He snaps foreign workers to combat online hate

The Peacemaker

The day after the riot, photographer Yasin Rahim, 30, was shocked at the reaction of some netizens towards foreign workers, especially the Indian nationals.

"I saw nasty comments online about the community and felt they were extremely unfair and untrue," says Mr Yasin.

Instead of defending them online, he took to the streets with his camera for a project he calls "We come in peace".

The idea was simple - get the foreign workers to pose for a photo while holding up the peace sign.

"I was hoping to change the perception that Singaporeans have of these foreign workers," he says.

He says of those who started the riot: "They are a very small group and are not representative of the entire community.

"I wanted to show Singaporeans that they are just like us.

"Not everyone is violent and out to start a riot."

In about 90 minutes, he managed to snap photos of 23 foreign workers from the South Asian subcontinent.

Mr Yasin says these men initially thought he was from the police, so they shied away from him.

"Many of them were scared and apprehensive but when I started talking to them, they loosened up and most were okay with being photographed," he says. He posted the photos and a video on his blog.

He says the response to his project has been positive.

It has received about 60 shares on Facebook and the post on his website has garnered 11,000 views so far.

"Many people were supportive of the idea and left positive comments," he says.

"I could even see that many Indian and Bangladeshi shared my post on Facebook.

"I'm glad I'm doing what I can, no matter how small, to change people's outlook on these people who have practically built our city."

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