Close to 30 young Singaporeans of different faiths and backgrounds joined another 25 members of Young Sikh Association (Singapore) to usher Vesakhi, the Sikh New Year, by doing community service at the Bukit Batok Home for the Aged home on 12 April 2008.

The visit and activities at the home were aimed at allowing the Sikh community to share the joy of its New Year with other faiths in Singapore so as to increase understanding and awareness among the different ethnic groups. “Sewa” or “service” is an important tenet of the Sikh faith. The visit was, therefore, an opportunity for non-Sikhs to join the Sikhs to lend a helping hand to the aged and needy in our society. Lastly, the joint effort was aimed at inculcating a sense of care, compassion and concern for the aged and needy among young Singaporeans.

During the visit, the participants performed the Bhangra dance as well as organised games for the residents. Whilst serving meals to the residents, the participants spent time interacting with the residents. At the same time, the Association donated wheelchairs, walking sticks, powder milk, diapers and other necessities to the home.

One of the participants, Ibrahim Musa, stated that, “It was wonderful that we were able to contribute back to the community. The experience was enriching for me. Interacting with the elderly inculcates such values as patience.” Ravinder Kaur added that, “It’s a great idea to get youths from other races to join us for Vesakhi. It gives us a chance to tell them what it means. This can only help to build stronger bonds.”

Mr Hernaikh Singh, President of the Association, said that, “Having the visit during Vesakhi helps create the platform for greater awareness and understanding of the occasion among young Singaporeans. Such interfaith initiatives are important in today’s national and international contexts. What’s more, the visit allowed them to participate in meaningful service in aid of the aged. This is also an important exercise for our youths.”

The participants took back many messages – of love understanding for their loved ones; of the value of relationships; of care and compassion; and of the significance of Vesakhi. They had a truly enriching and fruitful day.

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