Cyclist fulfils superhero dream at Car-Free Weekend

Madam Mow Lai Lin (second from left), dressed as Superwoman, with other cyclists also in superhero costumes at Car-Free Weekend yesterday. The group cycled from Stadium MRT station to Marina Bay Sands and then to the Padang.
Madam Mow Lai Lin (second from left), dressed as Superwoman, with other cyclists also in superhero costumes at Car-Free Weekend yesterday. The group cycled from Stadium MRT station to Marina Bay Sands and then to the Padang.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Woman who lost arm in accident last year holds special cycling session in city centre

Madam Mow Lai Lin's childhood dream was to wear a superhero costume.

Last year, the avid cyclist had hoped to organise a group cycling event where people could dress up as their favourite superhero during a Car-Free Sunday event.

But before her idea could take off, she was involved in a cycling accident that caused her to lose her left arm. She now wears a replacement metal arm.

But the accident, which took place in Tanah Merah Coast Road in January last year, did not stop Madam Mow, 50, who runs a spa business, from fulfilling her childhood dream.

She and 12 other cyclists turned up in full superhero gear and cycled from Stadium MRT station to Marina Bay Sands and then to the Padang at yesterday's Car-Free Weekend event.

Madam Mow, who wore a Superwoman costume, said: "I use my right hand to grip the handlebar and lean my metal arm on the bar.

"I decided to shorten my red cape so that it wouldn't get tangled up with the wheel. Safety is very important for me."

Madam Mow, who resumed cycling a few months ago, has cycled at no fewer than seven car-free events so far.

Yesterday was the culmination of the fourth run of Car-Free Weekend, where roads in the Telok Ayer conservation area, civic district and Central Business District (CBD) are closed for members of the public to enjoy various activities.

 

Singapore's first Car-Free Weekend event took place last year.

Spanning three days, it was an expansion of Car-Free Sunday, which was started in 2016, in line with the Republic's car-lite initiatives. The aim of Car-Free Weekend is to let more people experience parts of the city centre unclogged by traffic.

Car-free days are gaining popularity globally, with cities such as Jakarta and Paris holding such events regularly as part of efforts to reduce congestion and improve air quality.

Apart from individuals such as Madam Mow organising their own car-free gatherings, the Urban Redevelopment Authority and other agencies also organise activities for the public.

Last Friday, for instance, a section of Amoy Street was turned into a makeshift art space where artists demonstrated how to recycle and transform old rattan chairs into other types of furniture.

Last Saturday and yesterday morning, the National Parks Board organised a festival in Esplanade Park, Connaught Drive and Empress Lawn, which included a children's play zone with an outdoor ball pit and an inflatable play area.

Free pet health checks and microchipping services were also provided.

Yesterday, in St Andrew's Road, seniors got to enjoy trishaw rides powered by volunteers.

Those in the area would also have seen a man cycling around on a 2.5m-high bicycle. The cyclist, artist Hafiz Osman, 40, made the bike four years ago for an art project, with the help of some residents from Joo Chiat. The bike was welded together from two bicycle frames.

"I've been on a tall bike in Paris. There isn't one in Singapore as far as I know. So I thought the bike would be a fun way to bring people together," said Mr Hafiz, who was invited by the Asian Civilisations Museum to cycle around the Padang and Telok Ayer area.

"I think car-free days give families and friends a good opportunity to use the space in the CBD area which is not normally available."


Views on animal welfare sought

People can give their views on how to strengthen animal health and welfare standards in a public consultation exercise launched by the National Parks Board (NParks) last Saturday. NParks is looking to raise the standards of breeders and boarders, and enhancing the traceability of pets.

The exercise will be held over two months, until Dec 26. Members of the public can share their views at www.go.gov.sg/petreview and at roving public exhibitions that will be held in that time.

The feedback, as well as views at focus group sessions, will be used to shape pet-related policies underpinned by science, NParks said.

Ms Sun Xueling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and National Development, said: "We hope to share more details on our plans early next year."

 
 
 

NParks launched the exercise during Pets' Day Out at the Parks Festival at Esplanade Park, Empress Lawn and Queen Elizabeth Walk held in conjunction with the latest car-free weekend.

Ms Sun had said in August that standards in the pet sector will be reviewed and tightened by NParks to protect animal health and welfare.

NParks said last Saturday that since August, it has conducted focus group discussions with stakeholders in the sector on how to improve pet traceability and raise standards of breeders and boarders to safeguard animal health and welfare.

Participants included representatives from pet businesses, such as breeders, boarders and pet shops, as well as animal welfare groups, veterinary professionals and academics.

There was consensus that pet breeding and boarding standards should be raised, NParks said.

Other suggestions included enhancing guidelines to ensure animal health and welfare, certification and training for staff, and measures to deter errant breeders and boarders. Some suggested measures to encourage more pet owners to license their dogs and a common registry to motivate people to microchip their pet cats and dogs.

Another key area discussed was a lack of public awareness about pets, including factors to look out for when purchasing a pet and boarding a pet, and how to behave around animals.

Prisca Ang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 28, 2019, with the headline 'Cyclist fulfils superhero dream at Car-Free Weekend'. Print Edition | Subscribe