By Terry Xu
Singapore is being featured on Taiwan news, but perhaps not in a good way. An exclusive report on Chung T’ien Television featured the poor living conditions that an 18-year old Taiwanese student, Yi, had to endure while working overseas in Singapore.
The student had travelled from Taiwan to Singapore to work as well as to learn English. Originally the employment agency told him that the living conditions in Singapore were good. So he never imagined himself to be squeezing in an austere room with 6 to 8 people, with a rent of TWD $6700 (around SGD$280).
Yi is said to be earning TWD$30,000 (around SGD$1,260) from his work in Singapore but he pays about one-third of his pay to the agent. After deducting the rental fees, he is left with only TWD $14,000 (around SGD$590).
As Yi scratched his arms and legs, which are filled with insect bites, during the interview, the student said he thought depend on the company he works when he came over to Singapore. However, he soon realized that it was not possible to do so.
The video clip in the news report shows a narrow passageway leading to Yi’s 12sqm room where he stays in Singapore. The toilet is situated outside of the room with a few dozen people sharing the four small cubicle shower rooms in the dormitory.
A much closer at the room shows flimsy double decker beds, and foul-looking mattresses that is infested with fleas, and the cupboard is small which can only hold a luggage bag. Even the small table meant for everyone in the room is spoilt.
The old dormitory where his room is located resembles workers’ squatters.
The description of the living quarters in the brochure that the agent handed out was drastically different from what the reporter from Zhong Tian News saw at the site.
Many Taiwanese students hold great aspiration to learn from Singapore its concept of internationalism and to brush up their English.
The news report ends with a reminder for students who are thinking of working in Singapore to ascertain more clearly the finer details of such work arrangements in order to prevent being conned.