Family Day Takes Flight on Wings of Adventure

CapitaLand’s family extends to include the community at its Family Day at Jurong Bird Park

Issue: Jul 2012

Staff and children enjoying the Birds and Buddies Show at CapitaLand’s Family Day at Jurong Bird Park
Staff and children enjoying the Birds and Buddies Show at CapitaLand’s Family Day at Jurong Bird Park

Deputy Chief Corporate Officer of CapitaLand Limited, Tan Seng Chai, is a father of three but he was quite happy to add another “son” to his family at the recent CapitaLand Family Day.

“This is my ‘son’ today. I talk to him like I do to my own children. I tell him to stand up straight and he will look so much taller,” beamed Tan as he gave his young charge a fatherly pat. “He says that next year, his muscles will be larger than mine.”

Tan was one of 53 CapitaLand employees who volunteered to host children beneficiaries from the Group’s philanthropic arm, CapitaLand Hope Foundation (CHF), at the Family Day. Held at Jurong Bird Park this year, the annual event was aptly named, Wings of Adventure.

Tan Seng Chai, Deputy Chief Corporate Officer of CapitaLand Limited, and his young charge Ammar
Tan Seng Chai, Deputy Chief Corporate Officer of CapitaLand Limited, and his young charge Ammar

CapitaLand has always encouraged the family bonding. As part of the Group’s Because iCare efforts, its definition of “family” goes beyond just its employees and their families at Family Day. It also includes the community at large. That community was made up of the 35 children and teens from TOUCH Young Arrows’ Geylang Bahru and Queenstown centres, and another 10 children from the new 10-year mentoring scheme, CapitaKids Programme.

"Corporate philanthropy at CapitaLand is more than just giving out donations, it's about giving time and attention to our children beneficiaries as well. We are delighted to see our children beneficiaries from TOUCH Community Services interacting and enjoying themselves so much with our staff volunteers. It is this deep dedication and strong commitment of our staff volunteers to the children that embody the true spirit of corporate giving at CapitaLand,” said Tan Bee Leng, General Manager, CapitaLand Hope Foundation.

All-out Fun

Wahidati left a deep impression onwowed CapitaLand volunteers Nancy Heng and Angeline Oh with her buoyant spirit
Wahidati left a deep impression on CapitaLand volunteers Nancy Heng and Angeline Oh with her buoyant spirit

This year’s Family Day saw the largest turnout ever – 2004 people in all – and it was an excellent way for the company to “meet the men, women and children supporting our employees”, as Group Chief Financial Officer, CapitaLand Limited, Arthur Lang, said in his opening address as Guest-of-Honour at the event. He, too, turned up with his family. To ensure that the children beneficiaries invited to the event were given personalised care and were integrated into the CapitaLand family, each child was paired with a CapitaLand volunteer. The arrangement also gave the volunteers an opportunity to get to know the children on a one-to-one basis, which was precisely what Senior Vice President, Human Resource, CapitaLand Limited, Angeline Oh did.

“My girl, Wahidati, is very special. She’s responsive, spunky and has a great sense of humour. She’s definitely someone who is confident and comfortable in her own skin,” said Oh.

Indeed, 11-year-old Nur Wahidati Bte Jamil is fearless. She was one of the first to volunteer to lead the crowd in a bird dance right before the morning’s Birds and Buddies Show that was put up specially for the CapitaLand family.

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"She ain’t heavy, she’s my sister" – Nur Nabilla Syahira being carried by her older sister, Nurul Iryaga Syaffira

Seven-year-old Nur Nabilla Syahira, who was with Oh and Wahidati, liked the dance but she enjoyed the spectacular bird performance even more.

“I like the show because I got to see so many different types of birds,” said Nabilla.

Even as the volunteers sought to show children the sights and sounds at the bird park and make them feel part of the family event, they got to see family love up close. Nabilla’s 14-year-old sister actually went with her to the event to keep an eye on the little girl because she is asthmatic. At one point, the teenager even piggy-backed Nabilla because she was worn out from the day’s activities.

“I am humbled to see the love in this family,” said Oh. Caption: “She ain’t heavy, she’s my sister” – Nur Nabilla Syahira being carried by her older sister, Nurul Iryaga Syaffira

In addition to the bird show, CapitaLand also organised a slew of fun activities. There were outdoor carnival games that required participants to toss rings, throw balls, topple cans, and shoot arrows. There was a bouncy castle and even an Amazing Race that had everyone scuttling around the park.

CapitaLand organised outdoor activities with bird and animal themes to challenge the children
CapitaLand organised outdoor activities with bird and animal themes to challenge the children

For those who needed an escape from the scorching heat, there were indoor games like mini golf, bowling, shooting, and Frisbee. But what got many of the children really excited were the electronic games.

Vice President, Human Resource, The Ascott Limited, Lilian Goh, was right in the queue for a Kinect game with her child beneficiary, Iqkal, and her five-year-old son, Jedd.

“Jedd has always been asking me for an older brother. So, when I signed up as a volunteer, I decided to take him along so he could meet the other children,“ said Goh.

As Jedd and Iqkal tackled the virtual game of dodge ball on the Kinect, it was clear that they bonded with each other and genuine friendship was formed.

All-new Education Opportunity

The children also got the chance to come up close with some of the residents of the Jurong Bird Park. 12-year-old Tishalini Chandramorgon was wowed by the penguins and the flamingo-feeding session that one of the CapitaLand mentors, Senior Administration Assistant, Operations, CapitaMalls Asia, May Ngway, took her to.

Some preferred birds with more bite. “I like the bald eagles,” said Iqkal whose twin brother Iqbal was also there with him.

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Angeles Mel Rose and Maria Kozhanova and their young charges

All Kinds of Goodies

Rounding off the day was all the goodies the children could eat: hot dogs, corn in a cup, ice-cream, and fried chicken. Seven-year-old Felicia Cheng, one of the CapitaKids, was there with her good friend, Fiona Peng, also seven. Both were enjoying an ice-cream.

“We are friends but we are so close, we call ourselves ‘sister’,” said the chatty Felicia. “I like the parrots. But I like the ice-cream better.”

Another thing she liked about the Family Day was the mentor she met, Angeles Mel Rose.

“She’s nice. She takes care of me,” said Felicia.

“I have three kids of my own who are older now and I wanted to make a difference in some other child’s life,” said Rose who is an Assistant Manager, Human Resource at The Ascott Limited.

As the day wore on and Jurong Bird Park echoed with the sounds of excited squeals, enthusiastic chatter and delighted laughter, it was evident that CapitaLand’s move to expand the Group’s family to include the community had indeed taken flight.

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