5,000 take a Big Walk on the wild side

SINGAPORE - Sales manager Yvonne Tay's last visit to the zoo was about five years ago but she decided to participate in Saturday's The New Paper (TNP) Courts Big Walk to drop by the attraction once more.

"I felt it was a good opportunity to visit the zoo again. This was also a chance to bond with my kids," said Ms Tay, who was there with her two daughters aged 11 and 16.

Some 5,000 people took part in the Big Walk, which was held at Singapore Zoo and Night Safari.

Kicking off at 2pm, the walk's 5km route took participants past animals such as the new Ah Meng, an orang utan descended from the original Ah Meng; and Neha, the Night Safari's latest addition and the first baby elephant born here in six years.

The rain that fell halfway through the Big Walk did not dampen participants' spirits, with some prepared with umbrellas and ponchos, and others soldiering on through the rain.

Miss Kamariah Tajuddin, 32, a ticketing officer, said: "I was not disappointed by the rain at all as I had expected it. It's November after all. It is also better than walking under the hot sun."

She had joined the walk as it was held in the zoo and she loves animals.

Marketing manager Chris Tan, 48, who was there with his wife Alexis, 48, felt that the walk was a good chance for family bonding.

"It's our first time at the Big Walk. We saw that it was happening in the zoo, which is a bit different from other walks we've gone for," said Mr Tan, adding that they took about an hour to complete the 5km route.

TNP will merge with My Paper to form a revamped TNP, that will be distributed free from December. Mr Dominic Nathan, editor of TNP, said he is confident the tradition of The Big Walk will be continued after the revamp.

"The Big Walk is the biggest family event on our calendar. We've closed down roads, closed down traffic, and have taken people to different parts of the island they don't usually get to walk around. It is a non-competitive walk that rivals some marathons in terms of size, and an opportunity for the 3G family to come together and bond."

Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin, who joined in the walk, emphasised the need for families to remain close across the generations, and said that as Singapore develops more of its physical space, there is greater potential for more of such activities.

"Events like The New Paper Big Walk are a great way for families to bond both with their immediate and extended family members. Such activities help us build better communication and rapport, fostering stronger family bonds," he said.