Migrant worker wins S$18,888 in Squid Game-inspired company event

The prize money is equivalent to 1½ years’ worth of his salary.

Shermaine Ang

Shermaine Ang

The Straits Times


Mr Selvam Arumugam (right) said he will use the prize money to build a family home in India. PHOTO: POLLISUM ENGINEERING PTE LTD

June 1, 2023

SINGAPORE – A migrant worker from heavy vehicle leasing firm Pollisum Engineering has won $18,888 in cash at the company’s dinner-and-dance event.

The prize money is equivalent to 1½ years’ worth of his salary.

The event, held at the company’s building in Senoko Way last Saturday, featured games inspired by hit South Korean survival drama Squid Game, where players compete to win life-altering rewards, but minus the deadly stakes.

In the Netflix series, hundreds of cash-strapped contestants compete in children’s games for a huge cash prize while risking their lives in the process.

Players at the dinner and dance sported red tracksuit jackets with number tags, while game masters wore red hooded jumpsuits, like characters in the drama series.

A giant inflatable ball filled with money hung from the ceiling in full view of the players, similar to the show’s piggy bank.

The winner, Mr Selvam Arumugam, 42, had not heard of the show before.

The rigger and signalman inspects and maintains crane and lifting equipment to ensure the safety of lifting operations at construction sites.

Mr Selvam, who has a wife and three teenage children, first came to Singapore to work in 2007 from Tamil Nadu, India.

Despite not understanding the rules of the games, he tried his best, he said.

He copied what players in front of him were doing and ran as fast as he could during the Red Light, Green Light game and managed to escape elimination.

In a TikTok video of the event, Mr Selvam is seen falling to his knees and covering his face with his hands in disbelief when he learnt he had won the top prize.

The company’s annual dinner and dance was attended by 210 employees, including mechanics, drivers and sales staff.

Employees of Pollisum Engineering playing the Cross The Bridge game, inspired by Korean survival drama Squid Game, at the company’s dinner and dance event. PHOTO: POLLISUM ENGINEERING PTE LTD

Each employee went home with at least $188 in cash, while 35 of them, who were chosen in a lucky draw to take part in the games, won cash prizes of $588 or more.

Pollisum Engineering gave out a total of $100,000 in prize money during the event. Executive director Chris Ang told The Straits Times that the company wanted to reward its workers as it has been doing well and expanding in the past two years.

Pollisum, which leases out heavy vehicles such as cranes, was founded in 1984 and has about 230 workers.

Mr Selvam, who studied up to Secondary 1 in India, joined the company in 2015.

He supports 15 family members back home. His parents and two brothers have died, leaving behind their wives and a total of seven children. He also provides for his in-laws.

Mr Selvam said he will use the prize money to build a family home in India – the family currently lives in a rental flat – and help his brothers’ children pay for their studies.

“When I found out that I had won, I couldn’t believe it… I called my entire family to tell them about this good news,” he said in Tamil.

“My wife thought it was a joke at first until (my friend) spoke to her. All of them were celebrating and crying at the same time. This will be a moment that we will never forget for our entire lives.”

@emceebotakkai *edit* 1.5 years of salary and not 2! 👍 Imagine winning $18,888 at your company's dnd! one of the biggest I have ever given out and to a very deserving and sensible man who ask his boss to safekeep his money. Love it!! Kudos to @pollisumgroup ♬ original sound – emceebotakkai

scroll to top