Imagine a seed of friendship in our hands. The first step towards friendship is taken when the seed has been planted beneath the soil, where it has the potential to blossom into a magnificent tree or wither away and die. The seed requires our time as we water it, provide fertilizer in order for it to grow. Done diligently, within a few short days, the seed would have grown into a young sapling. Though still rather vulnerable to the elements, the first roots of friendship have begun to grow and the plant has emerged from its shell. Over time, this tiny sapling may mature into a beautiful tree standing tall and firm with roots stretching deep into the earth. As flowers bloom and fruits ripen, it is during this period of time where we can truly taste the sweet, joyful nature of the friendship formed. We go around, planting many, many seeds of friendship in our garden of life.
International aspect on IFD
The International Friendship Day (IFD) is a colourful event celebrated annually in Singapore. It is an event celebrated widely in the schools of Singapore to promote friendship among peers of various backgrounds. This year’s celebration took off with an intriguing talk by our emcees dressed in their respective traditional outfits, sharing about international friendship in the context of ASEAN. (Association of South East Asian Nations).
International Friendship Day is a day to reaffirm friendships and promote peace between different cultures. A little on the international aspect of IFD: although Singapore is a small nation, it was a founder of ASEAN. Established in 1967 with 5 member states, ASEAN sought to promote friendship and cooperation between member states and increase cooperation, be it in terms of economic cooperation or political cooperation. Now, ASEAN has come far, with 10 members, which collectively export of about 8% of global imports. This has allowed ASEAN members to band together and prevent suppression of our voices by other countries.
How does this help Singapore? Why should we be concerned? In order for Singapore not to be overwhelmed by our giant neighbours, Singapore must build strong friendships with countries. Thus, the exchange of cultures is one of the ways to promote friendships with other countries.
Event in VJC
As part of International Friendship Day, the college had arranged for volunteers with various different ethnic backgrounds of the Parent Support Group to come down to Victoria Junior College to prepare food and snacks for us to try.
As the breaks started, Victorians flocked to the canteen to take a look at what was installed for them. It was a sight to behold as we were greeted with the various dazzling food stalls filled with delicious foods from different cultural backgrounds. The stalls were set up by the Parent Support Group, and most of the food was freshly prepared at their houses. A diverse array of delectable food was being offered to students and teachers alike, ranging from Mediterranean to Filipino to Japanese and Indonesian food, complimented with traditional Israeli pastries too. Approaching the stalls, Victorians were warmly welcomed with the fresh smell of the food and the kind faces of the volunteers. For some Victorians, it was their first time trying out certain cuisines, and it offered them a fresh perspective on ethnic communities.
Despite the initial hesitance of Victorians to approach the stalls, over some time, Victorians were drawn to the irresistible scent flowing from the food stalls and soon enough, the food stalls had streams of Victorians queuing to try the unique cuisines. Almost as soon as the food stalls were set up, the food stalls quickly ran out of food, leaving some Victorians disappointed and hoping for more.
The food stalls were not the only attraction. Adjacent to the food stalls, there was a booth set up to showcase the Israeli culture. The booth was beautifully decorated with Israeli flags and traditional Israeli clothing, toys and religious items. A stunning video was also playing on the screen showcasing the Israeli cultural practices and more on the country.
A pleasant event with a light-hearted atmosphere, while it may not be termed as the most memorable experience, it was certainly enjoyable with a genuine sincerity behind it. With a noble intention of promoting friendship across peers of diverse backgrounds; I feel International Friendship Day achieved this aim. As the saying goes, “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light”. As we head back to lead our busy lives, I believe that all of us will remember to make time for our friends and hold our friends dearly.
Xavier Loh, 18S43
Chen Xiang Le, 18S43