Life in the modern world is complex and fast-paced. As a student at NUS Business School, I would naturally have my sights on running the rat race. A higher CAP, more internships, more CCAs, the pursuit of success never ends. Time and tide wait for no man, and we attempt to achieve as much as we can, within the limited time that we have.
However, during my volunteering stint at the Alzheimer’s Disease Association, time seemingly stood at a standstill. The clients, the elderly who are afflicted with dementia, can only recollect events that occurred to them a few moments ago. Hence, time bear no relevance to them. Singing, laughing, playing mahjong and poker, they enjoy the present without worries about the future. However, with the loss of memory, they lose the ability to recognise the important people in their lives, as well as the precious moments they shared together. In a way, some part of their identity has been stripped away.
I also saw a great deal of love during my stint. The staff within the centre, despite not being related to the clients, remember them by name. Knowledge of their clients’ habits, likes, dislikes, personality and hobbies are at the staff members’ fingertips, and they use this knowledge effectively, catering to the needs of each individual client. They talk to the clients not as a patient, but as a friend. Their tasks vary widely, from serving meals to moving furniture, and most of them require them to stand for long hours, moving from one place to another. However, even at the end of the day, they are still cheerful and show no sign of exhaustion.
As I continue my university journey, it is noteworthy that the accumulation of wealth, although important for financial independence, should not be my only goal. Giving back to society, to make the lives of the needy better, would make a world of difference for them.