In the past, every society relied upon labels to identify products that came in jars, cans and boxes. Today’s labels include consumer instructions on how to use a product. Others articulate usage parameters or issue warnings to make sure that nobody gets hurt by using the product.
But these days, people can easily get hurt rather than saved as a result of labels, thus even the word “label” has taken on new meaning in the 21st Century.
You’ve probably seen for yourself the tragic, heartbreaking result of rumor spreading, name calling, crime and other nefarious behaviours that put people down or cause them so much pain, suicide too often becomes the only recourse for people falling victim to all sorts of discrimination and the labels associated with them.
An Untold Story
Consider Min, the bright, precocious, eldest daughter of a Singapore family who, even in her earliest years, became a target of ridicule, simply because she was “different.”
Despite a college education, Min never felt that she fit in anywhere, so when rumours about her sexuality exploded on the blogosphere, the years she endured feeling like an outsider culminated in behaviours that left her parents ashamed and in despair.
Min lost her job. She took up with the wrong crowd and wound up jail when she was picked up on charges related to Singapore’s Misuses of Drugs Act, passed by Parliament in 1973. With no family to back her up and no reason to live, Min served her sentence and upon release, she ended her life a suicide, unable to come up with a single reason to live.
So Ask Yourself This Question: Do Labels Destroy Lives?
The answer is evident which is why Singapore has finally begun to address this topic after years of sweeping it under the rug.
Always on the forefront of remedying social ills, Singapore’s running community began attacking this epidemic head-on with this unique response: staging the Unlabelled Run 2016 to raise awareness and call attention to disenfranchised members of Singapore society.
How entrenched has the Unlabelled Run become since it was announced this year? Very. This high-profile call to runners and citizens alike to examine their own prejudices and turn out for a day of sport that benefits Singapore’s least fortunate has grown exponentially with every passing year.
The Unlabelled Run 2016
Organized by ex-offenders under the auspices of the non-profit The New Charis Mission (TNCM), this run is all about saving the lives of victims like Min and the thousands of other men, women and children who fall through the cracks as a result of being labeled: at-risk youth, families, prisoners, ex-offenders, the elderly and other vulnerable souls.
What can you expect if you decide to move a few mountains of social injustice on your own? More than you can imagine! By taking part in either the 5k Fun Run or 10k Competitive run on 16 April 2016 (Time: from 06:00 to 12:00 hours), you send a strong and powerful message to the world that labels don’t matter. People do.
Personally, you will also have the opportunity to put into practice the Unlabelled Run’s theme: “It’s not how you start, but how you finish the race that matters.”
Think about it. When were you last helped by someone else or given a second chance? You don’t have to be plagued by failure, crime, addiction or social biases to know how that feels, so grab this chance to help others by doing what you love most, running for a worthy cause!
Show up at East Coast Park East Coast Park (Angsana Green) on 16 April and you’ll immediately begin changing lives just by your participation. Besides, you’re going to have an awfully good time that day, running to keep programmes and services offered by TNCM moving forward to help others.
Entry fees are modest and affordable at S$30 and S$50, but what price can be attached to events offering hope to those who feel hopeless?
Come early for the contest to see how many tattooed runners show up. Dip an arm into a bucket so a temporary hydro tattoo sleeve is imprinted as a show of affection for those who aren’t as fortunate as you.
Unlabelled the label
In a single morning, help bring joy to the elderly, encourage youthful dreams and assist in the rehabilitation of people written off as unsalvageable. People like Min. After all, she might have been saved had she found a way to escape her label.
Of course, no run would be complete without entitlements and 10th anniversary Unlabelled Run bounty won’t disappoint: Score a Compressports singlet, race bag, finisher’s medal and more each item a reminder of the generosity and empathy you’ve shown toward people eager to put their lives back on track.
In conjunction with this event, use whatever energy you have left after running to dance to the tunes of The Scarlet Avenue Band, have your photo snapped at the photo booth and enjoy other free activities planned to fill your day with fun and meaning.
There are many Mins to be saved, but thanks to efforts put forth by TNCM’s ambitious programs, this agency plans to forge ahead on its mission to salvage lives, and you become part of this goal the day you run your own race at the Unlabelled Run of 2016.
In Min’s memory, we urge you to visit the Unlabelled Run official website and sign up for one of the most meaningful runs on Singapore’s 2016 running calendar. Bring friends. Nothing is more worthy of your time and participation than this event!
Would you be willing to share the story of someone who transcended labeling and built a bright future thanks to the help of others? We would very much like to read their story.