The Purple Parade

Singapore has a thing for colours. We have Pink for LGBT rights, Yellow for ex-convicts, Silver for senior citizens, Red for national day and now Purple for the special needs. If you want to champion some rights, be sure to pick your colour fast or you may need to pick some random complicated colours like turquoise pink. Good luck asking your participants finding shirt of that colour.

Anyway, in conjunction with the annual International Day for Persons With Disabilities, the Purple Parade was held for the first time in Singapore yesterday to raise awareness for people with special needs, and because my boss asked me to I am working in the special needs sector, I was there as well.

It was raining cats and dogs that day, the weather wasn't being very nice to us because it couldn't decide between raining or letting it stop, but that didn't stop the people from coming in droves to support the event. According to the New Straits Time, more than 4000 people attended the event, which is a huge success considering the downpour itself.

Anyways, the highlight of the event was the contingent march itself, where the VWOs or the service providers in Singapore were ushered on to the stage and introduced. There were a lot of us, almost 40 if I am not mistaken, and everyone's all dressed up and stuff for the thing. It's a parade after all, I guess, and it's nice to see the efforts of people working in this sector are getting recognized.

As for me, I got my own 10 seconds of fame.

It was an interesting event, that I can say, and the organizers certainly has a good start. To be honest, even in Singapore, people with disabilities are still pretty much stigmatized and ignored by the society as well as the government. Fun fact: In the US, all disabled children are entitled to free education under the law but in Singapore, only normal children are entitled to compulsory education, whereas special need children can be exempted from school.

It's a long way to go, but it's a good start.


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