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HindustanTimes Sun,24 Aug 2014

World

Singapore pledges to work for a better, safer tomorrow
Amita Sarwal, Hindustan Times
Singapore, January 29, 2013
First Published: 23:37 IST(29/1/2013)
Last Updated: 23:41 IST(29/1/2013)

A month after the death of Delhi gangrape victim at Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital, a group of non-resident Indians and Singapore citizens gathered at a park to pay tribute.

The outrage triggered by the dastardly crime had spilled beyond the shores as evident by the gathering of over 300 people who converged on the Hong Lim Park on Sunday evening.

The gathering was organised to pay tribute to the braveheart 23-year-old woman and significantly, to reaffirm that a journey of change has just begun.

The programme started with motivational songs by renowned local singers and guitarists who soon had the audience join in.   

Making a statement about change was Manish Melwani, 26-year-old copywriter at TBWA — an advertising firm. Melwani came with a  group of about 20 men dressed in skirts and sarongs.

He explained, “A few weeks ago, 25 men in Bangalore dressed up similarly at a public campaign to underline the fact that a particular dress does not lead to sexual harassment or rape. Today, we have dressed to mirror that sentiment and hope that a change in mindsets will begin.”

Aman Narain, a 36-year-old banker and avid blogger, said violence against women has its roots in “a lack of respect and education”.

“I am passionate about making sure those values are embedded in my workplace and any community I am able to touch,” he said.

Visual artist and designer Ketna Patel spoke about the commodification of women by the media.

“The product has overtaken the process. The TV soundbyte is louder than the nuance of a haiku poem. Titillation has replaced narrative. The item number in Bollywood movies has reduced femininity to porn.”

Lawyer Priya Mehra, 35, who has grown up in Delhi, felt that atrocities such as the one perpetuated on December 16 should neither be forgiven or forgotten.

“I have a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter who will also likely grow up in Delhi, so something needs to be done.”

Navkaran Singh, 18, a student of Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) said, “I am here today because I believe that collectively as an international community, we can bring about the change we wish to see in this world.” 

The evening ended with a pledge to begin the change for a better tomorrow, followed by a minute’s silent prayer in memory of the victim.


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