A brotherhood of bikers

A brotherhood of bikers
Bikers from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia passed Singapore’s iconic landmarks yesterday during the Merdeka Ride.
PHOTO: The New Paper

These bikers were pedestrian-stoppers along Orchard Road.

The loud and colourful procession at yesterday's Merdeka Ride was special.

Close to 100 bikers on a mix of flashy Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Honda Goldwings and Japanese sportbikes were celebrating the national days of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

The event was initiated by the Indonesian Ambassador, Mr Andri Hadi, who thought it was a great idea. The event was organised by Harley-Davidson Brothers and co-organised by charity group Riders Aid Singapore.

He told The New Paper: "We have organised other biker gatherings. This is the biggest one."

The Indonesian Embassy at Chatsworth Road was the start point for the morning ride.

The ambassador, who called the Merdeka Ride a "third track diplomacy" , added it was a "fine example to show that our three neighbouring countries and peoples have enjoyed excellent relationships".

Riders arrived from as far away as Surabaya and the Riau Islands in Indonesia to be part of the event. They formed a 16-man contingent who rode rented motorbikes from Harley-Davidson of Singapore (HDS).


One of them, Mr Steven Hadi, 67, said: "We have many friends from Singapore and it's an honour to be invited to ride on Singapore roads on this joyous occasion."

The Malaysian chapter of the Harley Owners Group was also present, with most of them riding down from Kuala Lumpur for the event. They were greeted by Deputy High Commissioner Kamsiah Kamaruddin from the Malaysian High Commission.

Minister for Law and Foreign Affairs, Mr K. Shanmugam, flagged off the rumbling convoy.

The minister and Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, who came with his personal motorcycle helmet, are patrons of Riders Aid Singapore.

Mr Shanmugam said: "This is really to celebrate the national day of three countries, all of which is in this region, in August. "It's a way of grassroots connection or people-to-people connection. We try to support it."

It did not take long for pedestrians and motorists to notice the snaking convoy of bikers, who proudly wore their countries' flags on their riding vests or jackets.

Said a Goldwingers Singapore rider, Mr Aris Hassan, 56: "When we meet like this, it's 'shiok'.

"You can be from different countries, different social classes or ride different bikes, in the end, we're all brothers."

The convoy rode past Singapore's iconic buildings such as the Istana, St Andrew's Cathedral, Supreme Court, Esplanade and Reflections at Bukit Chandu, among others.

The riders made a brief pit stop at the HDS dealership in Alexandra Road.

HDS sales manager Willy Low said that Harley was honoured to be part of the inaugural Merdeka Ride.

He said: "The historic Merdeka Ride further strengthens the friendship among all Harley riders from Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, creating an experience that is truly priceless."


Editor's note: In an earlier version of the report, we wrote that the Merdeka Ride was initiated by the Indonesian Ambassador, Mr Andri Hadi after he was approached by organisers from charity group Riders Aid Singapore. Motorcycle club Harley-Davidson Brothers has clarified that it was the main organiser for the event while Riders Aid Singapore was a co-organiser.

This article was first published on August 24, 2015.
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