Be Yourself Day

Aspirations came in the form of costumes at Anchor Green Primary School

Issue: Sep 2010

Remembering the less fortunate as they reach out for their aspirations

The task seemed easy enough: ditch your uniform and dress as what you aspire to be. But for some, the gearing up took longer.

Primary one student, Lu Yi, at Anchor Green Primary School in Singapore was decked in an all-white astronaut costume, complete with silver shoes and an astronaut backpack. She created the backpack from recycled plastic drink bottles and cardboard she conscientiously collected, and to top it off, her outfit was decorated with Singapore flags and NASA patches.

“My father helped to print them out,” she said with a smile. Her hard work has certainly paid off, given the admiration and attention she has attracted today.

Lu Yi
Lu Yi, the environmentally friendly astronaut, posing with pride

Lu Yi’s efforts were all done in good cheer for The New Paper (TNP) Be Yourself Day, which is in its ninth year running. The event is celebrated on August 31 each year. On this day, students are free to wear any outfit that reflects their personality, in exchange for a good deed. They are encouraged to remember the less fortunate and make a donation to the President's Challenge, which benefits more than 30 charities.

This year, CapitaLand Hope Foundation (CHF), CapitaLand's philanthropic arm, has come on board as the Official Charity Sponsor for TNP Be Yourself Day and has pledged to match all students' donations dollar-for-dollar, up to S$100,000. This is in line with the foundation's focus of supporting the shelter, education and healthcare needs of underprivileged children in Singapore and overseas.

It is for such worthy cause that prompted schools like Anchor Green Primary School to jump on the bandwagon and organise Be Yourself Day for the first time. The school even came up with a theme of ‘Aspirations’ to reflect their school motto of ‘Aspire, Grow, Serve’, and encouraged students to make use of recycled materials in the creation of their costumes.

Beyond the day’s share of fun, the teacher-in-charge, Ms Tang Yuk Ching, hoped the experience was a lesson in itself. “We asked students to think about what they wanted to be when they grow up,” she said. “When they voiced out their ideas, their classmates got to listen, and it created this awareness about occupations out there.”

Ms Tang
Ms Tang, the face behind the Be Yourself Day theme
Mr Thomas Ang
Mr Thomas Ang scored with his spontaneity

Be Yourself Day was also part of the school’s Teachers’ Day celebrations and the myriad of costumes certainly added a carnival-like atmosphere. Even the teachers joined in the fun and dressed up for the occasion. Take Mr Thomas Ang for instance, who was dressed as a badminton player.

“During my secondary school days I wanted to become a professional badminton player,” he said. “I kept my aspirations until now and turned it into an interest.” Today, Mr Ang coaches the school’s badminton team.

Zoe and Javier
Zoe and Javier struck a chord with their superstar outfits

Best-dressed students will undergo a round of voting by the teachers and the winners will be announced and awarded with prizes in a few days’ time.

Javier Mok seemed to stand a good chance, given the great confidence he exuded as he struck a pose in his black suit and hat. He said, “It’s boring wearing my school uniform because it’s something I wear everyday. But for today, I felt very excited that I’m wearing my Michael Jackson suit!”

And it seemed he wasn’t the only one inspired by famous personalities. Primary three student, Zoe Lynch, dressed up as a rock star to emulate Hannah Montana, complete with an electric guitar she hoped to learn to play someday.

“It’s my father’s guitar, and all my classmates wanted to play with it because they think that it’s so cool!” she said proudly.

There were students with noble aspirations as well – president, nurse, doctor, you name it. Chris Tay specially wore his father’s soldier uniform, while another student, Ernest from primary five was the only one in the entire school to dress up as an explorer. A fan of nature documentaries, Ernest had a big dream. “I hope to go around the world one day and explore what exactly is happening to Mother Earth,” he said.

And there were those who did not dress up in fancy costumes, but their hearts were still geared towards charity. Primary five classmates Alifa and Elijah contributed their entire day’s allowances to the President’s Challenge.

Chris and Ernest
Chris (left) and Ernest are young boys with big dreams
Mozhi & kid
Alifah and Elijah – students who care and share with the needy

“Since we have the chance, why not we give some money to the needy?” Alifa said. “I hope to study hard and grow up to be a millionaire so that I can give more money to the needy.”

The sight of students making the effort to dress up and donate was a pleasant surprise for Ms Tang. “I did not expect the response to be so good!” she exclaimed.

Given the wonderful camaraderie the day has brought, students were already looking forward to the next opportunity to dress up.

‘All ahoy’ for TNP Be Yourself Day! on CapitaLand Hope Foundation.

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