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“Wow…… surprise. Very nice place. We will enjoy the place very much,” exclaimed Amir Khan, when he heard that Discover Singapore would be organizing an outing to Sentosa S.E.A. aquarium.
Since the launch of Discover Singapore in May 2013, outing destinations have typically been free public spaces such as parks, gardens and beaches. There’s a simple reason: TWC2 doesn’t have the budget resources to pay admission fees. To have a sponsor for an outing to a place with paid admission means we can provide a special treat to out-of-work migrant workers languishing in Singapore. This time, the sponsor was mining and resources multi-national BHP Billiton.
On 2 August 2014, 10.30am, 44 eager men (from TWC2′s register of injured and salary-unpaid workers) boarded a chartered bus to Sentosa Resort World, led by TWC2 volunteers.
It was their first time visit to S.E.A. Aquarium. Amazed by the different marine species, many of the men snapped away excitedly with their phone cameras, trying to catch a shot of the constantly moving manta rays, sharks, sea jellies, squadrons of pompano, threadfin trevally, goliath grouper, and many others.
But one worker was quieter than the rest. Seated comfortably on the floor and facing the gigantic fish tank, he was on the phone. We overheard him saying to his loved one back in his home country: “This place very nice. I am very happy today.”
After spending a full two hours in the S.E.A. Aquarium, we took the rail to Beach Station, where we relaxed under some shade and had chicken rice (packed from Seah Im foodcourt). As with almost all Discover Singapore outings, there are games and prizes. The men competed in various “Minute to Win It” challenges – eyes lit up when they find themselves accomplishing the seemingly impossible tasks – for example balancing a drink can on one edge and successfully maneuvering a biscuit with just their facial muscles. The games concluded with a hilarious round of Charades and a heart pumping Treasure Hunt.
To top off the day, the group was treated to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream at its Vivocity outlet; everyone had their own choice of ice cream – the hot favorite was mango flavor! When Ben & Jerry’s management came to know of our outing to Sentosa S.E.A. Aquarium a week earlier, they immediately offered to host us (it is the second time Ben & Jerry’s has extended their Peace, Love & Ice Cream to Discover Singapore project). Our 50-strong group attracted a fair share of glances and stares from passer-bys when we burst out singing “Happy Birthday” with the 3 August birthday men beaming widely while cradling the candlelit Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cake.
“Wow…… awesome. I am very glad. Many many thank you very much. My sweet memory of Singapore” Amir Khan shared, an injured worker who is awaiting the closure to his case. Indeed this is what Discover Singapore wants to bring to the workers – a little joy to brighten their long wait and for them to bring home some sweet memories of Singapore.
Thank you, BHP Billiton; thank you Ben & Jerry’s!
Discover Singapore is a TWC2 project that helps to lift the spirits of workers stranded in Singapore as a result of work injury, salary or other problems. These can take a long time to heal and resolve, sometimes as long as two years. Stuck here with no money, workers face boredom and risk depression. Discover Singapore aims to counter these risks to their psychological wellbeing through activities and outings.
TWC2 is an organization that is dedicated to assisting low-wage migrant workers when they are in difficulty. We are motivated by a sense of fairness and humanity, though our caseload often exceeds our