May Day celebrations

Migrant workers feted for their contributions

Volunteers working with Project Chulia Street, which aims to provide good nutrition, dental care and skills classes for migrant workers here, organised games (above) for all to take part in; Right: Mr Saminathan Muruganandan (centre), 40, receives hi
Volunteers working with Project Chulia Street, which aims to provide good nutrition, dental care and skills classes for migrant workers here, organised games (above) for all to take part in.PHOTOS: KEVIN LIM, ALICIA CHAN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Volunteers working with Project Chulia Street, which aims to provide good nutrition, dental care and skills classes for migrant workers here, organised games (above) for all to take part in; Right: Mr Saminathan Muruganandan (centre), 40, receives hi
Mr Saminathan Muruganandan (centre), 40, receives his lucky draw prize from Soil-Build assistant site manager Jim Estanislao at an appreciation event organised by site engineer Timothy Toh (left).PHOTOS: KEVIN LIM, ALICIA CHAN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Non-profit groups, individuals hold series of events to thank them

From curry and ice cream dinners to art exhibitions and poetry recitals, a series of events were held over the May Day weekend to celebrate Singapore's migrant workers.

Non-profit organisations and individuals put together occasions big and small to thank them for their contributions and to highlight their achievements to the public.

On Friday, site engineer Timothy Toh, 26, and colleagues from construction company Soil-Build held a thank-you tea for about 30 Indian workers at their site. The event included a lucky draw and gift presentation.

At two large dormitories, locals and foreign workers shared dinner over the weekend.

Two friends, Ms Kari Tamura Chua, 26, and Mr Calvin Tay, 29, together with HealthServe, a group offering health services to migrant workers, put together an art exhibition, dormitory tours and dinner at Westlite Dormitory in Mandai.

Ben & Jerry's also donated almost 2,000 scoops of ice cream which were served on Saturday evening.

Last night, some 70 members of the public ate local dishes such as prata and kueh tutu with about 500 residents at the dormitory, where they were also treated to musical performances.

University student Toh Hui Ran, 22, who ate mee goreng with the group, said: "They are here to work and to earn a living but they are not really integrated into our society. There seems to be an unnecessary rift.

"I've made friends today. They may not be very lasting friendships but I hope the interaction was pleasant for them too."

Mr Mannu Sheble Sadek, 23, a Bangladeshi construction worker who does stand-up comedy as a hobby, said: "Singaporeans usually don't say hi to us, they just walk past. Today I'm very happy and excited to talk to Singaporeans and foreigners."

At Westlite Dormitory in Toh Guan yesterday, 45 volunteers helped new non-profit group Project Chulia Street dish out fish head curry with fortified rice to around 2,000 workers.

The group was started last month and aims to provide good nutrition, dental care and skills classes for migrant workers here.

"Kerby", the Kerbside Gourmet food truck, also made an appearance at the dormitory as owner Luan Ee and volunteers served fish burgers.

Meanwhile, Bangladeshi newspaper Banglar Kantha's Literary and Cultural Group last night held a photo exhibition and poetry recital, while the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics hosted a dinner for about 30 Bangladeshi town council cleaners.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 02, 2016, with the headline 'Migrant workers feted for their contributions'. Print Edition | Subscribe