Maids from 3 nations celebrate their New Year

Ms Iek Saron, a Cambodian domestic helper, sprinkling water as a blessing on Cambodian Ambassador to Singapore Ngoun Sokveng. The MC for the event was Mr Nizam Amlan of non-profit group Fast.
Ms Iek Saron, a Cambodian domestic helper, sprinkling water as a blessing on Cambodian Ambassador to Singapore Ngoun Sokveng. The MC for the event was Mr Nizam Amlan of non-profit group Fast.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Domestic worker Iek Saron last celebrated the Khmer New Year at home two years ago but she did not let that stop her from enjoying the festivities here yesterday.

Ms Iek, 32, was among some 300 foreign domestic workers - not just from her native Cambodia but from Myanmar and Sri Lanka as well - at a combined celebration organised by Fast, a Singapore non-profit organisation.

The event commemorated the Khmer New Year; Myanmar's Thingyan festival, which marks its new year; and the Sri Lankan Sinhalese New Year, which all fell in April.

"I miss home and I wish I could see my family, especially my daughter who is seven years old," said Ms Iek, who came here to work in 2017.

She added that she enjoyed the musical performances and games at the event held at the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (Fast) Clubhouse in Jalan Bukit Merah.

She was even invited to sprinkle water on Cambodia's Ambassador to Singapore, Mr Ngoun Sokveng, as a blessing.

There were traditional desserts laid out for the guests as well as dance performances and two lucky draws.

 

Fast vice-president Helen Tan told the gathering: "Celebrating the festivities of the different nationalities of foreign domestic workers working in Singapore is a regular feature of Fast's attempts to help our workers feel a sense of home away from home."

She also called for a minute's silence as a mark of respect for the victims of last month's Sri Lanka Easter weekend bombings and their family members.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 06, 2019, with the headline 'Maids from 3 nations celebrate their New Year'. Print Edition | Subscribe