SINGAPORE – Construction engineer Muthu Ramesh has passed by the National Gallery countless times but had not visited the imposing colonial-era building until Sunday (August 7).
He had the opportunity when he and 82 other migrant workers were taken to tour the building, to show their appreciation for their contribution to Singapore as the nation celebrates its 57th birthday on Tuesday.
The workers were able to visit the works of art by the realist artist Chua Mia Tee in the Directing the Real exhibition, as well as the Siapa Nama Kamu (what’s your name) exhibition.
The National Gallery occupies two national monuments: the former Supreme Court and the Town Hall.
The group also visited Gardens by the Bay as part of the tour organized by migrant worker charity ItsRainingRaincoats and the Department of Manpower.
Mr. Ramesh, 30, from India, was visiting these attractions for the first time. He has worked on construction projects such as the AJ Hackett Bungy Jump in Sentosa.
After working here for seven years, he has come to love life in Singapore and hopes to call it home.
“My dream is to start a family here,” he said, adding that he hopes to bring his wife to Singapore next month.
Forty-three other migrant workers and domestic helpers marked the National Day by sharing their lives in Singapore and their home countries in an exhibition about their untold stories.
Launched on Sunday, it was organized by photo storytelling initiative IAMinVISIBLE and non-profit start-up Tzu Chi Humanistic Youth Center.
Migrant workers were also featured in videos created as part of the showcase titled Do You See Me?
One is construction worker Mynul Islam, 31, who was studying to become a lawyer when he dropped out of university in Bangladesh and came to work here aged 21 after his family suffered financial difficulties.