She could not speak a word of English but Dara Binte Singkro managed to relate her life story to us through her old photos when we sent her home after taking her to lunch and a drive through Singapore city to view iconic landmarks such as the Singapore Flyer and the Esplanade.
Dara was the beneficiary I ferried in my car during Love on Wheels: Zoom Zoom with a Heart, an inaugural charity car rally organised by the People’s Association PMET division held on 25 February.
Car rallies are not new to me, but this charity car rally was unique and a first for me, as it integrated community service into the challenge by involving the underprivileged directly. Not a fund-raising initiative, this event allowed us to give back to the society by completing charity-related tasks at the various check points while having driving fun at the same time. Rather than just make monetary contributions, the opportunity served especially well for working professionals to make hands-on contributions amid their hectic schedules.
Using our personal cars, each team consisted of two to three people and we had to solve clues to get to the check points where we were given point-scoring tasks to complete. This is not a race and not about finishing first — the team which accumulates the highest points across all check points wins.
The first check point was fairly easy — it was just a missing word game with the answers found all around the new Mazda showroom at Alexandra Road.
The next two check points hosted activities directly related to charity: At Geylang Serai Community Centre, our memory powers were put to the test as we had to memorise a picture before attempting to pack food bags as accurately as possible, according to the picture. We took these food bags with us afterward to give to the needy.
The check point at Singapore Cheshire Home gave us the chance to interact with the disabled residents. There, we learnt how to make towel cupcakes from the disabled and the challenge for us was to make as many perfect towel cupcakes as possible within a specified time frame. This was the station that determined the winners because the passing requirements for the towel cupcakes were so stringent. Of the six that my team-mate and I made, only one made the cut!
Greater interaction with the underprivileged was gained when we picked up some residents from needy homes of the Eunos area who were waiting for us at the last check point. In our cars, we showed them iconic landmarks of Singapore such as Marina Bay Sands and Lau Pa Sat before bringing them to lunch accompanied by classic singing performances.
For many, sending these residents home after lunch concluded the charity car rally, but I stayed on to spend more time with my beneficiary. Despite the communication barrier, she managed to use her photos to tell us how her mother brought her to Singapore from Malaysia at the age of 13 for an arranged marriage. 74 years old today, her husband passed on five years ago, leaving her alone with no children.
This particular car rally engaged my senses and added meaning to the lives of the participants as they got to socially interact with the beneficiaries and share their motoring passion with their newly-made friendships. Driving for a cause is not something that everyone often has an opportunity to do and such charity car rallies make a good way to share what we have with those who do not.
View more of my photos from Love on Wheels: Zoom Zoom with a Heart! here.
P.S. This article was first published on Yahoo! Singapore and it was one of the top stories: