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Gratitude in Little India

Photo credits: participateindesign.org

Photo credits: participateindesign.org

Volunteered for a community engagement activity that involved us walking around Little India and asking residents who they are thankful for.

A simple activity of observation and listening opened my eyes and got me thinking about how this neighbourhood approaches inclusion and community interaction. 

The first resident we approached was a grandma, who tried to brush us off by saying that she didn't have much to offer- after some probing she mentioned that she was grateful for the security guards patrolling the void decks. It was then we realised this interesting sight- the guards were there to make sure there weren't any loitering or illegal gatherings, as well as maintain general peace and safety around the area. Subsequently we noticed that the cluster of flats was surrounded by fences that portrayed a sense of exclusion.

Another encounter with a family of four playing badminton was more heartwarming. When asked the same question, the mother mentioned 'PK brothers', a small mama store by the void deck. Her kids will often pick up items from the store after school, and the mother will pay the storekeepers the next time she passes by the store. This level of trust and familiarity is hard to come by these days. 

I walked down the streets of Little India, through very different lenses. It was a Sunday, and the place was buzzing with life. Being more aware of the surroundings led me to notice pockets of space with foreign workers hanging out, and even a dedicated open fair going on for them to buy second-hand clothing and review their resumes. 

Wonder how much we miss out when we get about our busy little lives oblivious to the world around us.

Esther YipComment