Fighting fire, crime & discrimination

Unpaid bills, leftover food and an empty bank book.

These are some of the props used to simulate an HDB flat belonging to an inmate's family in the Yellow Ribbon Community Truck commissioned last month.

It is one way of making the public see that when someone goes to prison, he is not the only one to pay for his crime.

His family suffers as well, especially if he is the main breadwinner.

Mr Elgin Tan, 38, vice-chairman of the Yellow Ribbon Community Truck Committee, said: "This is a novel and engaging way to reach out to the community. We hope that through this truck, the community will understand that it's not just the ex-convicts who face difficulties, but also their family and children."

The truck has been visiting schools, public buildings and shopping centres to spread the message of giving acceptance to ex-offenders and their families.

When visitors enter the truck, they are greeted by a mock-up of the living conditions of an inmate's family.

A video and a voice-over will depict the stigma and hardships these families might face if they do not know who to turn to for help.

Warrick Tan, 17, a student, visited the truck at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, where he studies at the School of Film and Media Studies.

He said: "The most interesting part was the experiential room, where you could see what it was like being part of an ex-convict's family who might face discrimination.

"People might not want to befriend you because they think you might be a bad influence."

Staff members and volunteers on the truck will share more information about the Yellow Ribbon Community Project, which helps families of inmates through different initiatives.

This year, they approached about 3,700 families to offer assistance.

The Yellow Ribbon Community Truck is one of the many vehicles that will be showcased at the Home Team Festival.


Other vehicles that will be on display include the Singapore Civil Defence Force's (SCDF) Unmanned Firefighting Machine and the new- generation HazMat (hazardous materials) Control Vehicle.

The Unmanned Firefighting Machine is a remote-controlled unit built to operate under and withstand temperatures of up to 600 deg C.

It is sent into fires to douse it with intense water mists, water jets and foam, freeing up SCDF officers to carry out rescue and evacuation operations.

The HazMat Control Vehicle is deployed to identify hazardous substances and assess levels of contamination during a chemical incident.

It incorporates the Mobile Transporter, which allows the HazMat Control team to enter the contaminated region and collect samples and information quickly.

The Police Coast Guard's Patrol Interdiction Boat and the second-generation PK Class High Speed Interceptor will also be on show.

The Patrol Interdiction Boats were launched in July and boast beaching capabilities, where they can charge directly onto land from the sea without using docking equipment.

This means its crew members can stop coastal attacks faster because they can quickly disembark to reach suspects on land.

The second-generation PK Class High Speed Interceptor is designed to cut off high-speed smuggling boats and can travel faster than 101kmh.

This article was first published on November 11, 2015.
Get The New Paper for more stories.