Sembawang GRC carnival celebrates different cultures through food and games

ON SUNDAY morning, a Woodlands Avenue 1 open space was turned into a carnival featuring local food and games, as well as delicacies from the Philippines, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.

The event, which drew some 3,000 residents, was put on by Sembawang GRC to promote racial harmony and emergency preparedness.

Next to booths featuring Filipino adobo chicken, the traditional snack mix kacang putih and Singaporean laksa were those offering first-aid tips and explaining to residents what to do in an emergency.

Mr Ong Teng Khoon, Member of Parliament for Sembawang GRC, said the event was meant to increase community engagement and integration by exposing residents to different practices, foods and habits "so they can better appreciate each other's differences".

As Singapore opens up, its multi-cultural mix has gone from a Chinese, Malay and Indian mix to one that includes more nationalities, he said, and integration "is a two-way process".

Housewife Hemamalini Kumaran, 35, whose daughter was in a dance performance at the event, said she has made friends with Malay, Chinese and Filipino neighbours via her two preteen daughters; she is originally from Chennai and became a Singapore citizen two years ago.

One couple there, 31-year-old IT professional Raju Bollapalli and his 36-year-old staff-nurse wife Delia Baldovino, even met in Singapore several years ago and are now permanent residents, they said as they entertained their small children.

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