About 500 migrant workers from dormitories in Sungei Kadut and Kranji celebrated the Hindu festival of Pongal at Kranji Recreation Centre on Sunday (Jan 16).
The festivities, which lasted from 2pm to 9pm, included tug-of-war and carrom competitions, carnival games, and a lucky draw with $6,400 in cash prizes.
Workers were treated to briyani, goodie bags, sugarcane and Pongal rice - a traditional dish prepared to mark the festival of harvest celebrated mainly by Tamil people.
The celebrations were organised by the Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach (AGWO), in conjunction with the Ministry of Manpower, recreation centre operator JTC Corporation and other groups such as Project Dorm, Free Food For All, Life Centre Community Services and Dorm Mums.
"I normally celebrate Pongal in India with my family but because of Covid-19, I have not done so in the past two years. I feel so happy that I can finally celebrate Pongal together with my friends," said site engineer Raja Sundarraj, 27, who attended yesterday's event.
AGWO has been hosting weekly activities for migrant workers at Tuas Recreation Centre and it will do so at Kranji Recreation Centre too. The activities include games and educational programmes.
Since Dec 17 last year, migrant workers have been allowed to visit any of the eight recreation centres here for up to eight hours daily.
Since mid-December, the number of workers allowed to leave their dorms to visit public places has also doubled to 6,000 each day on weekends and public holidays.
This article was originally published here: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/community/carrom-fun-briyani-and-goodie-bags-for-migrant-workers-on-pongal