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  • Yong Teck Meng, National Director

Living a life of significance in this new decade

Here we are again, at the beginning of not just a new year, but the beginning of a new decade.

At the turn of the new year, like everybody else, I received many messages and greetings from friends via the many social media presences I have. One of them was a cartoon depicting two aliens looking at the earth as they spoke to each other. The first one asked, "What are they celebrating?" The second one replied, "Their planet made a full circle around their star." The first alien then remarked, "I told you they are not very intelligent!"

I am quite in agreement with the first alien actually, my first degree being in engineering! From a physical perspective, there is really nothing so remarkable about the beginning of yet another new year. January 1st is physically no different from December 31st. But human beings are not just robots. Out of more than 9 million species of living beings on earth, from the simple bacteria to the giant Blue Whale, the human being is the only being that can mark the progression of time, and be aware of the significance and meaning of his existence.

So we want to make sure our time on earth counts for something. This is one of the reasons why Habitat for Humanity exists, so that together with like-minded people, we can come together to do things that are of significance - to make this world a better place for all of us. My staff, my volunteers and my board members are all united in the wish to make this world a better place. While we are of course not perfect, it gives me great pleasure to know that I am working with a group of people with like-mindedness, for goals that have measurable, tangible outcomes.

Together, we have accomplished much. Many people in Singapore, and in this region, will live a better life because of what we have all done as a team. From participating in garbage-picking in our UnLitter Red Dot, to house-cleaning in Project HomeWorks, to house-building in our Global Village and Batam Build, to running advocacy events large and small, I am certain that all these efforts will not be in vain.

As I think of all the people involved, from older volunteers to very young people in our Campus Chapters, I am simply overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity to experience working together with all these wonderful people.

I am always reminded of two things - firstly, the need on the ground is seemingly never-ending. Second, it never fails to surprise me at how little it takes for one to make a difference. But it does take the willingness to do something about our world, and the tenacity to see it through. So for this year, we are working on creative opportunities to engage even more of the public - corporations, organizations, other NGOs, schools and individuals.

As part of an international family, Habitat is also well-poised to be the partner-of-choice for many organizations. Our internal controls are stringent, and will go a long way to ensure that all funds raised and all collaborations are professionally handled. 

So let's live a life of significance. Join us and make this new decade a spectacular one by fighting poverty with us!


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