Story by Koh Yi Na / Pictures by Damien Chng
Around 2,000 foreign workers from various countries thronged the open field at the junction of Upper Jurong Road and Pioneer Road North last Sunday evening. They were there for a road-show and community event organised by the SingTel Prepaid Team. Singtel had expected a turnout of 4,000.
Despite the earlier wet weather and muddy field, the workers enjoyed themselves at the various game counters and free buffet. These fringe events were set up in conjunction with the finale of the SingTel Dormitory Idol 2009. The singing and dancing contest started three months ago with auditions at various dormitories around the island.
Fellow Singaporeans were also invited to join in the fun on Sunday.
Benjamin Wong, Deputy Director of Consumer Sales, said that SingTel wanted to “foster bonds and give thanks” to the workers’ tireless contribution to Singapore.
This event is in line with a series of thematic marketing activities, which is targeted at the foreign workers' communities. It aims to provide prepaid-card customers an opportunity to showcase their talents in a fun and interactive manner, and help foster “a conducive living environment within the dorms”.
From as early as 5.30 pm, groups of workers began arriving from the nearby dormitories and via free shuttle buses. Free food such as curry, spicy prawns, candyfloss and ice cream was provided.
The Online Citizen spoke to numerous foreign workers, and the feedback was unanimously positive. Kumanakrishnan, 25, was queuing up to purchase a prepaid card, and enthusiastically said that he was “enjoying the event very much”.
At around 7.00 pm, the Finale officially began, and workers crowded into the performance area. All of the 400 seats were taken up, and the remaining workers were left with standing room only. A lucky draw preceded the final performances, and attractive prizes such as a PowerPac rice cooker and Akira CD players were given out.
The Online Citizen spoke to one of the 18 finalists. Shad Md Rezaul Alam, 25, who opened the Finale with his rendition of Bryan Adams’ “Everything I Do (I Do It For You)”, described his experiences in singing and performing in his native Bangladesh, and welcomed the opportunity to participate in the competition.
The overall winner of SingTel Dormitory Idol 2009 was Mr Hossain, who won a cash prize and talk-time worth $200, as well as a Motorola V9 Ferrari Special Edition.
Shane Da Silva, Vice President of Consumer Sales, told The Online Citizen, “For many foreign talents working in Singapore, it is not uncommon to feel homesick at times. SingTel Prepaid Mobile understands that and tries to ease the transition for foreigners into Singapore by providing the best value for our prepaid customers when calling their loved ones back home.”
Singtel hopes to have another event for the workers in July.
As of 31 December 2008, the number of prepaid mobile subscribers reached 1.46 million, according to Singtel. This brings the company’s market share to 47.3%.
Here is a video of the event filmed by Mervin Lee and hosted by Teng Jing Wei: