If life is a boat sailing against the tides, then our friends are definitely the anchor that keeps us moored to the shore. This has long been the truth in our world: friendships keeps us grounded from the hunting grounds of early humanity to the volatile world we traverse today. On Friendship Day, we take the opportunity to celebrate our self-found family, for the support they’ve given us since the very beginning. Yet, one may then be baffled to find that it was only in the 1935 that the notion of an ‘International Friendship Day’ was proposed to appreciate the people around us, and as a commercial gimmick no less!

Little is as disingenuous as the origins of International Friendship Day. For all the noble promise its title seems to suggest, its conceptualisation was in fact a sordid attempt by Hallmark cards to capitalise on the expansive greeting cards industry. When consumers caught wind of their insincerity, they were quick to reject the idea as a whole and in the 40s, saw its quick demise. It wasn’t until 1997 that the idea was resurrected by UNESCO’s proposal for an ‘International Day of Friendship’. The rest is history: the notion gained much traction due to the sincerity and positivity encompassed within it and grew to become a joyous occasion celebrated in many countries all over the world.

Here in VJC, we find delight in our fair share of celebration every year as well. Marked by colourful flags swaying gently in the breeze and the mouth-watering aroma of cuisine from all over the world, our canteen is transformed into an epicenter of global culture every International Friendship Day. Beyond just being a day to commemorate our interpersonal connections, International Friendship Day was proposed by UNESCO to celebrate the friendships formed between larger nations as well. There is synergy in our diversity, and a mutual spirit of collaboration and trust between countries is what allows us to celebrate Man’s diversity. Singapore is the prosperous economic hub it is today because we embraced globalisation, and looked towards the rest of the world with promises of mutual cooperation and harmony. With the goal of inspiring this spirit of collaboration in our future politicians and leaders, VJ celebrates International Friendship Day as a reminder that a world that works together is a world that grows together.

The glee at the delectable display of food was evident. Lovingly put together by the Parents Support Group (PSG), students eagerly made their way to the canteen to get their share of all the delicacies laid before them.  From the sweet, creamy dream of fairy bread from Australia to the scrumptious dumplings from China, to the Nachos from Mexico, Victorians were prepared to take their taste buds on a culinary adventure, and they certainly achieved that end. It wasn’t long before the abundance of food was reduced to nothing more than a single crumb, and it only took our hungry population two hours to do so!

As a bit of food for thought, we asked those happily munching on their snacks about how VJ’s festivities allowed them to gain a deeper appreciation of the rich, diverse global culture present in Singapore. “I think food is a gateway to immerse ourselves in different cultures. We all love food, after all! It was great to see people proudly showing off their cultures, and the food made today truly memorable because it gave us the opportunity to represent and share a part of our culture we hold close to heart without fearing any judgement,” explained Zhao Qian from 19A11. “We are really fortunate to be living in such an accepting society that embraces our differences in culture.”

We live in a beautifully diverse world, and it is so important that we appreciate the differences that make us unique. This International Friendship Day, we implore you to go beyond just appreciating your meaningful friendships, but to also celebrate the kaleidoscope of culture that makes up our school. If life is a boat sailing against the tides, and our friends – the anchors that keep us grounded, then our diversity is the bow of our ship, pointing us towards a dynamic and harmonious future.

Article by:
Alisha Ganesh, 19A11
Anika Shormill Mamun, 19S40
Semantha Wong Suetni, 19A15

Photos provided by:
Zhao Qian, 19A11

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