Eleven-year-old Rifqi Shauqi may not have had a front-row ticket to the National Day Parade, but he was really close to the action and travelled there like a VIP.
Rifqi, who is autistic, was one of 15 children from local special-needs charity Rainbow Centre Singapore, who were driven from their schools in Margaret Drive and Yishun through Orchard Road to the historic Padang - just 500m away from the actual parade at the Marina Bay floating platform - in Land Rovers by members of local club Land Rover Owners Singapore (LROS) yesterday.
There, they enjoyed a live screening of the National Day Parade.
"I enjoyed the ride because they are so friendly and cool," said Rifqi, who was especially excited about seeing the fireworks.
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Dubbed the Charity Drive, this was the first such event organised by Wearnes Automotive, which distributes luxury cars like Jaguar and Land Rover, in partnership with the Rainbow Centre, Singapore Recreation Club (SRC) and LROS.
Business owner David Loh, 55, who drove another Rainbow Centre student with autism together with her mother and brother in his Land Rover Freelander 2 SE, said it was his first time interacting with an autistic child and that he learnt a lot about how the condition affects children.
Ms Corinne Chua, general manager of Jaguar Land Rover, Wearnes Automotive, said the event reflected Land Rover's values of supporting good causes and giving back to society.
Added Rainbow Centre executive director Tan Sze Wee: "Events like these foster inclusion in the community, made all the more meaningful as we celebrate National Day together."
SRC president Sarbjit Singh said: "The Padang has hosted many civic and sporting events in the short 52 years of our nation's history. We are honoured to share the Padang with the community at large to celebrate our National Day."
Correction note: The picture to go with this story has been replaced with a correct one. We are sorry for the error.