Southern Ridges Canopy (Alumini Unite & Walk Together) Walk

Organised by the Australian Alumni Singapore (AAS)

From 6 am till the flag-off at 8 am on 11 July 09, Mount Faber’s Carpark B was abuzz – first, with the Organising Committee busily setting up collection points for t-shirts, goody bags and banners and marking the assembly points for the various alumni groups, and later, with participants streaming in.

Yes, everyone arrived on time, all 800 alumni from 30 different Australian, British, Canadian, French, Japanese and Taiwan, and local universities and educational institutions, and their families. They assembled excitedly and enthusiastically after collecting their goodies. This was the very first time that an attempt was made to garner the support of so many different alumni associations to come together under the theme “Alumni Unite & walk Together” for this community bonding event.

Mr Tan Kah Hoe, Singapore’s former High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, and a member of the Executive Committee of AAS, initiated and chaired the Organising Committee. This would be a precursor to more of such events which would include the charitable element and enable alumni to contribute meaningfully to the community and society at large.

Guest-of-Honour, Mr Sam Tan Chin Siong, Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Trade & Industry and Ministry of Information, Communications & the Arts, and MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC arrived promptly at 7:50 am. He was received by the Welcome Party comprising Mr Tan Kah Hoe and Mr Simon Ho, President of the Australian Alumni Singapore (AAS) as well as HE Mr Doug Chester, the Australian High Commissioner to Singapore, and Mr Seah Kian Peng, an MP for Marine Parade GRC.

MP Sam Tan was impressed with the turnout and he readily obliged with photography sessions with the banner bearers proudly displaying their alumni colours. As soon as he had waved the start-off flag, the rain came but that did not dampen the spirits of all the men, women and children whose ages ranged from four to the seventies. They all moved on while some took temporary shelter at Jewel Box. Up came the umbrellas and raincoats. However, Mr Sam Tan, HE Mr Doug Chester and Mr Chew Heng Ching, Chairman of Singapore Institute of Directors and former MP and Deputy Speaker of Parliament, braved the rain which eventually gave way to cool, dry weather. Within an hour, they had reached the HortPark and were welcomed with light refreshments.

The banner bearers had another round of photography session with the Guest-of-Honour and Principal Organising Committee. This was followed by thank-you speeches. In his short impromptu address, MP Sam Tan noted that just like the current economy, the weather is unpredictable but he was glad that the rain did not stop participants from pressing onwards and grey skies cleared towards the end of the walk. He applauded the inaugural event and encouraged participants to continue to walk with their families. He also noted the Organising Committee’s level of enthusiasm in its commitment to start planning for next year’s walk.

The event ended with a lucky draw. It was a fruitful morning and despite the initial downpour, it was “all’s well that ends well”!