Heritage walk allows residents, including Haj pilgrims, to build up fitness

The 5km brisk walk simulates one of the walks that pilgrims will take in Mina, Saudi Arabia. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
Sembawang GRC MPs Ong Ye Kung and Mariam Jaafar were also present at the event. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - After having to defer her Haj pilgrimage for two years owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, early childhood educator Siti Zaleha Mohd Assim will finally be able to head to Mecca with her husband later this month.

Ms Siti, 53, was among 120 participants who went on a 5km brisk walk along a heritage trail in Sembawang on Saturday (June 11), which not only serves to promote a healthier lifestyle among residents but also simulates one of the walks that pilgrims will take in Mina, Saudi Arabia.

The event was organised by Sembawang Community Club Malay Activity Executive Committee, M3@Woodlands and Masjid Petempatan Melayu Sembawang, supported by the Health Promotion Board.

It is part of a series of activities focusing on healthy lifestyles, diets and mental well-being by the Malay Activity Executive Committees in Sembawang GRC.

Ms Siti and her husband are among pilgrims allocated slots to participate in this year's Haj. Singapore is granted a quota of 407 vaccinated individuals, aged 65 and below.

The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore said in April that due to the deferment of the Haj in 2020 and 2021, it would reallocate the limited quota to those who were supposed to perform the pilgrimage in 2020 and met the conditions and requirements for this year's edition.

"Before (today's walk), I've also been doing some walking in my neighbourhood in Pasir Ris, and this is also a good opportunity for me to build up my stamina for the real thing," Ms Siti said.

Production supervisor Rohaizad Ibrahim, 62, another participant who will be making the pilgrimage later this month, said Saturday's walk was a good opportunity to socialise with others who will embark on the same journey.

Sembawang GRC MPs Ong Ye Kung and Mariam Jaafar were also present at the event, which started at Sembawang Community Club and ended at Masjid Petempatan Melayu Sembawang, a mosque near Sembawang Park.

The walk included a sharing session by a past Haj participant.

Ms Mariam said the event is a good way to help people prepare for the Haj, not just physically but also spiritually.

Having a former participant provide insights is also beneficial, given that the person can share "tips and tricks, what to bring and what not to bring, and where to spend more time", she said.

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