Red Cross Memories: Tang Chun Tuck

What Attracted Me to the Red Cross?
It was the Red Cross uniform, which first attracted me to join Red Cross!

I joined the Red Cross, as a cadet in Gan Eng Seng School back in January 1966, primarily to learn first aid. I was impressed by some Red Cross Youth1 (RCY) cadets who did a first aid demonstration at the school. My father would want a first aider at home, while my mother saw the value and the purpose of doing voluntary work.

Being a teenager, I would also like to march in the smart white uniform. Initially, I was not being selected as part of the marching contingent for both the Youth Festival and the National Day Parade in 1966. I had consistently attended all practices and rehearsals in my smart turnout and performances. Eventually, I was given the opportunity to march at our first National Day Parade, when someone was unwell.

From School to Headquarters; from Cadet to Senior Adviser

While at school, I rose to become the only Cadet Officer. As the rank had to be endorsed by the headquarters then, it was an important source of motivation for my peers and me. The outstanding cadets of today don uniform with prestigious lanyards, incentive badges and ranks.

The cadets in our days wore ranks. I progressed through the ranks from being a former RCY cadet, to the Head of the Open Unit, RCY, for eight to nine years. I was the Head of Welfare Department, RCY before becoming RCY’s Assistant Director and, later, Honorary Secretary. Today, I am its Senior Advisor.

I saw the RCY through its various programmes and initiatives, like Hospital Library Service, Hospital Nursing Service and General Welfare Service.

Value & Joy of Voluntary Service

My other contributions included initiating programmes from 1976 to 1979 to acquaint and befriend Vietnamese refugees who were in transit in Singapore after the fall of South Vietnam in 1975.

I led and volunteered in providing first aid and psychosocial support to the survivors of the Hotel New World collapse in 1986.

After the tsunami had swept the coasts of the neighbouring countries in 2004, I had, amongst other relief efforts, helped and also tapped on RCY volunteer base to organise the family packs of relief supp[ies, man the helplines, raise funds and manage the Red Cross Operations Centre based at the Paya Lebar Air Base.

In addition, I initiated the compilation of the proper historical records of the RCY in the 1990s. I am proud to be a writer of an RCY book entitled “Celebrating the Red Cross Spirit”. The book, which is just been published, chronicled the important milestones of RCY in Singapore since 1952.

Singapore Red Cross Outstanding Service Award - an Honour for Me

Indeed, it was a great honour for me to be conferred with the “Singapore Red Cross Outstanding Service Award’2 in 2013 at the inaugural Singapore Red Cross Awards Ceremony.

Most of the time, I prefer to shy away from the limelight. I prefer focusing on assigned tasks and crediting success to those whom I feel have made a bigger difference.

A Joy to Serve - in the Red Cross

Red Cross does a lot of good work. One of the primary objectives of Singapore Red Cross is to add value and service to our beneficiaries. It is relevant and meaningful to many people in so many ways. For some, volunteerism can be a life-long enriching experience. Indeed, many veterans have grown up with the Red Cross. We are doing more to tap on the collective experience of this pioneer group to inspire more to join RCY. We should, in time, see some fruitful results.

In a nutshell, it is a joy to serve. Being in the Red Cross has been a joyful journey for me.

1     Red Cross Youth was formerly known as Junior Red Cross.

2     This is awarded to an individual who has demonstrated exemplary service to the Singapore Red Cross, over a period of four years or more.