Things kicked off at the break of dawn on 28 June 2009, when Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean lit the flame at the Kallang Waterfront. The torch then went about its journey across three separate routes: each anchored by Singapore’s leaders, national sportsmen and medal hopefuls for the AYG; and flanked by hundreds of volunteers from all walks of life. Over at Yio Chu Kang Stadium, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who had the honor of being the first torch bearer.
The AYG flame also made its way across Orchard Road and around Republic Polytechnic. For the Southwestern leg of the relay, Minister for Manpower Gan Kim Yong started things rolling as he jogged off with the torch at Jurong Point mall. Together with Mayor of Southwest CDC (SWCDC), Dr Amy Khor, they led some 100 runners around the Jurong West Estate.
Among the torchbearers on that route was Dr Chan Kok Yew, board member of City Harvest Community Services Association (CHCSA), the third torchbearer. Dr Chan had been selected because of the close working relationship CHCSA has with SWCDC, having supported various grassroot activities in the region to reach out to the needy. That sunny morning, CHCSA continued to show that it’s committed to making a difference in the community. At least 100 volunteers showed up, decked in red T-shirts with the phrase “People of Destiny” emblazoned across their backs, lending their support to the event. They served as road marshals and runners in the torch relay among other responsibilities.
And they enjoyed themselves thoroughly: 32-year-old Edwin Lim Choon Seng said he had wanted to do something for the community in the Southwestern cluster. “I just wanted to help out however I can, and I had a lot of fun — it was a great experience.”
|PHOTOS: Edmund Ong|
Another participant, 19-year-old Janet Ng, said it was a practical way to live out a basic life principle. “For me, it was an extension of what I’ve learned in my church every week; serving other people’s needs.”
There was an atmosphere of festivity and genuine pride and joy at every station that the torch relay had passed through.
The torch concluded its two-day journey round on yet another high at the Opening Ceremony of the Asian Youth Games, and with that, the estimated 1,000 athletes from 43 countries began their battles for glory in over 80 sporting events.