SINGAPORE, 7 January 2005 - Declaring its relief effort to help tsunami victims a "very humbling experience", Singapore Press Holdings today wound up its public aid drive, which sparked an overwhelming response from the community.
Last-minute donations continued to roll in today from a number of corporations and institutions. Today’s donations totalled $1.89 milion, the highest single day collection in the SPH’s nine-day drive, which started on 30 December 2004. This pushed the total donations received at SPH News Centre to nearly $8 million, making the media company the biggest fund-raiser for the Singapore Red Cross Tidal Waves Asia fund. The Red
Cross has collected nearly $25 million so far.
The top donors today are:
SembCorp Group of companies ($395,833)
Singapore Technologies Engineering ($200,000)
Osim International Ltd ($200,000)
Philips Electronics Singapore ($166,800)
Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry ($106,827)
Fuji Xerox Singapore ($103,614)
Li Teck Chuan Cin Tong ($100,000)
Chemetall Asia Pte Ltd ($100,000)
In addition, SPH filled 60 containers (mostly 40-footers) of relief, ranging from clothing, food, to water and medical supplies donated by the public.
In a symbolic ceremony winding up the relief operation today, SPH management and staff gathered in the ground floor carpark of News Centre, which was transformed into an emergency collection centre, to thank everyone who had responded to the SPH’s drive for aid to the tsunami-struck countries.
As a show of appreciation, staff waved "Thank You" placards and gave out roses to the volunteers, who were mainly soldiers from the SAF Army Logistics Formation. One group from the Marketing’s Classfied Advertisements division, sang a moving song dedicated to all helpers who have come forward to sort, pack and load the relief supplies, sacrificing even their New Year weekend.
At the peak of the operation, the centre was teeming with over 200 volunteers and soldiers, working frenziedly to clear a mountain of supplies. Many SPH staff also chipped in to help, as well as donated some $55,000 to relief funds. The company also gave a $200,000 donation to the Singapore Red Cross.
The gathering also observed a one-minute silence in remembrance of the tsunami victims.
Among those present at the ceremony were Singapore Red Cross Chairman Winston Choo, MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC Davinder Singh, senior executives from DHL Danzas Air and Ocean, which provided critical logistics support to the SPH relief effort, and top commanders from the SAF Army Logistics, which sent 50 to 70 soldiers to News Centre daily. Both groups responded swiftly to SPH’s appeal for help when it was swamped by the huge volume of relief. The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) also allowed DHL Danzas to use its warehouse space when the freight forwarding company ran
out of storage room.
Their critical support made it possible for the supplies to be despatched directly to the affected countries.
Summing up the relief operation, SPH CEO Alan Chan said: "The spontaneous outpouring of aid and compassion exceeded our expectations. All of us feel the enormity and devastation of this disaster. This is an unprecedented catastrophe which calls for unprecedented efforts.
"As a media company, we feel we have an obligation to do something to rally the community here to do their bit. That compelled us to mount this public donation drive and turn our premises into a collection centre. We are truly heartened and delighted with the overwhelming response. This has also been a very humbling experience for us at SPH."
Mr Cheong Yip Seng, Editor-in-Chief of the English and Malay Newspapers Division, speaking at the ceremony, attended by about 200 SPH senior executives and staff, said the response from Singaporeans to the tsunami disaster is "a triumph of the human spirit".
"Although a terrible tragedy has truck the whole world, I think we also see magnificence, the triumph of the human spirit. And in our little way in SPH, we try to contribute to the massive relief work now underway. The overwhelming response shows that Singapore is a small nation, with a very big heart."
Mr Cheong also paid tribute to DHL and the SAF for coming to SPH’s help "without a moment’s hesitation", and the hundreds of volunteers, as well as housewives, hawkers and temples which brought food to News Centre for the helpers.
Mr Winston Choo, who also spoke at the "Thank You" ceremony, commended SPH for spearheading the relief effort, and said all the donations to the Red Cross would be channelled exclusively to help the tsunami-hit countries.
SPH thanks Singapore for your generous donations and heart-warming support.
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About Singapore Press Holdings
Main board listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited is the leading news and information provider, offering quality content for print, Internet and radio. It publishes 13 newspapers in the four official languages and 63 magazine titles. Everyday, 2.78 million individuals, or 90 per cent of people above 15 years old, read one of the SPH publications. Its Internet Business Unit manages the online editions of SPH’s major newspapers and magazines, which together enjoy some 300 million pageviews a month. SPH also operates two UFM 100.3 FM in Chinese and WKRZ 91.3 FM in English,
under a joint venture company UnionWorks with NTUC Media. For more information about SPH, please log on to www.sph.com.sg