Singapore

This block party rocks

Hougang block party participants learn skills like CPR, while enjoying food, games

He picked up calligraphy only seven months ago.

But over the weekend, Leow Wei En, 18, showcased his new-found skills to the public for the first time.

For five hours on Sunday, he sat at a table writing Chinese characters in calligraphic ink while small groups of people looked on.

The student at Pathlight School is part of a calligraphy interest group under the People's Association (PA).

He was among those who joined the festivities at the Rock Our Blocks party held yesterday and Saturday at Block 648A, Hougang Avenue 8.

Wei En said: "Calligraphy helps me to relax and I'm happy to share what I love with my neighbours."

Inspired by the art, members of the public had the chance to try their hand at it, too.

Other interest groups at the party included guitar, paper quilling and bead-making.

At the two-day block party, residents also tried unique games and contemporary cuisine, while live acoustic music and DJ tunes livened up the atmosphere.

They had the chance to pick up cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first-aid skills as well.

The event was the first of 17 Rock Our Blocks parties at HDB estates islandwide.

The remaining 16 parties will be held at other heartland locations in the coming months.

The parties are organised by the PA's Panel of Activists for Community Engagement and The New Paper.

PA's chief executive director Ang Hak Seng said yesterday: "Many families come to our block parties, which is important. But the block party today is very different.

"In addition to families, it also attracts youth. We need youth to reach out to other youth, and we've managed to get young entrepreneurs with very interesting products."

About 2,000 visitors turned up for the party over both days.

Heartland residents and stall owners told TNP they enjoyed the party.

Latisha Tan, 12, who visited the party with her father, said: "The event is meaningful as it teaches us how to save others in times of emergency."

SWEET TREATS

Her favourite food stall was Tio Smoke, which sells crunchy cereal-like balls infused with liquid nitrogen. When eaten, vapour will emerge from the person's mouth.

Besides food, there were artisan products for sale.

Mr Jeremiah See, the founder of leather-craft shop J Artisans, a vendor at the party, said: "The experience has been good and everyone walks around to talk to one another. This is the first heartland event we're at."

Ang Mo Kio GRC Member of Parliament Darryl David said: "The activities are a good mix of fun activities and activities pertaining to emergency awareness."

Mr David, who is also adviser to the Ang Mo Kio-Hougang grassroots organisations, said: "In light of the recent global events, it is essential to enhance community vigilance, resilience and cohesion."

hdbPeople's AssociationfestivalsTHE NEW PAPERmusicfoodcelebrationBLOCK PARTYhougang