70 youth distribute free ice-cream to migrant workers in Little India, a week after riot

Gaius Gay (right), 23, a volunteer at Free Movement, gives out ice cream to Md Shamim (centre, in pink), 32, a Bangladeshi construction worker who was checking out shops along Little India on his off day, on Dec 15, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: MARK
Gaius Gay (right), 23, a volunteer at Free Movement, gives out ice cream to Md Shamim (centre, in pink), 32, a Bangladeshi construction worker who was checking out shops along Little India on his off day, on Dec 15, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Gaius Gay (centre), 23, a volunteer at Free Movement, gives out ice cream to foreign workers at a shop along Race Course Road, on 15 December, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Gaius Gay (centre), 23, a volunteer at Free Movement, gives out ice cream to foreign workers at a shop along Race Course Road, on 15 December, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Gaius Gay (right), 23, a volunteer at Free Movement, gives out ice cream to (from left) Abdul Salam, 23, Mostafa Golam, 22 and Abdul Halim, 25, Bangladeshi workers who were having their meal along Race Course Road on Dec 15 2013. -- ST PHOTO:&nb
Gaius Gay (right), 23, a volunteer at Free Movement, gives out ice cream to (from left) Abdul Salam, 23, Mostafa Golam, 22 and Abdul Halim, 25, Bangladeshi workers who were having their meal along Race Course Road on Dec 15 2013. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

After the violence that took place in Little India on Dec 8, goodwill in the form of sticks of ice-cream were being distributed free-of-charge to migrant workers in the area on Sunday afternoon.

Led by communications and psychology student Isaac Ong, 25, some 70 youth volunteers handed out sticks of 'Potong' ice-cream to workers in the ethnic Indian enclave in a show of solidarity and to spread some cheer.

"We didn't want people to develop a prejudice against them, this is not the time for lines to be drawn," Mr Ong said. "Every aspect of society needs to play a part - the government, the police and for us as citizens, we can do something as well," added Mr Ong, who is also the founder of Colours Global, a social enterprise that organises volunteer trips to third world countries.

About 2,000 sticks of ice-creams, including durian, chendol and red bean flavours, were distributed from 5pm.

Construction worker from India, Mr Mari Muthu, said he was touched by the gesture. "I was not here during the riot but I still feel happy to get the sweet gift," said the 37-year-old.

In an additional show of support, civil society activists from volunteer group Workfair Singapore also distributed flowers along Race Course Road on Sunday evening. More than 10 activists from the group, including social worker Jolovan Wham and activist Vincent Wijeysingha, also laid wreaths at the site of the accident where Indian national Sakthivel Kumaravelu was killed after being run over by a bus. His death was believed to have sparked the Dec 8 riot in the Indian enclave.

Pointing to the cooling-off measures adopted after the riot, such as the alcohol ban and the suspension of private bus services from dormitories to Little India, Mr Wham said in a media statement: "We urge the authorities and employers to exercise restraint so that the migrant worker community is not unjustly targeted."