Law firm organises laser tag event for boys from welfare home to build teamwork
He ran, ducked behind trees and shouted tactical commands while firing his rifle. But this was not a live-fire exercise during his national service reservist training.
Instead Mr Gordon Lim, 27, was fighting alongside a group of boys in an intense three-hour-long battle of laser tag at Bukit Purmei Hillock Park.
It was a game that most of them could only have dreamed of playing as they rarely have the chance to play outdoors.
The boys, aged between 10 and 19, are under the care of Muhammadiyah Welfare Home, a children's home for Muslim boys.
Most of them are juvenile offenders or came from broken families, and are required to live in the home as ordered by the courts.
But on Monday, some 40 boys were given the opportunity to take part in a simulated battle experience outside the home, thanks to Mr Lim and 60 of his colleagues from TSMP Law Corporation, which hosted the event.
Mr Lim, an associate in the firm's litigation department, was exhausted as he tried to keep up with the boys' enthusiasm and pace. But he found it a refreshing experience.
"This was my first encounter with the boys, and they were a creative and task-minded bunch with enormous fighting spirit," he said.
TSMP, a corporate and commercial law practice, organises two charity events a year and started doing so seven years ago, in addition to doing pro bono legal work. They primarily target children, the elderly and foreign workers for their community programmes.
Joint managing director Stefanie Yuen Thio said: "There are a couple of days in a year when we want to stop being lawyers and just be people.
"When you see a cancer-stricken three-year-old, your heart bleeds and you automatically open your wallet. But it's not the same for a 16-year-old in a juvenile home. So we especially wanted to help youths at risk and organise events that would make a difference."
This year also marked the first time that TSMP had worked with a Muslim organisation, which Mrs Yuen Thio pointed as a move by the firm to be more inclusive in its community programmes.
The firm organised a charity drive last weekend. They collected more than 20 boxes of clothes, shoes and even a Sony PlayStation 3 console with 75 games for the boys.
Miss Samantha Lee and Miss Chua Shi Ying, organisers of the event, said they chose to bring the boys out for laser tag because it was a fun outdoor sport that also helped to build teamwork and strategic thinking.
Mr Ismail Hassan, 55, assistant superintendent at Muhammadiyah Welfare Home, said: "When we go back, the boys will be debriefed on the important takeaways from the competition and they will also have to write a reflective essay."
Mrs Yuen Thio also revealed that she is discussing with the Home to see how the boys can help in the firm's next charity programme.