The NUS Students’ Union (NUSSU) Flag Day 2019 takes a different approach this year. Stepping up their efforts to help the less fortunate, the event is now a two-day affair. On 28 July, NUS students battled the heat to make their way round the island, seeking for donations from the public. They will do the same on 5 August. All in, the event will see some 7,800 students take part and the results of their hard work will go to 22 beneficiaries under the Community Chest, such as HCA Hospice Care, MINDS, and the Singapore Association for the Visually Handicapped.
“We hope to be able to reach out to a greater proportion of the general public in spreading the message of Rag and Flag to assist the less fortunate in Singapore in their own capacities,” said Muhammad Mirza Nur Syazwan Bin Juma’at, Flag Day 2019 Project Director and Year 2 student at NUS Business and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at NUS.
Rag and Flag began in the 1950s to offer the NUS community a unique opportunity to contribute to the welfare of the less privileged in Singapore. Every year, in appreciation of the generous donations from the public on Flag Day, the students will put up a series of vibrant performances on NUSSU Rag Day, historically known as “Receiving and Giving”. Rag Day 2019 will be held on 10 August this year and will feature 13 dazzling student displays with props made from recycled materials, as well as a games carnival and special performances by other NUS student groups.
The theme for Rag and Flag 2019 is “Reach Out!” which will remind NUS students that “great leaders are not measured by how much they have but how much they give,” and to “reach out to those in need and be their voices to the public”. “We strongly believe that NUS students have been vested with much — not for our own sake but to meet a greater need out there and to be the voice shaping the nation’s future,” said Shavin Eng, Flag Day 2019 Vice Project Director and Year 1 NUS Business student.
Accordingly, this year a stronger emphasis was placed on the student groups’ engagement of their various beneficiaries, with an increase in the proportion of points allocated towards beneficiary engagement events to encourage this.
Over the last few months, participating student groups from faculties, halls, schools and residential colleges conducted engagement events and activities with their beneficiaries. These included art therapy with elderly beneficiaries at Metta Welfare Association, a Sports Day carnival with children at Lakeside Family Centre, and tutoring for the beneficiaries at New Hope Community Services.
Syazwan recounted how his interactions with the beneficiaries in last year’s Flag Day inspired him to step up as Project Director this year. “I came to the realisation of how much impact we could create, as a community, towards assisting the less fortunate in Singapore,” he shared.
He believes that taking part in the event will allow the participants to better understand the capacity they have to give back to society and to the less fortunate. “I hope the seeds of altruism will be fostered with the participants so that they may realise the agency and solidarity they have to continue to help those around them,” said Syazwan.