15th July is a very significant day for all Singaporeans as we come together as one to celebrate Racial Harmony Day (RHD). On this day, we are reminded of what our forefathers had fought for, peace and stability, and we commemorate how far our country has come from years of racial strife and riots, such as the Hock Lee Bus riots, to becoming a peaceful multi- racial country. In fact, our country prides itself as a place where multiculturalism is prominent, creating a unique identity for Singapore.
During this year’s RHD, students were given the opportunity to don different ethnic costumes. Many wore vibrant Indian, Malay and Chinese traditional costumes in attempt to embrace the cultures of others. Some students even wore Arab and Japanese ethnic attire, signaling growing integrationof different cultures in our melting pot. In addition, students learnt about the importance of RHD, and actively discussed in class the complexity of our multi-racial relations. It is heartwarming to know that schools in Singapore, including Millennia Institute, have such initiatives to raise awareness among students about other cultures, and instill in students the purpose of celebrating Racial Harmony Day. As the students now are thefuture leaders of Singapore, it is very crucial that Singaporeans continue to foster cultural exchanges between various races and build a cohesive society together.
In addition, this year, we also celebrated Hari Raya with a performance by the Sri Warisan dance group to introduce and educate students about the Malay culture. During the celebration, students learnt about the different kinds of Malay traditional clothing, the practices that most Muslims do during this occasion, and other exciting facts. Throughout the performance, we saw our fellow school mates trying out the 'samping' that Malay men traditionally wear during Hari Raya. They also joined in for an interactive dance at the end! One of the most important things that we learntwas that on the day of Hari Raya, Muslims celebrate to mark the end of Ramadhan. Hari Raya is also a day where Muslims seek forgiveness from their loved ones and strengthen the relations they have with their family, friends and relatives.
I look forward to more of such events where racial harmony and knowledge of other cultures can be learnt in a fun and meaningful way. In the meantime, give me some kueh,ketupat!