Maids join in Mid-Autumn festivities

Maid Rita Sahara, 37, sampling some halal mooncake at a Mid-Autumn Festival bazaar at the Fast Clubhouse yesterday. The Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (Fast) organised a series of activities for 250 maids.
Maid Rita Sahara, 37, sampling some halal mooncake at a Mid-Autumn Festival bazaar at the Fast Clubhouse yesterday. The Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (Fast) organised a series of activities for 250 maids. PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Tampines GRC MP Desmond Choo giving a high five to Madam Hermin, 80, at the “Inter-Generation Mooncake Making” booth at a Mid-Autumn Festival fair in Tampines yesterday.
Tampines GRC MP Desmond Choo giving a high five to Madam Hermin, 80, at the “Inter-Generation Mooncake Making” booth at a Mid-Autumn Festival fair in Tampines yesterday.PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
At Gardens by the Bay, a team of four graphic designers won a lantern-painting contest. Inspired by multicultural Singapore, they incorporated Indian henna and Malay batik elements into a Chinese porcelain design on their lantern (front). Fifty teams
At Gardens by the Bay, a team of four graphic designers won a lantern-painting contest. Inspired by multicultural Singapore, they incorporated Indian henna and Malay batik elements into a Chinese porcelain design on their lantern (front). Fifty teams took part in the contest. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Fair, lantern walk and music shows held across the island to mark Chinese festival

Foreign domestic worker Jenny Ifurung does not like to eat mooncakes, but she spent part of her weekly day off yesterday distributing them to her peers.

The 39-year-old from the Philippines is one of the volunteers at the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (Fast) that organises activities at its clubhouse off Spottiswoode Park on Sundays for foreign domestic workers.

Yesterday, the non-government body organised a Mid-Autumn Festival event for 250 of them.

It threw a free buffet lunch, gave out mooncakes, arranged for vendors to sell cheap clothes and even invited Singtel to sell discounted smartphones to the workers.

"My employer, for whom I have worked for 15 years, is supportive of me spending my day off volunteering here," said Ms Ifurung.

WEEKLY PURSUIT

My employer, for whom I have worked for 15 years, is supportive of me spending my day off volunteering here.

MS JENNY IFURUNG, a foreign domestic worker and one of the volunteers at the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training, who helped distribute mooncakes at the group's Mid-Autumn Festival event

Other grassroots organisations also arranged activities to mark the Mid-Autumn Festival, a harvest festival traditionally celebrated by the Chinese community.

At Tampines, the Federation of Merchants' Associations Singapore and Tampines Street 11 Round Market Hawkers' and Merchants' Association held a two-day fair for 4,000 residents that included activities like mass snow-skin mooncake-making.

The People's Association, which backed the event, said such activities can help older residents bond with younger ones by having them talk about their memories of how they celebrated the tradition during their childhood.

In Chinatown, some 3,000 residents took part in another Mid-Autumn Festival tradition - carrying lanterns and walking around the neighbourhood. Along the 1km route, organiser Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Citizens Consultative Committee arranged song and dance performances to keep the participants entertained. The event ended with a fireworks display and the release of kong ming lanterns - paper lanterns resembling hot-air balloons.

At Gardens by the Bay, labour chief Chan Chun Sing pinned ribbons on the winning entries of a lantern-painting competition. They were made in the shape of the goat to represent this year's zodiac sign.

The Gardens by the Bay event, organised by Singapore Press Holdings' Chinese Media Group, runs until Oct 4. It includes nightly music performances by groups such as the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan, Nam Hwa Opera and the SPH Chinese Choir.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2015, with the headline 'Maids join in Mid-Autumn festivities'. Print Edition | Subscribe