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Away from home, Indian migrants celebrate Diwali in Singapore

Singapore, Nov 13 (IANS) In a special gesture, the Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) organised a Diwali celebration for Indian migrants, treating them to an evening of festivities that included performances, games and activities.

The Sunday event was held at Changi Lodge 2 in Tanah Merah Coast Road where more than 1,000 other migrant workers, including many from Tamil Nadu, reside.

“This celebration makes me miss home and my wife,” Chinnaiah Alagu, a railway track repairman who has been working in Singapore for five years, told The Straits Times newspaper.

“It is a thoughtful event, especially the painting of diyasbecause that is what we do at home,” he said.

Mohan, a 33-year-old worker from Tamil Nadu, put up a street dance performance along with his Indian and Malaysian friends.

“I showed my wife and children on a video call what it is like to celebrate Deepavali in Singapore. I just wanted to show them we are looked after, and it is equally bright and colourful here,” Mohan told The Straits Times.

While many workers queued up in front of biryani and dessert stalls, others participated in activities like diya painting and a game of identifying Indian sweets.

A volunteer from the event said that within an hour, more than 100 lamps had been painted by the participants.

“Some of the designs are unique, and the migrant workers waited patiently for the acrylic paint to dry before collecting their hand-painted lamps,” she said.

The food that was contributed by the Indian Muslim Social Service Association, and among the volunteers were family members of MOM staff.

Senior Minister of State for Manpower Koh Poh Koon, who was the guest of honour at the event, addressed the migrant community and extended his wishes for the festival of lights.

“Deepavali, being the festival of lights, symbolises the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil. So, today, I want to wish everyone all the goodness in your life and all the happiness you can have,” Koon said.

“It is not just a way to celebrate with them (migrant workers), but also give them a sense that Singaporeans are also celebrating with them on this festive occasion. It is very much part of our mission to care for them,” Tung Yui Fai, chief of MOM’s Assurance, Care and Engagement Group, said.

In addition to celebrations at the Changi Lodge 2, activities such as movie screenings, cricket tournaments, and dance and cultural performances also took place at various migrant worker recreation centres and community clubs across the island.

Based on data published by the Ministry of External Affairs Consular Services, Indian nationals make up about 350,000 or 24 per cent of these non-residents in Singapore.

The proportion of Indian professionals in Singapore doubled from 13 to 25 per cent between 2005 and 2020, according to MOM.



Indian Abroad News Desk
Indian Abroad News Desk
Indian Abroad is a news channel and fortnightly newspaper meant for Australia’s Indian community and, besides news, focuses on lifestyle subjects like health, travel, culture, arts, beauty, fashion, entertainment, Bollywood, etc. Our YouTube channel here features daily news bulletins besides infotainment videos on lifestyle subjects.

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