while the evolving COVID-19 situation has forced everyone to adapt to new norms, the pandemic has made her realise essential constants: “I am reminded of the importance of social responsibility and connecting with each other. We need one another to live healthy and meaningful lives. Let’s continue to do the right thing, not just for you and me, but for our families and friends.”