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I personally believe that for every good deed we do, it will come back to us in one way or another. The same thing applies for the rest of my family members, mainly because we were brought up and taught to always do good to others.
An inspiring discovery
In October, as I was visiting my aunt’s house in Commonwealth to run an errand, I found out something amazing and wanted to share it with others. Although it is not something huge that would change the world, it still touched my heart and inspired me to be a better person.
My aunt is a single mom with two kids and she normally cooks a decent portion for her family enough for the three of them.
However, when I visited her that day, she had cooked much more than necessary, taking myself into the equation. Curious, I asked her why she cooked so much. She explained to me that she prepared extra portions for the construction workers around her neighbourhood.
She told me that ever since she spent more time at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, she has had a lot more free time. Thus, she came up with some easy ways to help others. She wanted the effort to be sustained over time as she was afraid it would be just a one-time wonder.
In late August, as she was walking home from grocery shopping, she saw a group of construction workers working tirelessly under the hot sun. Although they were just doing their job, she still felt sympathetic towards them. She went back home with the thought of the workers in her mind.
A few days later, she saw the same group of construction workers eating under a HDB block during their break time. She went up to them to have a conversation and find out what they were eating. To her surprise, all of them were eating plain Briyani rice with dalcha (an Indian lentil-based stew). She thought that their meals would at least have some meat to go along with the rice. They told her that this dish is the most fulfilling and affordable.
Seeing that, she decided to cook a hearty meal for them to enjoy the next time around. And that was how it all began.
Every week or two, she would prepare an extra 7 to 10 portions of food to give to the construction workers herself. Although they would look tired from working all day, they still welcomed her with a bright smile.
On the day of my visit, I accompanied her to help give the food to the workers. It was just a small group of migrant workers, but seeing their happy faces when they saw us with the food gave me a huge sense of fulfillment.
Listening to her story and accompanying her helped me realise that it is okay to help others within our own capabilities. We don’t need to think of extravagant ways to do good. Since then, I try to follow in her footsteps when I have the opportunity.
A small change
Covid-19 has shone a light on the realities of migrant workers in Singapore especially when dormitory’s clusters emerged last year. News reports have shown that they continue to face issues such as a lack of access to health care, unpaid salaries and unfair treatment from their employers.
Even now, migrant workers are still under strict regulations and confined to their dorms. Only some who are selected under a pilot scheme are allowed to go to certain places within a fixed time. The isolation has resulted in a mental health risk to our migrant workers.
In the midst of all this, the demand and need for more migrant workers is ever-increasing and Singapore continues to rely on migrant workers for manpower. The Housing and Development Board (HDB) plans on launching 23,000 new Build-To-Order flats over the next two years to meet Singaporean’s housing demands. At the very least, they should be treated with respect and kindness. We can all do our part, by befriending our migrant workers and showing them some kindness and care.
A small act of kindness towards these migrant workers may not be enough to change our community as a whole. However, that little spark may just start a fiery hope of change.
I believe that by spreading these little stories, it will be a source of inspiration needed for others to hop on the kindness bandwagon.