Working Hand In Hand

Winners of the One-line Drawing Contest tell their volunteer experiences from their Shanghai World Expo 2010 trip

Issue: Sep 2010

Group photo at UK pavilion
Children and volunteers capturing a moment outside the UK pavilion

For 18-year-old Yin Mozhi, one of the three winners of the One-line Drawing Contest organised by CapitaLand, there was only one word to describe his trip to the World Expo in Shanghai – unforgettable.

Mozhi & kid
Yin Mozhi’s (seen here with one of the children) few days with the children from Inner Mongolia will be etched in his mind for a long time to come

“It was unforgettable because, firstly, going to China was a homecoming of sorts for me. I come from Henan originally and I have been studying in Singapore for three years. Secondly, it was unforgettable because this is the first time China is holding the World Expo and I felt a sense of national pride. It was also the first time I met children, or anyone for that matter, from Inner Mongolia and the first time I stayed in a hostel in China. So with so many firsts, my trip was simply unforgettable,” exclaimed Yin.

As part of the first prize of this contest held in June in Singapore, Yin was given an opportunity to join the 131 CapitaLand volunteers from China, Singapore, Australia, Vietnam and Malaysia who accompanied the children to tour the Shanghai World Expo from August 19 to 22.

The other two winners of the contest, 13-year-old Ang Cheng Hui and 10-year-old Christine Chua also joined the volunteers during this trip.

Giving of Themselves

The three winners wasted no time in their mission. They rolled up their sleeves and got to work, doing almost everything the CapitaLand volunteers did.

Christine and Chloe
Christine Chua’s sister, seven-year-old Chloe, also joined her on this trip and was exposed to volunteer work
Cheng Hui & kids
Ang Cheng Hui played big sister to the Inner Mongolia children during their trip to the Expo

“Christine helped mostly in packing the goodie bags for the children. She also helped to mop the floor and clean the hostel in preparation for the kids’ arrival,” said Maria Chua, who accompanied her daughter on the trip. In fact, Christine’s entire family went on the trip with her as they found it meaningful to volunteer as a family.

Ang also helped to paste stickers on the lunch boxes, packed goodie bags and looked after the children during the trip.

“The children were adorable and obedient. It was an interesting experience being with them,” said Ang.

All the winners stayed in the dormitories with the other volunteers from CapitaLand as well as the underprivileged children. The experience humbled them.

“We were not used to staying in a hostel which was very basic and had shared facilities, like the bathrooms. Christine realised how fortunate she was living in Singapore but she was very happy to help out at the hostel,” commented Mrs Chua.

Yin agreed and said that he was amazed at how happy the children were despite the basic facilities at the hostel.

“Everything we offered the kids made them smile, from staying in a basic place like the hostel to the water bottle we gave them. I have truly learnt to appreciate what I have,” said Yin.

Inspiring Children and a Better Future

Slovak Pavilion
A poignant moment at the Slovak Pavilion
President Nathan & kid
Singapore President SR Nathan, who toured the Singapore Pavilion, shared a moment with one of the underprivileged children

The winners’ visit to the World Expo with CapitaLand’s group of volunteers and underprivileged children marked the close of CapitaLand’s “Hand in Hand 20.10” community education programme. Since the campaign started in May, close to 1,000 CapitaLand and public volunteers have accompanied 2,010 underprivileged children to visit the Shanghai World Expo.

“We were delighted that our “Hand in Hand 20.10” campaign had gone beyond borders, language and cultures. By enabling these 2,010 underprivileged Chinese children to “see the world” at the Shanghai World Expo, we hoped to have inspired them towards a better life in the future,” Mr Jason Leow, CEO of CapitaLand China Holdings, said.

The “Hand in Hand 20.10” campaign is a community education programme in Singapore and China to mark 20 years of diplomatic relations between Singapore and China, as well as CapitaLand’s 10th anniversary.

“There are lots of touching moments during the campaign, but of special mention is the spirit of the volunteers. The two days volunteer programme is indeed hard on the volunteers because they had to not only follow the team/instructions but also take care of their two kids under such hot weather in Shanghai. Under such circumstances, most volunteers kept smiling and talking to the kids, doing their best to make the kids’ happy and their trip memorable.,” said Francis Li, CapitaLand China deputy general manager of corporate communications and marketing, who was the head of the organising team for the Hand in Hand 20.10 campaign.

“I learnt a great deal from this trip. I’d taken many things for granted till I interacted with the kids I took care of. They were so obedient and eager to learn and it’s heartening to work in a Company that takes community engagement seriously,” said Phang Chin Guon, marketing communications executive from Gurney Plaza, one of the staff volunteers from Malaysia.

Putting Smiles on Their Faces

During this trip, smiles were put on both the faces of the underprivileged children as well as those of the winners. The Expo offered so many exciting exhibits and activities for all to enjoy.

The children enjoyed VIP treatment with priority entry at the Singapore Pavilion, Australian Pavilion and Malaysia Pavilion.

“We at first did not expect such warm feedback when organising the Hand in Hand 20.10 campaign. But as the campaign continued, more and more positive feedback came in. China Eastern Airlines, JCDecaux China, Temasek Shanghai, and many other enterprises pledged their support to the campaign. Over 20 EXPO Pavilions offered express entry for the children instead of having them queue 3-6 hours to enter one pavilion. Special guides and pavilion gifts were also offered to the children during the visit. We felt Hand in Hand was no longer just a corporate social responsibility campaign but also a platform to connect all our partners together to do something for the underprivileged children, " shared Li.

At the Singapore Pavilion, the children pounded on large drums, which triggered images of Singapore’s skyline, food and culture each time they pound. They also visited the sky garden and were introduced to Singapore’s tropical plants. The precious tropical plants, the main highlight of this pavilion, were all transported from Singapore. The children also took part in a series of quizzes on Singapore’s culture after being entertained by a video on the country in cool MTV style.

Kha-btags presentation to directors of France and UK pavilions Kha-btags presentation to directors of UK and France pavilions
Directors of UK and France Pavilions were presented the Tibetan kha-btags as a gesture of appreciation

The winners, too, enjoyed the exhibits in their own way.

For Yin, the 3D video, which was screened in the Australia Pavilion, impressed him.

“There was an element of surprise; three 3D screens, about 10 metres high - rose from the floor. The 3D and sound effects depicting different periods of Australian history and way of life were very engaging,” said Yin.

For Christine, being exposed to different cultures and different countries was simply amazing. I was especially taken in at the Spanish Pavilion. “The entrance to the pavilion was like a cave. It was dark and strange but as you walk further in, lights started to come out and a dancer emerged. That was a pleasant surprise!” exclaimed Christine.

The 3D multi-media presentation at the Australia Pavilion that Yin Mozhi was deeply impressed with
Slovak Republic
The children were thoroughly entertained at the Slovak Pavilion
Ireland Pavilion
Each child who visited the Ireland Pavilion received a gift, putting more smiles on their faces

So, whether it was the kids or the volunteers, being at the Shanghai World Expo was truly an experience that was simply - unforgettable!

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