SINGAPORE: As Singapore fights to stem the spread of COVID-19, Switzerland's Matterhorn has provided a ray of hope in solidarity with the country.
Every night, the mountain in the Swiss Alps has been illuminated with projections of images, including the flags of countries around the world - and in the early hours of Friday (Apr 24), it was Singapore's turn.
A photo showing the Southeast Asian nation's flag projected onto the peak of the 4,478m high mountain was posted on Switzerland Tourism's Facebook page, with an accompanying post offering words of encouragement.
"In the city-state Singapore, different ethnic groups live together peacefully," said the post. "The country is well organised and clean: Similar characteristics are attributed to Switzerland.
"We show solidarity with the people of Singapore and send a sign of hope."
The illuminations are the work of artist Gerry Hofstetter, who kicked off the initiative last month by projecting the Swiss flag onto the mountain.
Since then, other countries including the United States, Japan and Italy have had their flags beamed onto the Matterhorn.
Other designs including the words "hope", "solidarity" and "stay home" have also been shone on the peak.
The town of Zermatt, home to the Matterhorn, said the mountain represented strength and stability.
"The Matterhorn has always been a symbol of Switzerland and a place of strength and stability," said Zermatt Tourism in its introduction to the project. "Zermatt is convinced: As strong as the Matterhorn, so strong must the society stand together, be anchored and let the storm pass."
"With the illumination, Zermatt wants to give people a sign of hope and solidarity in this difficult time of the coronavirus pandemic."
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Friday expressed his appreciation for the gesture.
"Thank you to the Swiss town of Zermatt for the beautiful show of solidarity during the COVID-19 pandemic! It’s quite a sight for the Singapore flag to light up the majestic Matterhorn," he wrote in a Facebook post.
"We have no mountains or snow on our sunny island. But we are both small nations depending on our people and wits for a living.
"We stand with Switzerland and all countries in the battle against this disease. Together, we can overcome this."
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat called the act a "ray of light" and thanked Switzerland for its solidarity.
"A ray of light in the cold darkness, a torch for humanity in times of adversity," said Mr Heng. "Thank you, Switzerland - for your sign of solidarity and for sending a beacon of hope, to Singapore and to countries around the world who are fighting COVID-19."