Migrant workers get a sweet 'thank you'

Migrant workers get a sweet 'thank you'
Mr Yap Ching Wi, 47, and Ms Millie Phuah, 54, giving a ThankU50 goodie bag to 39-year-old construction worker Jaganathan Velmurugan, who has worked here for about eight years.
PHOTO: ST

Many SG50 events focus on Singaporeans, so some volunteers have decided to put migrant workers at the centre of celebrations to mark Singapore's 50th birthday.

A group of Singaporeans braved the blistering heat yesterday afternoon to give out small packs of goodies to migrant workers in Little India.

They distributed about 30 packs yesterday, and hope to distribute 500 packs to foreign workers in places such as Geylang , Lucky Plaza shopping mall as well as housing estates before National Day on Aug 9.

The ThankU50 initiative was started by five friends, who asked fellow Singaporeans to share the sweets in their SG50 funpacks.

One of them, social worker Yap Ching Wi, said: "As only Singaporean and permanent resident households receive an SG50 funpack, it would be great to extend this exclusivity to the workers, so they know they're remembered."

The 47-year-old added: "It's not the same as a charity handout, because the packs will be made personal with individual thank you cards and will be distributed by ordinary Singaporeans."

The five of them met three others earlier yesterday to prepare the goodie bags - which each had sweets, a thank you card and a $5 supermarket voucher.

They had to buy more sweets to fill the goodie bags as their National Day Parade funpacks did not have enough candy.

Construction worker Jaganathan Velmurugan, who hails from Chennai, India, received a goodie bag yesterday.

The 39-year-old, who has worked here for about eight years, said: "It's a very nice gesture.

"I'm happy to celebrate National Day here. I have a family in India, and people in Singapore are like family too."

Volunteers were also pleasantly surprised when they learnt that Mr Velmurugan was involved in the construction of the new Singapore Sports Hub.

Said Ms Yap: "While we celebrate the successes of the last 50 years, we also want to bring some joy to these workers, who have chosen to leave their own families and home towns to work here.

"In many ways, they are helping us build our success."

goyshiyi@sph.com.sg

For more information on the initiative, go to facebook.com/ThankU.SG50


This article was first published on July 26, 2015.
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