You’ve probably never heard of Sutha’s. Why would you? It’s just a little restaurant in Little India that serves, well, Indian food. The offerings are run-of-the-mill, the service, so-so. But for thousands of desperate migrant workers in Singapore, the restaurant represents a bit of hope. This is where TWC2 runs its free meal service, where volunteers reach out to workers who might otherwise never receive any help. Visit any weeknight, and you’ll see it’s packed.
We’ve eaten at Sutha’s a few times. Sat down with hungry men, all with horror stories to tell. They’re from Bangladesh, occasionally, India. They sold land, pawned jewellery, took on debt, to find jobs in Singapore. They’ve not been paid for months. Not had proper work. Not been fed. They’ve had a fall. Hurt their backs. Cracked their skulls. Twisted their necks. They’ve been beaten up, kicked around. They’re desperate. There’s nowhere else to go. They’re sleeping on the streets. They’re dying. They’re as good as dead. They have no idea what else to do.
It wasn’t until we came to Sutha’s that we realized just how badly some Singaporean employers treat these migrant workers. This was where we metIsmail and his colleagues. Where we first heard stories about employment scams, and abuse, and exploitation. This was where we first learnt what it meant to be Ali Baba.
Sutha’s is also where we’ve gotten to know some truly amazing people. Volunteers who give of their time, who bother to listen to the hundreds of men who come through each day. Volunteers who will ring up errant employers, visit dormitories in godforsaken places, accompany sick workers to the hospital, open their homes to those truly in need of a place to rest. Volunteers who just never give up. Watching them work has been a humbling experience.
But hey, don’t take our word for it. Come see for yourself. Some of these amazing volunteers are organizing an exhibition on the 7th of August. Tickets are just $10, and proceeds will benefit TWC2’s free meal programme.
If you’re Singaporean, come and do something different this National Day weekend. Our government likes to bang on about nation building – wouldn’t it be cool to meet the guys who actually do the real, physical building?
Where: Food#03, 109 Rowell Road
When: 7 August, 2009, from 7.30pm
How much: $10 per ticket
RSVP by July 25th to [email protected]
Need more info? Visit thelittlepinkcamera’s Facebook page.
Lynn also blogs at: http://lianain.blogspot.com/