What if the spirit of Ramadan is stronger than the borders that divide us? – this is the question McDonald’s Singapore explored in its latest film released in conjunction with the month of Ramadan. The almost three minute video features Malaysian employees who are working in the fast food chain in Singapore as delivery riders and kitchen crew members, who have been separated from their loved ones due to border closures.
“I thought it was going to only for two weeks but now it’s been over a year,” says Samsuri, one of McDonald’s Singapore’s delivery rider, in the film as he recounts his experience being separated from his wife and 2-year-old daughter, since last year.
Among other employees featured in the film is, Rozaini, who has been working for McDonald’s Singapore for 11 years. “If I get to go back home, I will hug my parents and in laws,” Rozaini says. Despite the emotional challenges she’s had to deal with being separated from her family in Malaysia, Rozaini says, “Responsibility is more important than all those things, so I just have to push through.”
The film ends with McDonald’s Singapore surprising the featured employees with a video call virtually reuniting them with their closest family members who were invited to specific McDonald’s Malaysia locations for the video call.
The Malaysia-Singapore border has been closed since March 18 last year and according to Malaysia-Singapore Workers Task Force president, Dayalan Sreebalan, there has been an increase in the number of cases related to depression and family crises, besides the agony of not seeing their loved ones since then.
According to The Strait Times, many Malaysians working in Singapore were also unable to keep up with the increasing cost of living such as room rental, which has increased from $200 to $800 per month.
“So if a worker earns $1,500 per month in Singapore, after deducting his room rental and living expenses, he hardly has anything left to send back home,” Dayalan said, adding that many of the workers chose to remain in Singapore in the hope that the border would reopen soon.
Watch the full Ramadan film here: