Text & Photos by TERESE LIM
For 900 participants, including staff, students and children from Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), walking was more than just a means of getting from one place to another.
Together, the participants raised 70,000 bowls of rice for underprivileged families in Singapore’s south-east district at the fifth Walk for Rice (WFR) event held in NP on Oct 24.
Organised by NP ComServe, NP’s community service committee, in partnership with South East Community Development Council (CDC), the event is wholly sponsored by NTUC FairPrice. For every 200 metres walked, two bowls of rice are donated.
“The main aim is to get everyone to do some community service. We want to make it such that it’s accessible to everyone. All you got to do is just come down and walk,” said Mr Ricky Chua, 39, co-chair of NP ComServe.
Gracing the event was the principal of NP, Mr Clarence Ti, 47, who walked and chatted with staff and students. “I think as an education institution, we need to do more of such events that bring the awareness of community and society to the campus,” Mr Ti said.
Setting an Example
Demonstrating that was Mr Chan Yoke Khiong, 62, a senior lecturer who has been participating in WFR since 2014. He was featured in The Straits Times’ Hot Bods as well as this year’s National Day video.
Mr Chan said: “Though we may not meet the recipients of the rice, it’s very heartening to know that through our small ways, their lives got enhanced…such charity events should cut through all ages.”
Top walkers Liong Yin Chun, 38, IT manager, and Chua Meng Huat, 47, technology development executive, were part of the pioneering participants of WFR.
“It’s like a get-together with other colleagues. Rather than being so serious in the meeting room, sometimes you need informal meetings like this,” said Mr Chua, who set the NP longest distance record of walking 38km within four hours in 2015.
Other than senior staff, young children from The Caterpillar’s Cove, a child development and study centre at NP, also joined in the walk. Alexandra and Elizabeth Ong, aged three and four respectively, held hands as they walked with their father, Mr Ong Wai Sing, a lecturer at the School of Engineering.
“The childcare [centre] is very supportive of this event. They are always educating the young in this aspect of giving back to the community,” said Mr Ong who added that this was Elizabeth’s third time participating in WFR.
Various CCA clubs in NP also walked long distances together during the event. Zeus Chan, 19, final-year Network Systems and Security student, said that he ran more than 4km during WFR two years ago with his football team. This year, he said the event was an opportunity to bond with his rugby teammates. “By going for such events in a group, we not only benefit ourselves by pushing each other, we also contribute on a larger scale to the needy,” said Zeus.
Mr Ti hopes that more students will create their own community service initiatives rather than having the school design it for them. “If we come to a stage that the students are getting each other to reach out to the community, I think we would have succeeded as an institution,” said Mr Ti.
Tagged #cca, 70000, Caterpillar Cove, childcare, Clarence Ti, Community Service, elderly, ngee ann poly, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, NP ComServe, NP Longest Distance, NTUC Fairprice, october, Rice Bowls, Straits Times, students, walk, Walk for Rice