The Online Citizen

TOC Focus Week: Stories of Migrant Workers

December 18
13:36 2010

by Joshua Chiang

Today, Dec 18th, is International Migrants Day. Over at TOC, we have been doing our part raising pertinent issues regarding the less-than-ideal situations many migrant workers find themselves in. While we acknowledge that the liberal immigration policies are cause for concern, we also believe that those who had come here should be treated with fairness and dignity.

The following are ten articles we have written over the years highlighting the plight of migrant workers in Singapore, and also featuring the people who have helped make a difference to their lives. We hope these will serve as a reminder why much much more need to be done.

1) Is Singapore Really Slum-free?

On the horrendous living conditions some migrant workers find themselves in. (warning – pictures may cause nausea)

2) Death of Bangladeshi worker in 2008

Worker who contracted chicken pox received no medical attention from employer, and found dead in his bed.

3) Men in containers

Migrant workers housed in containers hidden from the buzz of civilization

4) It is not about just providing food

A volunteer’s experience

5) Fisherman’s ordeal

Little protection for migrant workers on fishing vessels.

6) TOC Expose: Repatriation companies

The dirty business of managing ‘troublesome’ migrant workers

7) Safer transport – what are we waiting for?

8) The story of Delowar

9) “I hope Singapore government punish them”

After Delowar – who was a teacher back home – returned home, Japanese news network NHK did a televised report on the story as well, and he was featured, and he mentioned his dream of building a school for his village. Some viewers were so moved that they raised enough money to build the school for him. Now he is the headmaster – or is it administrator – of the new school Sometimes miracles do happen.

10) 179 foreign workers abandoned by employer

The following is ‘Migrant Dreams’, a documentary  film by Lynn Lee and James Leong about a Bangladeshi’s dream turned into a nightmare in Singapore.

  • Name (required)

    where is law ?

  • Denial Tan

    Most of the migrant workers works especially low skill workers were cheated tens of thousand of dollars to come to work in Singapore especially during the construction boom in the last 3-4 years because of the IRs.

    There were so many rogue employers who shared the ‘commission’ with dirty agents in the migrants hometown to bring them to Singapore without actual work in Singapore.

    Many of these migrant workers are living in condition that most Sinkies can never imagine.

    Most of these migrant workers were heavily exploited by the rogue employers while most of them had to keep quiet because of the heavy debt they got into by coming into Singapore.

    The government long knew what was going and but kept both their eyes shut and deaf to the sufferings.

    This was extremely bad during the last 4 years.

    If a government do not even care about their own citizens who vote them into power, do you think they would even bother about these migrant workers.

    Singapore is now super-pro China and super-pro the rich. These ‘new elites’ will be most welcome to exploit the weaker groups and even the own citizens as long as there is money for the government.

    There are many terrible stories been told by the migrants workers when they return home and those from the city will never want to come to Singapore arranged by these agents. These rogue agents can only now con the rural pumpkins to come. Very soon there will be a day, where we will be well known for exploitation of the poor.

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