Undaunted by Covid-19, parade celebrating people with disabilities goes virtual this year
SINGAPORE – For some, playing the piano well might be a difficult feat to accomplish. But Ms Siti Sakinah Zainal not only mastered the instrument in seven years, she did it despite being blind.
The 24-year-old human resources executive learns her pieces by listening to them and then playing back, memorising them, and picking up the musical cues from the conductor’s breathing when she is playing in an orchestra.
She was among the many people with disabilities (PWDs) who performed at the Purple Parade 2020 on Saturday (Oct 31).
Held annually since 2013, the parade is Singapore’s largest movement to support inclusion of PWDs and celebrate their abilities.
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, march and concert. This year, due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the organisers have moved the events online.
Over 2,600 Singaporeans, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, pledged in a video montage on Saturday to support inclusion and celebrate the abilities of PWDs.
Instead of a carnival, Purple Parade merchandise was sold online. And for the first time, a virtual “purple map” replaced the march as a sign of solidarity, allowing people to leave an online message of inclusion or support for PWDs at this website.
The concert was live-streamed on the Purple Parade’s Facebook page, with a special screening at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre for invited guests that also incorporated some live segments.
It opened with a heartwarming reworded version of the nursery rhyme Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, sung by a choir from the Rare Disorders Society (Singapore).
The audience was then treated to rousing drum and Wushu performances, songs, dances, and a special music video, performed mostly by PWDs.
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