Movie treat for maids

Movie treat for maids
Mr Dan Koh with two domestic workers who he gave free movie tickets to.

When Filipino domestic worker Christine Peralta was having lunch with her friends near Lucky Plaza two Sundays ago, they were approached by a group of Singaporeans who wanted to give them free tickets to the award-winning local movie Ilo Ilo.

Ms Peralta, 34, says her friends, who are also from the Philippines, had heard about the movie, about a Singapore family's relationship with their maid. "We were so happy when we heard they were giving out free tickets because although we had heard about the movie, $10 is quite a lot for us to pay to watch the show."

This was precisely the reason Projek Ilo Ilo was born. It was started by writer Dan Koh, who has watched the movie three times since it opened here in August.

Together with more than 40 friends and volunteers, the 26- year-old has raised money to buy tickets to the movie on Sundays and gives them to maids.

While he was talking to a friend's Filipino domestic helper, she had said that the movie was "the talk of the town in Lucky Plaza".

"Yet, when I asked her when she planned to watch it, she became non-committal," he recalls. "I figured it was because my friend, who does treat her well, was there, but I also assumed her reluctance to commit to a date was either due to financial or time constraints. So I thought, how could I help others like her see the film?"

He adds that he is keen for maids to share in the experience of the film. "As one of our volunteers said to the domestic workers in Lucky Plaza, 'This is a movie about your life and our lives'," he says.

The project is being funded by public donations and has more than 70 donors who have raised $2,827. Of this, $2,720 has been used, with credit card discounts, to buy 280 tickets.

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