“1976. Newly widowed. Overwhelming and scary thoughts of survival, my place in the community and in society. I had no experience with processes and procedures in the various government offices — I didn’t even know how to write a cheque! — yet I had to handle all financial matters regarding my late husband’s affairs. I was petrified. I knew of my country as a safe, secure, clean and green place which was open to people of all races, religions, and languages, but I worried about facing difficult, rude officers and spending hours being shuttled from one office to another.
I took refuge from the fear, anxiety and turmoil in tradition — I clad myself in a sari — and took my first independent steps, starting with the CPF office. I hesitantly expressed the purpose of my visit to the lady at the reception counter, and worried what her reaction would be to this sari-clad client. To my utter surprise, the smile and the dignity with which I was met and greeted whisked away my initial fears.
I was directed to an official who treated me with professionalism and respect, and made the entire form-filling, question-answering process so easy and simple. Everything was meticulously checked and completed within an hour. He even imparted a little personal advice: “Take your husband’s CPF and lock it in the apartment that you have booked.” I did just that, and continue to enjoy the seaview from it today!
A major milestone in my life taught me to see beyond the physical beauty of my country. I experienced how efficiently it cared for and served its people. I discovered it had a heart. On that day, I realised I had a country I could love.”
- Dr Uma Rajan, Healthcare consultant