Malaysia’s decision to impose a 14-day nationwide movement control order has jolted many of its citizens staying in Johor but working across the Causeway out of their daily routines, who had only slightly over a day to make the necessary preparations.
While Singapore’s Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing on Wed (18 Mar) assured that most Singapore firms have managed to “secure the necessary accommodation” for their affected Malaysian workers, certain Singaporeans have also extended a hand — and a roof over their heads — to Malaysian workers who do not have a place to stay throughout the implementation of the order.
One such Singaporean is the father of a Redditor on r/singapore.
User “batsimal” on Tue evening (17 Mar) in a post told the forum how his father — a “boomer” who currently works as a retail executive — had “immediately” offered to house a colleague in their five-room flat.
The said colleague, a young Malaysian man who stays in Johor Bahru, would have had nowhere to go as he was reportedly “chased out of his landlord’s place a few weeks back”, said u/batsimal.
“My dad prepped and made plans this morning before heading to work, and was concerned about the sofa bed being too small for his colleague, and then proceeds to ask my mother to get us to bring out the folded mattress for his colleague,” the Redditor added, noting that the father “didn’t know how to properly set up the sofa bed”.
u/batsimal’s mother, according to the user, had “even offered to cook dinner” for the Malaysian man.
“My point is, my parents never had much, my parents never stood out. But their simple, small and selfless actions never fail to amaze me. They have my utmost respect for what they have done, albeit small actions, but to their best ability nonetheless.
“They are heroes to me and i just wanted to share some heartwarming stories amidst this tough period for everyone. Stay strong everyone, a little kindness goes a long way,” said the Redditor.
Several other Redditors who identified as Malaysians thanked u/batsimal and his family for their act of kindness to the Malaysian man, with a number of them expressing their gratitude to Singaporeans for being compassionate and generosity in times of crisis.
Redditor “fineapplefarts” called u/batsimal’s story “extremely heartening”, as the user pointed out that Malaysians working in Singapore have received backlash from disgruntled Singaporeans about foreigners “stealing” employment opportunities from locals in the Republic.
u/fineapplefarts said that most Malaysians who come to Singapore “just want to earn slightly more and really don’t wish to compete for a position that has many Singaporeans applying for”.
“Before entering the workforce, when I was a student here, I had teachers who were really willing to host me when I didn’t have a place to live yet,” the user said.
Redditor “dominique74”, in a reply to u/fineapplefarts’ comment, said that while they do not feel animosity for Malaysians working in Singapore — as the user perceives Malaysians as “relatives” or people of the “same blood” — the same cannot be said for other economic migrants who are “distant others”.
“EncymaPie” responded to u/batsimal’s post with a moral takeaway regarding the actions of people during a crisis.
One user, “milkmatchatea”, quipped: “You sure that’s not his son from across the border?”