Category Archives: Writing competition

An amazing gift

Jofel has been staying at HOME shelter for some time, where she has volunteered to help out as our shelter leader, and discovered several new passions. One of these passions is writing, and this story by her won her a special award in the writing competition HOME hosted together with the National Museum of Singapore. She has written more since, so watch this space for more stories written by this very inspiring writer.

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An amazing gift 

By Jofel Dosano Villaruel

When I was young in the Philippines I never experienced to play in a real playground. With my friends I used to play at the beach, especially when there was low tide. I loved to play baseball, Chinese Garter, luksong tinik or leapfrog jumping with my friends.

My first experience at a playground in Singapore was with my employer’s son, who is a 2-year-old boy. Unlike many parents here in Singapore, my employer let me and her son free to play and experience creative games. Whenever I told him: “We are going to the playground” he would immediately run to take his shoes. Just seeing him happy, made me happy too.

At the playground, he loved sliding and climbing, but his real passion was the swing. As soon as we reached the playground he would run quickly towards the swing area and as soon he was on the swing I couldn’t take him off again. He always asked me to push him to swing higher and I was always scared for him; I felt that it wasn’t safe. I would have felt more relaxed if every swing had a sort of safety belt to prevent them from falling down and getting hurt. But when he saw my worried expression, he knew that I cared about him and he always tried to reassure me: “Don’t worry, I will hold on tight.”

And that make me laugh, so much! I admired him, he was so young but at the same time brave and strong.

My very best memory at the playground was when he was able to climb the rock wall for the first time. I was so happy and proud of him! I knew that climbing was a great exercise to strengthen both his body and his spirit. Spending his free time in the playground has helped him to grow active, smarter, creative and independent. Every time he climbed the rock wall he was very excited and after reaching the top he would be so happy he clapped his hands.

Sometime we need to let kids choose what they want so they can explore new ways and express themselves. What I personally observed about Singapore is that people here can be overprotective of their kids. Some parents or grandparents never allow their kids to play at the playground, they are worried because playgrounds are dirty and might have a lot of bacteria.

They don’t realize that a playground is a good starting place for young kids to make new friends, to learn how to communicate with other kids, to learn how to give and take, how to share – and most of all to experience the beauty of being a kid, an amazing gift that we won’t enjoy anymore, later in our whole life!

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He Played my Heart

We are proud to announce the winner in the poetry category of the ‘The More we get Together’ writing competion: Rolinda Onates Espanola

Her beautiful poem ‘He played my heart stole the hearts of judges and audience alike!

Above you see Rolinda (left) with  runner up in the poetry competition Jean Raquel (right)

 

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He Played My Heart

 

At 5:30pm everyday we go there

With bags full of goodies and water

You on your scooter

Me, you always tell to walk faster!

 

Playing is fun, full of laughter

You play cops and robber

Hide and seek makes you feel better

Racing and Virus let you ask to stay but longer

 

Sometimes you get bruises

Sometimes you cry endless

Sometimes you’re disappointed

Sometimes you’re a stubborn head

 

I watched you grow in here

I watched how you behave to others

I watched how time moves us together

I watched how this place brings us closer

I watched how I love

The child that I can never have.

 

#rolinda77

 

 

The Playground

HOME MyVoice proudly presents, the winner of the ‘The More We Get Together’ writing contest in the prose category: Saturnina De Los Santos Rotelo (better known to friends as Cute)

When we hear the word playground, we always think they are for children only. If you look at them closely, you will see they are places with different structures, shapes and colours. A children’s world. But the playground is a joy for everyone, it’s a place to meet people from different walks of life. Employers meet employers, domestic workers meet their friends, make new friends, just as children play with their friends and make new friends too. It is a place where you can look inside the lives of children, where happiness does not need an explanation as it can be seen on their faces. But don’t forget they get hurt and cry there also. But they will learn from that. A playground is like real life.

As a child, I never knew what a playground was as it does not exist in my village. I played in our backyard, outside my house. For me and the children in my village everywhere was a playground. I liked to pretend I was a teacher, and my pretend students would write on banana tree leaves that looked like paper because they had lines on them. For a pencil they would use a small stick. They’d sit on a stone.

Singapore playgrounds are awesome! They have beautiful structures and designs. I like to go to the playground in West Coast Park. I meet my fellow domestic workers there; we bring food and play with our charges the whole day. There are high and long slides. We go up those slides together, we play hide and seek, and we climb in the spider web-like structure. I enjoy playgrounds as much as the kids do. Because when I was small I never played in a playground as beautiful as this.

The playground is my resting place too. I can sit down there and relax my mind and tired body. It is a place where I can talk to my friends about my workday, my life, and even my love life. I can laugh to my heart’s content. We share what food we have, eating together. We dance or exercise. One time, I even celebrated my birthday in the playground.

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You can find nice employers in the playground, who are happy to be friends with domestic workers, they talk and laugh with us, help us when needed and listen to our sentiments. Employers with good hearts, that might even recommended certain domestic workers to her friends to hire, as they like what they see as they play with the children there.

As a domestic worker I have played many roles in playgrounds. I was a children’s playmate, an adviser to fellow domestic workers, or even a second mother to a child I take care of. I have to make sure of their safety. I wipe their sweat when they are sweaty, make sure they drink their water and give them snacks when they are hungry. The happiness and the safety of my employer’s child is my number one priority at the playground.

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I have been to many playgrounds, in different places, each one of them has left memories – of every child that I took care of, and every friend that I made there. Visiting playgrounds in Singapore was a journey that will remain in my mind and in my heart forever. I will cherish those moments, especially the sweet innocent smiles of the children I took care of.

The PLAYGROUND is one of my favourite places.

The More We Get Together

Playgrounds are much more than a place for children to explore and develop their creativity; they bring people of all ages and backgrounds together – children, their parents, grandparents, and other caregivers. Making friends and building social networks are important for everyone’s well-being, and a playground can help with this for young mothers and domestic workers alike.

WebsiteBanner 980w x 340pxThe National Museum of Singapore, in collaboration with the Housing & Development Board, recently launched an exhibition titled The More We Get Together: Singapore’s Playgrounds 1930 – 2030. The exhibition invites visitors to relive their childhood memories as well as think about future playgrounds. In response to the exhibition which runs till September this year, HOME has partnered with the National Museum to present a special event on June 10th this year, where we will look at the role playgrounds play in the life of migrant domestic workers, and the children they care for.

At the event we will have readings by domestic worker writers from the book, Our Homes, Our Stories, and we would love to hear from you too! Therefore we would like to invite all domestic workers in Singapore to join our writing competition with the theme:

The more we get together: Domestic workers at the Singapore playground

What do playgrounds mean to you? What role have they played in your life? Did you meet your friends there?

We’d love to hear your thoughts, anecdotes and memories!

The competition is open to all domestic workers in Singapore. The children they take care of, their parents, or grown-ups reminiscing their own childhood caregivers are also welcome to contribute. Prose as well as poetry can be submitted.

The best stories will be published on the MyVoice blog. The top 3 entries will receive a special prize and the writers are invited to share them at our event on June 10th 2018.

If you don’t have much experience writing, or find the English language a challenge, don’t worry. We have experienced editors and translators to help with your work. If your story is selected, you will work directly with them to get it in a good shape.

Please send your stories, poems and photographs to karien@home.org.sg

Deadline: May 21st 2018

If you’d like some more inspiration, you may visit the ongoing exhibition at the National Museum. Admission is free for everyone! More information here on the exhibition:

The More We Get Together: Singapore’s Playgrounds 1930 – 2030.

From the iconic dragon playgrounds of the 1970s to today’s modern, inclusive and community-built versions, playgrounds have played a part in our collective experience of growing up in Singapore.

Explore different playground surfaces, examine the original blueprints of the iconic mosaic playgrounds, and discover how we have defined our playgrounds, not only in terms of physical boundaries and equipment but also in terms of their place and meaning in society. You can also hear from people who have built (and are building) these playgrounds, design your own, and contribute to the building of the National Museum of Singapore’s very own playground!

The More We Get Together is an exhibition developed by the National Museum of Singapore in collaboration with the Housing and Development Board.

Follow our hashtag #OurSGPlaygrounds!