SINGAPORE - Imagine a day at work where you do not have to lift a finger.
It was that kind of day for Madam Rupiah Yusof yesterday.
Instead of going about her usual routine ensuring the corridors and school facilities were clean, she was treated to a day of fun and pampering by the students.
The 60-year-old cleaner at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College East branch in Simei and her colleagues were given a relaxing massage by about 30 students from the Beauty and Wellness course.
While that was happening, students in the college, led by a team from the Student Ambassador Club, did a mass cleaning of the campus, to help them gain an experience of a day in the cleaners' lives.
Held yesterday to celebrate Youth Environment Day, which fell on April 22, and Labour Day, the event sought to recognise and appreciate the work of the 60 cleaners in the college.
Planned by students from three leadership groups, with help from teachers, the programme kept the cleaners fully occupied, with a list of games arranged specially for them.
These included goli, a game played with marbles in a sandpit, and congkak, a game played by two with a wooden board that has seven holes on each side.
Madam Rupiah, who started working in the college last January, said: "I felt like a child, and I am really happy that these people appreciate us for our work."
After the games, the cleaners were ushered to the amphitheatre, where students and staff were gathered.
There, they enjoyed performances by the Malay and Modern dance groups.
They were also given goodie bags made by the students, with personalised "thank you" notes in three different languages - English, Chinese and Malay.
Student ambassador Daniel Khor, 21, said it was a rewarding experience: "I was very excited planning the event. I hope I can continue to help."
Guest-of-honour for the event, Ms Irene Ng, an MP for Tampines GRC, also got into the spirit of things.
Said Ms Ng: "I joined in and massaged one of the cleaners too, under the guidance of the experts. The cleaners told me they enjoyed it and felt pampered by the experience."
This article was published on May 1 in The New Paper.
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