MRT train to go purple for a special cause

Mr Goh Jin Kian, seen here flanked by his parents Goh C.S. and Margaret Goh, is one of seven chosen as the face of The Purple Parade.
Mr Goh Jin Kian, seen here flanked by his parents Goh C.S. and Margaret Goh, is one of seven chosen as the face of The Purple Parade.PHOTO: COURTESY OF MARGARET GOH

Move to promote Purple Parade for special needs community

Commuters on the North-South Line could find themselves on a purple train plastered with the faces of seven people from the special needs community from Friday next week.

This special purple train is part of the campaign for The Purple Parade, a carnival and celebration of sorts for the special needs community that will take place on Oct 31 at Hong Lim Park.

All six cabins of the train will be decked out in purple for a month to promote awareness of The Purple Parade. Last year, just one cabin was decorated.

Ms Denise Phua, Mayor of Central Singapore District and adviser to The Purple Parade steering committee, said that the event aims to support inclusion and celebrate abilities.

"Our vision is for the movement to continue for many years and that the special needs community will be fully included, valued and even celebrated in our country," she said.

The Purple Parade began in 2013 and was attended by 3,000 people then. It was started by six voluntary welfare organisations, including the Autism Resource Centre.

This year, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will attend the event.

Organisers expect a crowd of about 7,000, including 2,000 people who have special needs ranging from autism to intellectual disabilities to visual or hearing impairments.

Last year, about 5,000 people thronged the park to watch the parade, attend the concert, and eat and shop, with $26,000 in proceeds going to charity.

Proceeds from this year's carnival - which has participants such as Starbucks on board - will go to 27 charities, including the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped and Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore.

Visitors will be treated to the second performance of Singapore's first inclusive orchestra, the Purple Symphony, which has 83 members with and without special needs from the ages of four to 58.

Paralympian Jason Chee, Singapore Youth Chinese Orchestra member Stephanie Ow and Han's baker Goh Jin Kian are among the seven whose stories and faces will appear in the purple train.

Mr Goh, 21, who has Down syndrome, said he was happy about being the face of the movement and excited to attend the party.

His father, retiree Goh C.S., said: "The Purple Parade has given a higher profile to people with special needs. We're very proud of him."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2015, with the headline 'MRT train to go purple for a special cause'. Print Edition | Subscribe