EVENT

Carnival Celebrating Abilities of the Disabled: This Sat, Oct 31 2015

Most of us are born normal and healthy. We grow and go about life taking our natural ability to walk, smell, see and communicate for granted. It is after all what being normal is. For others who are born with disabilities or became disabled due to unfortunate circumstances, these basic human functions is a lifetime challenge.

In the past, the social attitude towards people with disabilities was viewed as unhealthy, defective and deviant. Most are avoided like a contagious plague and treated as objects of fear and pity. People with disabilities predominantly rely on welfare or charity organizations, and are only seen in hospitals, special institutions and nursing homes.

This is no longer the case. People with special needs are going beyond the primary challenge of overcoming their disabilities. They are becoming productive, independent and fulfilled individuals – their way.

In Singapore, there are many non-profit organizations setup to singularly focus on a specific disability like SADeaf (Singapore Association for the Deaf) and Autism Association Singapore. But to garner widespread awareness and support, organizers came up with a way to celebrate the abilities of people with disabilities under one united carnival theme – the Purple Parade.

The name behind this movement stems from ancient times (specifically in the Mediterranean period) when the color purple is prized over all others. The intense color of purple, as well as its expense for purple dye, was a favorite of royalty and coveted as a status symbol. This applies with how we want to embrace our people and friends with special needs.

The Purple Parade is an annual ‘mardis gras-like’ event with one sole purpose – to raise awareness to support the inclusion and celebrate abilities of people with special needs. This will be their 3rd year and is held on 31 October 2015 at Hong Lim Park. There will be plenty of food stalls, arts & crafts stalls, parade march, record breaking fest, carnival games and concert.

Here is a brief showcase of individuals with special needs who are overcoming their disabilities and making a difference.

Jason Goh, Retail Associate

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It would be hard to guess that Jason has an intellectual disability. But he does. Yet, this retail associate has won many accolades at work. His positive work ethic and warm friendly service gets notice from customers; even inspiring his employer, Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo, to hire 20 other intellectually-disabled individuals.

Adrian Tan, Owner of Ad Planet

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Adrian is a basket full of psychological maladies. He has dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and a tad of Asperger’s Syndrome (a high functioning form of autism). What most people would deem as an unfortunate fate, this charming advertising man has proven otherwise. In fact, being dyslexic, OCD and ADHA has given Adrian the ability to think out of the box and deliver creative ideas. Today, Adrian heads a business that sees an annual turnover of more than $40 million.

Ginny Ong, SMU Student & Social Entrepreneur

Ginny Ong cannot hear but she can speak and lip-read. It is hard to believe that she can only hear loud sounds from her hearing aid. Despite her disability, she attended Ngee Ann Polytechnic and graduated from SMU. From her education and experience, she setup a social enterprise to help create job opportunities for the deaf. Unlike most hearing-impaired individuals, Ginny is a rarity. Despite her severe deafness, she is able to communicate really well. Apart from her startup, she is also employed as an account executive, managing administrative duties and assisting the business development manager of her employer.

Jason Chee, Navy Regular

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Jason is a Singapore navy man who lost both legs, one hand and 3 fingers in a horrific shipping accident. His tragic misfortune did not dampened his positive outlook in life. In just 18 months after the accident, Jason returned back to work. Today, he serves as an operations supervisor in 191 squadron. Post-accident, the 30-year-old has won a bronze medal for Singapore in the 7th ASEAN Para Games in Myanmar in January 2014. He is planning to join the 2016 Paralympics in Brazil and is also studying Mathematics at UniSIM.

And the stories go on.

Please spread the word and support the cause. Mark your calendar and be at The Purple Parade this coming Saturday, 31 October from 3pm-7pm at Hong Lim Park. Or visit their Facebook page for more information.

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This event is run by a large bunch of high-energy and enthusiastic individuals who have selflessly given their time and talent to raise awareness.

Watch this recent flash mob where commuters onboard a city-bound mrt train had a surprise when a group of The Purple Parade supporters joined them at Khatib station.

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