Labouring through the night

Labouring through the night
PHOTO: Facebook

In the wee hours of the morning, they were still hard at work.

The dedication of a group of workers repairing the road along Tampines Avenue 10 stopped Ms Chen Wen Yun while she was heading home from supper after 2.30am last September.

She stopped her husband from driving to photograph them in action.

One of these photos became her entry for last week's Big Picture contest theme Our Everyday Stars, which called for submissions showcasing the ordinary heroes among us in Singapore.

"This is the time when we are sleeping, yet this group of workers are working overnight just to make the roads better for the drivers to drive on tomorrow," said the 37-year-old interior designer.

"We see them every day - be it doing construction, road works or cleaning - but many Singaporeans take them for granted. They are doing work every day for us to make our lives easier, so I find that they are the unsung heroes."

Ms Chen's shot impressed the judges of the Big Picture, who picked it as the winner of last week's contest.

She won the $500 prize for this year-long competition organised by The New Paper and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth to encourage Singaporeans to document everyday life in the city.


For judge Caroline Chia, this photo stood out amongst the many "heartening" entries of how foreign workers toil to keep Singapore going.

"It shows the endless work that they do to contribute to our country. I like that the photographer chose to take a night shot to convey the never-ending work that is going on around us," she said.

Also impressed was judge Chuang Lee Jen, who called the picture a "salute" to those who work at odd hours when most of us are asleep.

The entry was only his runner-up pick, however, as his winner was Mr Hang Loo Ming's photograph of a cleaner working in a hawker centre.

There was a tie between Miss Chen's and Mr Hang's photos after one round of judging as the judges had all shortlisted different entries to win.

It was up to judge Desmond Lui to cast the tie-breaking vote, and he went for Miss Chen's photo because it was well-composed and he liked how her use of a slow shutter speed "adds visual interest and hint at a passing of time".

Mr Lui's original winner was Mr Ed Cheong's "humorous and charming" picture of an elderly woman coolly lounging on a seat at Orchard Gateway instead.

To see all of last week's other finalists, visit The Big Picture's website at

This article was first published on July 21, 2015.
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