Seeking Signs of Hope

Children have an inquisitive mind. In their own special way, they learn about the world around them and how decisions are made from their parents and other adults. They would often ask difficult questions that start with “Why”. For example, they would ask, “Why does jiejie get the toy and I only get the chocolate?” As children grow older, their questions only get more and more challenging.

Once we began encouraging our daughters to watch the news with us, they started to ask my husband and me questions that forced us to ponder more deeply on what is happening in our society and the world. Why are these people protesting on the streets? Why are the army and the police beating them up? Reasons and explanation given to them would sometimes draw looks of disbelief. They would ask, “Shouldn’t people be thinking more instead of just wanting power? Don’t they care about others?” Or they might say, exasperatedly, “The world is just too complicated. I don’t understand.”

It is true that our world is complex, and it is often filled with issues and challenges. But we must not despair too soon. For Christians celebrating the Easter season, the story of Jesus rising from the dead offers hope that good will triumph over evil. The Easter event urges us to have joy and hope. It is only when we decide to look for goodness and beauty in this world that we will be able to find them.

I felt very heartened when I read in a recent article that the staff of Ng Teng Fong General Hospital fundamentally shifted their healthcare outreach efforts. Previously, people have to come to centralised locations in order to get help. Now, hospital staff proactively carry out visits to low-income families staying in rental flats. This allows them to provide customised healthcare advice that works better for each resident. Likewise, it was also reported in another article that ComLink was set up to coordinate the various government agencies, companies and community partners to provide full support to low-income families living in subsidised rental flats. The goal of such an alliance is to promote the understanding of specific needs of each family so that a more customised service that is truly helpful can be provided.

As we can see, in the two reported initiatives, there is a greater awareness that customised service for those in need is necessary. This not only adds a personal touch and increases the likelihood that the help provided would be effective. It also shows a willingness to respect the dignity of each person being helped, because no one is receiving a one-size-fits-all assistance. This is in keeping with the principle of human dignity found in the Catholic Social Teaching. Furthermore, the above initiatives also demonstrate solidarity with those in need, another important principle of the Catholic Social Teaching. The ones helping are going the extra mile for good of everyone they are serving. Thus, as we encounter the risen Lord this Easter, let us take the time to look around and be grateful for signs of hope in our society. Let us remember that the Lord works through many different people for those in need of his mercy.

Gail Ng is part of the Special Projects team at Caritas Singapore. The study of earth processes has been one of her pet interests since young and she suspects that that is why she loves the colour green.