Gardens treat for lower-wage workers

Mr Fok Hup Seng, a hospital cleaner, touring the Christmas display at the Flower Dome in Gardens by the Bay yesterday with his daughter Xin Yi and sister Hup Yee, 66, a retiree. They were among 350 lower-income union members and their families at an
Mr Fok Hup Seng, a hospital cleaner, touring the Christmas display at the Flower Dome in Gardens by the Bay yesterday with his daughter Xin Yi and sister Hup Yee, 66, a retiree. They were among 350 lower-income union members and their families at an event at the Gardens organised by the National Trades Union Congress.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Union members and families tour attraction as part of NTUC event

Instead of watching videos at home, Secondary 2 student Fok Xin Yi, 14, spent yesterday morning taking in the sights and smells of the Flower Dome with her family.

She was given a free tour of the Christmas display in the dome at Gardens by the Bay with her father and aunt.

"It's very special because they have a lot of different species of flowers and trees and they told us about the background of the trees," she said.

They were among 350 lower-income union members and their families at an event at the Gardens organised by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).

Xin Yi's father, Mr Fok Hup Seng, 62, is a member of the Building Construction and Timber Industries Employees' Union.

The cleaner at Yishun Community Hospital earns about $1,100 a month and said he has visited the dome a couple of times before as part of other free activities. "I wouldn't come here on my own as it might be expensive," he added.

They may get another chance to visit the conservatories next year as NTUC is partnering Gardens by the Bay to give free tickets to the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest to about 237,000 less affluent union members, whose wages are in the lowest 25 per cent among all members.

  • 237,000

    Less affluent union members who will get free tickets to the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest next year.

The union members will each receive four tickets, which are available for redemption in several batches during the year.

NTUC did not say what the cut-off income level was. An adult ticket to visit the two cooled conservatories costs $20 for Singapore residents, and $15 for senior citizens.

The offer was announced by labour chief Ng Chee Meng yesterday at the family event.

Mr Ng, who is NTUC secretary-general, said in a speech that attractions like Gardens by the Bay, which receives about 1 million visitors each month, boost Singapore's tourism revenue and contribute to the economy so that the country has resources to pursue its interests, such as in national security.

He added that it is "important for us to appreciate that we have a safe and secure country".

Mr Ng, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, said a safe country gives the Government space to pursue its diplomatic policies, and allows Singapore to maintain a good economy.

"Let our union leaders encourage companies to put their best front forward, in making sure that we have a strong economy, in promoting the welfare of our workers, and in totality through tripartism we can create the best outcomes for our country," he said.

Gardens by the Bay chief executive Felix Loh said in a speech that he is glad to continue the vision of founding chief executive Kiat W. Tan, to ensure that not just a privileged few can visit the gardens.

"He wanted to make sure that Singaporeans can come any time to the most precious land in downtown Singapore, (that) all segments can come and enjoy it," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 20, 2018, with the headline 'Gardens treat for lower-wage workers'. Print Edition | Subscribe