Twenty-four year old Mr Muhammad Aidil Bin Noor has lived in Singapore all his life. However, he has never really known many Singaporeans beyond those in his own community. To him, this was the result of not being actively involved in activities that would have allowed him to interact with others in society.

On 12 February 2011, he joined close to 400 players and supporters from various ethnic groups in a multiracial football tournament aimed at promoting racial harmony. And he is delighted he did. He stated, “The tournament was really unique and interesting because the organisers encouraged all the teams to have players from different ethnic groups and not just from one particular group. They also invited the new citizens and the expatriates. In that way, I was able to meet many people, including those from abroad.”

Organised by Young Sikh Association (Singapore) which aims to fulfill the aspirations of young Singaporeans, the event witnessed the participation of 43 teams, including teams from the Association of Muslim Professionals and, as well as new citizens and expatriates from China, India and Russia.

Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for National Development, joined the festivities and officially kicked off the tournament, which witnessed more than 100 matches involving players who were as young as nine and as old as 52 years.

Mr Hernaikh Singh, President of the Association, said, “Sports is a great social leveller – there are no racial, religious, language and social barriers. Everyone gets together to just have good fun. This is the eighth year of the event. We are seeing the fruits of our efforts. Many players have been playing for some years now and they know each other well. In addition, new teams and players, including new citizens, join us each year and they become acquainted with the rest. It is a big footballing family.”

One of the participants, Mr Gurmit Singh, 28, shared Mr Muhammad Aidil’s views. “The event gave me the opportunity to know and interact with other players. I have been a part of this event for some years now and I can see its value in promoting greater camaraderie among the players who come from different backgrounds and communities”, he explained.

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