21 August 2015

Migrant workers and Singaporeans spotted celebrating SG50 together!

21 August 2015

Singaporeans across the island celebrated the Republic’s 50th birthday over the long Golden Jubilee weekend. While many headed down to Padang and the Marina Bay area to catch the various activities, our migrant workers too celebrated the occasion enthusiastically in their own way.

Celebration begins…

In the northern part of Singapore, the celebration at Woodlands Recreation Centre, held on Friday, 7 August, drew a large crowd. Migrant workers from neighbouring dormitories were treated to many performances at the recreation centre from as early as 5 p.m. when the centre was transformed into a music arena providing entertainment for the workers. By 7 p.m., the venue was filled with thousands of workers who were entertained with dance performances, a magic show and songs.

Bangladeshi worker Mijee Mohammed Rubel, 25, was spotted wearing an “I Love SG” tee-shirt and dancing with his friends to a Bangladeshi song. He said, “I have been working in Singapore for seven months and this is the first time I got to watch a variety show that plays Bangladeshi music.”

In Singapore, the best way to bond is to lepak or chill with friends and makan (eat) together. On National Day, many of our foreign workers were able to do just that.

At Kaki Bukit Recreation Centre, workers were given a National Day fun pack, filled with snacks, and a packet of chicken briyani each.

Over at Penjuru Recreation Centre in the West, hundreds of migrant workers were spotted queuing for seats to a National Day concert. They were surprised with door gifts of an earphone and a lucky draw ticket. The workers were entertained with songs and dances from the different ethnic groups and a live band.

The SCAL Recreation Centre at Soon Lee Road, saw a crowd of 4,000 workers celebrate our National Day despite the wet weather.  Apart from an ongoing cricket match and a movie screening, there was also a concert to entertain the workers.

Bangladeshi worker, Al-Amin Abdur Rob Prodhan, could not resist the lure of Marina Bay to catch a glimpse of National Day celebrations. But he returned to SCAL Recreation Centre in the evening with his friends. The 32-year-old marine trades worker said, “This is my ninth year in Singapore and I am happy to be part of this SG50 celebration”.

The spirit of togetherness…

On the morning of 8th and 10th August, dormitory operator D Wall Pte Ltd and Geylang Adventures co-organised a cooking event for our foreign workers and Singaporeans at Woodlands Lodge 2 and North Coast dormitories, respectively.

The event “Majulah Belanja” aimed to raise awareness and understanding of our migrant workers and their culture through food. It was an interesting and educational event, which brought Singaporeans and workers together. From what we saw, this ground-up project was a success.

Daniel Tan, Managing Director of D Wall Pte Ltd said, “It is good to see them interacting with one another. This event is also our gesture of appreciation to the migrant workers for helping to build Singapore all these years.”

The youngest participant at the event was an 8-year-old Singaporean boy, Lee Weng Ern, who came with his parents and 11-year-old sister. Weng Ern shyly commented that he enjoyed interacting with his new friends and cooking the food together. “Actually, my role is to peel the garlic. I hope to join future events like this.” said Weng Ern.

Cai Yinzhou, 25, the sole proprietor of social enterprise, Geylang Adventures, shared that the cooking event was to bridge the gap between migrant workers and Singaporeans. He said, “Migrant workers do have something to share such as their culture and food. Singaporeans connect well with food and cooking is a very good way for both Singaporeans and migrant workers to meet each other, interact and share their culture by cooking and eating the food together.”

Construction worker Kamarul Hasan, 24, who has been working in Singapore for the past four years, had this to say about Singapore: “Singaporeans are actually very good. Singapore is a peaceful country with no fights, politics and I enjoyed interacting with my Singaporean friends Jasper and Giselle.”

Alexander Wu, dormitory manager of D Wall Pte Ltd said, “Migrant workers are appreciative of this event because through this, they are able to integrate into society. We hope to do more of such events in future.”

Regardless of race, language or religion…

The Golden Jubilee weekend might be over, but for the workers, the memories of the fun weekend will stay in their minds for awhile.

Happy 50th birthday, Singapore! And to all migrant workers here in Singapore, we are glad you all had a great long weekend too.

“I would like to thank the migrant workers for helping to build Singapore. This is definitely a different exposure for me and I hope the workers can feel our appreciation towards them.”

Mdm Low Siew Noi, 58
Singaporean Participant

“Some people distance themselves away from migrant workers. This is the first time we are participating in such an event where we need to interact with workers, sit at the same table and eat their food. This is definitely inspiring for both of us and we enjoyed it.”

Jasper Wong,  25 and Giselle Sim, 25
Singaporean Participants

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