Facebook Users Pay For Foreign Workers’ Free Meals With Compliments

It was midday and the sun blazed relentlessly as the cricket match wore on. Standing along the field at Race Course Road with his fellow countrymen from India today (Dec 20), Mr Ilaya Raja watched the game before him, riveted by the action.

Then unexpectedly, a woman approached the 25-year-old and handed him a packet of food.

“Here’s something to thank you,” she said. Behind her, a second woman was huddled over two large plastic bags filled with more lunch boxes. Lifting a stack of them, she offered them to other foreign workers there, stopping for a chat every now and then.

Ms Wong Shuk Leng, 27, and Ms Ong Meng Koon, 25, are employees of Select Group, the parent company of Select Catering and Stamford Catering. As part of an SG50 campaign to mark Singapore’s independence jubilee, the food company’s employees volunteered to distribute 300 lunch boxes to foreign workers in Little India today.

The first leg of the campaign took place on Nov 3, with 500 packets of chicken rice distributed at the Kranji Lodge 1 workers’ dormitory, which agreed to the offer of free meals.

On Dec 1, the catering companies put up a video of the first giveaway on their respective Facebook pages, urging online users to leave appreciative comments for the foreign worker community by Dec 11. They pledged to match the number of goodwill messages with an equivalent number of meals.

Ms Wong said the foreign workers quickly came to mind when they were deciding on the campaign’s beneficiaries. “We often forget those who help us to build our nation, build our homes and sweep our floors… we wanted to raise awareness about them.”

Around 2,000 comments have poured in online. One Facebook user named Hazel Tan wrote: “Thank you for leaving your homes to build ours. You and your colleagues work long hours under rain or shine without complaints so that we can have shelter. Thank you for all your hard work. We appreciate and remember you!”

Another user Margaret Foong commented: “Thank you so much for your hard work under the hot sun every day… to build up our country with all the facilities and taking care of the old folks by giving up your seats when we are in the bus or taking MRT.”

True to their word, 12 volunteers from the catering companies fanned out in pairs across various locations in Little India yesterday — two days after International Migrants Day — for the lunchtime giveaway, covering Buffalo Road, Kerbau Road and Bebilios Lane.

Mr IIaya was pleasantly surprised to receive his meal. “I haven’t eaten. I’m waiting for my friends,” the Tamil Nadu native said. “You give me food, I’m happy.”

Chennai native K Senthamil Kannan, 34, and his friends immediately started digging in after receiving the lunchboxes. “It’s so nice that you cooked for us,” he said.

“Enjoy! Have a good, fun day,” Ms Ong said as she moved on to the next group of men. “It’s quite meaningful,” she said later. “Normally, I see (the foreign workers) on trains. I get to know them better today. I was a little nervous at first, but after a while, it got better.”

Another 1,200 meals are expected to be distributed at Kranji Lodge 1 by the end of the year, bringing the total number to 2,000 meals.


Source: www.todayonline.com

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