by Marilyn Peh on

Most days, Aprine Tan can be found bustling around a hospital, tending to her patients as an orthopaedic doctor.

When the doctor’s robe comes off, however, the 29-year-old happily wears her other hats, first as a lifelong dancer, and now, a cheerleader for kindness.

The mastermind behind Singapore’s very own World Kindness Day celebration this year, Tan was responsible for the curious scene that took place outside Ngee Ann City on a busy Sunday afternoon on Nov 12.

Without warning, a group of people clad in bright orange T-shirts had emerged and frozen in different poses, from giving each other high fives to tying their friend’s shoelaces and helping someone who had fallen down.

Then, when the music was cued, the group burst into an energetic dance before dispersing into the crowd.

Explaining the poses, Tan told The Pride: “It’s basically to show that there are many opportunities to be kind around us. No gesture is too small to make a difference.”

Called Dance for Kindness (DFK), the freeze and flash mob is choreographed by Life Vest Inside, a New York-based non-profit, and performed in countries around the world to mark World Kindness Day each year. World Kindness Day falls on Nov 13.

While past years’ efforts in Singapore were led by the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM), the local non-profit had taken a break from helming the event this year.

So it fell to Tan, who had no prior connection to SKM, to lead Singapore’s charge. Inspired by the DFK event she participated in while in Sydney two years ago, she rallied a few good friends and sought to bring the event to life here, despite her own lack of experience.

“Balancing work and doing this was really out of my comfort zone. I had never organised a public event like this, which is very different from what I do at work,” she admitted.

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In the month leading up to the big day, the spunky young doctor engaged volunteers on social media, put out event listings and held two rehearsals for participants, who included many working adults.

In addition to volunteering their personal time, many among the 50-odd volunteers had little to no background in dance, while a few others were young parents who came with their babies in tow.

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The dancers gave out small cards reminding recipients to do small acts of kindness. Image Source: Jonathan Soon

Volunteer Hayashi-Ong Shijie, 28, brought her six-month-old son to the flashmob and found it a fun yet meaningful way to spread the message of kindness.

The freelance baker and babywearing dance instructor especially hoped that although still young, her son would learn to be kind to others as he grows up. She told The Pride: “Kindness starts with us parents, and it’s our responsibility to teach our children that. I thought it would be nice to start young and bring him along to participate in this event.”

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Can a dance for kindness touch lives and make a real impact?

If anything, Tan believes it’s a timely reminder that acts of kindness can be carried out in spite of the busy lives we lead.

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Image Source: Kuang Jingkai

She said: “Not just in Singapore, but in general, I find that people tend to get caught up in our work and our daily lives such that we don’t really notice others around us.

“In actual fact, it is the little things we do that can really brighten up someone else’s day.”