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  • Writer's pictureAudrey Chin

A Singapore Thanksgiving – The Monday before

Updated: Jun 10, 2022

It’s a boat person’s festival that’s why…

Boat People Thanksgiving

When we lived in the US, it was a public holiday, an opportunity for far flung too busy friends and relatives to get together. With memories of the war and of hunger still stalking them, my husband’s people commemorated this American migrant feast with the solemnity of ancestral anniversary days.  To have enough food to eat in a land of plenty, it was something to give thanks for.

We don’t owe our livelihoods to that land of plenty now.  Having eaten well for so many years, forgotten the dangers of that crossing to the promised land, indeed left that place we thought flowed with milk and honey, we’re less religious about the annual eat-fest.  Still, husband, child one, child two, child three, myself; we don’t forget the facts.

This country we now live in – Singapore…that country we used to live in – the United States of America… the family I came from, the one which I’ve formed … they have all come to be because generations ago, thirty years ago, many forgotten young men our ancestors, one young man my husband, decided to leave a country and step onto a rickety boat.  And those unremembered boats, that particular boat, found land.

Gratitude is a good attitude to cultivate…

Blessed are the poor in spirit, it’s been said. Our lives are never so full we can’t stop and count our blessings, wonder at how good things are. In the four days to Thanksgiving therefore… a few moments to give thanks.

AND SOMETHING CONCRETE TO THINK ABOUT – Limpeh si migrant worker too! (your granddad was a migrant too!)

IF that’s something to be grateful for, how are we going to repay that debt?

Mayflower Thanksgiving

In these days when there’s so much talk about migrant workers cluttering up our space it’s something to remember. That most of us did not come from here. That this country, like that much much larger one on the other side of the Pacific, has prospered because it has welcomed migrants and made them their own.

It seems to me selfish to refuse to give to others what we’ve received, the opportunity of a new and better life in a society open to enterprise and gumption. We are as poor and as limited as we think we are. We are as rich as the opportunities we want to give.

Limpeh si migrant worker too…

Am I being unduly optimistic, to think this Little Red Dot is still the country of opportunity that it was a hundred years or more ago? Am I wrong to think we can still afford to let those willing to step out of their comfort zones and onto a rickety boat, a budget airplane, the change to stretch their wings and make a home here?



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