LOVE ON WHEELS was first created in February as a charity car challenge, where participants took part in a rally, completing challenges at various game stations. After completing the various challenges, the final task was to pick their beneficiaries up and take them on a scenic drive before heading to lunch.
This was the People’s Association (PA)’s first ever charity car drive, organised by the PA-PMET Division and Geylang Serai Community Club (CC) and supported by PAssion Motoring, the PA’s Motoring Series.
I had a really touching experience with my beneficiary Mdm Dara then. She is a 74-year-old lady who was brought to Singapore from Malaysia at the age of 13 for an arranged marriage. Her husband passed on five years ago, leaving her alone with no children. Upon sending her home, I stayed on for a while. She could not speak English and I could not speak Malay, but I managed to learn about her life story when she showed me her photos. Read more about it here.
Inspired and touched by the soulful meaning behind the worthy cause, I wanted to create a continuity following this event. Instead of just visiting Mdm Dara, I worked with Geylang Serai CC to plan a gathering so the participants could meet with their beneficiaries again. Read more about the gathering here.
Other participants also experienced similar touching stories with their beneficiaries. Hence, LOVE ON WHEELS was brought back by popular demand. Held on 6 October, Love on Wheels was a pure charitable effort this time, without the game element. Giving PMETs with a passion for motoring the opportunity to give back to the society and spend time with the less privileged, LOVE ON WHEELS is not a fund-raising initiative but a weekend drive integrated with community service.
I was one of the 70 cars involved in the drive that Saturday. It was nice to see families, couples and friends spend their precious weekend off work to come and do their part for the society.
Little Poppy (20 months old) was enjoying herself and I thought it was really nice to educate the young to start giving back to the society early!
Each participating car is assigned one beneficiary from either the youths from Touch Young Arrows Centre, or Thye Hua Kwan Moral Society’s Family Service Centre at MacPherson and Bukit Panjang, or the elderly from Public Assistance.
Partnering Pirelli Tyres Singapore, LOVE ON WHEELS saw active response from local car clubs such as Porsche Club Singapore, BMW-MINI SG and Miata Club Singapore, which stepped forward to be part of this event, sharing their cars with the less fortunate and taking the beneficiaries in a convoy.
All of us met bright and early at the PA headquarters first, making sure that we got all the required stickers for event onto our cars.
After a last briefing, our warm-up activity was to pack Bags of Love for our participants. These bags contained foods and daily necessities, which we were to give to them at the end of the event when we send them home.
After flagging off the event at the PA headquarters, Associate Professor Fatimah Lateef, Member of Parliament for Marine Parade GRC and Adviser to Geylang Serai CC, engaged in deeper involvement and took part in this charity car drive as a participant.
From the PA grounds, we headed to our respective venues to pick our beneficiaries up first.
Then we drove them to the city centre for a scenic drive to show them modern landmarks such as the Singapore Flyer, Esplanade, Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands and Shenton Way.
Some of the participants stopped for a while to get out of the car so their beneficiaries could get a better look at the landmarks. It heartened the elderly to see that Singapore is becoming such a modern cityscape, but at the same time it made them feel somewhat forlorn as they think back of their younger days when they were working and contributing to the growth of Singapore.
Rounding up at Resorts World Sentosa for lunch, we got to know our beneficiaries better over a sumptuous buffet spread accompanied by singing performances from keyboardist Tristan and Joyce, veteran group Silver Stones and Jeffrey Khoo, PA-PMET Resource Panel member, Chairman of the Alumni and University Relations at the National University of Singapore (NUSS) and Chairman of the NUSS karaoke interest group.
My beneficiary this time was Mdm Sa’amah, whom we picked up from Eunos Crescent. She could speak simple English so communication was alright. Accompanied by a volunteer, Mdm Sa’amah and the rest of the elderly beneficiaries played Bingo while awaiting lunch. We were short of just one number, but she got a prize anyway.
Meanwhile the youth beneficiaries were out and about on a photo hunt around the entrance of Universal Studios Singapore. There was also a balloon sculpting competition for them, courtesy of Beauteous Balloons. The top three balloon sculptures were determined by the most number of votes they got.
It was really encouraging to see participants bonding with their beneficiaries, helping them take food, feeding them and playing games with them.
After the tummies were filled, there was a mass dance of ‘Macarena’ (can you remember how to do it?) and it was so cute seeing the elderly and youths trying to learn the dance.
Lucky draw prizes were given out and the top three best-dressed cars were awarded prizes too. Lastly, all October babies were also called up so the entire banquet hall could sing birthday wishes for them. That included ME!
The cake was a cupcake tower of Pirelli tyres (complete with the different types of tyres) sponsored by Porsche Club Singapore.
Everyone in the hall was served a cupcake each.
Once lunch was over, participants sent their beneficiaries home and some of them stayed on in the homes of the beneficiaries for further bonding and deeper fostering of the newly-made friendships. We sent Mdm Sa’amah home and she didn’t let me leave until she finished packing two boxes of confectionaries and cookies that she baked. She lives alone and spends her time baking for functions and festive occasions. We spoke to her and learnt that she is actually of Chinese ethnicity but was given away to a Malay family. Now 63 years of age, she was never married and lives alone. Before we left, she gave me her number, took my number and kept reminding us to give her a call and visit her soon. You bet I will.
Coincidentally, she lives in the same block as Mdm Dara, my previous beneficiary! This is a photo of me with both Mdm Dara and Mdm Sa’amah:
View more photos of the event on the PAssion Motoring Facebook page here.