Ties that Bind Amidst the Red and White

Aug 05, 2019   |   Natasha Razak

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With a blast of colour illuminating the night sky and a sea of spectators dressed in red and white, everyone knew what time of the year it is – the nation’s birthday!

As we commemorate Singapore’s bicentennial, the National Day Parade returns to the Padang after five years.

This year’s parade is also special for a few of our Heartware volunteers.

For most people, siblings are whom they make one of life’s longest-lasting bonds with. Crossing many milestones in life together and with one more to boot, we feature two pairs of siblings from the Heartware – National Day Parade Hospitality Management 2019. Each sibling covers a unique role, lending their strengths where they are best at.

Our first pair of siblings are the Lee’s – Mabel and Felicia – who are both first-time volunteers with Heartware Network:

Felicia (left) is a general volunteer at the red sector, while her younger sister, Mabel (right), is a media volunteer. PHOTO: Natasha Razak

“Given that my sister and I are introverts, we thought that by signing up for this large-scale event together, we could lend a support for each other,” shared Mabel.

“We text during deployment to check on one another, and if we happen to walk past each other, we would acknowledge each other too!”

Since the Lee siblings typically spend their weekends at home, their parents often complain that they don’t spend enough time outside the house.

“Our parents are happy and proud that we are involved in NDP because we are spending our weekends more productively,” mused Felicia.

Felicia is currently studying Mathematical Science at the Nanyang Technological University, while Mabel is studying Mass Communication at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. PHOTO: Natasha Razak

Mabel cited her interest in photography as the reason behind her choosing to be a media volunteer.

“It has also been my childhood dream to be a photographer at the National Day Parade. My role as a media volunteer with Heartware Network is mainly to cover the interactions between volunteers and the public, and the behind-the-scenes training sessions that our fellow volunteers go through. This role is important because most of the time the public sees our volunteers as ushers, but don’t have a full understanding of the preparation that happened before that. I hope that by portraying the behind-the-scenes, the public can appreciate the hard work that goes behind their memorable experience at the National Day Parade.”

Meanwhile, as a general volunteer, Felicia is assigned to the red sector of the Padang. “I usher people into the red sector and point them towards their seats to ensure smooth traffic flow. We don’t want any human traffic jams. If there is someone holding up the line, we would bring the person aside to help resolve his/her issue to the best of our ability.”

When asked what she thinks of the photos taken by Mabel, Felicia added: “I would compliment her for her good shots. If there are shots which I think she could improve on in terms of lighting or stability, for example, I would advise her here and there.”

Most people often mistake as them as twins. In fact, Felicia is two years older than Mabel! PHOTO: Natasha Razak

Our second pair of siblings are the Goh’s – An Soon and An Jun – who are both familiar faces at Heartware Network:

An Soon (left) is in charge of Operations in the Youth Planning Committee®, while his younger brother, An Jun (right), is a Blue Sector Leader. PHOTO: Natasha Razak

This inseparable pair of brothers has been ‘stuck’ together since young – from being in the same co-curricular activity in primary and secondary school to volunteering for the same event!

An Soon volunteered as a general volunteer at the National Day Parade in 2017 before returning in 2018 and 2019 as part of the Youth Planning Committee® (YPC®).

“Before I volunteered for the National Day Parade, my brother shared with me about the fun experiences he had as a general volunteer in 2017. He said this was a good platform to make new friends and develop my leadership skills,” An Jun shared.

That inspired An Jun to join as a leader for the National Day Parade in 2018, and he returns once more as a leader this year.

As a leader, An Jun serves as the messenger between the Sector overall-in-charge (SOIC) and his fellow general volunteers under his care. He guides them according to the directions provided by his SOICs.

An Soon and An Jun are often teased by their friends for looking like a pair of bamboo poles together. PHOTO: Natasha Razak

Meanwhile, as the Operations IC of the YPC®, An Soon is in charge of leading the committee throughout the four phases of their term: volunteer recruitment, interviews, training, and deployment. He gives the team a direction to work towards and oversees the deadlines set.

“I returned as a member of the YPC® because as a first-timer in the YPC® last year, I was a follower with no foresight. I was unaware of what to expect. This year, tapping on the experience I gained last year, I have a clearer sense of direction of what should happen and I can look out for the loopholes,” he said.

As a member of the YPC®, An Soon does not communicate much with An Jun during deployment due to certain protocols that he has to adhere to. However, An Soon takes care of his brother by constantly reminding him to stay hydrated under the merciless sun.

An Soon is currently studying Mass Communication at Ngee Ann Polytechnic while An Jun is in his final year of Electronics Engineering at ITE College Central. He hopes to join his brother in pursuing a media-related diploma. PHOTO: Natasha Razak

“Volunteering for the National Day Parade has brought us closer since we now have another common topic. My brother would often offer solutions to the problems I faced during deployment,” An Jun added.

“An advice from him that stuck to me was to keep calm when dealing with difficult people.”

Both brothers are proud of each others’ dedication and commitment to this year’s National Day Parade.

An Soon shared: “I would love to see An Jun step up as a member of the Youth Planning Committee in the near future.”

With the siblings playing different roles, they are able to get a more wholesome view of the parade as they share their experiences with one another. This volunteering experience has allowed them to relate to one another better.

“Since we’ve seen each other in action and we understand each other’s roles, it’s easier for us to share our concerns with one another. In addition, when I can’t wake up on Saturday mornings, my sister will wake me up and we’ll travel to the reporting venue together,” said Felicia of her sister.

“It’s nice knowing that I have someone I love who is in this together with me.”