Food reunites people. In Singapore, where everyone proclaims to be a foodie, it’s not uncommon to hear people use food as a conversation starter to break the ice. In this part of the world, we ask “Have you eaten?” instead of ‘How’s the weather today?”. In Asia, food often carry special significances and it’s almost unthinkable if a happy occasion is found lacking of food. For example, we distribute red eggs to loved ones after a child’s birth to celebrate the couple’s fertility; we eat noodles (or ‘mee suah’) to symbolise longevity on birthdays, we fill the table with fish, duck, chicken, abalone and other rich food during reunion dinners to usher in abundance for the New Year. As a family, we enjoy huddling over a yummy steamboat meal at home, regardless CNY or not.
|Photo credit: The Real Reunion
To commemorate the International Year of the Family (2014), a team of four final year students from NTU, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information set out on a social initiative campaign to strengthen family bonds through family meals and to debunk the myth that reunion dinners are only an annual affair. We like their proposition that any simple meal that brings family members together is a reunion dinner and you can have reunion dinners daily if you wish to! It needn’t be elaborate or extravagant. What matters most is that each of us make time to dine with our family.
Research done by the team shows that 97% of Singaporean youths (aged between 18 to 25) agree that it is important to spend time with their family but only a shocking 9% have family meals together with their parents everyday. Although majority know the importance of family relationships; many lack the motivation or time to foster strong ties with their family (due to busy work and school schedules). Recognising food as an important motivator for most Singaporeans, the team worked hard at sharing their campaign messages to youths studying in all the major tertiary institutions in Singapore, urging them to pledge time to invite their parents our for a meal. Over 1000 youths have participated in this initiative to date. How inspiring!
Their campaign was so successful that it has even caught the attention of our Prime Minister and given a mention at the recent NTU Ministerial Forum.
|Photo Credit: The Real Reunion
“I am happy that “The Real Reunion” team at NTU are doing something to encourage families to bond over meals. A “Real Reunion” indeed transcends race, culture and tradition. In this International Year of the Family, let us cherish not just festive holidays but also everyday moments with our family, and our extended family to.” – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
We were privileged to be invited to their finale event last night where we enjoyed a boisterous reunion dinner in the company of other parent bloggers as one big family. We have often interacted ‘virtually’ on social media but it’s the first time we are having reunion dinners together. What a joyful reunion it proved to be! PrincessDanaDiaries is always happy to support a good cause, and this is very close to our heart for one of our blogging ethos is ‘making memories for things that matter’. Spending time with our loved ones and enjoying a meal together rank very highly up there on our list of priorities.
|Photo Credit: Cheeky Monkies
We hope more families will pledge their support and make having regular ‘reunion dinners’ a normality and routine in our hectic lives.
Join their Facebook and Instagram Contest
From now till 12 March, submit photographs of your “favorite family dining moment” via The Real Reunion Facebook Page or post it on Instagram with hashtags #therealreunionsg and #osimsg along with a creative caption. Attractive prizes worth more than $5,000 to be won. For more details about The Real Reunion, do pop by their Official Website and Facebook Page.
A reunion dinner brings about family unity, harmony, love and strength. Have you had yours this week? If not, make it today and everyday!