On 25 July 2009, 93 elderly went on a Religious Harmony Tour organized by COPE in conjunction with Racial Harmony Day. In keeping with the theme of the tour, the elderly visited four different places of worship in Singapore.
COPE, which stands for Community Outreach for the Elderly, is a social service that aims to serve the elderly by giving them support, hope and joy for their golden years through the forging of genuine relationships and the organizing of activities.
On early Saturday morning, the elderly who were dressed in their Sunday best, gathered at the rendezvous point. The bus was filled with excited chatter from the elderly who were looking forward to a day of fun and fellowship.
The first stop was Buddha Tooth Relic Temple where it was said that the tooth of Buddha rested in the temple itself. Tour guides Howard and Rebecca brought the elderly around the majestic temple and showed them the intriguing ancient artifacts there.
Next was Sri Mariamman Temple which was a stone’s throw away from the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. Here, the elderly were educated on the different gods of the Indians and how they all played a part in maintaining order in the world.
The next stop was Jamae Chulia Mosque which was just a street away. The elderly were given a personal tour by a spokesperson of the mosque and were impressed on the fervency of Muslims who prayed at least five times a day.
|PHOTOS: Cristopher Teh|
The last stop was at St Andrew’s Cathedral where the elderly got to experience the rich culture of the Church in which Sir Stamford Raffles himself reserved the plot of land for the building of the church. After the tour around the magnificent architecture, the elderly were treated to a hearty meal of nasi lemak.
S H Asinudeen commented, “I participated with my wife with the intention to join the crowd. I was not disappointed as the event was very well-organized and also well-explained by the various tour guides. The place of worship that impressed me the most was the majestic Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. I look forward to taking part in more activities in the future.”
Madam Goh Choon Keow, who came to the event with her sister-in-law, youngest sister, neighbor and two granddaughters, was elated to be able to spend the day with her family and friend.
This tour has certainly been successful as the elderly got to understand the different races that form multicultural Singapore. The elderly also had fun being in the company of fellow friends.
At the end of the day, the elderly cheered when Irene Ho, the organizer, announced that the next event would be a scenic tour at the Singapore Flyer. The elderly are certainly looking forward to the next COPE event.