On the Trail of Green Gems

Held amidst the tranquil backdrop of Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, CapitaMalls Asia's Green Day 2014 aimed to raise eco-awareness among staff, while connecting them with nature and their loved ones

Issue: May 2014

When CapitaFrog made an appearance during CapitaMalls Asia's Green Day 2014, it was quickly surrounded by the enthusiastic crowd eager to take photos with it
When CapitaFrog made an appearance during CapitaMalls Asia's Green Day 2014, it was quickly surrounded by the enthusiastic crowd eager to take photos with it

As Evelyn Low and her group of friends stood by the river at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, they looked at it in amazement.

Small boulders in the waters allowed them to traipse the streams, and butterflies were fluttering around the banks made of lush greenery.

“I didn’t know that this river used to be a canal!” Low exclaimed. It was her first visit to the park.

Low, Senior Administrative Assistant, JCube and her friends were among the 300 staff and family members who joined in the fun at the inaugural Green Day held on 15 March by CapitaMalls Asia.

“Green Day serves as an opportunity for our staff to gain ‘green’ knowledge in an enjoyable and relaxing way,” said Mr Chow Chee Khang, Head, Design Management (M&E) and Chairman, Green Committee, CapitaMalls Asia.

Commending Green Initiatives

(Left to right) Mr Wilson Tan, CEO, CapitaMall Trust Management; Mr Simon Ho, Deputy CEO, CapitaMalls Asia; and Mr Chow Chee Khang, Head of Design Management (M&E) and Chairman of Green Committee, CapitaMalls Asia
(Left to right) Mr Wilson Tan, CEO, CapitaMall Trust Management; Mr Simon Ho, Deputy CEO, CapitaMalls Asia; and Mr Chow Chee Khang, Head of Design Management (M&E) and Chairman of Green Committee, CapitaMalls Asia striking a pose with CapitaFrog

To kick start the event, a symbolic ceremony was held whereby Mr Wilson Tan, CEO, CapitaMall Trust Management was presented with the FTSE4Good award certificate to mark CapitaMall Trust’s successful listing under the FTSE4Good Index Series.

The Series, led by British stock market data provider FTSE Group, recognises companies’ efforts towards effectively meeting global corporate responsibility standards via their sustainability initiatives.

Amidst much cheer and delight from the crowd, CapitaFrog, the green mascot of CapitaLand Group, then made its grand entrance during the welcome address.

It was a day of fun for 300 staff and family members who participated in CapitaMalls Asia's Green Day 2014
It was a day of fun for 300 staff and family members who participated in CapitaMalls Asia's Green Day 2014

Next, Mr Pedro Santa Rivera from leading landscape architect firm Atelier Dreiseitl Asia, took to the stage to share inspiring stories about the remarkable transformation of Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park from a utilitarian, concrete water canal to the lively, winding river it is today.

Walking in a Green Wonderland

Active learning took place during the Discovery Fun Walk, where participants answered questions to a quiz by visiting eight sites across the river plains of Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park
Active learning took place during the Discovery Fun Walk, where participants answered questions to a quiz by visiting eight sites across the River Plains of Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park

One of the programme highlights was the Discovery Walk. Before the walk started, participants received a questionnaire comprising eight questions on fun facts about the park.

To win prizes, they had to race to answer five questions correctly.

Eight pit stops around the park featured exhibition panels to guide the participants along.

During the walk, young children present were drawn to the Water Playground. By moving ropes on the ground, they got to control and play with the water flows.

In fact, the water used in this playground is recycled water treated by the phytoremediation system, where living plants remove impurities from contaminated soil.

CapitaMalls Asia staff Adrian Ting and son Gideon enjoying a light moment
CapitaMalls Asia staff Adrian Ting and son Gideon enjoying a light moment

Participants also encountered art and heritage along the way. At one of the pit stops, participants were tasked to form a Recycle Hill using concrete slabs from the former canal as an initiative to preserve a part of the park’s history.

At another interesting station, participants learnt how up to 11 soil bioengineering techniques were examined via a test-bed during the development of the park.

These techniques help to stabilise the river banks and protect them from erosion. They also form natural habitats for wildlife species to settle and multiply.

Going Green – A Meaningful Affair

More than 160 books were contributed by staff for the local charity outfit Help a Child Donate a Book, which sets up children's libraries in developing countries
More than 160 books were contributed by staff for the local charity outfit Help a Child Donate a Book, which sets up children's libraries in developing countries

Adding on to the fun of going green is a book-collection initiative for children.

At the book-collection booth, staff contributed more than 160 books for a good cause.

“The collected books will be delivered to underprivileged children to provide them with an opportunity to read and learn,” said Mr Chow.

The book collection drive was organised with local organisation Help a Child, Donate a Book, which sends the books to libraries in poorer countries.

The fun did not end there. During brunch, the emcee roused the audience with a live quiz that gave away CapitaVouchers as prizes to winners.

A child immersed in arts and crafts using recycled materials at the DIY Crafting booth
A child immersed in arts and crafts using recycled materials at the DIY Crafting booth

Questions were centered on the 3R (reduce, reuse, recycle) waste hierarchy management strategy.

Left photo: Fu Lina (left) visited Bishan-AMK Park twice since she moved to Singapore nine months ago. It was Dong Xin's (right) first visit to the park
Left photo: Fu Lina (left) visited Bishan-AMK Park twice since she moved to Singapore nine months ago. It was Dong Xin's (right) first visit to the park

Fu Lina, Cost and Contract Executive, CapitaMalls Asia, was one of the winners of the quiz. An interesting fact she learnt from the contest was how just five PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) bottles are sufficient to make a square foot of a polyester carpet.

This was Fu’s second visit to Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park since her move to Singapore nine months ago. She described the landscape as “beautiful” and the event as “educational”.

A percussion band ended the festivities with a bang. They performed a medley of songs with instruments made of recycled materials.

But ask the children about their favourite part of the day and many would reply, “CapitaFrog!”

Throughout the day, CapitaFrog brought endless fun and laughter to the children who enjoyed interacting and taking photos with the green mascot.

Rachel Koh, 7, said, “The best part for me was meeting CapitaFrog because it’s so cute!”

Rachel is the daughter of Jeannie Koh, Leasing Administrative Assistant, Westgate.

Going green can be a fun affair - staff learnt about the art and technology behind Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park and walked their way through the Park's numerous green features
Going green can be a fun affair - staff learnt about the art and technology behind Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park and walked their way through the Park's numerous green features

“It was great that the Discovery Fun Walk required teamwork. It’s always fun to meet up with friends from the various departments within the company to catch up and bond because we don’t see one another on a daily basis,” Koh added.

More than just about learning, CapitaMalls Asia’s Green Day 2014 was also a day about connecting with loved ones and fellow colleagues – all amidst the tranquil backdrop of nature.

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