Entrepreneur throws numerous dinner parties for migrant workers

Miss Adrianna Tan (centre, in black), a self-employed tech entrepreneur, throws a Kitchen Culture dinner party for foreign workers to meet and mingle with the locals once every three months.
Adrianna Tan

She organises dinner parties for migrant workers and Singaporeans - and they cost more than $1,000 each time.

But 29-year-old self-employed tech entrepreneur Adrianna Tan told The New Paper: "I really don't mind spending that money because this means more to me than shoes and handbags."

She said it gives the groups an opportunity to mingle and to get to know one another, rather than living in different worlds.

Miss Tan tries to gather about 100 migrant workers and 100 Singaporeans for every Kitchen Culture dinner, which happens once every three months.

It takes her and her team of volunteers about two weeks to organise each dinner.

Miss Tan and the other Kitchen Culture volunteers head down to hot spots where migrant workers hang out and hand out fliers to invite them to dinner.

The volunteers share the duties involved, such as ordering and collecting the food and inviting guests.

Miss Tan said that Kitchen Culture is not an attempt to "quell or address xenophobia", but it "raises awareness of some of the migrant groups present among us".

She said: "I was shocked at some of the rampant anti-foreigner sentiments that I came across online and even in real life.

"I am disappointed at how acceptable it seems to be for some people to say things like foreign talents are the cause of all our problems or that they hate a specific group of people."

Even though she goes on business trips almost every week, Miss Tan does not think she will be stopping these dinner parties any time soon, especially after receiving an appreciative message from one of the migrant workers who attended a dinner party.

She said: "The text message read: 'Thank you for the dinner party. Today was the best day of my life.'

Said Miss Tan: "Knowing that I managed to make such an impact on someone's life is a priceless feeling."


This article was first published on September 25, 2015.
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