A delegation of Church leaders led by Elder Kent D Watson, First Counselor in the Asia Area Presidency, paid a courtesy call on Mr Tan Tian Lai, Chairman of the Singapore Taoist Federation on 18 May 2012. Accompanying Elder Watson were Sister Watson, Bishop Dean Davies (Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric), Sister Davies, Elder Victor Chen (Area Seventy), President Stephen Lai (Singapore Stake President) and Charlie Chan (Director of Public Affairs). In addition to Mr Tan, Chung Kwang Tong (Wei Yi), Sec-Gen, Taoist Federation Youth Group, was also in attendance.
Bishop Davies gave a brief overview of the Church’s humanitarian efforts. He said the principle of our welfare program is to provide short- term assistance to meet humanitarian and compassionate needs in order to help the recipients, whether members or nonmembers, to be self-sufficient. He said the Church has several major humanitarian programs: clean water, neonatal, vision, and wheel chairs. The Church has assisted many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America in providing technical and financial assistance to undertake water projects so that people in remote villages can have access to clean water. The Church has competed 22 water projects in Indonesia, India, China, Mongolia, and Cambodia. Last year, the Church contributed 22,000 wheel chairs in Asia to help people with mobility challenges to be more independent.
Mr Tan said that the Taoist Federation also contributed to flood victims in Thailand and other Southeast Asia countries affected by natural disaster. The Federation works with other faiths in their humanitarian efforts.
Elder Watson said that he had researched Taoism and observed that there are many similarities between Taoism and the gospel. Although our understanding of God and forms of worship may be different, we share the same reverence for humanity and desire to help the poor and needy.
We agreed to explore areas where we could co-operate in future humanitarian and community projects. Elder Watson extended an invitation to Mr Tan and Wei Yi to the devotional the next evening. He explained one of the Twelve Apostles of our Church had come from Salt Lake City to teach and bless our members in Singapore.