Volunteer Photographer Singapore

I come from a poor family and my income is currently low and inconsistent somehow as I'm not a money-slave. Hence, I know I cannot contribute much to the society financially. However, I believe there are more meaningful ways to help others. By stepping forward and contributing in terms of physical effort, it can make a bigger difference than money does. If I were born with a silver spoon, I would likely do full-time photography for the less fortunate people. Reality is cruel though.

There was once when I had a causal conversation with a person in charge of a small social welfare organisation, he told me they actually had quite a big amount of funding from private companies. The Singapore government played a good tactic by allowing companies to make donations to listed charity organisations to have a cut in their yearly tax. Therefore, some charity organisations were actually more lack of volunteers.

I'm not sure of the current funding of the charity organisation but the previous interaction with the people has helped me to get a clearer picture of the situations of charity organisations in Singapore. I also believe money cannot buy passion easily. Even if charity organisations have the fund to employ full-time foreign talents with cheaper salaries to help out, they may not be able to do better jobs than volunteers who have the real passion.

Being a photographer gives me an extra edge. I love doing things that have multiple pros. I can do good with my photography skill while helping others - if I have the time.

Of course, there are times when I'm not being appreciated as people are seeking instant help and non-photographers do not understand how much time and effort photographers have to spend after the tiring shoot for post-processing of the photographs. There are times when people joke (I hope) that I'm lazy by not helping out when I'm holding onto my camera to help everyone to document down the events for their memories. There are also times when I have to hands-on while taking photographs. Eventually, everyone, including the volunteers, will enjoy looking at the photographs.

My worst encounter of doing a voluntary event shoot was when a charity organisation sought my friend for help in manpower. We brought some elderly to a temple for their free food. Nobody complained when the escorting job was, on the spot, extended to food serving. The lady in charge was a bitch who lectured my team for not doing things to her likings when there was no instruction. When the guest-of-honour arrived, she seemed like a night club hostess who tried to take photographs together with him. What the rich and powerful guy did was to do handshake with some of the guests who obviously did not know who he was. Then, he sat down and let the volunteers serve him. We were frustrated and disgusted by both of them. If the big shot had joined the volunteers to help out, I would gladly give him respect, however, his presence was only to add extra burdens to the volunteers.

Eventually, I was reminded that all charity events required invitation of such big shots to appear to boost their (the big shots') popularity, which in return would help the organisations to get things done, including funding, easier in future. While most people thought they would only need "Guan Xi" (connection) in China to survive, they did not realise it was the same in all countries.

I'm looking forward to work with small self organised voluntary group that has no connection to any organisation. The one-time event should not involve any VIP (very idiotic people) going down to handshake or give speeches. My photographs will help everyone to document down the good day while also answer to any donator who is not able to make it down to the event. Do contact me for discussion if your event fits the description.

Do not approach me for any "pro bono" work for the "good of others" when you are receiving funding for the project. The worst thing is to lie to me that you are not being paid any cent. The easiest way to qualify your request is to ask yourself (1) is the CEO receiving any amount of money from the organisation, (2) are you receiving any amount of money from the organisation and (3) is anyone else, such as caterer and host of venue, being paid for the job? If the answer to any of these question is "yes", please skip me.

Note: Before you approach me, do be reminded that I need help as well and maybe you can think of how you can help me.


This was another self initiated small group (not affiliated to any registered group or government bodies) voluntary...

Posted by Skai Chan Photography on Monday, 19 October 2015


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