The Red Nose Movement took to Clarke Quay last weekend and brought over 2,000 participants on a mile-long walk around the Singapore River for a great cause.
The color red covered a 1.6km–mile-long–stretch of road around the Singapore River last Saturday morning. It was the day of the Red Nose Walk, and the blistering heat didn’t stop participants from taking off their shoes and preparing for “The Great Exchange”.
Starting at the Read Bridge in the heart of Clarke Quay, participants from all over Singapore gathered to take part in a series of walks organized by the Red Nose Movement.
“The Red Nose Movement is really about getting Singaporeans to laugh more and love more,” explained Darryl Loh, 32. The clearly exhausted, but excited executive director for CHCSA, embodied the spirit of the Red Nose Walk that Saturday. Loh never had a moment to stand still, but was constantly moving throughout the trail and the carnival. On top of ensuring the success of the event, she doubled as cheerleader to her 60 volunteers, spread throughout the 1.6km trail.
Loh’s excitement and words of encouragement (“Remember, water parade, guys! Keep it up!” )kept many of the volunteers going in the hot sun, and their enthusiasm was infectious as they cheered on the participants of the walk.
“I’ve been here since 8.30am,” said Joash Phang at noon. The 20-year-old was one of the volunteers cheering on the passing intellectually-disabled participants and the companion walkers. “I feel very honored to be able to volunteer for the event. You find that you receive a lot more from the people you are serving and the most enthusiastic people on this walk are the special needs participants—their smiles, their happiness, bring a great joy. That’s something we can take back with us.”
One of the many smiles belonged to Dean Wong, 21, an intellectually disabled participant who, accompanied by one of the many companion walkers, took a stroll throughout the river. Decked in red with a cheerful grin on his face, he said, “It’s a lot of fun!” he said. Clearly his companion walker had a great impact on him: “She’s very pretty, and very nice!” he laughed, as did his companion walker Carissa Chooi, 24.
Chooi explained that she decided to volunteer for the walk the minute she heard about it. “It was a really good experience. I found that it was really easy to communicate with Dean, because he’s active and very excited about the walk, so it was really good. I think despite the stereotypes and the fact that they physically don’t look like us, the intellectually disabled can have great personality and character. They are really wonderful people!”
“We always set limitations for special needs individuals, but why not look at it in another way? They may be limited, but because I’m willing to help them, and willing to stand by them, we can do more together.” This set the theme for one of the many walks of the day, “Together We Can Go Beyond A Mile”. “The ‘together’ part is very important,” said Pang. “It is to empower the special needs person, but also to remind the companion walkers to show the special needs person that ‘because I want to help you, I want to love you, I want to do more for you, we can do more together!’”
On top of “The Great Exchange”, where participants exchanged shoes with strangers to literally walk in the shoes of others, there were individual walks catered for children, “A Mile In Your Shoes”, for the intellectually-disabled, “Together We Can Go Beyond A Mile” and the elderly, “Tong Xin Tong Yi”.
Pang explained the concept behind walking in someone else’s shoes: “The activities center around stepping into a zone which is not that comfortable. It’s also to help people to start to think not of just themselves, but about others and what can they do for others.”
One of the many highlights of the event was the carnival in the middle of the Read Bridge. Participants and passersby could attempt walking on stilts, hand-pedalling, baking and even playing the cajon (quite a favorite with the elderly folk!).
As the skies darkened and the atmosphere cooled, the carnival took on more life as musical acts took to the stage, catching the attention of the pubbing crowd and tourists. One particular performance stood out, of a song specially written for the Red Nose Movement.
“Gonna Face the Sunshine” was written by Gerald and Amanda Sng. The duo wrote and composed the song, and with the help of some students from The Singing Loft, collaborated to create a theme song for the Red Nose Movement. “’Sunshine’ was the very first word that came to my mind when writing this song,” said Sng, 23. “It invokes a carefree and hopeful emotion and we felt it was really in line with how the Red Nose Movement is all about promoting a better life through love and laughter.” She hopes the song will inspire people to do acts of kindness for each other.
The Red Nose Walk is just one of the projects under the Red Nose Movement. To learn more about the movement and how you can be part of it, check out their website at Rednose.sg.