I started my career in Singapore living in a rented HDB flat in Bedok North for 3 years, before I bought an old small terraced house in Sin Min.
Like NS for the boys, HDB living should be part and parcel of growing up for all Singaporeans. It is the best way to experience from young multi-racialism, religious tolerance, communal living, hawker centres, markets etc, which collectively characterise Singapore and the Singaporean kampong way of life.
Last Wednesday, I launched this year’s HDB Community Week (www.hdb.gov.sg/heartlandbeat). This annual event reaches out to both young and old in our HDB heartlands. It aims to re-spark that good old kampong spirit in all of us.
This year, the HDB Community Week has grown further in size, with the recruitment of more student ambassadors. Seniors too, join in to foster stronger ties within our communities.
There are four main events: Heartland Youthoria!, a Community Building Seminar, the Amazing Heartland Race, and the Good Neighbour Award.
The huge turnout from schools was striking. Many young people are stepping forward. HDB’s Heartland Youthoria! Carnival has made huge inroads in engaging them this year. For example, the Youth Showcase featured projects by young participants on building bonds within their communities.
I spoke to passionate young artists from Geylang Methodist Primary School, Temasek Junior College and Xishan Primary School. They shared many ideas on how to contribute to their communities!
The Celebrating LIFE in the Heartlands Photography Exhibition is still on at the HDB Hub till next Sunday. From 3,500 entries, we shortlisted 38 snapshots for display. Each photo captured the vibrancy of everyday HDB living and the strong bonds among fellow neighbours.
As SPS Dr Maliki said on Thursday at the Community Building Seminar, the kampong spirit is not an ideal, but a process.
Today, The Amazing Heartland Race gives HDB residents a chance to re-discover iconic features of the various towns they live in. Some 700 people across Singapore are participating, including sports personalities like C Kunalan, Mark Chay and Jasmine Ser.
Also, good neighbours across the island will once again show us how they walk the extra mile in their daily lives to be good neighbours. Now in its fourth edition, the Good Neighbour Award recognises residents who spared a thought for others. Young or old – it doesn’t matter when it comes to kindness.
Indeed, everyone can do their part in community bonding. Start by getting to know your neighbour, and together, discover the rest of your community – the place we call home.
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