The Orange Ribbon is a symbol of friendship, brotherhood and kinship, underpinned by values of respect, understanding and trust. It was distributed to participants of the walk.
On 6th July 2008, the Clarke Quay area almost turned into an orange ocean when more than 5,000 people from various community organisations including the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations (SFCCA) and its member associations, religious groups, schools, self-help groups, community development councils and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth gathered together to attend the walk. Everyone was wearing clothes in colours that represented friendship, kinship and family. It was the first time that Singaporeans came together and celebrated racial harmony in a form of a walk.
Besides the performers singing and dancing in colourful traditional costumes, a large group of more than 200 representatives wearing orange T-shirts printed with SFCCA’s logo stood out from the crowd.
The group included President Cai Kewang, leading 50 representatives of Chin Kang Huay Kuan and the Fujian Overseas Students’ Association, President Chen Jianli leading 30 representatives from Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan and the Teochew Students’ Association, Mr Ma Tingmao leading 20 representatives from Teo Yeong Huai Kuan, Mr Chen Shikun leading 10 representatives from Singapore Theng Chuan Association. Aside from this member groups, representatives from Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan, Singapore Ann Kway Association, Singapore Lam Ann Association, Singapore Amoy Association and Singapore Lee Clan General Association also showed their immense support for this event. Mr Chen Yinglai, former chairman of Singapore Lam Ann Association, attended the event with his family. During the event, participants embarked on a walk around Singapore River to show their support for racial harmony.
The Orange Ribbon Walk commenced at Clarke Quay early in the morning on 6 July 2008. The opening ceremony was officiated by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister of Culture, Community and Youth and leaders of the five Community Development Councils. He wore the orange ribbon pin as well, showing affirmation of the need to maintain racial harmony. In his opening remarks, he also emphasized that racial harmony, mutual respect and acceptance of our diversity are vital to Singapore’s survival.
With population growth and influx of new immigrants, seeking out new ways to help Singaporeans connect, communicate and understand each other has become a new challenge for the country. SFCCA is quick to response to the government’s call and encouraged members to actively participate in this activity. Mr Chen Xingting, Director of SFCCA’s Social Affairs Group who was also in charge of organising this event, arrived early in the morning to ensure that activities ran smoothly with team members Fu Luowei, Li Zhenyu and Liang Duan.
The Orange Ribbon celebration was launched a few years ago by the Central District Community Development Council to promote racial harmony. For the first time this year, this event was elevated to become a national event to expand its influence and the entire programme will last for one month.