Red Cross Memories: Lawrence Ng

I was inspired to volunteer with the Singapore Red Cross when I saw Singapore Red Cross first aiders stationed at one of the schools for three to four days providing food and first aid to people affected by the Bukit Ho Swee Fire in 1961. I felt motivated to do something meaningful.

My journey with the Singapore Red Cross began in 1965 when I joined the Red Cross Band. I was playing the clarinet and the saxophone in the band then.

At that time, volunteers in the band also doubled as first aiders. Following the band’s expansion in 1968, it was renamed the Red Cross Military Band. The band would perform at the World Red Cross Day parades and would march at the National Day Parade. Today, not many people know that there was a Red Cross Military Band. But in its hey days, the Red Cross Military Band was a force to be reckoned with. It had a truly glorious past.

Every volunteer of of the Singapore Red Cross, aged 16 and above, would learn Elementary First Aid. It was only after they were certified at the elementary level that they were allowed to perform public duties and wear the Red Cross uniform. Subsequently, they would upgrade themselves to the Advanced Level of First Aid. Having qualified at the Advanced Level, they could be appointed as a group leader. They could go on to achieve the Proficiency Level of First Aid where they would become Non-Commission Officers such as a Lance Corporal, Corporal or Sergeant. They must attain the Proficiency Level to become a Sergeant.

From 1965, it took me more than 10 years to be a volunteer first aid instructor. I could finally conduct first aid training for the public. CPR was introduced in the 1980s. In the mid 1980s, I taught Basic Cardiac Life Support. Often, we conducted first aid training to our volunteers to prepare them to perform first aid duties. Each year, we conduct two to three courses for the public.

I remember volunteering for first aid coverage duties at regular football matches, marathons, SEA Games, National Day Parade. I also recall that Singapore Red Cross was requested to assist the Ministry of Health and the Singapore Fire Services by providing ambulances to evacuate casualties of the Spyros Incident to hospital.

When the Singapore Red Cross first established the training centre in 1993, I joined as a part-time staff. I became a full-fledged staff in 1996 with the expansion of the classrooms. It was then that I was fully involved in first aid and CPR training. The classrooms were expanded again in 2006. Various first aid courses were introduced over the years. The Child First Aid Course for Infant /Child Care was introduced in 2012 and the Caregivers Basic First Aid for the Elderly was introduced in 2013.