Free food in Singapore: Community fridges launch in Dorset Road with free groceries for needy residents

If your New Year’s resolution is to do a good deed, then you may want to donate your groceries to new community fridges that have been set up at Block 48 Dorset Road that stock unsellable but edible groceries for needy residents in the area.

The fridges were launched Saturday in an event graced by Member of Parliament (MP) Melvin Yong, and are part of a rising national movement to reduce food waste in Singapore by giving unwanted but edible food to those who need it most.

Dorset Road residents — young and old — taking items from the community fridges launched in their district (Photo: Melvin Yong / Facebook)

The community fridges concept consists of placing fridges in public areas to allow anyone to have easy access to fresh, nutritious food especially to those who are facing financial hardship and cannot afford to buy such food.

These fridges are either stocked by volunteers, or by members of the public who want to donate perishable and non-perishable groceries.

The fridges in Dorset Road were launched in partnership with the SG Food Rescue group, a collective that goes out to markets and shops to rescue food that would have otherwise been thrown away because it is unsellable due to factors such as dents or looks.

With this rescued food, they distribute it through community fridges and have been supporting such fridges in the Yishun, Tampines and Queenstown districts.

They also pass on this food to soup kitchens and charity organizations who help to feed the needy.

Residents of Dorset Road are busy snapping up the 300kg of fresh fruits and vegetables that were given out to needy residents (Photo: Melvin Yong / Facebook)

At the Dorset Road fridges launch, some 300 kilograms (661 lbs) of fresh fruits and vegetables were given away to residents in the area, according to a post by MP Melvin Yong on Saturday.

“I hope that our residents will take good care of the refrigerators so that this initiative can remain sustainable for a long, long time,” said Yong on his Facebook post.

The movement to reduce food waste in Singapore has taken root in recent times, with groups such as SG Food Rescue and Freegan in Singapore sprouting on Facebook to help redistribute food waste to members who need it most.

Apps such as Freegood and Olio are also providing spaces for people to distribute non-food and food items respectively that they do not need, to people who are looking for these items.

The concept has also taken root in Asia, with cities such as Bangkok and Ampang setting up such fridges as well.

This article, Free food in Singapore: Community fridges launch in Dorset Road with free groceries for needy residents, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. For more Coconuts stories, you can download our app, sign up for our newsletters, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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  • Huizhou looks to upgrade its industrial mix as it eyes key role in Greater Bay Area
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    South China Morning Post

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    Huizhou, the second closest mainland Chinese city to Hong Kong, has set its sights on new industries including car and equipment manufacturing and clean energy to rejuvenate an economy that plummeted 8.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2020.The city’s two existing pillar industries – electronics and petrochemicals – have fallen victim to weaker external demand as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the global economy.Huizhou, or Wai Jau in Cantonese, is classified as one of the “outer ring” cities in the Greater Bay Area (GBA), alongside Zhaoqing and Jiangmen. These are the less developed cities towards the periphery of the zone, with lower land and labour costs, where heavier industries are beginning to congregate.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.It should benefit from substantial infrastructure investment, as spillovers from the “inner ring” – the likes of Shenzhen and Macau, with advanced manufacturing and services and better transport links – lead to the establishment of more industrial bases to provide things like paper, metals and power to the entire bay area.Here, the South China Morning Post tries to gauge the role of Huizhou, and its 5 million residents, as they pursue new growth opportunities in the future economic hub.What is the history of Huizhou?Situated in the north of the Pearl River Delta, Huizhou was historically known as Lingnan and the gateway to eastern Guangdong.The city benefited culturally from the visits of several celebrated figures of ancient China. 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To purchase, please click here.More from South China Morning Post: * Can China’s Greater Bay Area offer relief to Hong Kong’s housing woes? * China loosens rules on fund flows between Greater Bay Area cities, in a partial relaxation of capital controlsThis article Huizhou looks to upgrade its industrial mix as it eyes key role in Greater Bay Area first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.

  • China’s July talks with Vatican will have Taiwan looming in background
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    South China Morning Post

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    This is the second in a three-part series examining the role of the Roman Catholic Church in China and how the difficult and complex relationship between the Vatican and Beijing has shifted and evolved since the Communist Party broke diplomatic ties in 1951. This story looks at the role Taiwan plays in the relationship as both sides prepare for talks this month on extending an agreement that keeps open the channels of communication.Beijing and the Vatican will sit down for talks this month, extending their decades-long dialogue on how the Catholic Church can function in a country ruled by the Communist Party of China. The thorny issue is who holds authority to appoint bishops in China, but self-ruled Taiwan is also a key part of the diplomatic wrangling.Beijing broke off diplomatic ties with the Vatican in 1951 and founded the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, which answers to the Communist Party, not Rome. While the Vatican may have been kicked out of China, it retained diplomatic relations with Taiwan, which China views as a breakaway province awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.The Vatican city state is now the only European nation to recognise Taiwan, which commentators say is a key reason Beijing keeps talking to the church – part of a strategy to further isolate Taipei. But another factor may be that, as China faces a wave of international criticism over the Covid-19 pandemic, positive diplomatic talks with Rome could help to improve its image.“If issues with Taiwan had been resolved, I don’t think we would have continued with such active talks with the Vatican,” said a mainland Chinese religious affairs expert, who declined to be named. But, while the Vatican was unlikely to cut ties with Taiwan in the immediate future, “it would not be smart [for China] to walk away from talks”.Francesco Sisci, a sinologist with Renmin University of China, said Beijing was already facing enough challenges in its international relations and it would be a “bombshell” if bridges to the Vatican were broken. A “positive relationship with Rome” was in China’s interest, he said.“If China breaks away from [talks] with the Holy See, it will only justify the logic of all the critics out there, that, ‘even the holy man couldn’t stand China’.”A Vatican source, who also declined to be identified, said another benefit to China of the Pope’s support was the potential to improve its relations with countries that have large Catholic populations. The complex history of the Catholic Church in ChinaThe Beijing-Vatican talks this month in Rome will seek to renew the 2018 Sino-Vatican agreement that expires on September 22. The detailed contents of that pact were never made public, but its key plank is a compromise on the appointment of bishops for the mainland’s 12 million Catholics.Critics say China has failed to live up to its side of the agreement. They argue that Pope Francis approved eight bishops appointed by Beijing in the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association after the agreement was signed. However, they say, the Communist authorities did not reciprocate for bishops approved by the Pope in China’s so-called underground Catholic church which looks to Rome for authority, not Beijing.Supporters of the groundbreaking 2018 accord, which took three decades to negotiate, say it did mark the communist state’s first willingness to share some authority with a foreign religious leader. 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He said that “in reality, the Sino-Vatican agreement has not had an actual impact on Taiwan’s relationship with the Vatican”.The Vatican’s diplomatic office in Taiwan “should be maintained”, even if a relocation to Beijing was to take place, and the reopening of a Vatican embassy in Beijing “could happen soon if the mainland Chinese government is more open-minded and receptive towards the Roman Catholic Church”, Chung said.That looks unlikely, considering Beijing’s continuing hostility towards organised religions and its new measures to limit both attendance at religious activities and the operation of religious charity groups.“This is such an awkward period. We are seeing bishops are still being locked away and religious freedom is worsening on the mainland as negotiations go on between Rome and Beijing,” Chung said.“There are some gesture changes but in reality, nothing has improved. So we are still watching. We have religious freedom in Taiwan but we will be praying for those who can’t express their faith to have the strength to carry on.”Additional reporting by Eduardo BaptistaRead part one of this series, which investigates the agreement signed two years ago and asks if there is any potential for common ground between Pope Francis and President Xi Jinping.Purchase the 100+ page China Internet Report 2020 Pro Edition, brought to you by SCMP Research, and enjoy a 30% discount (original price US$400). The report includes deep-dive analysis, trends, and case studies on the 10 most important internet sectors. Now in its 3rd year, this go-to source for understanding China tech also comes with exclusive access to 6 webinars with C-level executives. Offer valid until 31 August 2020. To purchase, please click here.More from South China Morning Post: * Taiwan moves to build ties with unrecognised state of Somaliland * Beijing takes campaign online to win over Taiwanese hearts and minds in coronavirus pandemic * Vatican hits stumbling block on road to rebuilding ties with ChinaThis article China’s July talks with Vatican will have Taiwan looming in background first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.

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Edited by the South China Morning Post's Zuraidah Ibrahim and Jeffie Lam, the book draws on work from the Post's newsrooms across Hong Kong, Beijing, Washington and Singapore, with unmatched insights into all sides of the conflict. Buy directly from SCMP today and get a 15% discount (regular price HKD$198). It is available at major bookshops worldwide or online through Amazon, Kobo, Google Books, and eBooks.com.More from South China Morning Post: * Hong Kong elections: 234,000 residents cast ballots in opposition camp primary for Legislative Council elections, organisers say * Hong Kong police raid office of poll organisers involved in Saturday’s opposition primary, over suspected data leak from 2013 project * Hong Kong opposition camp’s lofty hopes for landmark primary run into raft of obstacles, voter turnout concerns * Hong Kong opposition parties warned weekend primary could break national security and election lawsThis article Hong Kong elections: long queues on second day of weekend primary as voters choose opposition candidates for Legco polls in September first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.

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    Saturday was another sleepless night for Wu Shengsong.It was his fifth in a row on patrol duty on the banks of the Xi River in Poyang county, Shangrao, east China’s Jiangxi province.Soon after he started his shift, lightning lit up the sky and thunder rolled in the distance. Wu stood silent and still, fearful of the storm gathering above his head and the stability of the ground beneath his feet.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.“I’m a little worried,” he said. “The forecast is for several days of rain.”Wu works as an official in the village of Wanli, close to Poyang Lake, China’s largest freshwater lake. By Sunday morning, after a heavy downpour and a release of floodwater from the Yangtze River upstream, its water level had risen to an all-time high of more than to 22.5 metres (74 feet), putting many of the towns and villages that lie beyond the dyke that surrounds it at risk.aWanli is just one of many villages that has been hit by China’s latest floods, which have spread to 27 of 31 mainland provinces. According to official figures, as of Saturday, almost 34 million people had been affected and at least 140 reported dead or missing.The situation is particularly severe along the Yangtze. According to Xinhua, there are 2,545km (1,580 miles) of dykes in Jiangxi and 2,242km of them are facing an “extremely grim situation” with regards to flood control.Many of the dykes are monitored by local people, like Wu.On Wednesday, floodwater breached the riverbank across from Wu’s dyke, flooding several low-lying villages and leaving 20,000 people without electricity or fresh water.Wu said he received orders from his supervisors on Tuesday to arrange for patrols, as the floodwaters headed in their direction. He and other villagers took turns patrolling the area, each monitoring a few hundred metres of riverbank. China’s flood defence network put to the test as it braces for more stormsWu uses a flashlight to check for possible problems and signs of breaches. At one point he stopped to look at a pipeline that ran through the riverbank to a fish pond on the other side.“We plugged that hole with sandbags, but we need to check they are intact,” he said.The watchers spend most of the night on patrol, taking only short breaks. If they see a breach or a puddle of water, they report to their supervisors who arrange for a team to plug the gap.No one dares to take any chances.“If there’s even one slip-up, it will be quite dangerous. When the water comes, it’s only a matter of minutes,” Wu said.The villagers remember when the water came on Wednesday. Huang Diqun, another watcher, had been standing on a bridge when the bank on the other side broke.“I saw the water hit against the bank, with a cracking sound, then suddenly it fell,” he said.Homes fell into the water, one after another, as terrified villagers ran across the bridge or climbed onto their rooftops for safety.All of Wu’s rice fields flooded. He said if the water subsided quickly he might be able to save some of his crop, but thought the floods were likely to last for another two or three months.Along the Yangtze, many lakes and tributaries are still rising and the water has nowhere to go.He can only try to prevent another breach from happening and pray for the best.“All we can do is watch,” he said.Purchase the 100+ page China Internet Report 2020 Pro Edition, brought to you by SCMP Research, and enjoy a 30% discount (original price US$400). The report includes deep-dive analysis, trends, and case studies on the 10 most important internet sectors. Now in its 3rd year, this go-to source for understanding China tech also comes with exclusive access to 6 webinars with C-level executives. Offer valid until 31 August 2020. To purchase, please click here.More from South China Morning Post: * Saved from the floodwaters: Chinese village in path of Yangtze deluge * China’s massive floods move east, battering communities along Yangtze River * Covid-19 and now floods: Wuhan, first epicentre of the pandemic, braces againThis article Sleepless nights on China’s dykes as floods hit 34 million people first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.