Dream come true for die-hard Liverpool fans
Couple on their way to Anfield after donating to OrangeAid's charity campaign
When Eric Lim heard about the Income OrangeAid initiative last month, he was reminded about the challenges he faced while growing up.
Finances were tight for Lim and his family of four living in a two-room flat in Lengkok Bahru, with few luxuries.
"Based on my past struggles, I really understood what these (underprivileged) people go through, and I wanted to donate online," the 46-year-old told The New Paper in an interview earlier this week.
OrangeAid is insurer NTUC Income's community development and involvement arm, which champions education of youth-in-need through its flagship, the Future Development Programme.
Lim, an IT delivery service manager, had wanted to donate to OrangeAid via its Give and Win campaign, in partnership with Liverpool FC, after hearing about it at the screening of the Stoke-Liverpool match at The New Paper Sports Bar at Shanghai Dolly in Clarke Quay on April 8. But that slipped his mind until the day before the April 23 deadline.
"My mum passed away two weeks ago. I was alone with her on the first night of the wake when my family members went home to rest," he said.
"As Buddhists, we believe in doing good deeds on behalf of the deceased, so I donated $20."
He was "shocked" when he received a call from NTUC Income just days later to inform him that he had won a trip for two to Anfield to catch Liverpool's last match of the season against Middlesbrough on May 21.
It was the top prize of the Give and Win campaign, and includes flights, accommodation and the Liverpool FC hospitality package.
"It came as a surprise because I didn't expect it. I had a strong feeling that it was a blessing from my mum because it was a day after her funeral that I got this wonderful news," said Lim, a Reds fan since 2000.
He will be accompanied by his wife of 20 years, Alina Chan, who grew up watching Liverpool's games because of her late father's influence.
"It's our dream to watch Liverpool play, as well as my father's, but he has passed away, so it's like fulfilling his dream, too," said Chan, 47, a childcare teacher.
Lim added: "Watching them play live at Anfield is going to be really different from watching at home.
"I am going to like the atmosphere because on television, the fans would stand up and sing the Liverpool anthem (You'll Never Walk Alone), and you can already feel that the supporters' spirit is really strong."
If not for a twist of fate, Sean Silverio and a partner would have been on their way to Anfield as the grand-prize winners.
The 37-year-old banker was at the F1 Pit Building with his two sons to collect their race packs for the Income Eco Run last month when they came across a Give and Win station.
With each tap of one's EZLink card, one could make a $2 donation and receive a limited-edition card, which would inform the donor if he or she had won an instant prize.
After his donation, Silverio knew instantly that he had won the trip, but chose to forgo it because he could not take both his children along on the trip for two.
He said: "I actually thought of going for the trip, but it was my two kids who had the Midas touch, and it would defeat the purpose of enjoying the whole trip if either of them was not there."
In addition to the Anfield trip, other donors like Ryan Dutt won an autographed Liverpool jersey.
NTUC Income launches Women's Campaign
Year ends are typically periods of feasting and festivity.
But, for Melissa Yambao, December 2014 was a period of confusion, fear and sadness.
Then aged just 32, the Filipina and Singapore permanent resident discovered a suspicious lump during a routine breast ultrasound in Manila.
The diagnosis - Stage 1A breast cancer - was confirmed 10 days later with a biopsy.
The banker was looking for treatment options when an oncologist suggested that she freeze her eggs to preserve her fertility.
She underwent the procedure before heading for surgery to treat her cancer, and followed it up with hormone therapy.
While her company's insurance paid for the bulk of her cancer treatment, she spent "a mid to high five-figure sum" from her savings and Medisave account for the rest, as well as the egg-freezing procedure, which was not covered by the company's insurance.
It is why Yambao is a strong advocate for NTUC Income's Women's Campaign, which was launched yesterday.
"We believe that the role of women has evolved over time and today's women should not be bound by stereotypes," said Income's chief marketing officer Marcus Chew.
"It is thus important for us to continue to support women in their aspirations and diverse social roles - wife, mother, daughter and friend - through our suite of insurance offerings which are aimed at meeting the varied needs of modern women."
The highlight of the new campaign is the Lady 360, a term life protection plan that provides coverage for female-specific critical illnesses, such as chronic autoimmune hepatitis and rheumatoid arthritis.
The plan also covers or subsidises other treatments, such as hormone replacement therapy and reconstructive surgery.
Yambao said: "Traditionally, we just treat a person of his or her illness, like cancer.
"But we should also look at this person holistically and understand how illnesses can affect one's quality of life.
"At the end of the day, you want to be treated, but you also want to be 'normal' and still be able to fulfil your dreams. This policy and campaign is good because they exactly address those needs." - LIM SAY HENG