The Upper House Creates Vocational Experiences for Hong Kong Down Syndrome Association Members
Oct 18, 2018

Singapore, 18 October 2018 --( ASIA TODAY )-- As part of Swire Properties’ SD 2030 vision, an initiative to reinforce the company’s commitment to sustainable development, The Upper House has partnered with
The Hong Kong Down Syndrome Association (HKDSA) to provide vocational experiences for its members and to equip them with skills to integrate into society.

10 members from the Association joined the programme which included 18-hours of training, followed by a 2-month attachment with the Guest Experience, Restaurant & Bar, Housekeeping and Kitchen departments. 14 representatives from The Upper House formed a dedicated committee to provide guidance for the members, mentoring them through the back of House operation and guest engagement.

To celebrate the completion of the programme, a graduation ceremony was held in September 2018 with the members, families, friends, and teams of The Upper House and the Association. The occasion was filled with fun performances, experience sharing and awarding of certificates. “As a hotel, we always want to be an inclusive workplace,” said Marcel Thoma, General Manager of The Upper House. “Whilst we offer the participants vocational experiences, they also share their experiences, as well as their bright and positive outlook on life. We all learnt from each other tremendously. It was a fantastic partnership and we look forward to continuing our work with HKDSA.”

The Upper House is delighted to announce the success of the initiative, with two of the members gaining long-term employment. The partnership with HKDSA will continue to be one of the House’s many CSR commitments, with new programmes to be announced in 2019. “It is my mission to identify partners who could offer our members opportunities to live fulfilling lives and relieve some of the daily burdens placed upon family members and caregivers,” said Victoria Tang-Owen, President of the Association and friend of the House. “The programme led by The Upper House has been a wonderful example of how organisations can collaborate to offer vocational training and work opportunities, have a lot of fun in the process and deepen community ties. We are truly grateful to the Swire Hotels team for their professional commitment to our cause.”

Highlights from the partnership can be viewed on the Swire Hotels YouTube channel.

@UpperHouse_HKG #HongKongDownSyndromeAssociation #HKDSA #TheUpperHouse #TheHouseCollective #SwireHotels

- ENDS -

For images, interviews and more information, please contact:

Lynda Williams
+65 8111 0290
Caroline Pitt
+65 92739011

About Swire Hotels and Swire Restaurants
Swire Hotels has been created to manage soulfully individual hotels in Hong Kong, Mainland China and the USA, providing a characterful experience for well-travelled individually minded travellers who seek originality, style and personalised service. We create distinctive hotels with a sense of place that break with convention.

The company’s first hotel, The Opposite House in Beijing, opened in 2008 and was followed by The Upper House, Hong Kong, and then by EAST, Hong Kong, EAST, Beijing, The Temple House, Chengdu and EAST, Miami. The Middle House in Shanghai, our latest addition, opened in April 2018.

A restaurant division was set up in 2013 to manage the company’s stand-alone restaurant operations. Our first restaurant Plat du Jour opened in November 2013 followed by Public and Ground Public in Quarry Bay. The Continental in Pacific Place opened in October 2014 and Mr & Mrs Fox in 2015, follow by the second Plat du Jour opened in Pacific Place in 2016. Our latest addition, Republic, a sub-brand of Public opened in Taikoo Place in December 2017.

About Hong Kong Down Syndrome Association
Registered as a non-profit-making organization in October 1987, the Hong Kong Down Syndrome Association is committed to serving individuals with Down syndrome, the disabled, people with intellectual disabilities and their family members with integrated family support and vocational rehabilitation services. Our objective is to enable the service users to develop their personal growth fully and in every aspect of life, as well as to meet their employment and vocational training needs.

- ASIA TODAY News Global Distribution

Singapore Red Cross pays tribute to everyday heroes at annual awards ceremony
Oct 11, 2018

President presents awards to dedicated community volunteers and partners; unveils commemorative wall mural to kickstart 70th Anniversary

Singapore, 11 October 2018 --( ASIA TODAY )-- 23 individuals and eight corporate groups received top accolades at the Singapore Red Cross (SRC) Awards 2018, held today at Red Cross House. The prestigious awards were presented by Guest-of-Honour and Patron of SRC, President Halimah Yacob, and SRC Chairman Mr Tee Tua Ba.

Organised for the sixth year running, the annual awards recognise and honour the contributions of volunteers and partners who have all given selflessly of their time, each contributing their expertise and resources in their own unique ways to further SRC’s mission.

President Halimah Yacob said, “Over the years, Singapore Red Cross’ volunteers and partners have contributed significantly to the spirit of community service in Singapore. As we build a caring and compassionate society, we should encourage those who are better-off to contribute their time, skills and resources to help the vulnerable. I am very heartened by SRC’s enduring efforts in promoting philanthropy and volunteerism in Singapore. I applaud all award recipients for their commitment and contributions to furthering the mission of SRC, to relieve suffering, protect lives and respond to emergencies.”

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Tee Tua Ba said, “As a charitable organisation, Singapore Red Cross relies on our volunteers and partners to fulfill our lifesaving mission. They are like the “heart” of our organisation; pumping life into all the humanitarian services that we run. It is only when we work together that we can mobilise the power of humanity, to build a more resilient Singapore.”

This year, a total of 31 awards were given out - comprising two Outstanding Service Awards, six President Youth’s Awards, 13 Commendation Awards, eight Friends of SRC Awards, and two Outstanding Employee Awards (see Annex A for the list of award recipients).

Assistant Professor, Dr Caroline Brassard, was one of the two volunteers who received the Outstanding Service Award (OSA) - the highest honour in this year’s ceremony. An active and dedicated volunteer of SRC for more than 10 years, Caroline has made significant contributions as a Council Member from 2011 to 2017, and in different capacities on various oversight committees, giving advice on human resources, academy standards and international services. She currently chairs the society’s HR and Compensation Committee, a position she has held since 2016. She demonstrates how working professionals can volunteer their skills and expertise to strengthen the capacity of voluntary welfare organisations.

The other awardee of the OSA was Mr Wong Leong Jeam, a retiree and long-standing volunteer with SRC. For over a decade, Leong Jeam has photographed multiple high-profile SRC events, including fundraisers and community outreach, as well as disaster missions and rebuilding projects. In 2005, he spent 10 months in Meulaboh, Indonesia, to coordinate SRC’s relief and rebuilding efforts following the Great Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004.

The impact of SRC volunteers’ contributions goes beyond Singapore’s shores. Commendation Award winner Karunanithi s/o Letchumanan has been actively supporting SRC in its overseas disaster work. Over the last few years, he has assisted SRC in several rebuilding projects in the Philippines. In 2016, Karunanithi led a physiotherapy team to Pidie Jaya following the Aceh earthquake. He was also part of a two-man disaster response team sent by SRC to conduct ground assessments and distribute relief supplies to the affected communities of the 2017 Sri Lanka floods.

The nature of corporate giving has evolved over the years, from “corporate social responsibility” to “social impact”. This shift was apparent from the contributions of the corporate groups that received the Friends of SRC Award this year. Amongst them are AVS Printing, Cartrack Technologies and Outward Bound Singapore, that over the years have respectively sponsored photo exhibition prints, fleet management system and venue spaces to SRC. Another awardee is AVIVA Singapore, that has supported the Family LifeAid and Home Monitoring and Eldercare (HoME+) programmes of SRC with financial sponsorship and employee volunteerism.

Mr Benjamin William, Secretary General and CEO of Singapore Red Cross, noted, “SRC sees the private sector as partners rather than merely donors or sponsors. We work closely with corporations who identify with our mission to help the most vulnerable. In doing so, these corporations give beyond monetary donations. Many of our partners, including this year’s award recipients, have supported SRC’s cause in varied forms - from contributing directly to our local community programmes, initiating welfare activities for our beneficiaries, to offering in-kind and venue sponsorships.”

At the ceremony, President Halimah Yacob also presented six youth leaders, aged 15 to 35, with the SRC President’s Youth Award. They were selected from hundreds of Red Cross Youth (RCY) cadets and mentors based on wide-ranging criteria that included leadership qualities, global perspectives, excellence in academics and service to RCY. Youth Leader Mohammad Zaidi Bin Ariffin, aged 30, was one of the six award recipients. Since his cadet days in secondary school 13 years ago, Zaidi has risen through the ranks to spearhead the RCY Youth Members @ District. He also helms the Southeast Asia Youth Network as its Chair, representing SRC as a Youth member.

President makes first visit to Red Cross House

After the ceremony, President Halimah Yacob was given a tour around Red Cross House - her first visit as Patron of the SRC. The tour included a showcase of SRC’s efforts in enhancing community resilience, such as Singapore Red Cross Academy and Blood Donor Recruitment Programme. President also met with beneficiaries, volunteers and caregivers of Red Cross Home for the Disabled, Family LifeAid, ElderAid and Medical Chaperone and Transportation programmes. Thereafter, teams of Red Cross Youth and International Services volunteers briefed her on their community engagement efforts and post-disaster missions respectively. President also met with the young employees, who run the Community Health on Wheels and TransportAid services.

During the tour, President Halimah Yacob also unveiled a wall mural that was specially-commissioned to commemorate the humanitarian organisation’s 70th Anniversary, which will take place in 2019. Jointly hand-painted by Singapore Red Cross volunteers and Singapore Polytechnic’s Design School students, the mural would be a way to make the headquarters more visible to citizens in Singapore, to amplify the good work it does for the city’s vulnerable, and to enhance its engagement with youth - the future of humanity. (see below for information on the Red Cross House).


Event: Singapore Red Cross Awards Ceremony
Date: 11 October 2018 (Thursday)
Time: 3pm to 5pm
Venue: Red Cross House (15 Penang Lane Singapore 238486)

Please RSVP by 5pm on 10 October (Wednesday) with:
Name: Ms Alina Tee
Tel: 6664 0578
Hp: 9736 5267

About Singapore Red Cross
Singapore Red Cross is a homegrown humanitarian organisation, dedicated to relieving human suffering, protecting lives and dignity and responding to emergencies since 1949. We serve the vulnerable through our blood donor recruitment programme, home and day activity centre for the disabled, transport aid, food aid, and community first aid. We build capacity and resilience through our training academy, and volunteer and youth development. Beyond our shores, we mobilise and translate contributions from the donor community to relief and recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts, with the aim of helping communities affected by disasters. For more information, please see

About Red Cross House
The Red Cross House was originally designed by pioneering Singaporean architect and artist, the late Dr Ho Kok Hoe, as a two-storey building. It was officially opened in 1961 by Yang di-Pertuan Negara Yusof bin Ishak, who was then the Patron of the SRC. A third storey was added in the 1970s and the building was conserved in 2014.

Launched in 2013, the annual Singapore Red Cross (SRC) Awards recognises and honours the contributions of volunteers and partners who have given selflessly of their time, expertise and resources to further SRC’s mission.

Outstanding Service Award
The Singapore Red Cross Outstanding Service Award may be awarded to an individual who has demonstrated exemplary service to the Singapore Red Cross, over a period of four years or more.

Dr Caroline Brassard
Mr Wong Leong Jeam

President’s Youth Award
The SRC President’s Youth Award is given to the most outstanding cadets in recognition of their exemplary contributions and achievements in their service with the Red Cross Movement.

Ms Amanda Sim Shan Mei
Mr Liu Chun Yi
Mr Daryl Ee
Ms Destya Kusuma Roem
Mr Jason Wo Kwok Fai
Mr Mohammad Zaidi Bin Ariffin

Friend of Singapore Red Cross
The Friend of Singapore Red Cross Award may be awarded to an individual, group or organisation that has contributed financial or other resources to further the cause of Singapore Red Cross.

AVIVA Singapore
AVS Printing Pte Ltd
Cartrack Technologies South East Asia Pte Ltd
Outward Bound Singapore
Republic Polytechnic (RP), School of Management and Communication
Sri Lanka Red Cross Society
Tampines West Community Club (TWCC)
Zalora Southeast Asia Pte Ltd

Commendation Award
The Singapore Red Cross Commendation Award may be awarded to a member or registered volunteer of the Singapore Red Cross for commendable and sustained voluntary service to the Singapore Red Cross.

Ms Doreen Ong Guek Im
Ms Elizabeth Wong
Ms Jennifer Tan Poey Cheng
Ms Kalpana Chhetry
Mr Karunanithi s/o Letchumanan
Mdm Kim Boo
Ms Mary Chia
Mr Nelson Castano
Mr Noel N. Dass
Mr Paul Keen
Ms Rajni Gupta
Mdm Sally Ho
Mdm Zaiton Mohd Tahir

Outstanding Employee Award
Mr Donald Ho
Ms Elsie Tan

- ASIA TODAY News Global Distribution

Local Non-Profit Continues To Bring Sight to Hundreds of Thousands Throughout the World
Sep 27, 2018

[Madison, WI] If you could change someone’s life for $25, would you?

That is exactly what local non-profit, Combat Blindness International (CBI) is doing around the world. Founded in 1984 by Dr. Suresh Chandra of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, CBI is dedicated to eliminating avoidable blindness worldwide by providing sustainable, equitable solutions for sight through partnerships and innovation.

Globally there are over 37 million people who are blind and 50% of that blindness is caused by cataracts. For $25, a simple 20-minute cataract surgery is performed and in 24 hours a person can have their sight back. To date, CBI has helped to end avoidable blindness in more than 12 countries on four continents, including locally in Madison, WI. CBI has restored sight to over 345,000 individuals and screened over 500,000 children for glasses and eye diseases.

Combat Blindness International will once again host World Sight Day on October 10, 2018 at the Madison Concourse Hotel.

World Sight Day is an international day of awareness of avoidable blindness and visual impairment. CBI’s keynote speaker is Dr. Jonathan Patz , Director of the Global Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This event will focus on life without sight and how global citizenship plays a role in alleviating blindness for millions of people around the world. Dr. Patz co-chaired the health expert panel of the first Congressional mandated UW National Assessment on Climate Change and served as the lead author for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Dr. Patz shares the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore for his work as the lead author on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

World Sight Day will take place on October 10, 2018 from 5:30PM to 8:30PM at the Madison Concourse Hotel & Governor’s Club. Along with guest speaker Dr. Jonathan Patz, this event will feature a variety of information regarding the work of Combat Blindness International. Dinner is included and will feature dishes from the countries CBI serves around the world. Tickets are $75 for a regular ticket and $40 for a young-professional ticket.

100% of the donations and proceeds from the event will go toward CBI’s programs around the world. This impact is measurable in the city of Madison itself, where CBI supports screenings in partnership with the Madison Metropolitan School District and supports a free vision clinic with UW Hospital for under or uninsured individuals.

Through this clinic, CBI has helped to support over 2,000 vision screenings and over 100 surgeries. By ensuring equitable care, CBI has demonstrated their commitment to change communities both locally and globally. “When you give someone their sight back, you not only change that person’s life, but you help to transform an entire community,”—Dr. Suresh Chandra, Founder & Chairman of Combat Blindness International


Combat Blindness International, PO Box 5332, Madison, WI 53705-0332 | (608) 238-7777 | | | |

- ASIA TODAY News Global Distribution

Innovation, Regional Cooperation to Take the Spotlight in Mekong Forum 2018
Jul 20, 2018

Innovation and regional cooperation are the central themes in this year’s Mekong Forum, an annual gathering of opinion leaders from the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) organized by Mekong Institute (MI), an intergovernmental organization working in human resource development based in Khon Kaen, Thailand. The Forum, which is set for August 3, 2018 at Avani Khon Kaen Hotel & Convention Centre, Khon Kaen, Thailand, expounds on the theme: Turnarounds and Takeoffs: Speeding Up Competitiveness and Connectivity in the GMS.

“In this year’s forum, we will strive to answer how innovation can be harnessed, what kind of strategic policy and incentives we can use to promote innovation, and how development cooperation can improve the connectivity of the people in the region,” explains MI’s Executive Director Dr. Watcharas Leelawath.

This year’s Mekong Forum is the sixth since MI began hosting the one-day event in 2011. “The Mekong Forum is a milestone event both for MI and the development actors in the GMS. It is an occasion for networking, linkaging, and sharing of ideas and solutions that can help realize the development goals and aspirations of the region,” Dr. Leelawath further added.

Mekong Forum 2018 will feature discussion sessions that will focus on the three central ideas of this year’s theme: challenges in the growth momentum of the GMS; initiatives and mechanisms to scale-up competitiveness through innovation; and harnessing development cooperation strategies to promote strengthened regional connectivity.

Dr. Narongchai Akrasanee, former Minister of Energy and Minister of Commerce of Thailand, is this year’s keynote speaker, while Mr. Kensuke Tanaka, head of the Asia Desk of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), is delivering a special address. Joining them as session speakers are experts from the government, academe, business and civil society and development cooperation agencies, working in and outside the GMS.

Mekong Forum 2018 is made possible through the support of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Open Development Initiative (ODI), Thai Smile, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

About Mekong Forum

Initiated by Mekong Institute, the Mekong Forum:
• Brings together opinion leaders to discuss the most pressing issues in the GMS;
• Engages multiple stakeholders in collaborative efforts to shape the development agenda of the region; and
• Serves as a platform for interaction, dialogue and networking among scholars, business and government leaders and development experts and practitioners.

Mekong Institute has successfully organized five Mekong Forums in the past. Previous forums have offered discussions on topics such as narrowing the development disparities between nations in the GMS and ASEAN; modernizing the GMS in light of the post-ASEAN Economic Integration; the role of development partners in the region; and the challenges and mechanisms to respond to the new geo-economics.

About Mekong Institute

Mekong Institute is an intergovernmental organization that is owned and operated by the six member countries of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) that it serves namely Cambodia, P.R. China (Yunnan Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region), Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Our mission is to provide capacity development services and products that enhance regional development cooperation and integration. For more information, visit

# # #

Media Contact
Joclarisse Albia, Communications Coordinator
(+66) 43 202 4112 Ext 1204
Mekong Institute

- ASIA TODAY News Global Distribution

Through the Shifting Clouds of Fears & Worries
Jul 13, 2018

“Doctor, you mean both my kidneys are not functioning at all and I have to be on dialysis for three times a week with each time covering 4 hours for the rest of my life unless there is a possibility of me receiving a healthy donor kidney or advances in medical science?”.

This was a question posed by a bewildered 21 year old Vanitha a/p Veeramugam to the nephrologist standing beside her ward bed in 2004 at the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) in Kuala Lumpur after the doctor had laid down the bare truth as to the cause of her illness.

She was earlier rushed to the medical centre upon an urgent referral by a medical group in Klang where her mother had brought her for treatment following a recurrence of continuous bouts of vomiting, diarrhoea and loss of appetite. 2 weeks prior to the referral she was admitted to the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang for observation after she had similar signs of illness. The hospital in Klang after warding her for treatment and observation for a week discharged her.

Alas, she had recovered with dialysis which took much of her working time as an operator in a Japanese company in Shah Alam where she had worked after passing her Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) in 2000. Ultimately, after having being on medical leave for finding a diagnosis to her kidney failure and for her dialysis she had to quit her job.

All this while, UMMC carried on in providing dialysis and at the same time advised her family to look for a dialysis centre which charged lesser fees for the treatment. In the midst of such activities, her maternal uncle, in addition to helping pay for the fees in dialysis and medication by the medical centre, managed to secure financial assistance for her from Tzu Chi, a Buddhist Foundation. Later, after a few months he managed to get for her “Pencen Ilat’ under the social security organisation, SOCSO to pay for the dialysis treatment.

In the search for a dialysis centre, there was found a vacancy in Pusat Dialisis NKF – Bakti (Klang) which was near her place of residence. She is indeed very much appreciative of NKF which she said, “gives a high standard of treatment with its staff members creating a family-like atmosphere to bring about a cosy and close relationship among not only the patients but staff members themselves.”

To-date, she has remained single, staying with a married younger sister with 3 children and a husband in Taman Sentosa, Klang. She has declined the offer of her mother donating one of her kidneys to her even though there was found compatibility in the matching of the older woman’s kidney with her body system for she feared for her mother’s suffering in the aftermath of the transplant. However, she would be prepared to accept a compatible kidney from any donor who is a non-relative.

She is now settled in her routine of dialysis and when she is not dialysing she helps her sister in cooking as she loves to cook and keeps herself busy by watching television programmes. For light relaxation, she loves going cycling in the park of the housing estate and treats each passing day as a wonderful gift

Members of the public can pledge to donate their organs with the organ donation promotion unit that the National Kidney Foundation of Malaysia (NKF) had set up at the Sunway Pyramid with the support of the Sunway Group.

For more information on these and future NKF activities or to donate towards the organisation’s efforts, please visit or call 03-7954 9048.

- ASIA TODAY News Global Distribution

Rural families in the Philippines tune into health advice
Jul 07, 2018

Radio show, home visits bring critical services to the hard-to-reach

June 2018 — When Ailleene Joy Verbo was a child, she loved listening to her grandfather’s solar-powered radio. “Our rural village did not have electricity,” she said. “The radio broke the quietness of the day.”

Verbo grew up in Siay, Zamboanga Sibugay — a province in the Philippines’ Mindanao region. She, along with her five siblings, lived with her grandparents because her parents moved away to find jobs.

“My mother had to work overseas to sustain our needs,” said Verbo.

Now a nurse and mother herself, Verbo knows how difficult it is to support a family, especially in rural areas where unpaved roads, marshlands, mountains and seas isolate people from opportunities available in towns and cities.

“Sometimes, if people get sick, they just endure pain and illness,” said Verbo, adding that people, in many instances, are unable to take charge of their own health.

A recent national health survey showed that more women in Mindanao desire to limit or space their pregnancies and use family planning methods, but lack information on where they can access the services. The areas where these women live are marked by high percentages of unintended or risky pregnancies that can result in serious consequences, including death.

In 2013, USAID launched its MindanaoHealth project, implemented by Jhpiego, to help the Philippine Department of Health strengthen health systems and services, especially for people living in hard-to-reach areas. The project, which works to improve access to maternal, neonatal and child health and nutrition, also trains health service providers to counsel parents looking to choose a method of family planning.

In 2017, Verbo became a family health associate in her hometown and undertook this training. Through this project, she learned to perform and administer basic procedures and services. She began visiting communities and homes to provide on-the-spot care.

Last February, a local radio station invited Verbo to appear as a guest on a show called Itanong mo Kay Doc! (Ask Doc!) to answer listeners’ questions about reproductive health. Since people in the region get their news from the radio, she saw this as an opportunity to make a big difference.

Verbo’s broadcast reached nearly 300,000 people across the province. When listeners flooded the station with questions, the station invited Verbo to host regularly. She also gave out her personal mobile number to answer listeners’ questions or refer them to their nearest health center when she is not on air.

“I just don’t want more children and families to suffer,” said Verbo, who now hosts the show about once per month.

USAID’s MindanaoHealth project, which runs from 2013 to 2018, has trained over 9,000 health service providers across Mindanao. Mostly, these service providers conduct group counseling and community outreach activities. They also visit hospital wards and outpatient departments.

“Doing a good job is not always about impressive innovations; sometimes it is only about doing something with plain dedication,” said Verbo.


ASEAN Center authorized to operate in Thailand as a foreign NGO
Jul 01, 2018

On 7 March 2018, the Thai Ministry of Labour's "Committee to Consider the Operation of Foreign Private Organizations" granted permission to Kyoto University’s ASEAN Center in Bangkok to operate as a foreign non-governmental organization (NGO). The NGO certificate was presented 24 May by Ms Supapitchaya Ruengves, the Ministry's labour specialist, to ASEAN Center Director Mamoru Shibayama, who is also a KyotoU professor emeritus.

As a certified NGO, the ASEAN Center aims to further expand its activities promoting research, education, and other forms of collaboration among Japan, Thailand, and ASEAN universities and other institutions.

Labour Specialist Ruengves and Director Shibayama

SOURCE / Kyoto University

Singapore Red Cross ramps up youth engagement with 'BE THE 1' campaign
Jun 19, 2018

• Fronted by superstar footballer Cristiano Ronaldo - social campaign part of global movement that aims to encourage blood donation amongst youth
• Outreach activities at upcoming Singapore Football Festival to encourage blood donation as a lifestyle choice

Singapore, 18 June 2018 - The Singapore Red Cross (SRC) today announced the launch of ‘BE THE 1™’ - its latest blood advocacy campaign that aims to encourage more people, particularly youth, to come forward to give blood.

Fronted by world-famous football superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo, the ‘BE THE 1’ global movement was created with the aim to inspire young people around the world to donate blood regularly. A strong advocate of blood donation, Ronaldo first gave blood when he was 24 years old after seeing his teammate struggle to get bone marrow donations for his son. Since then, he has continued to donate regularly and has avoided any activities that would prevent him from donating.

With the launch of the campaign, SRC joins the ranks of more than 80 blood donation centres across the world that has come onboard the movement. The campaign is part of SRC’s ongoing efforts to expand the blood donor pool in tandem with Singapore’s blood usage, which is projected to grow at a rate of 3 to 5 percent annually. While the overall blood donor pool has increased steadily over the years, the number of youth donors has been on a downward trend. In 2017, out of the 73,107 blood donors, only 26% are youth donors.

“Many young people are starting to take a more active interest and role in community service, moving from simply volunteering their time to taking the initiative to plan and organise charity events on their own,” says Mr Robert Teo, Director of the Blood Donor Recruitment Programme at Singapore Red Cross. “Through meaningful youth engagement, we hope to harness their exuberance and giving spirit, and nurture a whole generation of lifesavers. By stepping up as a blood donor or an advocate of blood donation, youth can play an active role in ensuring blood is available at all times – just like Cristiano Ronaldo!”

The ‘BE THE 1’ campaign will run from now till the end of July. Interested members of the public can join Cristiano Ronaldo and Singapore Red Cross in the movement by:
• Taking a photo of themselves (or a selfie with the life size cut-out standee of Ronaldo located at any of our four blood banks; from 19 June) and posting it on their social media pages with #BeThe1DonorSG
• Making a pledge to give blood
• Helping to spread the word about blood donation and encouraging their friends or followers to do the same.

In conjunction with the campaign, SRC has also partnered Sport Singapore (SportSG) for their upcoming Singapore Football Festival. Held from 30 June to 30 July, the month-long festival will see a line-up of football activities and tournaments being organised across the island to encourage everyone to watch, play and celebrate football. As part of the partnership, there will be Singapore Red Cross roadshows present at selected activities to spread awareness about blood donation.

To kick-off the partnership, a "Be The 1 Football Clinic", held on 21 July, will be offered exclusively to students from the various secondary schools and junior colleges under SRC’s network of bloodmobile organisers, with limited slots available. The football clinic offers participants the opportunity to engage with coaches from the ActiveSG Football Academy, pick up tips to improve their skills, and enjoy a game or two with the coaches and fellow football enthusiasts.

Mr Lim Tong Hai, Team Lead, ActiveSG Football Academy said, “Football is a powerful tool to rally Singaporeans to show care for their fellow people. We hope to raise awareness of blood donation among the participants and their families and friends during the Singapore Football Festival. I will be encouraging our coaches and parents to take the lead in supporting the cause during the festival period and beyond.”

Mr Teo added, “Youth engagement has always been one of our top priorities. With the support of SPORT SG and DATE (Develop the passion And Teach Everyone), we aim to reach out to these students in a fun setting and encourage them to lead an active lifestyle, while learning about blood donation. Our hope is that youth will also be inspired by Cristiano Ronaldo to step forward and "Be the 1" to donate blood. Ultimately, we wish to encourage them to adopt blood donation as a lifestyle, much like keeping active, and to help spread the cause to their family and friends.”

For media queries, please contact:
Name: Alina Tee
Tel: 9736 5267

About the Singapore Red Cross Blood Donor Recruitment Programme

The Singapore Red Cross (SRC) was appointed the National Blood Donor Recruiter in April 2001. Together with our partner-in-service, the Blood Services Group of the Health Sciences Authority, we aim to collect sufficient safe blood for the transfusion needs of all our hospitals.

The SRC focuses on three main functions in the National Blood Programme:
• Recruitment, Retention and Recognition of blood donors
• Promotion and Education to increase public awareness on the importance of blood donation
• Organisation of mobile blood donation drives in the community

New journal on nuclear disarmament launched by Nagasaki University
JCN Newswire
Jun 05, 2018

A Japanese university that suffered from atomic devastation will help pave the way towards a world without nuclear weapons.

Nagasaki, Japan - (ACN Newswire) - The inaugural issue of the Journal for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament (J-PAND) was published in May by Nagasaki University's Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition (RECNA).

The English-language journal aims to provide a forum for proposing policies and other ideas that could contribute to nuclear disarmament. To encourage public debate, J-PAND is provided on an open access basis by its publisher Taylor & Francis.

In the first edition, readers can find new ideas and perspectives on the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty and no-first-use of nuclear weapons.

"As is demonstrated in North Korea's nuclear programme and the latest US Nuclear Posture Review under the Trump administration, nobody can evade this issue. By launching J-PAND, we wish to provide an academic platform for promoting nuclear disarmament," says Fumihiko Yoshida, who serves as Editor-in-Chief of the journal.

Seventy-three years ago, an atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. Located close to the hypocentre, Nagasaki Medical College was totally destroyed. Nearly 900 faculty members, students, and medical workers were killed.

The reconstruction of the college appeared to be an impossible mission. But from the ashes of the atomic wasteland rose the renewed Nagasaki University, which has developed into a world research centre on atomic radiation.

Determined to eliminate nuclear weapons, Nagasaki University established the Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition in 2012. It was apparent that former US President Barack Obama's landmark speech in Prague in April 2009 was a source of inspiration.

The second edition of J-PAND will be published at the end of 2018 and is expected to feature issues such as diversifying nuclear strategies and nuclear risks.

Dr. Hibiki Yamaguchi
Managing Editor
Journal for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament
Nagasaki University

Journal information
Journal for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament, Vol.1, Issue 1.

Press release distributed by ResearchSEA.

Company JCN Newswire
Contact Tiara Liu
Telephone +81-3-5791-1821
World's largest innovation lab designed to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals in Singapore
May 23, 2018

SINGAPORE --( ASIA TODAY )-- UNLEASH is a global innovation lab, convening 1,000 carefully selected millennial thought leaders from more than 100 countries, who will collaborate on ideas and solutions to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Singapore is the official host of UNLEASH 2018.

In 2017, the inaugural UNLEASH was held in August in Denmark, convening 1,000 talents from 129 countries. Last November, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was handed the host country torch for UNLEASH 2018 by Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen. “We each have a valuable contribution to make to sustainable development,” observed PM Lee Hsien Loong. “I am happy that Singapore’s private sector will be hosting UNLEASH 2018 and doing their part for the Sustainable Development Agenda. This gathering of young, creative and innovative minds will harness the power of human ingenuity, to create imaginative solutions that achieve the SDGs.”

For the upcoming event from May 30 to June 6, UNLEASH has again handpicked 1,000 talents from more than 100 countries, who will work on challenges related to the SDGs, in eight different themes: Zero Hunger, Health, Education, Water & Sanitation, Energy, Sustainable Cities, Responsible Supply Chain & Consumption, and Climate Action. UNLEASH, a nonprofit, is sponsored by leading organizations within their fields, including DBS Bank, Deloitte, National University of Singapore (NUS), Temasek, Keppel Corporation, Sembcorp Industries, Hempel Foundation, Novo Nordisk Foundation, PSA International, Ramboll Foundation, SP Group, ST Engineering, and World Diabetes Foundation.

This year’s UNLEASH program will integrate powerhouse Singaporean businesses with local ways of living, thinking, and working: “Singapore embodies UNLEASH’s values of innovation, multi-culturalism, and cross-sector partnerships,” says Flemming Besenbacher, chairman of UNLEASH, Carlsberg Group, and the Carlsberg Foundation. “I’m looking forward to welcoming the new group of talents and to cement UNLEASH’s status as a global and influential movement for the SDGs.”

An 8-day program to spark innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals

UNLEASH starts on May 30, when talents will be guided through a day of activities at Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU), The Wave. Scheduled speakers include the founder of the World Toilet Organization Jack Sim; and the founder of the Mara Group Ashish Thakkar.

Starting May 31, the talents will go through a four-day Innovation Lab held at NUS and NTU. The talents will form teams that work on solutions within their areas of expertise. The lab will be facilitated by Lead Innovation Partner Deloitte, who is continuing their involvement in UNLEASH from last year.

On June 5, the talent teams will pitch their solutions to experts, mentors and peers at NUS. Teams will then go on to showcase their solutions to the public at the market place, which will be held alongside Ecosperity, Temasek’s annual sustainability-focused conference at Suntec Convention Centre.

On June 6, the final day of UNLEASH, five winning teams will be picked to receive special prizes at the UNLEASH Closing Ceremony. Here, 1,400 local and international stakeholders will convene to celebrate the talents and be inspired by speakers such as President of Singapore Mdm Halimah Yacob; Nobel Peace Prize laureate José Ramos-Horta; Oscar-winning actor and UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation Forest Whitaker; CEO of DBS Bank Piyush Gupta; and UNDP Innovation Champion Sophia the Robot.

Execution partners are the Carlsberg Foundation, Dalberg, and UNDP.

Interviews with organizers, talents or VIPs can be arranged upon request.

UNLEASH Partners

UNLEASH works with a range of partners. The Diamond partners of UNLEASH include DBS Bank, Deloitte, National University of Singapore, and Temasek. UNLEASH also works with a range of track sponsors and ecosystem partners, who provide guidance and help to the talents.

Partner quotes

“We believe that businesses have a fundamental role to play in sustainable development. DBS is proud to be a key partner of UNLEASH, and to be championing social entrepreneurship – a cornerstone of our sustainability agenda. We’re excited to be supporting the 1,000 bright young minds coming together to create solutions for a better future, and to be part of an important initiative that contributes towards the SDGs.”

- Sim S. Lim, Singapore Country Head, DBS Bank

“Having played a role in the success of the inaugural UNLEASH in 2017, we are honoured to continue our support as lead innovation partner and bring this meaningful experience to Singapore. Deloitte will be sending a global team of 50 facilitators to help the UNLEASH talents advance their ideas through the innovation process and we are excited to see how these wonderful ideas can be translated to help make the world more sustainable for the future.”

- Philip YUEN, Chief Executive Officer, Deloitte Southeast Asia and Singapore

“Temasek is a generational investor and we believe in creating opportunities for the next generation. That is why we are happy to welcome UNLEASH as a partner for Ecosperity this year. Ecosperity is more than a conference. It is an intergenerational effort to build a sustainable tomorrow – starting today.”

- Robin Hu, Head, Sustainability & Stewardship Group, Temasek

“The National University of Singapore (NUS) is proud to be a Diamond Partner for UNLEASH. We wholeheartedly support UNLEASH’s search for innovative solutions to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). NUS itself is committed to incorporate sustainability into all aspects of university life, from research, education, and enterprise, to public service and operations. NUS is pleased to provide accommodation for the 1,000 talents and to host many of the Innovation Lab activities on our campus. Our experts in various SDG themes will also guide the talents on their innovation process.”

- Professor TAN Eng Chye, President of the National University of Singapore

For further information, contact:
Julie Buur Trærup,
M: +6581514302,

- ASIA TODAY News Global Distribution