Shaving is caring at Hair for Hope
TNP reporter shaves head at Hair for Hope event to raise awareness about childhood cancer
Last Sunday, I took part in this year's first Hair for Hope event, held at Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery (KMSPKS).
I was one of 388 shavees there to "make a bald statement".
It was the largest turnout so far in the six years of KMSPKS being on board as a satellite partner for Hair for Hope.
It also marked the 15th consecutive year of Hair for Hope by the Children's Cancer Foundation (CCF). It is the only head-shaving event here that raises funds for and awareness of childhood cancer.
Personally, I enjoy having unnaturally-coloured hair.
In the past five months, I had my hair coloured in six different ways, and I went to the event with my hair in shades of green, pink and purple.
But I wanted to be a part of this meaningful event and better understand it as a reporter.
My editors approved of the idea, so I went ahead.
...I wanted to be a part of this meaningful event and better understand it as a reporter.TNP reporter Reni Chng, on shaving her head at the Hair for Hope event
There were shavees from all walks of life, from children as young as seven to senior citizens in their 70s.
I saw families participating together, too.
When I was talking to Iden Goh, an eight-year-old participant, his proud grandmother gestured to her son and grandson and said: "We have three generations here today."
The event kicked off with the three ceremonial shavees, Mr Victor Kuik Yoong Hong, Ms Amy Low Wai Meng and Mr Guek Peng Siong being shaved onstage.
Mr Kuik, 48, joined Hair for Hope for the first time in memory of his younger brother, whom he had lost to childhood cancer 28 years ago.
"My family did not talk about it for quite long, because it brings up painful memories," he said.
"But recently, there were a few people I know who got cancer, so I wanted to do something for them and my brother."
Ms Amy Low, 53, was shaved for the fifth consecutive year.
She came to the event with vibrant brown curls and smiled happily as they were shaved off.
Following that, the rest of the shavees were ushered onstage in batches for their turn.
About 10 people were shaved onstage each time.
The process was quick - in a few minutes, all my hair was gone. I saw a young boy who could not stop touching his freshly shaved head, and I then realised I was doing the same.
Whether for personal reasons or a general show of goodwill, the participants and supporters came to raise funds and show their support for children suffering from childhood cancer.
CCF deputy director of community partnerships , Ms Dawn Kor, said: "CCF is thankful for the overwhelming response from the supporters of the KMSPKS towards Hair for Hope 2017.
"We look forward to the continued support towards our children and family impacted by cancer.
"Indeed, it is okay to be bald."