SINGAPORE - For two hours on Sunday (Aug 7), Mr Murugesan Sethurajan solved puzzles and played other games with three Singaporeans and a compatriot from Bangladesh at Tuas View Dormitory.
The team of five competed in an Amazing Race-styled competition against other teams, each one a mix of foreign workers and Singaporeans.
"It's very exciting and I feel very happy to participate in this event," said the 27-year-old construction worker from India, who arrived in Singapore six months ago. "It's the first time I've joined an activity organised here and I'm thankful to the organisers and my team mates," he added.
He was one of 200 foreign workers from the dormitory who took part in the competition, aimed at promoting social integration between Singaporeans and foreigners. They were joined by 300 tertiary students and youths from SportCares Foundation and community partners, who participated in the games or volunteered.
The games included solving puzzles such as matching different national flags to each country's national sport or local delicacies, and guessing which year National Day was held based on the National Day logos.
The sports activities included group skipping and obstacle courses.
The teams competed to complete as many of the 29 games within the two hours, with the top three taking home a trophy and cash vouchers.
The first of its kind, the event was jointly organised by SportCares Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Sport Singapore, and Tuas View Dormitory. It was also part of GetActive! Singapore, a week-long series of sporting activities held in the lead-up to the nation's birthday.
Event organisers catered popular local food, such as chicken rice, nasi lemak and muah chee - glutinous rice coated with ground peanuts. A photo booth was also set up for the teams to take photos.
One of the games masters at the event was Mr Junior Yuen, 17, who volunteered with 24 other members of his soccer team from Republic Polytechnic.
"I felt very amazed that so many Singaporeans and foreigners are able to come together and bond, in spite of the language barrier," said the student, who sometimes used hand signals to explain the games to the workers.
Mr R. Subra, director of operations at TS Group, which operates the dormitory, said he looks forward to organising more such events for the workers and Singaporeans to interact.
"This is their home, they're toiling very hard at work sites, so if the management can do something for them... we can (help to) take care of their welfare," he said.
Another games master was Mr Sivagnanam Babu, 27, a foreign worker from India who has worked in Singapore for five years as an administrative assistant.
Having become proficient in English during his stay here, Mr Babu acted as the go-between for Singaporeans and foreign workers who could not speak English well during the games.
He said: "Singaporeans and foreigners mixing is very good because they don't really interact much (in daily life)."