Record 26 buildings, bridges go purple for special needs community

A Harley-Davidson staff member and his pillion rider Wan Wai Yee, who is visually impaired, enjoying their ride around the Suntec City Fountain of Wealth last night.
A Harley-Davidson staff member and his pillion rider Wan Wai Yee, who is visually impaired, enjoying their ride around the Suntec City Fountain of Wealth last night.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Enveloped in purple, a record number of 26 buildings and bridges across Singapore will display nightly their support of the special needs community.

Yesterday, some of these bricks-and-mortar "supporters" were given a special cheer by a convoy of 30 bikers on their Harley-Davidson machines and a group of officials and special needs individuals in two open-top buses during an after-dark spin in Singapore's civic and financial districts.

The night came alive as office workers on their way home stopped to take in the sight and hue of the Purple Light-Up at popular attractions like the Esplanade, The Fullerton Hotel, the Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay. They were also serenaded by visually impaired Wan Wai Yee, 46, who sang the Disney hit tune from the movie Pocahontas, Colours Of The Wind.

Leading the annual event to promote awareness of the special needs community was Ms Denise Phua, Mayor of the Central Singapore District. She said at its official launch at the Suntec City plaza yesterday that while people today are more aware of the special needs community here, the need to include them "in our society is even more urgent now as Singapore continues to rapidly grow and change with the rest of the world".

The two-week light-up, which ends on Oct 28, leads up to the Purple Parade. During the parade on Oct 27, a contingent of special needs individuals and volunteers will stride through the streets around Suntec City as a carnival selling products made by those with special needs and a concert by special needs performers are held at the mall's plaza.

The light-up also pops up outside the city, in places like Gateway Theatre in Bukit Merah, Hwa Chong Institution in Bukit Timah and Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in Yishun.

The convoy was the idea of Harley-Davidson's Singapore office, which wanted to rev up interest in the event. "That's how the idea came up to do the convoy," said Mr Johan Kleinsteuber, managing director of Harley-Davidson Asia emerging markets.

 

Yesterday's launch also kicked off two weeks of discounts at participating shops in Suntec City, Millenia Walk and Marina Square, for shoppers dressed in purple.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 16, 2018, with the headline 'Record 26 buildings, bridges go purple for special needs community'. Print Edition | Subscribe