A Reminder To Appreciate Migrant Workers In Singapore
A group of Polytechnic students, Hafis, Luqman, and Haziq bring to screen the faceless members of Singapore society—the construction workers— in a video called “Builders of Singapore”. They chat with a couple of migrant workers from India and Bangladesh in the heartwarming clip.
The most striking thing about the video is how the construction workers feel that all Singaporeans are nice. Here is what one of the undervalued and underpaid workers had to say about locals.
“The people here are all nice, because Singaporeans believe in equality for all! Singaporeans are good.”
Yet as the story develops, the video brings up an uglier side of our garden city state. “People here are nice, but sometimes they would try intimidate me for no reason.”
So why do we feel differently about them?
We are all guilty of it. We avoid eye contact and physically distance ourselves from these people in public spaces. The only thing we willingly give them is the low paying jobs that the rest of us avoid. Sometimes, things even get dramatic like the “crazy auntie” saga.
Even if we don’t discriminate, we tolerate others doing it. Why? These people have spent years building our city, our homes without being going back to theirs for years at times. They build our Michelin-starred restaurants while eating rice doused in curry and drink water from the tap day in day out. They build our world-class luxurious hotels while sleeping in overcrowded dormitories or mosquito-infested temporary work sites facilities. They give Singapore a good name, but earn a bad reputation from Singaporeans.
The ghost workers of Singapore build a city that shuts them out.
Kudos to the students to remind us to value the contributions of these people and appreciate them as part of the Singapore family.