In Singapore, youth fold paper flowers to promote religious harmony

SINGAPORE — Young members of the Bahá’í community here recently gave support to a national interfaith project aimed at bringing Singaporeans of all races and religions together.

About 40 youth gathered at the Singapore Bahá’í Center on 15 April 2006 to fold paper lotuses as part of the Project Million Lotus 2006, which is sponsored by the Singapore Buddhist Federation.

The effort aimed to have young people of all races and religions make a million paper lotuses as symbols of purity and harmony.

“The idea of folding a paper lotus is taken from the symbolic meaning of a lotus that grows in muddy water and yet emerges into a pure and beautiful flower,” said Lynette Thomas, Secretary of The Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Singapore.

“Every lotus folded is like a wish for harmony that unites all people in Singapore,”

—Lynette Thomas, Bahá’í community of Singapore.

“Every lotus folded is like a wish for harmony that unites all people in Singapore,” said Ms. Thomas. “Each of the nine major religions has been invited to open up their centers for one Saturday to host youth from other communities to come and fold paper lotuses.”

Ms. Thomas said in addition to the 15 April event, Bahá’í study circles have also folded lotuses for the project. She said more than 4,000 lotuses were contributed by Bahá’ís.

The 40 young people who gathered at the Singapore Bahá’í Center included many from Chung Cheng High School who are not Bahá’ís.

“Regarding the million Lotus project, I think it is a very meaningful one,” said Sabrina Han, one of the Bahá’í youth who participated on 15 April, saying it brings “many youth from different religions together.”

Anita Kuppusamy, another Bahá’í who participated on 15 April, said she found that the effort led to meeting many new friends. “Though I had a hard time folding the lotuses at first, I got better at it after folding a few,” she said. “The center was filled with energetic youth and I was glad to be one of them.”

The project has received support from Singaporean President S.R. Nathan, as well as from the Central Singapore Community Development Council, Trust Central, the Inter-Religious Organisation of Singapore, and several Singapore corporations.

 “It has provided a great opportunity to learn more about the peace-loving religion of Buddhism and to interact with Buddhist youth,” said Ms. Thomas.