Category: Current Affairs
Published on Wednesday, 04 November 2015 00:00
Written by Andrew Loh
On Saturday, one of the largest gatherings of disabled people took place at Singapore’s only free speech venue – Hong Lim Park.
Called the Purple Parade, the event was to “support inclusion, celebrate abilities”, in support of the disabled community in Singapore.
“Purple symbolises solidarity for people with special needs,” the group’s website says. And indeed, the thousands who turned up from 3pm to 7pm over the weekend were mostly decked out in the royal colour. Even the purple dinosaur, Barney, made an appearance amidst the carnival-like atmosphere of many smiling faces and excited performances from the community itself.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was the guest-of-honour, along with his wife and several ministers and Members of Parliament (MP).
"We all have something to contribute," Mr Lee, who also wore purple, said in his speech to the crowd, which included 106 organisations from the government, public service, civil society, and the private sector which were there to support the event.
"We are building an inclusive society in Singapore where everybody has a place, where everybody can make a contribution," Mr Lee said.
"Whether you have special abilities, whether you are an ordinary person... you all have something to contribute and in a different way, each one of us is somehow special,” the Prime Minister added. “I think we should value that and treasure that and work together, take advantage of it so that together we can make Singapore better, and together we can be happy, prosperous and successful as one nation, one Singapore."
There were booths stretching to both fields of the park, which included food stalls and games booths. Members of the disabled community themselves put up performances which were a joy to watch – you can see it on the faces of the children, especially, who must have been practising and looking forward to the annual event for weeks, if not months.
It was a time indeed to come together to lend a voice and show our support for those whom we may not encounter in our daily lives, but who nonetheless are an important part of our society.
Singapore has about 97,200 people with disabilities, with the vast majority - 77,200 - above 18 years old, according to 2010 data from the Health and Education ministries. (See here
Here are some photos from Saturday’s event.