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Three Perspectives of Silver: Part I
13 March 2013

“With peace, you can do wonders” - Sister Geraldine

Meet three movers and shakers in Singaporean palliative care – Sister Geraldine, Dr Cynthia Goh, and Dr Seet Ai Mee.

In conjunction with HCA Hospice Care’s 25th Anniversary Gala Dinner, we’ve invited these three HCA pioneers to tell us more about their history with HCA and what they see for us, moving forward.

In this issue, we feature Sister Geraldine, who was one of the founders of palliative care in Singapore with her work with the terminally ill at St. Joseph’s Home.

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When I speak about HCA, I speak with a lot of pride because the way HCA has grown over these 25 years.

It started in 1986, when a news article about this place in Jurong that cared for the terminally ill [St. Joseph’s Home] included a call for volunteers. Back came 144 letters from people of various walks of life. This group of volunteers later became the Hospice Care Association.

Hospice is the real concept of caring, of giving dying patients dignity. Every home, every doorway the staff enters is a church for me, a sacred space. This is a space in which a sick person is at our mercy. We are there to help them, and they are there to teach us what we do not know.

I hope that HCA staff will see how privileged they are to be invited into this space.

Now, hospice is growing in Singapore, and I hope HCA will be an advocate to better care. There is always a journey from good to better, and I do not wish HCA to fall into complacency. There should always be a desire to learn, and to reach out.

I hope that HCA will continue to be led by wise leaders. Leadership is the unrolling of a scroll. Dr Cynthia has unrolled the first part, and Dr Seet has opened it further. They have each revealed more of the scroll to be passed on to the next leader, who will see what they need to do and unroll more.

There is no comparison between leaders. Only until the end of time will the big picture will be completely revealed and fulfilled. In leadership, we unroll only what we need to reveal.

I also hope that HCA will have committed staff caught into caring, not into duties; who come to work to a big family, rather than to a little desk. A whole team needs to have head, heart, and hands connected to work for the best. You cannot be hands without knowledge, or heart without hands. So, staff welfare is at the top of my list. Look after the staff, and they will naturally look after the patients - a happy group of staff makes a happy group of patients.

HCA, when I think of you, I feel very proud of you. And I will continue to be proud of you. And I wish that all of you in the team will continue to have your heart and love. I wish you peace, peace in your heart, in your families, and in your workplace.

With peace, you can do wonders.