Migrant workers belt out national anthem in video to celebrate S'pore's 56th birthday

Migrant worker Jasim Uddin came to Singapore in 2007 and works in the construction industry. PHOTO: COURTESY OF MR JASIM UDDIN

SINGAPORE - Before the pandemic hit Singapore last year, migrant worker Jasim Uddin used to celebrate National Day by watching the fireworks display with friends in Marina Bay.

Life outside the workplace for the 33-year-old Bangladeshi is now mostly confined to a dormitory in Kaki Bukit, where he lives under movement restrictions set by the authorities to fight the virus.

But Mr Jasim has still found a way to mark National Day this year, appearing in a video by non-profit group ItsRainingRaincoats (IRR) that features him singing the national anthem along with around 31 other workers and volunteers.

The video was posted on IRR's social media pages on Thursday (Aug 5).

ItsRainingRaincoats was set up in 2015 to improve the lives of migrant workers and integrate them into the local community.

The two-minute video, which took a month to complete, is aimed at paying tribute to the workers' contributions towards the development of Singapore, said IRR founder Dipa Swaminathan, who is Singaporean.

"Even though they may not be Singaporean by passport, they're the ones who built our homes, offices, hotels - everything we enjoy is built by them. Through this video, I wanted to show that we're all one, even though we are from different backgrounds," said the 49-year-old lawyer.

Mr Jasim, who came to Singapore in 2007 and works in the construction industry, volunteered to take part in the video after hearing about it as he wanted to show his appreciation for Singaporeans.

"The Singaporeans I've met don't treat us migrant workers as foreigners. When I'm working at the housing blocks, the residents who pass by sometimes give us snacks - they're very welcoming to me," said Mr Jasim, who used to volunteer at organisations like the Singapore Red Cross Society before Covid-19 struck.

Said Ms Dipa: "For workers who are still under restrictions and feeling sad , we hope this event will encourage them and show them that they're welcomed in Singapore - we treat them as one of our own and we're all here for one another."

On July 30, IRR also arranged to provide 6,000 meals to migrant workers in a collaboration with hot-food redemption programme Project Belanja to celebrate National Day.

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