Fund-raiser to focus on people with disabilities

Madam Margaret Tan helped paint the Singa figurine representing TV sitcom character Phua Chu Kang. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Madam Margaret Tan helped paint the Singa figurine representing TV sitcom character Phua Chu Kang. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

An annual fund-raiser for the less fortunate, led by President Halimah Yacob, will focus on helping people with disabilities next year.

Announcing the campaign yesterday, Madam Halimah said it was important to help them gain confidence, self-esteem and, particularly, a sense of independence.

"We would like to also encourage lots of inclusive hiring practices," she added.

Citing a 2016 survey by the National Council of Social Service, she said six in 10 people with disabilities do not feel they are socially included. "Those who are not working are worse off because their quality of life is lower," she said.

Madam Halimah hopes the campaign will receive innovative and creative proposals, and help "ensure we provide the training and also job placement opportunities for people with disabilities".

She was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of Arts In The City: We Love SINGApore, an exhibition at Raffles City shopping mall commemorating the Singapore Bicentennial and celebrating the country's 54th birthday.

The exhibition, a collaboration between real estate firm Capita-Land and the Singapore Kindness Movement, features 200 figurines of Singa the lion, the Republic's mascot for kindness and graciousness. Each Singa is 40cm tall.

Many well-known faces gave their visual take of the lion.

Madam Halimah and her husband, Mr Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee, did a pair - one showing a young Singa wearing a school uniform and carrying a backpack, and an older Singa, who wears glasses and holds an iPad, signifying he is tech-savvy.

Others who contributed included singer Taufik Batisah, actress Fann Wong and representatives from companies and organisations such as the Indian Heritage Centre.

The figurines reflect their experiences of Singapore and what kindness means to them.

A team of three from the Alzheimer's Disease Association drew inspiration from Phua Chu Kang, a popular Singapore television sitcom that aired from 1997 to 2007. The popular series was about an eccentric contractor with his trademark yellow boots.

Madam Margaret Tan, 80, who goes to the association's New Horizon Centre in Toa Payoh, said: "We painted the lion's head and legs yellow, and then added a hat and vest to represent Phua Chu Kang. I love the show so much; I can still remember it."

Pathlight School student Grace Ong, 18, covered her lion with drawings of hands, ice cream and flowers to depict the Singapore Kindness Movement which, she said, "encourages us to lend a hand to people around us".

About 100 mini-versions of Singa are also on display at the exhibition on the first floor of the mall, from today to Aug 28. Admission is free.

The bigger Singa figures can be adopted for at least $88 when the exhibition ends, with the proceeds going to the President's Challenge.

Yesterday, CapitaLand Hope Foundation, the philanthropic arm of CapitaLand, pledged to donate $300,000 to six charities under this year's President's Challenge, which focuses on people with mental health issues.

Correction note: This article has been updated for accuracy.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2019, with the headline 'Fund-raiser to focus on people with disabilities'. Subscribe