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HomeMiddle EastUAE workers get this year’s Camp Ka Champ under way

UAE workers get this year’s Camp Ka Champ under way

DUBAI // Shamas Mashi cleared his throat and knitted his eyebrows in concentration, then belted out his well-rehearsed number at a labour camp in Dubai Investments Park on Tuesday night.

Mr Mashi got this year’s edition of the Western Union Camp Ka Champ under way with his catchy Bollywood tune, and set the stage for three months of auditions in which thousands of labourers will vie for the coveted title.

About 3,000 workers from nearly 100 labour camps across the country are expected to try to win over the judges with their musical renditions.

“I like music and love Bollywood songs,” said Mr Mashi, 30, a Pakistani national.

“I play the tabla as well and hope I stand a good chance.”

Another worker, Firoz Bhaitha-shafi, 32, was among the contestants at the Larsen and Toubro camp on Tuesday.

“I was just passing by and heard people singing,” said the Nepalese electrician, who had never sung in public before.

“I couldn’t remember the words and was so nervous, but somehow managed to sing well.”

Despite the oppressive humidity hundreds of enthusiastic workers gathered to cheer him and the other contestants on.

Organisers said auditions would be held every night at camps in Dubai, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah until August 30.

The quarter-finals will take place next month and the finals will be in October.

“There has been a 25 per cent increase in participation overall from companies, camps and workers,” said Rupa Vinod, managing director of Right Track Advertising, the company organising the competition that is now in its eighth year.

“The interest is growing in the event every year.

“More people are coming forward to sing, unlike before when many were shy.”

The contest, nicknamed Dubai Idol, will consist of an English segment for the first time to encourage Nigerian, Ethiopian and Filipino workers to take part. This year’s cash prize has been increased from Dh15,000 to Dh20,000.

“The money will change my life if I win it,” said Waqas Ali, a security guard at the L&T site, who had also registered to sing.

“I hope I can win that kind of money. I am confident I can sing well.”

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(via The National)