No money to pay the bread-man

No money to pay the bread-man

SINGAPORE - Some time in September, a Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM) representative sent me a private message.

She said she was reaching out to opinion leaders and influencers to participate in SKM's digital campaign: a bread donation drive it was initiating in partnership with Gardenia, called #NationOfKindness.

She asked if I would encourage my friends to hashtag #NationOfKindness on photos of themselves or others carrying out acts of kindness on social media platforms Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

SKM hoped that these hashtagged photos will have a multiplying effect, where my friends' friends, upon seeing such pictures, will be encouraged to hashtag and post their own photos of acts of kindness.

They said they needed 5,000 hashtags as Gardenia promised to donate a loaf of bread for every hashtag to needy residents of specific one-room HDB flats.

It got me thinking about my childhood. I was from a disadvantaged family and my mother was my hero. At one point, she held down three jobs just to feed us and to keep us in school.

There were times when we had little to eat and were thankful when the bread-man delivered bread. When we were out, he would throw the loaf into the two-room flat through the window.

My mother would pay at the end of the month.

But there were times when we did not have enough to pay him. When he came, my mother would switch off the lights and tell us to keep absolutely quiet, hoping he would assume no one was home and return another day for his dues.

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