12,000 attend festival to celebrate families

ST VIDEO: ADRIAN LIM
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean cheering on the participants of the 3m Diaper Dash race at the "My Family Fiesta - Making Singapore a Great Place for Families" event at Safra Punggol yesterday. Apart from games and activities, the event also feat
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean cheering on the participants of the 3m Diaper Dash race at the "My Family Fiesta - Making Singapore a Great Place for Families" event at Safra Punggol yesterday. Apart from games and activities, the event also featured talks on early childhood nutrition and parent-child communication.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

It was a race filled with a number of unwilling participants. Some refused to start, others started crying midway during the race and one attempted a U-turn as he reached the finish line.

It was a photo finish too, with the crowd snapping away with their cameras and mobile phones as the bemused participants, aged from six months to a year, received hugs and kisses from their parents.

More than 500 babies took part in the 3m race called the Diaper Dash, held at Safra Punggol over the weekend as part of a festival celebrating families. Apart from games and activities, "My Family Fiesta - Making Singapore a Great Place for Families" also featured talks on early childhood nutrition and parent-child communication.

The event, which attracted 12,000 visitors, was organised by Safra Punggol and HeyBaby, a community movement to celebrate and support marriage and parenthood.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, Senior Minister of State for Education Janil Puthucheary and MP Sun Xueling, who are all MPs for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, attended the event yesterday.

DPM Teo, who flagged off one of the Diaper Dash races, said he was glad to see the good turnout of families and added that the Government will continue its efforts to make Singapore a great place for families.

DPM Teo also called on the "wider community - family, friends, employers and co-workers" to support families and "to make marriage and parenthood achievable, enjoyable and celebrated".

DPM Teo called on the "wider community - family, friends, employers and co-workers" to support families and "to make marriage and parenthood achievable, enjoyable and celebrated".

Reiterating what was announced at last month's National Day Rally, Dr Janil said an additional 40,000 pre-school places will also be created and 35 more Ministry of Education (MOE) kindergartens set up in the next five years.

"These are all part of a much larger programme to strengthen the provision of care in the pre-school sector," Dr Janil noted.

The Government is expected to double the annual spending on pre-school education in the next five years, from $840 million in 2017 to $1.7 billion in 2022.

Mr Evan Choe, 34, who has a seven-month-old son and a daughter, two, welcomed the stepped-up investments in pre-school education. But the operations service support manager said it would be good if more spaces for infant care could be provided too. "There was a long waiting list for my son," he said.

WATCH

Babies competing in the Diaper Dash. http://str.sg/4HzH

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 04, 2017, with the headline '12,000 attend festival to celebrate families'. Print Edition | Subscribe