Congratulations to our Outstanding Volunteers, Joshua Cheng & Ong Zhi Hong!

Congratulations to our Outstanding Volunteers, Joshua Cheng & Ong Zhi Hong!

The same way love makes the world go round, our volunteers make SG Snaps happen!

SG Snaps team cannot be more grateful to all the students and individuals who have stepped forward to discover Singapore’s hidden historical tokens of photographs and personal narratives together with us.

Today, we would like to celebrate and congratulate two outstanding volunteers, Joshua Cheng and Ong Zhi Hong from Hwa Chong Institution, who made our collection drive a blast! Joshua and Zhi Hong, together with volunteers from other schools, had joined us at the various neighbourhoods to collect old photographs from the residents during their school break in June.

Here are what Joshua Cheng and Ong Zhi Hong have to say about their experiences:

Joshua Cheng

Relaxing at the Bukit Merah Library after a day of going door to door. Volunteers from right - Joshua & Gracie. Photo SG Snaps

Relaxing at the Bukit Merah Library after a day of going door-to-door. Volunteers from the right – Cassia, Joshua, Charlton, Xin Ru & Gracie, our SG Snaps Team Member. Photo: SG Snaps

“Participating in this Singapore Snaps’ photo collection drive has been very enriching. During the June holidays, when my classmates were either playing games or studying, I am happy to be able to spend my time doing something meaningful by revisiting Singapore’s roots and learning about the past.

Being in one of Singapore oldest neighborhoods at Redhill and visiting the homes of the people living there has really helped me to appreciate how far Singapore has come in the last 50 years. Originally, I was a bit hesitant to go door-to-door to introduce the project and ask for old photo contributions. I am not an outgoing person by nature and had never done anything like this before. However, after the first few tries, it started to get better. Even though my volunteer partner and I met with rejections the first few times we approached a household, it was still very engaging to meet people of different characters living in Redhill.

The first time I had received a contribution was from an old Chinese lady living in one of the older blocks. Even though she had only contributed a few photos, there was a sense of accomplishment and achievement, especially since it was my first time  going house-to-house to ask for contributions. Most of the photos she contributed were photos taken in studios. It was very fascinating to see the different designs and decorations that studios added to frame the photos.”

Joshua helping Mdm Lim tag her photos at her home in Redhill. Photo: SG Snaps

Joshua helping Mdm Lim tag her photos at her home in Redhill. Photo: SG Snaps

“One of the most memorable moments that I had was when returning the contribution from a lady. She ran a drinks store in the nearby market and it was very interesting to listen to all her stories which are not just about her pictures, but also about her life experiences in general. I was glad that she was willing to take the time to share all her stories. ”

Volunteers Joshua (right standing) and Cassia (left standing) sharing stories with Mdm Lim (seated right) and family

Volunteers Joshua (right standing) and Cassia (left standing) sharing stories with Mdm Lim (seated right) and family. Photo: SG Snaps

“These experiences from the Singapore Snaps photo-collection drive have really enriched my life and piqued my interest in learning more about Singapore’s heritage. I hope that I would be able to participate in similar activities in the future.”

Ong Zhi Hong

Zhi Hong with Mdm Lim Mui Tiang talking about the stories behind her photographs. Photo: SG Snaps

Zhi Hong with Mdm Lim Mui Tiang talking about the stories behind her photographs. Photo: SG Snaps

“While volunteering at Singapore Snaps, there was one memorable contributor that I had encountered. She was an old lady who has a brother involved in politics during the 60s-70s. She mentioned how her brother in the 1960s was from the same school I am in, Hwa Chong Institution. Her brother’s life story was really intriguing. It allowed me to view Singapore’s history from a different point of view, from outside of the textbook to understand and learn a more complete version of Singapore’s history.

Often I get rejected by residents who do not wish to share. Whenever I receive a contribution, there is a sense of accomplishment and it keeps me going on and stay hopeful to find more willing contributors. The interaction with people of different backgrounds have also enabled me to step out of my comfort zone.

No hard feelings; volunteers (from front), Hairul, Sean & Zhi Hong turning around after being rejected by a resident. Photo: SG Snaps

No hard feelings – volunteers (from front), Hairul, Sean & Zhi Hong turn around after being rejected by a resident. Photo: SG Snaps

“I have learnt that memories may remain with us forever and photographs are important ways to keep those memories. Most of the times contributors would show us photographs of themselves when they were young. Photographs of outings with their family at places like Haw Par Villa are very common in the past. They get really happy talking about their childhood and it really made me realise how different their lives are then from ours now.”

A photograph together for keepsake! Commemorating our first day of collection with the volunteers. From right - Wei Keong, Alfred, Zhi Hong, Choon Pin, Samantha & Gracie

A photograph together for keepsake! Commemorating our first day of collection with the volunteers. From right – Wei Keong, Alfred, Zhi Hong, Choon Pin, Samantha & Gracie. Photo: SG Snaps

“Today digital photographs are abundant unlike the analog ones in the past. It was just two decades ago that photographs are so precious and rare, that they are taken only on special occasions unlike now when people will take photos all the time. This fact serves as a reminder for me to constantly use the camera’s function to document my own life. I learnt that back in the old days, the less fortunate did not have the chance at photography. Now that I am given the chance to take photos so freely, I should not miss this opportunity and regret it later when looking back!”

Compiled by Samantha Tio

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