DATE
November 18, 2018 Sunday

VENUE
Singapore Sports Hub

TIME
From 7am

Nov 19, 2018

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Spirits not dampened despite wet weather, cancelled walk

Mavis Wong | Kok Yufeng

For the first time in its 25 editions, The New Paper Big Walk had to be cancelled due to lightning, as rain pelted down on the Singapore Sports Hub yesterday morning.

About 12,300 participants were eagerly awaiting the planned 7.30am flag-off to start on the 5km route, which would have seen them cross the Merdeka Bridge, go past the Golden Mile Complex and The Concourse, walk through Kallang Riverside Park and finish back at the Sports Hub.

Mr Ramli Ahmad, 71, who has attended every Big Walk, was dismayed that this year's walk had to be cancelled.

Since 1994, the senior security officer at Amara Singapore has made it a point to create his own unique costume for each edition, and this year, he had collected 150 empty Yakult bottles and spent three days creating a new version of one of his iconic get-ups.

He said: "I'm very sad because I prepared everything."

But Mr Ramli is already thinking about the next Big Walk, adding: "Next year, it will be something different."

For this year's walk, more than 1,300 individuals had signed up as one Tripartite Alliance (TA) contingent.

It comprised employees of TA and companies that have benefited from initiatives of the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (Tafep), a sponsor of this year's Big Walk.

The contingent wanted to walk to champion fair and inclusive employment practices, and Mr Douglas Foo, co-chairman of Tafep, said the group's effort to gather was commendable.

He told The New Paper: "They took the effort to come here because they believe in what we are trying to do today."

Workforce Singapore's (WSG) chief executive Tan Choon Shian said the wet weather did not dampen the spirit of the Big Walk.

Mr Tan added: "(WSG) is glad to have come on board as the presenting sponsor this year, not just because it allowed us to share with new audiences how the Adapt and Grow initiative can help support Singaporeans in their job search and career planning, but also because events such as these are good opportunities for bonding among family, friends and colleagues."

With free chilled drinks, cold desserts, games and lucky draws, the sponsor booths at the Big Walk Carnival - including WSG, Tafep, Osim and 100Plus - also helped to bring cheer to those who stayed behind.

Others decided to do their own walks around the 900m 100Plus Promenade indoor track, which encircles the National Stadium.

Ms Nor Hida, 34, had completed two rounds around the track carrying her nine-month-old son, and the civil servant said she planned to walk all 5km slowly, before getting breakfast and heading to the carnival at OCBC Square.

Heartened to see participants stick around despite the cancellation, TNP editor Eugene Wee said: "I'm glad everyone still managed to have a fulfilling morning.

"We hope our readers will join us again for next year's walk." - ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY JASMINE CHOONG

FOR MORE, SEE FUN AND FREEBIES AT BIG WALK CARNIVAL

Part of the Tripartite Alliance contingent. PHOTO: GAVIN FOO, TAFEP

(From left, in foreground) Workplace Safety and Health Council general manager Patrick Han, WSG chief executive Tan Choon Shian, TNP editor Eugene Wee, editor-in-chief of SPH's English/ Malay/Tamil Media group Warren Fernandez, F... PHOTO: GAVIN FOO, TAFEP

Mr Ramli Ahmad in a costume made of Yakult bottles and Mr Goh Aik Huat as the God of Fortune. PHOTO: GAVIN FOO, TAFEP

Ms Nor Hida with her son walking down the 900m 100Plus Promenade indoor track. TNP PHOTO: JASMINE CHOONG