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December 2019

Welcome Address by SOS Chairman, Ms Lee Sook Fung, at SOS 50th Anniversary Charity Gala Dinner

Thank you for taking precious time out to join us in the commemoration of our golden jubilee. It gives me great pleasure to welcome you, our partners and supporters, to witness and celebrate this significant milestone together with us.

Around this time 50 years ago, with a mission “to be an available lifeline for anyone in crisis”, SOS started operating a 24-hour suicide prevention hotline. This idea to be just a call away for the despairing and suicidal was raised when Singapore was going through rapid urban change. As kampongs and communal living gave way to high rise flats, there were concerns about the increased stress and pace of living.

Steadily, SOS earned the trust of the community in our services. Some may remember the collapse of the Hotel New World in 1986 as well as the SilkAir Flight MI 185 crash on December 1997. SOS volunteers were mobilized in the immediate aftermath of these tragedies to provide support for the bereaved families.

In the same way we responded to the call for help, SOS strives to be the trusted resource for suicide prevention in Singapore. Driving our vision to be the premier organization in suicide prevention, we continuously assess the needs of the community and mold our services to remain relevant and effective. Today, SOS is a specialized and professionally run agency dedicated to crisis intervention, suicide prevention and postvention, providing a range of related services.

The social landscape has changed dramatically over the years with break neck development pace of information technology. We recognize the importance of online platforms, spaces where users express themselves. We are a Facebook Safety Partner and earlier this year, we worked with Twitter to launch #thereishelp in Singapore that aims to encourage users to reach out for help should they be searching for suicide-related content.

We applaud the ongoing efforts of our social media partners in addressing the issue of suicide, putting in place policies and resources to manage self-harm and suicide content online. We hope to develop our collaboration further to keep these platforms safe for all.

“The Hope Within” was chosen to be the theme for our golden jubilee year. It is the goal of SOS to be that spark of hope, igniting and illuminating light amidst the darkness in the lives of those in distress. Tonight, as we celebrate 50 years of our journey, we hope to generate new impetus to set new goals for our journey into the next 50 years.

We kicked off this special milestone with a conference, a book launch and the first feature film about youth suicide in Singapore. Tonight, this dinner celebrates the milestone by remembering all who have journeyed with SOS thus far:

– Our leaders, past and present, whose aspirations and trust in the organization strengthened the role it plays in our community. They have brought SOS to greater heights by ensuring our services fill the gaps in our community, meeting the evolving needs of our clients. We thank them for their dedication that has led to the success of the organization.

– The volunteers and staff, many of whom work silently behind-the scenes, their selfless contribution to the community remains an inspiration to the many lives touched by SOS. Their unconditional dedication and passion to serve are the reasons SOS continues to stay true to our values.

– All our donors and partners, their enthusiasm in support of our cause is a comforting assurance that we are not alone on our journey.

– To everyone who have been part of SOS one way or another, we express our heartfelt gratitude.

In closing, I wish to take this opportunity to thank ONE ̊15 Marina Sentosa Cove, UOB Asset Management and Angelflorist for their support in helping make this dinner possible.

Ladies and gentlemen, I would now like to invite our Patron, Mr. Lawrence Wong to give his welcome address.

Mr. Wong, please.

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