Labour Day, ironically a day when you’re not supposed to be labouring (unless you’re on shift duty), is a holiday on 1st May which celebrates the 8-hour modern work day and achievements of employees. In other words, Labour Day was quite possibly the first celebration of work-life balance.
The 8-hour work day came about as a result of the Haymarket Massacre in 1886, which happened during a protest in Chicago for better working hours and conditions (working hours ranged from 10 to 12 hours then). After a bomb exploded in the middle of the protest, killing police and demonstrators alike, the police responded with gunfire, further increasing the death toll. Similar demonstrations occurred worldwide thereafter, but this was the beginning of Labour Day celebrations and the shift to a 8-hour work day.
This year, Labour Day falls on a Wednesday, which means there’s no long weekend unless you’re willing to spend two days of leave to create that five day weekend. After being spoilt by so many long weekends, what can we actually do on this one day public holiday? Plenty, as it turns out.
1) Join the White Paper protest
It worked over a century ago – so why not return to the roots of Labour Day and join a protest? The next White Paper protest will be held on Labour Day, at the Speakers Corner in Hong Lim Park. This is a ground-up movement and is happening from 4 – 7 pm, with the theme “For A Better Singapore”. Singaporeans from all walks of life will be coming on stage to speak on various issues such as employment challenges, influx of foreigners, etc. If it gets too hot and crowded at the protest, you can always head over to Chinatown Point for some good old fashioned shopping.
2) Shop at Chinatown Point Uniqlo
The newly renovated Chinatown Point boasts a vibrant selection of shops, including Uniqlo. Their grand opening promotions are on till 2 May, and you can pick up some pretty sweet deals there!
3) Buffet brunch at Paulaner Brauhaus
Paulaner Brauhaus at Millenia Walk has a special BBQ buffet brunch, and with an additional $10 you can get free flow beer with your brunch as well. What better time to indulge in Singapore’s favourite past time? But if you’d rather a place to sleep after you eat, you can always opt for Fullerton Hotel instead.
4) Food staycation at Fullerton Hotel
Eat to your hearts’ content at Fullerton Hotel with their Labour Day specials, which include an American buffet breakfast for two at their very own Town Restaurant, as well as a dining credit of $50. Best of all, the offer is on till 2 May!
Read also: Labour Day in Singapore: An Evaluation of the Foreign Labour Situation
5) Spa staycation at Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel
If the favourite Singaporean past time isn’t for you, then how about a spa getaway at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel? Their Labour Day offer includes a daily breakfast for one and a one-for-one Hair/Face/Body Treatment Voucher at their in house J’s Salon. And it’s available all week till 5 May!
6) Take a Chan Brother’s cruise
Turn this Labour Day into a long weekend and book leave for Thursday and Friday. How about going for a short trip instead of staying in Singapore? Book one of Chan Brothers’ 2/3/4 to go two night cruises to Redang or Malacca. With 4 to go prices at nearly half of the regular offers, there’s no better time to head out in a ship.
7) Watch Austin Powers and Grease for free
If trips and staycations are hard on the pocket, how about some free movies? Channel 5 is airing two blockbusters on Labour Day – Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery and Grease. Perhaps the most cost effective way to spend Labour Day would be on a couch in front of your TV.
8) Catch an Esplanade show
“Hello Paige”, a family friendly show about Paige, a young girl, and her kitten Neko, premieres on Labour Day. Watch Paige and Neko navigate the world of sounds at the Recital Studio in Esplanade and you might actually find yourself liking it even more than your children.
9) Join a Zumba class
The Zumba Meetup Group is having a Labour Day Special, where you get to try out Zumba at offer prices. Just join their group and sign up for a class, and you’ll be burning calories while the rest of Singapore eats and shops.
10) Visit the Istana
The Istana is only open four days a year to the public – and Labour Day is one of those open houses. Visit one of Singapore’s iconic landmarks and relive history and you might even get to meet the Prime Minister!
A word of advice to all: If you are thinking of making a trip across the border to Malaysia, you might like to change your travel plans. Traffic at the Tuas and Woodlands checkpoints is expected to be heavy according to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).
To all workers out there, this day is meant for celebrating you. Put aside all work and enjoy this day that you deserve.
Image Courtesy: Esplanade Theatres