There are many fantastic stops that we’ve been to this tour, but our latest one, Singapore, has been especially meaningful. During our week in the island city-state, there were many fun performances to enjoy, beautiful sights to take in, and daring foods to try; however, what really made Singapore important to us was our opportunity to spend time at the Pathlight School.
The Pathlight School is a large and successful school for students with autism, which we are connected to by Ng Sock Kian, the mother of a Din alum. The school was also co-founded by a friend of Sock Kian’s, Denise Phua, who is now the mayor of central Singapore. Mayor Phua also works with the Dins, organizing where we perform whenever we visit Singapore on tour. As a result, our time in Singapore is centered around our work with the Pathlight School and A Very Special Walk, a fundraiser for the Autism Resource Center of Singapore.
We spent several afternoons at the Pathlight School, both performing for the students and rehearsing with several student choirs who would sing with us at A Very Special Walk. The rehearsal with the students was incredible; we sang fun songs and worked with one another to learn choreography. It was a special moment for me, because I have relatives and friends with autism, so I took the time to reflect.
The Dins were invited into a marvelous school of 1300 autistic students, and we were honored enough to sing and have fun with them, to see each student showcases their abilities, and to witness the goodness and love the teachers had for these students. It was truly a blessing.
In addition to our time at the Pathlight School, the Dins had many performances at high schools and colleges all around Singapore. Never before had I been exposed to such enthusiastic crowds. After every song, even every soloist, screaming and cheering would follow. After each performance, a myriad of signatures and pictures awaited. Some of the Dins attracted admirers, particularly the tallest Dins. At one point, a girl walked up to Austin and me and told him, “You’re so attractive”. She then glanced at me awkwardly, remembering I was there, and muttered, “You too.”
Outside of performing, we also had outstanding experiences exploring. On our second night, we all set out to attend Singapore’s light shows. A handful of us went to the light show on the harbor, which involved intricate designs of color reflected off sprayed mist on the shore. Most of us, on the other hand, went to the Super Trees light show. These massive, artificial trees were lined with patterns of lights that glowed a variety of colors during a suite of famous opera songs. Many of the Dins who attended this, including me, thought that this was one of the most memorable experiences of Tour. The finale of the show was Luciano Pavarotti’s renowned rendition of Nessun Dorma, paired with a brilliant flood of sapphire, vermilion, and every other color you can think of. The only word to describe it was magical.
Other experiences that Dins embarked on in Singapore were slightly less fruitful. A group of adventurous Dins decided to try Durian, a thorny Southeast Asian fruit considered to be a delicacy in Singapore. Of course, this would not have been an adventure unless there was risk involved: the durian, once opened, smells to most like a mix of sewage, rotten onions, and trash. Durian is banned from Singaporean public transportation and even some hotels because its horrific odor lingers for days. On top of that, many claim the taste matches the smell, while others argue that it is quite delicious. Sam, Ethan, and several others mustered the courage to eat it—and boy, did they hate it. The only one to walk away not insisting on his hatred for the fruit was Sam, who essentially described it as “not bad, but certainly not good.” Anyway, it made for a good story!
Our final full day in Singapore was action-packed, starting in the early morning with A Very Special Walk. It was truly special to be a part of such a large event that raised money for adults with autism, which is an often forgotten group of society. The sun was strong, and it was the hottest environment I had performed in for all of Tour so far. Nonetheless, we had a terrific time, and the event raised over $750,000 USD—a huge success!
Later that day, we performed one last time and capped off our final night with a trip up to the top of the Marina Bay Sands. The Marina Bay Sands is a colossal 5-star hotel which looks like a surfboard on three stilts; it is incredibly iconic in Singapore. With most of us donning our suits from Pinky Tailor in Bangkok, we ascended to the top of the landmark in style and soaked in the wonderful view. An extraordinary final day for an extraordinary stop! I will cherish the memories made in Singapore for years to come.
Kevin Kearns #244