26 August 2015

Help stop mass balloon event by Touch Community Services at Sentosa

Ironically, a depressing mass balloon event is planned by a "Movement Against Depression". The organisers of the inaugural M.A.D (Make a Difference) Race want to do the "Largest Mass Run with Ballooons" on 10 Oct (Sat) morning, at Sentosa Palawan Beach. More in this facebook post.
Many people immediately commented on this facebook post with gentle pleas to avoid balloons and suggestions of more wildlife-friendly alternatives. Sadly, Hayley of Touch Community Services replied that despite the many immediate comments, they are going ahead with the mass balloon event.

It is important to stop the use of balloons at this inaugural race, so that mass balloons do not become a part of their race.

You CAN make a difference! Ordinary people have in the past managed to stop mass balloon events in May 2014 and Dec 3013.

Update 26 Aug 10:40pm: Touch Community Services has agreed to do away with the mass balloon event! "In keeping with theme of the race - to Make A Difference (M.A.D), we have decided to do away with the balloons and will replace it with a similarly meaningful and uplifting activity which we hope will be an encouragement to people living with depression and their families." Please do support their worthy event.

[Update: A video uploaded on the MAD facebook page on 14 Dec 2015 suggests that balloons were still a feature of the event despite the organiser's assurance above.

The Make A Difference (M.A.D) Race 2015 signified a positive start to our journey in breaking down social stigma...
Posted by The M.A.D Race on Monday, 14 December 2015

Screen shots from the video of the event which shows balloons were still a feature:

This is Hayley's reply to the many comments that already asked Touch Community Services to avoid the balloons:
Dear Friends, thank you for sharing your concerns about protecting the environment. We have chosen to use brightly coloured balloons for the race, as they represent hope and joy to those affected by depression.

We would like to assure you that we have no intentions of releasing the balloons. We have made plans to inform and remind our runners to hold on to their balloons, as both TOUCH and The M.A.D Race believe in protecting the environment. Thank you! - Hayley

The event has such wonderful good intentions. It is a pity that the organisers plan to involve mass balloons which can have such devastating impact on wildlife.

From the official website:


The M.A.D. Race is an inaugural run/walk event to raise awareness on depression, with the key objective to help people suffering from depression overcome and walk out of it.

Extensive research has shown that love, acceptance and support from family, friends and the community at large plays a very important role in how well and fast someone can recover from depression. What this means is that EVERYONE can Make A Difference!!!

The M.A.D. Race seeks to rally people in Singapore to come together to participate in a 5km run/2.5km walk to show their support and encouragement for people suffering from depression.

Every life is precious and its time to show that we understand, care, and value every person going through depression for who they are. What better way is there to show our support and willingness to run alongside them than to participate in a race against depression itself!

Being Singapore's first and only race against depression, we call on all people to come together to Make A Difference!

Join the M.A.D (Make A Difference) Race and spread the movement against depression!

Yes! You CAN make a difference! Ordinary people have in the past managed to stop mass balloon events in May 2014 and Dec 2013.

Please help by commenting on the original facebook post to gently ask them to avoid mass balloons.

You can also post on the M.A.D. Run facebook page
Thanks to Harvon Goh
for the heads up on this post.
You can also write to the organisers, partners and supporting groups of this event.

From the official website:

Event Organiser: Touch Community Services (facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TOUCHCommunityServices)

Official Venue Sponsor: City Square Mall, Singapore's First Eco-Mall
(facebook: https://www.facebook.com/citysquaremall)

Official Compressed Wear: Compresssport
(facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Compressport.International)

Official Running Magazine: RUN
(facebook: https://www.facebook.com/czRUN)

Official Fitness Partner: Fitness First
(facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ffsggx)

Event Management Company: Celebrity Trainer
(facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CelebrityTrainer.SG)

Official Music Partner: BelieverMusic
(facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BelieverMusic)

Supported by: Institute of Mental Health, National Council of Social Services, National Youth Council, Young Change Makers

Community Partners: Community Health Assessment Team, Silver Ribbon (Singapore) Towards Positive Mental Health, Singapore Anglican Community Services, Mental Wellness for All.

Related links

Previous online efforts that succeeded in stopping mass balloon events

How do balloons harm wildlife?

Balloons released will eventually fall into the sea, where they resemble jellyfish, the favourite food of sea turtles. When sea turtles eat balloons, they will die a slow and painful death. For more information on this see this link
An exploded ballon looks very much like a jellyfish!
This was seen at Cyrene Reef.

And in case you are wondering, YES, Singapore has wild sea turtles, they have come ashore to lay eggs and babies have hatched from our shores. More here.
In 2006 these baby sea tutles hatched at East Coast Park.
Photo by N. Sivasothi
A huge mama Hawksbill sea turtle had
come ashore at East Coast Park to lay eggs in Jul 2013.
Photo by David Tan.
Wild sea turtle seen at Changi attempting to lay eggs in June 2015.
Photo by Abdul Khabir.
MORE on impact of balloons on marine life


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