Gardens treat for lower-wage workers, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Gardens treat for lower-wage workers

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Secondary 2 student Fok Xin Yi, 14, spent yesterday morning taking in the sights and smells of the Flower Dome with her family.

She was given a free tour of the Christmas display in the dome at Gardens by the Bay with her father and aunt.

"It's very special because they have a lot of different species of flowers and trees and they told us about the background of the trees," she said.

They were among 350 lower-wage union members and their families at an event at the Gardens organised by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).

Xin Yi's father, Mr Fok Hup Seng, 62, is a member of the Building Construction and Timber Industries Employees' Union.

The cleaner at Yishun Community Hospital earns about $1,100 a month and said he has visited the dome a couple of times before as part of other free activities.

They may get another chance to visit the conservatories next year as NTUC is partnering Gardens by the Bay to give free tickets to the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest to about 237,000 union members whose wages are in the lowest 25 per cent among all members.

The union members will each receive four tickets, which are available for redemption in several batches during the year.

NTUC did not say what the cut-off income level was.

The offer was announced by labour chief Ng Chee Meng yesterday at the family event.

Mr Ng, who is NTUC secretary-general, said that attractions like Gardens by the Bay, which receives about 1 million visitors each month, boost Singapore's tourism revenue and contribute to the economy so that the country has resources to pursue its interests, such as in national security.

Gardens by the Bay chief executive Felix Loh said that he is glad to continue the vision of founding chief executive Kiat W. Tan, to ensure that not just a privileged few can visit the gardens.

"He wanted to make sure that Singaporeans can come any time to the most precious land in downtown Singapore, (that) all segments can come and enjoy it," he said.