It was a warm night on the rooftop of Zsofi Tapas Bar last Sunday (29 July 2012) but all the guests — numbering over a hundred — had a good time. Transient Workers Count Too’s fundraising and volunteer appreciation dinner went off with hardly a hitch, with an equal mix of donors and well-wishers, volunteers and staff, and workers.

It took weeks of preparations but ticket sales proved better than expected. In the end we had to disappoint a few potential benefactors because we were sold out and for fire safety reasons couldn’t accommodate more people.

On the day itself, staff and some volunteers worked all afternoon in the hot sun to prepare the space for the party. In one of the photos below, you’ll see social worker Kenneth Soh trying to set up the powerpoint slides on his laptop with TWC2 president Russell Heng holding an umbrella to shade him. The laptop had been hooked up and couldn’t be moved into the shade.

Guests started arriving even before the scheduled start time of 7 pm and with everyone in good cheer there was hardly any need to break the ice. People mingled spontaneously. Donors met long-lost friends. Volunteers from different work teams met each other for the first time. The male workers made a beeline for the domestic workers of TWC2’s  Indonesian Family Network and Filipino Family Network.

After a short welcome speech by Russell Heng, dinner was served: a buffet of Spanish-Indian fusion. There was generous seating — garden chairs and picnic tables outdoors, and cushioned divans in the indoor spaces — and we were glad we did not try to overcrowd the space. Many went for seconds. “The briyani rice and dhal curry are really tasty,” said several guests, while others swore by the sausages. Your writer, however, put top marks on the Cream Catalana dessert.

The highlight of the evening was a belly dancing and Bollywood performance contributed pro bono by Desert Roses. Faces smiled and eyeballs popped. One guy from India first got into enthusiastic clapping and then couldn’t stand being on the sidelines anymore, jumping into the dance space to partner a dancer spontaneously.  He was a good dancer too!

Finally, there was a lucky draw. Jolovan Wham, our guest from the Humanitarian Organisation of Migration Economics and Debbie Fordyce, the head of TWC2’s Cuff Road project, drew the top three winners. You’ll see them in the pictures below beaming for the camera.

TWC2 wishes to thank all our ticket-donors for their support, without which we cannot continue extending help to low-wage foreign workers in Singapore. We also wish to thank Zsofi Tapas Bar and Desert Roses for their contributions, our staff and volunteers for their hard work despite the pressure of time and the discomfort, and all our guests for being there and making the evening a huge success.