INTEGRATING into society involves many dimensions, and the most meaningful way is to take a genuine interest in another person’s life, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said at a fund-raising event for business leaders who are Indian expatriates and new citizens.
“It is good for those who are well-off to contribute back some. It’s even better when you take an interest in individuals in the society you are in and understand that society as well as possible,” said Tharman.
“We do it because we create a better society. But we also do it because we find it is so much more enriching for ourselves because at the end of the day, we are what we are because of what we are together,” he added.
Tharman, who is also Finance Minister and chairman of self-help group Sinda’s board of trustees, was speaking to 200 guests of the Indian Business Leaders’ Roundtable (IBR) at M Hotel in Tanjong Pagar.
While the event was held to raise funds, Tharman noted that donating money and other gifts was one of three ways for the successful and well-off to integrate into society.
The second way was to understand the society “in all its complexities and in its full texture”, and the third way was to be personally involved in improving the society.
To get involved, he suggested that one could help an employee with family problems or join an established body like the Singapore Indian Development Association (Sinda), or get together with other individuals to organise a community project.
Set up by Sinda in 2011, IBR has 89 members, who are top executives mainly in consulting, and banking and finance. Membership is by invitation only.
The group has raised S$500,000 (RM1.2mil) for Sinda, including S$307,000 (RM796,946) at the fund-raising event to pay for Sinda’s subscription to an online maths-teaching tool for its tuition programmes.
Devyani Vaishampayan, 50, who arrived in Singapore three years ago, is one IBR member who sees the importance of giving back.
“If you don’t give, you don’t get,” said the global human resource director of a global engineering company. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network