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A Thousand Words – Family Foto Fair 2018
07 March 2018

It is said that a picture speaks a thousand words. But perhaps some pictures are worth much more than that.  

Contributed by HCA volunteer, Matthew Ong



Mdm Ani Mansoor with her family

On 10 February 2018, 27 families gathered at the HCA Hospice Care (HCA) Headquarters at Jalan Tan Tock Seng to capture some of their precious moments together, at our annual Family Foto Fair. The event involved 84 volunteers from different walks of life and everyone contributed to making the event as meaningful and cheerful as possible for patients and their families. 

"... this event is meaningful as it allows the family to create beautiful memories together"

– Beauty team lead, Cyndi



A HCA beneficiary having her makeover done by a professional beautician 

To start the day, patients and their families were pampered with services such as hair styling, makeover and even manicure services. These were done by a team of trained beauticians and hairstylists, all volunteering their skills. They put their skills to good use as they prepared patients and family members for their photo shoot. 

Said the beauty team leader Cyndi, “Some families and patients may not have much opportunity to do their hair and makeup for various reasons, so this event is meaningful as it allows the family to create beautiful memories together.” 




A beautiful family picture of Mr Nai Chik Chiew and his loved ones 

As it was a warm day, the beauty team had to ensure that the patients’ “looks” could withstand the hot weather at the outdoor photo shoot, while balancing the makeup for an indoor photo shoot.  But perhaps it was also the team’s gentle, caring touch that brought out the best smiles from the patients and their families. 


NUS Caring Hearts student volunteers having fun navigating through the Ping Pong Maze game with a Star PALS beneficiary 

Family members were also treated to a wide array of indoor activities. Volunteers from the NUS Caring Hearts meticulously created games such as ‘Tikam Tikam’, Ping Pong Maze and Magnet Fishing for children and adults. Some elderly folks even engaged in the Nerf Gun challenge where they attempted to shoot down paper targets!


These engaging games are not only for the young, but also the young at heart

As Chinese New Year was just around the corner, Cai Shen Ye (the God of Fortune) paid a visit and treated everyone to gold coins and a fun photo opportunity. 


Cai Shen Ye bringing festive cheers to our beneficiaries and their families

Adding to the festive spirit was Cliff Lee, a volunteer musician, who sang festive and contemporary songs. He said of his experience, “It was enjoyable to play in such a setting because people really appreciated the songs and it blended well into the lively atmosphere.”



Cliff entertains the crowd with his melodious voice

No party is complete without a fun-loving clown and Caring Clowns were happy to oblige, as they mingled with the crowd to entertain patients, families and caregivers with their hilarious antics and infectious smiles. Alex Tan aka Hairy the Clown certainly made their photo shoots fun and memorable. This was especially important for Steven, one of the volunteer photographers, who bore the responsibility of ensuring that the family portraits turned out well for everyone. After each session, he showed families their pictures and moved on only when his question of ‘Swee boh, aunty?’ (Nice or not in Hokkien) was answered with a satisfied grin and a high-five. 



Hairy the clown and his trusty harmonica lights up the faces of the guests

One family that enjoyed themselves was Nani, her mother and brother Muhammad. Nani had specially taken leave to accompany her mother and brother to this event. Her family was used to taking informal photographs together and the last time they did so was over Hari Raya. However, this Family Foto Fair allowed them the opportunity to take a professional studio portrait as a family.  



A family portrait of Nani with her brother, Muhammad and their family

Nani describes her family as a normal and fun-loving bunch that enjoys spending quality time together. However, it is clear that they are a family with huge hearts as they have adopted and cared for various children who need special attention. Nani says that it was challenging initially, but her mother eventually found the strength and settled in necessary routines as she cared for Muhammad. Being able to take a short respite from home caregiving, Nani says with delight in her voice “This event is nice because Mother is happy!” 

As the event drew to a close in the late afternoon, more than a thousand photos and family portraits had been taken. More importantly, these special memories had been captured by families and their loved ones. And these pictures and memories would certainly be worth more than a thousand words.