SINGAPORE - Strict Covid-19 regulations are again in place but 2,600 or so migrant workers across 30 factory-converted dormitories still enjoyed a slap-up meal and a free lungi (sarong) to mark Hari Raya Puasa on Thursday (May 13).
The annual festive distribution organised by Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach (AGWO) used contactless drop-offs amid safety measures to combat the recent outbreak of Covid-19 among dorm residents.
Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) Deputy Mufti Ustaz Mohammad Hannan Hassan dropped in at a Tuas dorm where 100 meals and lungis were distributed. He also thanked the construction workers for their cooperation in keeping cases low.
"Before Covid-19, on Hari Raya, they would be on the fields playing cricket and having fun with their friends, but today, (it is not possible), so we want to stand together with them during this difficult time and to encourage them to keep going," he said.
But he noted that this year's Hari Raya was a marked improvement from last year, which fell seven weeks into Singapore's circuit breaker period, when measures were even stricter and most workers remained in their residences.
"Last year, we were unable to meet or perform our morning prayers together. This year, it's better, although still limited, and we're grateful for that," said Dr Hannan.
"We understand everyone wants to go out and visit, but we've done this for a year. So let's continue to do this and be patient."
Hope Initiative Alliance president Reverend Ezekiel Tan commended the 98 residents of the Tuas dorm workers for their nation-building contribution to Singapore:
"We were keen to come here to bring the community spirit to these workers who have made sacrifices to be in Singapore, leaving behind their family and friends.
"We want to show our appreciation to them and also affirm them for their cooperation in keeping Singapore safe.
"Without their contribution, the construction industry will be even more delayed and hindered in its recovery process."
AGWO was also out in force in the lead-up to Hari Raya Puasa, delivering festive meals and gifts to workers in 14 dorms who are still mostly confined to their residences except when they leave for work.