'The spirit must go on': Purple Parade Concert forges ahead with inclusivity mission despite Covid-19

The 90-minute concert saw an inclusive orchestra comprising musicians both with and without special needs, among other performances. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM THE PURPLE PARADE/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - "My love is not rare, it is everywhere," goes the lyrics of the song that kicked off The Purple Parade concert on Saturday afternoon (Oct 30) - the culmination of the movement's October Is Purple campaign to drive up inclusion and celebrate those with disabilities.

The 90-minute concert saw an inclusive orchestra comprising musicians both with and without special needs, a dance troupe, including dancers who do not meet professional physical criteria, and a circus arts group taking the stage.

The opening song was written by a mother to a child with a rare disorder, and was performed and recorded by the Rare Disorders Society Singapore. The non-profit organisation was initiated by parents of children with lysosomal storage diseases, which cause a build-up of toxic materials in the body's cells due to enzyme deficiencies.

The concert was held both live at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre and as a live stream on Facebook.

It was the second year in a row that the ground-up collaborative movement has successfully pushed through with The Purple Parade, which is in its ninth edition, amid the pandemic.

The Purple Parade is a collaborative movement comprising those with and without disabilities, caregivers, disability organisations, business corporations, public agencies and volunteers.

In previous years, huge crowds turned up at Hong Lim Park and Suntec City to take part in the festivities, which typically included a massive carnival and a march.

This year, more than 20,000 people were involved in the movement's activities this year, which included a "Let's All Go Purple!" social media campaign, where people were encouraged to share a "purple" photo or video on various platforms along with a message of inclusion.

Five-time paralympian Yip Pin Xiu, the vice-chairman of this year's The Purple Parade working committee, said the movement's message of inclusion continues to reach more people every day.

Merchandise like masks and T-shirts offered at the online Purple Shop was mostly sold out before the concert.

Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for Social and Family Development, said at the concert that The Purple Parade is a crucial part of Singapore's efforts to build a caring and inclusive society.

"A nation where persons with disabilities are recognised as, and empowered to be, integral and contributing members of society," he said.

MP Denise Phua, adviser to The Purple Parade, said the spirit of the movement must go on.

"The movement must include both people with and without disabilities," she said, adding that it will focus on raising awareness, taking action to support the community, and advocacy.

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