Promoting diversity in Asia: Singapore

I never thought I’d say arriving in Singapore would be some welcome reprieve where heat was concerned. But here I am!

Thailand was amazing, as always. However, I looked forward to the occasional forecasted drizzle which was due to welcome us when we arrived after the sometimes stifling heat in Bangkok.

We had five days in Singapore, but had a lot to pack in: two schools to visit, as well as a talk at the country’s British Chamber of Commerce.

But the day we arrived, I received an email from Disability Sport Singapore. They asked if I’d have any time to meet them during their training session on the Friday evening. That was definitely too good an opportunity to pass up!

Before that I’d have three days’ worth of talks to complete; two days at Tanglin Trust and afternoon at Dover Court International School. Both went without a hitch and both were equally as welcoming.

Andy Barrow leads an inclusive PE lesson at Tanglin Trust International School in Singapore At Tanglin we also did something a little different – a PE lesson! We had some sports wheelchairs so Year 6 and I played a little wheelchair rugby (minus the contact!), and a couple of other games.

There’s a guy, Oscar, in the class with cerebal palsy, who got to join in with the session which we were all thrilled about. Having truly inclusive sessions like this are so beneficial of everyone. Hopefully it’s something we’ll continue at Tanglin and introduce at Dover Court when we return to Singapore later this year.

I also spoke about the power of diversity at a British Chamber of Commerce event. I talked to people from corporate organisations all over the country about the huge benefits of having a diverse team. This talk was really enjoyable – we had a Q&A at the end and the questions really challenged me about how I formed my opinions on attitudes towards disability in Asia, as well as my own experiences.

Pick-up ball in Singapore!

Then Friday night arrived… and it was time for me to play some wheelchair rugby! I loved that there were a few people in Singapore who, less than a year ago, decided to give the sport a try; and thus forming the national team!

They didn’t have a coach, and just played the game for a couple of hours every Friday. They learnt from footage on YouTube, so I loved getting back to basics; running through some drills and introducing them to some basic plays. I hope I taught them something useful and can’t wait to see how they’ve progressed when I return later this year. Here’s a clip showing their progress.

We interspersed sightseeing and leisure during our last couple of days; (you can’t go to Singapore and not sample a Singapore Sling!). We then said goodbye to the “Little Red Dot” and headed to Hong Kong, where the real madness would begin!

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