SINGAPORE - Hong Lim Park turned a bright shade of purple yesterday for a parade to show support for and raise awareness about Singapore's special needs community.
Around 5,000 people turned up for the party, which featured performances, carnival games, and a successful bid to set a local record for the largest gathering of people - 300 in yesterday's attempt - with purple hair.
But behind the fun atmosphere of the Purple Parade, being held for the second year, was a serious message. "It's really not just a carnival or an event," said Central Singapore District mayor Denise Phua, who is a member of the parade's steering committee.
"It's a movement to make sure that people with special needs are not forgotten in our country, and that they are always included in all aspects of society."
It includes those with autism and the physically disabled.
The parade was organised by members of special needs organisations, including SG Enable - a government agency which offers services for the disabled - and the Autism Resource Centre.
This year, 85 organisations took part, more than double the number last year. Around 30 of these formed costumed contingents, which marched around the park.
"The energy level was really high," said strategic marketing manager Cynthia Tan, 43, who was part of the Maybank contingent. "You can see a lot of people are out there to help, and that a little encouragement can go a long way."
This article was first published on Nov 16, 2014.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.