1,000 residents take part in day of bonding

About 1,000 Sembawang residents, including new Singapore citizens, joined in a slew of cultural activities yesterday as part of the annual One Community Fiesta (OCF).

To bring the action closer to the heartland, the event is being held for the first time at the GRC level this year since it began in 2011 as a nationwide celebration.

Yesterday, Sembawang GRC was the first of 16 GRCs to host the event, which was held at Woodlands Waterfront Park.

Festival-goers were able to create their own Loy Krathong sky lanterns, which are released into the sky at the annual festival in Thailand, while others sampled traditional delicacies from around the world.

The event aims to strengthen the bonds between citizens and new immigrants of different ethnicities.

Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan, who was the guest of honour, also highlighted "eight desirable values" to promote an inclusive and caring society - acceptance, active citizenry, compassion, integrity, neighbourliness, openness, respect and tolerance.

Mr Khaw was joined by three of his fellow MPs for Sembawang GRC - Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung, Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin and Mr Vikram Nair.

About 50 beneficiaries from the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled Singapore (Minds) were also invited to a picnic in the park, as part of the GRC's community service project. This was supported by local grassroots volunteers and the immigrants' association Kowloon Club.

Said the club's president, Mr Phillip Chan: "I urge new immigrants to be more actively involved in community life and give back in whatever ways possible."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2016, with the headline '1,000 residents take part in day of bonding'. Print Edition | Subscribe