Activist and social worker Jolovan Wham is selling smiley face t-shirts to raise another $1,001 for migrant workers, after he made a personal donation of S$1,001 to the Migrant Workers’ Assistance Fund.
Last week, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo demanded that Mr Wham donate S$1,000 to the labour movement-linked migrant workers fund for making corruption allegations against her and her husband. Her move drew backlash since Mr Wham has freely helped migrant workers and brought awareness to their plight over the past several years.
In that same week, Mr Wham was summoned for police investigations for holding a piece of cardboard featuring a smiley face in front of a police station at Toa Payoh Central. Mr Wham explained on Twitter: “About 2 months ago, I held up a placard at Toa Payoh Central, took this picture and left immediately after. I’ve now received a letter that I’ve violated the Public Order Act and will have to be at Tanglin police division this Sunday at 2pm.
The social worker added in another tweet: “I did it in response to someone in sg who got investigated by the police for participating in a climate strike.”
Mr Wham has now revealed that he donated a dollar more to NTUC’s migrant worker fund than what Mrs Teo demanded and that he intends to raise another $1,001 to help migrant workers by selling t-shirts bearing a replica of the smiley face he posed with in front of the Toa Payoh police post.
The activist shared on Facebook on Thursday (28 May), “Last week, the Minister of Manpower sent a demand letter that I should donate $1000 to the NTUC’s migrant workers centre’s migrant assistance fund because I had made defamatory remarks about her. I decided to donate $1001.
“In the same week, I was investigated for holding a smiley face placard in support of our 2 young climate strikers. My mobile phone was seized during the investigation.”
Mr Wham shared that his friends, including Subhas Nair and Rocky Howe, initiated the fundraiser in response to what happened to him in the past week. He hopes to raise $1,001 for the Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (HOME) and give any excess proceeds to families who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Wham said, “The aim is to raise $1001 and the proceeds will be shared between migrant rights NGO HOME: Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics and vulnerable individuals and families on the Wares Mutual Aid list, who have been affected by Covid-19. Buy a t shirt (avail in white and black) and keep those solidarity smileys coming! I’m grateful for your love and support.”
Subhas Nair is selling the smiley face t-shirts for S$20 a piece on his website. Revealing that he will not make any profits from the sale of the t-shirts, Mr Nair said that S$12.50 from each sale will be donated to Mr Wham’s causes, while the rest of the sum goes to the production of the t-shirts. Shop the t-shirts HERE.
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