Porridge distribution projects to spread Ramadan cheer

SINGAPORE - Malay grassroots organisations will work with immigrant associations to roll out 10 porridge distribution projects during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan this year, said Minister of State for Health Lam Pin Min on Saturday.

Calling the projects meaningful, Dr Lam said it will not only help promote the spirit of giving and helping the needy, but will also allow new immigrants to assimilate by interacting with Singaporeans and learning the significance of local ethnic and cultural practices.

He made the remarks at a talk about integration, organised by the People's Association (PA).

Speaking to more than 1,000 people including grassroots leaders, representatives of immigrant associations and students at the ITE College Central, Dr Lam urged Singaporeans and new citizens alike to work with the Government on social integration.

He said: "Integration is a two-way process...while new citizens need to learn and accept the Singapore way of life so as to integrate better into our society, local Singaporeans must also put in effort to encourage and welcome new citizens to step forward and be active members of the community."

And because Singapore must continue to attract new immigrants so as to survive, given its ageing population and low birth rates, social integration thus becomes critical, he added, as he noted the role of the PA in promoting integration.

Part of its efforts this year is the Happy Project 50 initiative - a series of 50 community service programmes jointly created by grassroots organisations and immigrant associations, of which the 10 porridge distribution projects come under.

waltsim@sph.com.sg