A group from Paya Lebar Methodist Church came by to our soup kitchen at lunch on Saturday, March 24, 2012, to give out goodie bags stuffed full of useful things to the workers we serve.

Things like soap, toothpaste and shavers may look like unglamourous and utilitarian items, but for workers left totally broke, they are very welcome. Much thought and preparatory work went into the distribution. For example, the tied plastic bags at right in the picture above contain laundry detergent. The best prices for detergent come when one buys in bulk packs, but for a worker living singly with just a few clothes on hand, it makes no sense to buy detergent (if he can afford it at all) in economy size. The young people from Paya Lebar Methodist Church had clearly taken the trouble to re-pack the detergent into practical amounts for giving out.

However poor any person is, dignity is important to him. Being clean and presentable is important, not just for self-respect, nor only for reasons of hygiene, but also because one is often judged by others by one’s appearance. Workers have to show up at the Ministry of Manpower or at hospitals for their appointments, and how one looks can make the difference between being treated with civility and consideration or not. It may not be right to be judgmental — civility and consideration should always be there — but unfortunately, the world operates the way it does.

The donations in kind by the Paya Lebar Methodist Church will therefore go a long way to helping the workers get a bit more respect, and Transient Workers Count Too wish to extend our thanks to them.

Photo credits: Kenneth Soh