Without being prompted, many of the COH clients rose to their feet for the national anthem, Majullah Singapura, at the Tampines’ Emmanuel Activity Centre’s SG50 celebrations on 30 July 2015. Proud to be Singaporean, they placed hand to heart and recited the pledge together.
Dressed in red T-shirts and traditional ethnic clothes, clients celebrated with joy, often breaking out into dance and clapping spontaneously to popular community and National Day songs.
After the singing, some clients took to the stage to perform the Let’s Build Community song with exuberant hand actions.
Teacher Joshua Kanagaraj described the ripple effect when the life of even one COH client is empowered as follows: “If you touch one life, you touch the family. If you touch the family, you touch the constituency. If you touch the constituency, you touch the country. If you touch a country, you touch the nations. Finally, if you touch the nations, you touch the world.”
After the energetic song performance, clients participated in an art competition. They worked tirelessly to decorate the Singapore map with popular local icons in the most vibrant and celebratory of colours.
Thoroughly enjoying the activity, they proudly held up their artwork, as they posed for the camera.
A sumptuous lunch sponsored by Stamford Catering followed. Everyone enjoyed their Chicken Curry, Kuih Muih and other local delights.
The day’s programme culminated in a prize presentation for the winning artworks. Shalom Class came in first. However, every class received consolation prizes for their efforts! And at the day’s end, all the clients went home happy with their awards and goodie bags.
Executive Director Samuel Koh was very impressed by the attention and expressions of patriotism his special needs charges displayed throughout the SG50 Celebrations.
He said, “The government has been actively engaging the special needs community with the right policies, infrastructure and support in caring for them. Singapore has come a long way in wanting to care for people with special needs. I believe that there will even be greater strides made in this effort in the next 50 years.”
Samuel suggested that caring for people with special needs will continue to change from being ad-hoc and sporadic to becoming a natural part of the Singaporean way of life.
He believes that this will begin when everyone proactively asks, “What can I do today to accept and receive people with special needs in my community?”
COH Centre Head (Tampines) Andrew Ong said, “The Golden Jubilee is a year of breakthrough -a milestone to new beginnings and greater things.”
Here he is on the left, singing a song with Teacher Philip Chong.
“We, the citizens of Singapore, pledge ourselves as one united people, regardless of race, language or religion, to build a democratic society, based on justice and equality, so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation.”
-The Singapore Pledge
About the Author: The COH Resource Team comprises volunteers, content writers and experts, including psychologists, counsellors, educators and social service professionals.