The youth from LYL and ZY embarked on a quest to inspire children to hug their mothers.
By Joel Low
Mothers attending the Family Weekend services at City Harvest Church over the weekend of May 12 and 13, were greeted at the door by groups of youth carrying colorful hand-made placards that read “Show Love” and “Give Your Mum A Hug”. They were on a mission to encourage all children, regardless of their age, to give their mothers a hug.
This campaign, christened “I Hug My Mom”, is a competing project these youth dreamed up for the Emerge Youth Conference 2012. This year, apart from the requisite talent contests and preaching contests, which fall under Body, Soul and Spirit categories, Emerge organizers have introduced a new category: Salt and Light. Under this category, the iSociety project requires the youths of CHC to create and execute projects that make a difference to the local community. The “I Hug My Mom” campaign is one that aims to encourage Singaporeans to express their love and appreciation for their loved ones, especially their mother, through simple gestures such as hugging.
The event was planned to coincide with the Mothers’ Day weekend. Over 300 youths from the zones led by CHC Zone Supervisors Lee Yi Lun and Ee Zhen Ying stationed themselves in many parts of Singapore, carrying placards and approaching strangers to spread the message of love. Besides CHC at Suntec Singapore, the youth were also stationed at Ang Mio Kio, Bishan, Boon Lay, Somerset, Tampines, and Toa Payoh to spread the love. More than 600 mothers received a hug from their children because of the campaign.
The group stationed at Bishan caught the eyes of MediaCorp’s Channel News Asia’s team, and was interviewed and featured on the Facebook page of the Channel News Asia Connect.
“Even though we were underneath the burning hot sun for the whole time, it was worthwhile to see so many mothers touched by this movement,” described Crystal Then, 15, a student from Chua Chu Kang Secondary School. “The smiles on the faces of the mothers and their children were priceless!”
Elizabeth Tan, 17, a student from the Ngee Ann Polytechnic, also shared the same sentiments. “It was exceptionally heartwarming to see young children hugging their mothers! I was really touched by the big smiles on their faces when they were hugging each other.”
But it wasn’t all a bed of roses, Tan admitted. “We also had to face rejections and stares from some people too.”
Indeed, the culture of expressing love through gestures is not something Singaporeans are used to, especially in conservative Asian families. Madeline Soong, 18, a student from the Republic Polytechnic, pointed out that such a movement is not only meaningful but critical in helping to changing the traditional mindsets of Singaporeans.
Eunice Wong is one of the mothers who participated in the campaign. She felt that the campaign helped to break the awkwardness of hugging, especially for people who grew up in conservative families.
“Hugging is important because it makes people feel loved and warm on the inside. By encouraging people to hug each other more often, a culture of hugging will be created and it may eventually become part of our nature to hug each other!” said Wong.