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Lighting up a tribute to those who give

30 Christmas trees at Marina Bay honour individuals and groups who have given to society

President Halimah Yacob (right) viewing one of the ChariTrees. The initiative also raised S$250,000 for The Business Times' Budding Artists' Fund.

Above from left: Gayle Wong, assistant vice-president, group communications at Certis Cisco; Tan Puay Kern, chairman of ChariTrees 2018 organising committee; Jennie Chua, president and chairman, The Rice Company Ltd; President Halimah Yacob; and Alvin Tay, chairman, The Business Times Budding Artists' Fund.


THIRTY Christmas trees were lit up at Marina Bay on Friday evening in a tribute to community groups, individuals and organisations who have given to society.

The initiative, dubbed ChariTrees, also raised S$250,000 for The Business Times Budding Artists' Fund (BT BAF), which seeks to make the arts accessible for children and youths from financially disadvantaged backgrounds and provides beneficiaries with opportunities to discover their talents at arts training centres.

President Halimah Yacob officiated the light-up of the trees, alongside a crowd that included more than 130 children and young people as well as their families.

Recognition was given to a host of social initiatives: Cassia Resettlement Team, Diamonds On The Street, Project Goodwill Aid, Ground-Up Initiative, Halal Goods Do Good and Readable.

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Individual efforts highlighted include Straits Times Singaporean of the Year Noriza A Mansor, who came to the aid of an elderly man and his wheelchair-bound wife when he soiled himself while shopping for groceries; Jabez Tan, former offender and now founder of Soon Huat (Bak Kut Teh) which employs ex-inmates; and Qin Yunquan, who started Kapap Academy to provide self-defence classes for women, needy seniors and former victims of sexual abuse or domestic violence.

"ChariTrees' 20 traditional Christmas trees and 10 'Art' trees are dedicated to the many individuals, groups and organisations which have made a positive impact towards our community", said Tan Puay Kern, chairman of the ChariTrees 2018 Organising Committee.

The fundraiser, now in its eighth year, is organised by non-profit arts organisation The Rice Company Ltd.

Certis is the presenting donor of ChariTrees 2018. Other corporate donors include Arrowcrest Technologies, British Theatre Playhouse, Century Evergreen, Paragon, Perennial Real Estate Holdings and Prudential.

Paul Chong, president and group chief executive officer at Certis, said: "Certis firmly believes in being a responsible corporate citizen and is proud to be the presenting donor of ChariTrees this year. Through this initiative, we seek to empower disadvantaged children and youths to discover their talents and provide opportunities for them to pursue their interests in arts."

The trees will stay lit at the Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade until Dec 26. BT BAF beneficiaries will also spread festive cheer by performing on Nov 30 and Dec 1 at 7.30pm.

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