“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” ~ Matthew 22:37–39
The Racial Harmony Day observed by Singapore on the 21st of July, commemorates the 1964 race riots and is a reminder to its people to ensure that racial harmony prevails amongst them. The Day is also one for schools to reflect upon and celebrate Singapore’s success as a racially harmonious nation and society built on a rich diversity of culture and heritage.
The fact that July 21st 2018 fell on a Saturday was hardly a deterrent to the Day’s celebration. On the contrary, SMPS saw it as an opportunity to celebrate it on both the school days planking it! Racial Harmony Day was celebrated in true spirit at SMPS, both on the 20th and the 23rd of July.
The entire event was a wonderful display of the school’s initiative towards enabling the children know more about one’s ‘neighbour’ in the classroom environment, fostering love and respect for each other, with a higher awareness of the uniqueness of the different races, their practices and culture.
Research reveals that our brain is mainly an image processor, indicating that visual cues help us to better retrieve and remember information. The sight of teachers at SMPS dressed, not in their own race’s cultural/traditional outfit, but that of another race’s traditional outfit, such as the Cheongsam, the Baju Kurung or Saree, sent such a powerful message on Racial Harmony to the young and impressionable minds!
The teachers also engaged the Parent Volunteers who guided the children at the different stations during recess-time, where the different races’ traditional games such as Chopstick Master (transferring marbles from one bowl to another using chopsticks), Five Stones (skillfully picking up the 4 stones on the table in time to catch the stone flicked up in the air) and Kolam (filling in aesthetic designs with coloured powder) were organised.
There was also a station that had all the traditional drums – the Tánggû, the Kompang and the Dhol, where the children queued up to try their fingers on them. Little did they know on Friday that an invigorating Drum Medley performance by professionals was in store for them during Assembly on Monday morning! At recess-time on Monday, the powerful beats of the drums that filled the air, ushered a vibrant closure to the Racial Harmony Day’s celebration, as the children at SMPS gave their all to playing the traditional drums that were set up for them. One could see that the message on Racial Harmony was well-delivered!