Fill Me In
Over the past few months, the migrant workers in Singapore have been under lockdown due to the spread of COVID-19. As the number of cases in the community has been steadily decreasing, these migrant workers have gradually resumed their work. Over the past few weeks, Singaporeans have been showing their solidarity towards these migrant workers through simple gestures of friendship.
Sharing snacks with migrant workers in mid-air
Just this week, a lady shared snacks with two migrant workers who were doing maintenance work on a gondola outside her flat. In her Facebook post, she shared, “we can make friends anywhere, even if they are hanging in the mid air… every day presents us with an opportunity to show kindness.” The items that she passed to the migrant workers consisted of biscuits, packet drinks, and bananas. Both migrant workers received her gesture with a smile on their faces — which goes to show that these little gestures indeed go a long way.
Playing board games with migrant workers
On the note of small but meaningful gestures, a young girl was also spotted playing board games with migrant workers while they waited for the rain to stop. The incident was posted on Facebook by Yang Kaiheng, owner of local ramen chain Takagi Ramen. The little girl in the picture was Yang’s cousin, who took the initiative to befriend the migrant workers who were doing construction work at Yang’s aunt’s house. According to Yang’s post, his cousin would call them by their names, offer them drinks, and play board games with them during their breaks.
Yang noted that his cousin was not influenced by the “irrational but common fears” that some people in Singapore would have about migrant workers, due to the high prevalence of COVID-19 cases in migrant worker dormitories.
He added that while his cousin’s friendship with the migrant workers may be “simple and inevitably transient”, it reminded him about the importance of teaching kindness to the younger generation, as we tend to forget or refuse to be gracious out of “plain ignorance”.
Repurposing NDP packs for migrant workers
Local community cooperative, A Good Space has also kickstarted the #SGgratitudepack campaign, which involved the repurposing of 2,400 NDP packs that were distributed to migrant workers in early September.
To better understand and meet the needs of the migrant workers, the organisers contacted a group of workers to identify the items they needed, which included masks, power banks, kettles, and rice cookers.
Former Member of Parliament, Ms Anthea Ong, shared her thoughts about the initiative on her Instagram after meeting some of the volunteers from AstraZeneca Singapore who were involved in the distribution of repurposed NDP packs. “It’s way more than just packing and giving of the packs — it’s about this shared belief that we can and must do better as a society for our migrant workers, and a collective acknowledgement and gratitude that their prolonged confinement is for our good, but at a severe cost to their wellbeing.”