Singapore — A group of 70 Singaporean youth volunteers handed out free ice cream to migrant workers in Little India in a goodwill gesture Sunday afternoon, just one week after the violent riot that took place in the area.
The group was led by 25-year-old Isaac Ong, a communications and psychology student, handing out ‘Potong’ ice cream sticks to the workers in the ethnic Indian district in a show of solidarity and to spread some cheer.
“We didn’t want people to develop a prejudice against them, this is not the time for lines to be drawn,” said Mr Ong. “Every aspect of society needs to play a part – the government, the police and for us as citizens, we can do something as well,” he said. Mr Ong, who is the founder of Colours Global, a social group that organises volunteer trips to third world countries.
They distributed some 2,000 sticks of the ice cream, which included durian, chendol and red bean flavours, the Straits Times reported.
On Sunday evening, another show of support took place when volunteers from the group Workfair Singapore distributed flowers along Race Course Road.
More than 10 activists from the group also laid wreaths at the site of the accident where Indian national Sakthivel Kumaravelu was killed after being hit by a bus, the incident that sparked the riot on December 8.
Social worker Jolovan Wham of Workfair Singapore, referring to the cooling-off policies adopted by the authorities after the riot, such as the alcohol ban and the suspension of private bus services to Little Inda, said in a statement: “We urge the authorities and employers to exercise restraint so that the migrant worker community is not unjustly targeted.”
Other ordinary citizens have also tried to do something to help heal the rifts caused by the riot. On the Monday following the Sunday night violence, Mr Wally Tham and Ms Amizadai Lee attempted to organize a group to hand out flowers for “peace and reconciliation” in Little India “as an act of hope not fear”.
They had invited the public to join them, but then were unable to obtain a police permit, forcing them to cancel the event, reported The Independent Singapore.