18 November 2005

Club Rainbow

Today my lunchtime wanderings brought me to Bras Basah Complex, that old sentimental haunt of book lovers, where I encountered large numbers of beautifully illustrated children's books selling at ridiculously low prices (like, four or five dollars). I promptly picked out six or seven titles for my own two children and spent $35 without thinking.

On the way back to office, I met some fundraising volunteers from Club Rainbow, which helps children suffering from serious chronic illnesses. The volunteers were standing in a public place accosting passers-by, mostly without success.

Normally, if I meet charity flagsellers, I'm happy to hand over my loose change. However, this time, the volunteer asked me to sign up to donate via credit card on a monthly or quarterly basis. And the least amount of donation this particular scheme permitted was $30 every month, or $120 every quarter.

Four years ago, I would have sidestepped this volunteer without a second thought. Today, however, I am the proud father of two little happy, healthy kids. And my heart turned a little soft and weepy at the thought that there are kids who weren't so lucky as to be born healthy as my own two kids.

And I thought about the $35 I'd just spent, without a second thought, on my kids' books, which were in a plastic bag that I was holding. That $35 could have gone further if it had gone to help some poor kid somewhere suffering from spina bifida or thalassaemia major.

Duly chastened by my conscience, I signed up to be a regular donor to Club Rainbow. Hope I get some karma points for my next life.

If you would like to donate or be a volunteer with Club Rainbow, click here for more info.

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Admin said...

Dear Mr. Wang,

When you think of the good karma points coming, they will never come.

When you don't even have any thoughts about these good karma points, they will come naturally.

However for bad karma points, they will come regardless of whether you think about them or not. :)

Goh Meng Seng

Anonymous said...

How do you know those streetside charity vendors were honest?

Jon said...

Heheh... I was just about to say as friskodude implied, how do you know you didn't just get conned by a couple of kids on the street. Now they have your credit card number, address, phone number, IC number etc etc. Oh dear...

Sorry.. You can't blame me for the extra paranoia after the whole NKF debacle!

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Oh ... they had the police licence thing (needed to raise funds) and also they carried an identification tag around their necks, plus they had a placard exhibited. The credit card debit form also looks legit to me; it came with a set of detailed fine print ......

If it's a con job, then they are pretty slick ... but I don't think it was a con job. Mr Wang has ESP; he can smell dishonest thoughts.

Tattler said...

It's a con job alright - my office is in Orchard Road, and I run into these types every so often during lunch hour. Some even march right into our office, brandishing the laminated licence thingy and ID tag. That's when I got to examine their "credentials" and recognised the scam. What happens is that the con artiste behind these naive "volunteers" earn the 20% or 30% of the collection that is allowed under the "charity" rules to be deducted for "admin" expense. Anyone in business will tell you that 30% gross margin is not easy to come by. When I ask the "volunteers" how they are paid, they claimed they are given only transport and meal allowance. Their "boss" is sitting pretty with the ill gotten riches. Looks like our public prosecutors are not too streetwise.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

This one is not like that ... Money is debited via credit card and goes direct into Club Rainbow's account. No middlemen charges except $0.60 for every $30 - this $0.60 goes to the bank - that's ok with me.