Monday, October 31, 2011

Project P.A.I.N.T – My First Community Service Experience

By Cheang Hoi Yee, Year 1, Diploma in Digital & Precision Engineering
PM Lee Hsien Loong partaking in Project P.A.I.N.T in Teck Ghee Constituency
Another inspiring activity was held as part of NYP’s 20thAnniversary celebrations. About 700 NYP students, alumni, staff and senior management gathered together to implement Project P.A.I.N.T, a community project which required volunteers to paint one-room flats of the elderly and underprivileged living in Teck Ghee Constituency.

Early morning on 22 October 2011, after a refreshing breakfast in school, we changed into our yellow Project P.A.I.N.T shirts and received a bag of tools, which included detergent, cloth, brushes, etc. Then we departed to the Teck Ghee Community Club by bus.  

This was really a very remarkable event because our guest of honour was Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong himself. All the volunteers enjoyed free soya bean drinks while waiting for his arrival. Meanwhile, representatives from National Youth Achievement Award, Foreign Bodies and Students’ Union were busy rehearsing a dance to be performed later. We were completely swayed by their vibrancy.

This was the first time my friend and I saw PM Lee in person. Thus, we were very excited and immediately snapped many photos of PM. As seen in news, the PM had a very warm smile. He waved his hands happily as he entered the area. After he declared the opening of Project P.A.I.N.T, all of us responded with loud applause. Then, we proceeded to our assigned units. Volunteers were assigned to paint either Block 469 or 406. Mine was a unit in Block 469.
NYP staff and students posing with PM Lee Hsien Loong at the opening of Project P.A.I.N.T
All of the members in my group are girls, and we had to carry heavy paint buckets to the second storey by ourselves. Thus, we joked that this was the time to show off our “Girl Power”. The owner of the unit was a very optimistic and kind elderly man. We called him “uncle” and he told us that his daughter comes by to clean his house once a week. His unit was quite clean. However, his gate, walls and kitchen ceiling need to be repainted.
When we started painting, we found out that we only had two small rollers and a brush. We were stumped, but the uncle told us not to worry, as he has extra tools. Then, we realised that his house was like a treasure trove. He had many unused rollers, brushes and many other things we lacked! We were very grateful as he lent us and other units that lacked equipment all his tools!
While we were busy painting, we chatted with the uncle to relieve his boredom. We also thought of some classical Chinese songs and sang them to him. We called ourselves the “human radio”. Uncle was very happy and couldn’t stop laughing. Then, we jokingly called ourselves his grandchildren because he mentioned not having any grandchildren. Uncle also helped us to carry some things from the top of his cupboard and we were impressed by his strength!
After a few hours of hard work, all of us were sweaty, smelly and thirsty, and our stomachs called urgently for food. Uncle rescued us from our thirst by treating us to drinks. When our lunch was served, all 11 of us sat down like a big family and ate together. We had an enjoyable lunch, which was full of laughter. I was very happy that besides contributing to society, we also brought about joy to the elderly.
At about 5.30pm, we finished our painting and cleaned up. The house looked much brighter, cleaner and larger. We were dismissed after returning the equipment, but left with contented smiles.

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