V.K. SANTOSH KUMAR
Doctors, nurses and healthcare staff at 20 hospitals received fruit packets on Dec 31 as gratitude from the Mavalli Tiffin Rooms (MTR) restaurant for the stellar work they did in containing Covid-19 in Singapore.
"I felt we had to thank them and recognise the immense work they did," said Mr Raghavendra Shastry, operations director of Samanvay Singapore, which runs the Indian vegetarian restaurant on Serangoon Road.
"Some of them worked day and night. The year-end was perfect to appreciate what they did to check the pandemic in Singapore. I asked myself, if not now, then when?"
Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Eric Chua and India's High Commissioner to Singapore Periasamy Kumaran helped pack the fruits into cartons.
In all 50,000 different fruits, including apples, pears, oranges, bananas and persimmons, were handed out to the frontline healthcare workers at the hospitals, which included Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), Alexandra Hospital, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), National University Hospital (NUH), Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital, Yishun Community Hospital, Sengkang General Hospital, Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Gleneagles Hospital and Farrer Park Hospital.
Mr Chua said MTR's efforts were "truly commendable".
He added: "2020 was a year of disruption and challenges for all of us, but I think one thing that we can all agree on is that we are very proud of our healthcare workers who have been working tirelessly and are committed to their jobs."
Mr Kumaran pointed out that MTR was showing gratitude to the healthcare workers for the second time after Covid-19 was declared a pandemic.
The restaurant, which has its origins in Bengaluru in India, supplied hot snacks, packets of fresh fruits and freshly brewed coffee with milk to doctors and healthcare professionals at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases and 11 other hospitals, including SGH, TTSH, NUH, twice weekly from April 17 for more than two months.
"It was an emotionally difficult year," said Mr Kumaran.
"There was a sudden burst of Covid-19 infections in the migrant workers' dormitories.
"A lot of credit goes to the Singapore Government and the healthcare workers for controlling the spread of infections.
"Singapore is perhaps one of the safest places to be in the world today."
He added that it is a great initiative by MTR to thank the healthcare workers. "I'm happy to join in the packing of the fruits," he said. "In a small way, MTR is showing gratitude."