Friendship, Food and Music: Celebrating Inclusion at Majulah Belanja
October 19, 2016
In Singapore, low-wage migrant workers are an integral part of our city’s economy and social fabric. We recently teamed up with Geylang Adventures, an organization committed to the inclusion of migrant workers through various community activities, to organize and support their biggest event – Majulah Belanja.
Majulah Belanja is a combination of two Malay words, translated respectively as “onward” and “to treat,” piecing together to form an affectionate and colloquial representation of “passing the treats forward.” The event seeks to raise awareness and understanding of migrant workers and their cultural backgrounds through food, a much-loved aspect of Singapore’s culture. Beyond our team from FleishmanHillard, a host of migrant workers and local participants also gathered on a Sunday morning to cook and dine together, fostering a sense of community and camaraderie.
Majulah Belanja was held at a migrant workers’ dormitory; inconspicuously tucked away in a sleepy industrial zone within the well-developed neighborhood of Woodlands.
The event kicked off with grouping Singaporeans and migrant workers into teams of four. To foster conversations between the two groups, various ice-breaking sessions began. Already, we were seeing interesting conversations happening among the newly formed teams. Eventually all the shyness and hesitation faded, giving way to more hilarious and cheeky interactions among the participants.
Migrant workers were given the opportunity to choose dishes they would like to prepare based on the wide range of sponsored nutritious ingredients such as fortified rice, meat, vegetables, and even seafood such as crabs and prawns sponsored by the gracious partners. Our team stepped in to sort out the ingredients and allocate portions for each team, making sure everyone had plenty to cook with.
Despite the possible language barriers, most teams got around the preparation of the ingredients and the process of cooking swiftly. Pretty soon, the aroma of various exotic dishes wafted through the entire kitchen. . Laughter was constantly heard from all around the kitchen as participants earnestly worked together in cooking-up the perfect dish.
Big smiles beamed on the faces of our new friends as they collected prizes for their culinary and artistic efforts during the awards ceremony, which brought the cook-off to an end.
For those who volunteered our Sunday for Majulah Belanja, it was an opportunity to get closer to the migrant worker community and to actively understand the work that goes into building authentic, enduring and enriching relationships at the grass-roots level.
In Singapore, our #FH4Inclusion journey taught us a lot about the challenges that our migrant worker friends face, and how each of us can play a part in addressing the emotional needs and feelings of social belonging for a more inclusive Singapore. Like many other activities in Singapore, Majulah Belanja is one of a growing number of decisive steps forward in our journey to build a more inclusive, vibrant society and we’re humbled to be a part of this movement.
Read the original article here.