This article is a contribution by the NTUC Membership Services Division. Any extracts should be attributed to the author, 20 January 2023.
Like most Singaporeans, ensuring her family’s welfare is the closest thing to Madam Teo Soek Hong’s heart.
And throughout almost two decades as a union member of the Chemical Industries Employees Union (CIEU), she shared that many benefits have also touched her family members’ lives.
For example, the U Care Fund Education Awards for her daughter, Annelies Chew, have helped her cope with educational expenses since she was in primary school.
Last December, Annelies received $200 from the awards for achieving good results in her secondary school examinations.
This year, the awards totalling $195,000 were given out to 958 children and their families.
Madam Teo and her daughter were among the recipients invited to NTUC Centre in December.
Labour Members of Parliament also encouraged the students to continue their hard work as they presented the awards.
Help To Build Resilience
“Beyond these awards, being a union member has given us many reasons to be happy as a family,” said 50-year-old Madam Teo.
Whenever Madam Teo faced some setbacks in life, she felt that she could find new hope as she approached NTUC for support to pull through uncertain times.
She cited the recent couple of years as the biggest example.
As a recovering cancer patient, she had to convert to part-time employment as a data-entry clerk.
With COVID-19 settling into the backdrop in that period, the struggles were even tougher.
“Yet, I still could turn to NTUC for some support. I applied for financial assistance (U Care Fund COVID-19) and received $300 to help us manage our living expenses at the time, she said.
The aid alleviated some of her family’s constraints as Madam Teo was the sole breadwinner for her two children and elderly parents.
In September last year, she also received $150 from the NTUC Care Fund (Special Assistance).
She said the fund was another inevitable form of support from NTUC as her health condition was taking a toll on the family’s spirit.
All-Embracing Suite of Benefits
Even now, in between her job and visits to the hospitals, Madam Teo finds meaning and purpose in signing up for courses that are available to her as a union member.
Personal grooming courses and motivational talks are among some of the sessions that she has attended.
She has also participated in several activities specially curated for working mothers in earlier years.
“On most times, I impart the knowledge gained from these career-based courses to my elder son. He is now about to enter the workforce after graduating from Higher NITEC in Hospitality Operations.
“In fact, after my encouragement to try for an on-the-job training programme, he took up an offer with Shangri-La Hotel,” she added.
Madam Teo and her family have also greatly enjoyed the bonding time when they visited places of interest, such as Wild Wild Wet and Gardens by the Bay, through vouchers from the union.
She carried a sense of determination as she shared her journey.
She added that among the buffet of perks as a union member, her favourites are the up to 4 per cent rebates from her daily essentials at NTUC FairPrice.
She shops weekly at the outlets for household groceries and other items. She is certainly glad to be able to enjoy the wide range of offers for Lunar New Year.
“And now, with Lunar New Year coming up, we gather for more family reunion meals. Therefore, for a regular shopper like me, this is really good news.” she said.