A photo of an unnamed man posted on Facebook by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday morning has triggered an outpouring of appreciation for foreign workers.
Mr Lee uploaded a black-and-white photo of a man sitting alone under a tree at Changi Beach Park, which he had taken over the New Year weekend.
In his post, Mr Lee said the man looked like a foreign worker calling home on his cellphone, and urged people to appreciate the contributions of migrant labourers here.
These include building housing and transport infrastructure, as well as caring for the young and elderly.
"As we enjoy the festive days with friends and family, let us spare a thought for the foreign workers who have left their families behind to work in a distant land," he wrote.
He added: "They slog and save to support loved ones, but at least with the Internet and cellphones they can keep in touch, and feel not quite so far away."
Mr Lee has spoken several times about appreciating foreign workers and their contributions.
His post prompted hundreds of comments from Singaporeans and foreign workers.
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Ms Nyo Nyo Lwin, a nurse from Myanmar working at the Ren Ci Hospital, said: "Thank you so much Mr PM for your kind thought for foreign workers. I have been working here for 10 years."
Student Selina Xu wrote: "I'm really glad you called attention to a group of people often ignored or unseen by our society - our migrant workers are the ones who toil tirelessly to build Singapore's landscape. But sometimes their plight and voices go unheard and the true extent of their contributions to our sprawling metropolis becomes underappreciated."
But Indonesian maid Safira Honney said some employers still do not allow their workers to communicate with their families, even during festive holidays like Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Christmas and New Year's Day.
She wrote: "They think the worker won't have time for the family of the boss. This is sad."
By yesterday evening, Mr Lee's post had more than 26,000 likes, 2,100 shares and 700 comments.
This article was first published on January 5, 2017.
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