Singaporean volunteers help Malaysians sleeping rough during lockdown

Fifteen Singaporeans, including a family of five, scoured the island in the wee hours this morning for Malaysians sleeping rough to donate essentials such as sleeping bags and toiletries. 

A day after Malaysia enacted a two-week nationwide lockdown saw an exodus of migrant workers to Singapore, the volunteers went out to help those who haven’t gotten accommodations arranged by their employees and are camped out across the island, including near train stations. 

Singaporean Delane Lim said he rounded up a group of volunteers to help out, including a family who didn’t mind their kids going out past their bedtimes. The items were donated by a company that runs school camps.

Lim said there their original plan was to help find temporary accommodations such as hostels and campsites for the stranded Malaysians but encountered “too many red tapes and approval processes.”

“As I walk down the streets and parks, I shared with my buddy that we should feel blessed and fortunate that our city is safe and clean. Not many homeless Singaporeans… Those we met explained why they decided to stay out from their own place. Spending time listening to them makes me realise how fortunate I am and my identity as a singaporean,” Lim wrote online at about 4am.

A volunteer named Shima Ali described the night out as an “adventure.”

“On an adventure to find Malaysian workers / homeless people to pass them Sleeping Bags, Toiletry Kits, Air Pillows, Hand Sanitizer and Mask,” she wrote. 

Photos and videos of the outing showed what appeared to be boxes of supplies getting prepared to be wheeled into six vehicles, and volunteers handing the items to those sleeping in places such as public parks. 

Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu said today the National Trade Union Congress and the Migrant Worker Centre have been “hard at work” to help them and revealed a list of at least 25 places where the stranded Malaysians were found. They include Little India, Chinatown, and areas near the train station. 

The Jurong East Sports Hall was also opened up to Malaysians seeking temporary shelter.

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This article, Singaporean volunteers help Malaysians sleeping rough during lockdown, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!