It has been more than a year since migrant workers freely attended festivals, sports events and other similar social gatherings that they attended pre-pandemic. Apart from going to work and recreation centres, those who live in dormitories have had their movements severely restricted since the start of Singapore’s circuit breaker. Inevitably, their mental health and well-being have given cause for concern.
In a bid to revive the festive atmosphere that migrant workers were used to before the pandemic hit, Singapore Land (SingLand) supported a night market for the residents of Choa Chu Kang Dormitory B organised by non-profit organisations Sama Sama and Covid-19 Migrant Support Coalition (CMSC).
Held on Sunday, 29 August 2021, “Malam Majulah” served up local foods, games and music, and had more than 1,000 migrant workers in attendance (with safe-distancing measures all in place, of course). Held during Singapore’s birthday month, it was also a chance to include the migrant worker community in National Day celebrations and to recognise their contributions to our society.
“For the past 16 months, even as the rest of the local community opens up, such opportunities are yet to be present for our migrant brothers. We are concerned about the impact on their social and mental health and wider social integration and hope to do our part to bring the community into their space until they are able to be a part of us again,” shares Nicholas Chan, Co-Lead of CMSC.
The night festival followed the launch of the Making Waves mural art campaign at Choa Chu Kang Dormitory earlier in the day. The art campaign, initiated by Sama Sama, the Dormitory Association of Singapore and Tee Up Dormitory, will see vibrant murals adorn the outer walls of Quick Build Dormitory, some of which are six-metre-high due to concerns from sections of the public over foreign workers living in close proximity to residential neighbourhoods. Through these efforts, what were meant to be a barriers become unifying symbols to bring people together.
During these trying times, it is important for us to foster social cohesion. As we band together as a nation to weather the pandemic, we remember not to leave behind those who have come from afar to help to build Singapore. At SingLand, this means being intentional in our efforts to support the migrant worker community, whether by providing food, sponsoring scholarships or, in the case of Malam Majulah, bringing some light-hearted cheer.