Making a Difference

Through our Foundations, Temasek aims to uplift the lives of those in our community. Here are two of their stories.

Songs For The Soul

“Love is endless, love is kind, love is marvellous,” Tammy Lim sang cheerily, recounting an experience with a dementia patient. Ms Lim together with her patient composed the simple but endearing three - line tune.

The jingle helped calm the patient, who was increasingly agitated by his worsening memory. During trying moments of disorientation, watching a video where the two performed the song made him teary-eyed. It “touched his heart,” Ms Lim explained.

The music invoked a warm memory in her patient, transporting him back in time. “It is not my goal for them to remember to sing the song… we want to create a pleasant moment for them. It is more about what we can do at this moment,” said Ms Lim of her patients.

The 31-year - old is a music therapist, working tirelessly to uplift the moods of dementia patients at palliative care provider Assisi Hospice. She devotes her days to crooning familiar tunes alongside patients. Her repertoire spans generations and genres, from Teresa Teng’s “The Moon Represents My Heart” to “Amazing Grace”.

With a tinge of melancholy, Ms Lim described how her patients may suffer “extended” grief, depending on the severity of their illnesses. The toll often extends to loved ones and caregivers. But Ms Lim remains inspired to bring comfort to patients, believing it a beautiful way to serve.

There is “much that music can do in [a] medical setting,” said Ms Lim, describing music therapy as a combination of art and science. Believing that she has found her calling, she does research and records sessions with patients, as part of advocating her field’s benefits. We can “make a good day,” she said, smiling while referencing another self - composition.

Ms Lim’s work with the hospice is part of a programme supported by Temasek Foundation Cares. The programme, first of its kind in Singapore, provides individualised, inpatient palliative care to dementia patients and critically ill children.

Songs For The Soul

Ms Lim strumming her guitar while singing alongside her patients to Make A Good Day.

“We want to create a pleasant moment for them.“

Tammy Lim

Fish For A Lifetime

By supporting research institute Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory (TLL), Temasek Foundation Innovates hopes the lab’s solutions can improve livelihoods. In 2016, TLL contacted the fish farm where Mr Kang Boon Yong works.

“Maybe we can really transform, change this community and bring hope, bring life and bring security, assurance.”

Norman Phua

“It’s not an easy life,” the 70 - year - old silver-haired Mr Kang said with a wry smile.

Twenty years ago, Mr Kang decided to venture into fish farming. He forked out S$5,000 for a kelong in Batam. Having harboured dreams of riches, Mr Kang good - naturedly admits this did not turn out to be the case. Chuckling, he said, “I think I can make my money… but that was wrong.”

He now oversees his boss’ kelong around Lorong Halus jetty, in Singapore’s north - east. Starting at 6.30 am each day, he manages three workers on the idyllic fish farm, changing nets and feeding the fish thrice a day.

In 2009, calamity struck the farm, when an algae bloom led to 10,000 lobsters perishing. A similar 2014 incident killed 20,000 fish. Algae blooms lower the water’s oxygen levels, suffocating fish and crayfish.

But the hardened Mr Kang has come to terms with the cycles of his trade. He remarked matter - of - factly, “When you have been farming for so long, it’s just one of those things.”

Slightly betraying his carefree demeanour, Mr Kang’s eyes lit up when mentioning TLL. Through selective breeding, the lab rears faster - growing and more resilient sea bass. It donates these fish to farms, which also serve as testbeds for how fish grow in open farms.

Whereas Mr Kang rears his other fish for a year, TLL’s sea bass reach maturity for sale within seven to eight months. “The fast growing one, I can get it in seven months, about 800 grams!” Mr Kang said.

He also makes a tidy profit with TLL’s fish.”I make money; double!” he exclaimed.

By supporting programmes like TLL and Assisi Hospice’s efforts, Temasek hopes to make a difference to its communities; in some programmes, one individual at a time, through its six Foundations.

As Mr Norman Phua, TLL’s project manager, says, “Maybe we can really transform, change this community and bring hope, bring life and bring security, assurance.”

Fish For A Lifetime

Mr Kang (left) and TLL project manager Mr Phua making their way to the kelong.