Healthier ketupat given to needy in Woodlands as part of drive against diabetes

Sembawang GRC grassroots adviser Amrin Amin gives a pack of ketupat to rental flat resident Lee Zhi Xin, 64.
Sembawang GRC grassroots adviser Amrin Amin gives a pack of ketupat to rental flat resident Lee Zhi Xin, 64.ST PHOTO : JONATHAN CHOO

SINGAPORE - The scent of fresh ketupat and chicken rendang filled the air at the Woodlands Galaxy Community Club hall on Wednesday afternoon, as more than 100 volunteers packed the food for distribution to rental flats to spread the spirit of Ramadan

The event, Share-A-Ketupat Rendang, is an annual affair which started in 2016. This year, a van drivers club called Abam Abam Van Singapura and a motorcycle interest group called Adventure Riders Singapore were roped in to help with the deliveries to 180homes.

The afternoon's heavy rain did little to dampen spirits, and the skies cleared in time for the smooth delivery of 3,000 ketupat by a fleet of some six vans and 30 motorbikes.

Volunteers included new immigrants such as Ms Wang Yi, 49, who arrived from Beijing five years ago. She was seen gingerly putting together ketupat, which consists of rice packed inside tightly wound palm leaves.

"It's my first time making rice dumplings," said Ms Wang, who volunteered at the event with her daughter Zhao Jiayi, 18, who is a Secondary 4 student.

"I've learnt about Malay folk stories from my new friends today," said Jiayi.

Mr Lee Zhi Xin, 64, was one of the rental flat residents who received the gift.

"All I can say is thanks, really," said Mr Lee, who is unemployed and stays alone. He said he sometimes has plain bread for meals.

The event also aims to promote healthy eating by substituting some of the white rice in the ketupat with brown rice and using less oil and sugar in the rendang.

"There is a growing problem of diabetes in Singapore and everyone has a part to play to ensure diabetes is controlled," said Mr Amrin Amin, grassroots adviser for Sembawang GRC and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Home Affairs, who initiated the project three years ago.