Red Cross Memories: Chew Lip Heng

I was able to fulfill my dream of going on overseas relief missions through the Singapore Red Cross (SRC).

I was first deployed as a four person medical assessment team in Meulaboh, back in 2004, following the Asian Tsunami. Our team surveyed the hospital and checked in with other stakeholders on their needs. Ten years on, I hope to visit Meulaboh again, to see how things have changed.

That was the first of the overseas missions I was involved in. In 2012, I went to Manila in response to the aftermath of Typhoon Saola. I was part of the advance team for both the Bohol Earthquake in October 2013 and Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013.

I suppose my personal attributes make it easy to deploy me on overseas relief missions.My readiness to take off at short notice, tolerance for ambiguity on the ground and operations’ experience probably explain why I am often placed on the advance or assessment team.

After deployment, my task continues with getting ready and briefing subsequent teams and to support them while they are away. Of course, this is not a solo performance. Many staff and volunteers work hard to liaise with our sister societies and partners, organise the logistics and to keep everyone safe.

It is the satisfaction that I have made a difference to those in need keeps me going. And I am thankful to my wife and daughter for their support all these years.