Featured Articles

Hired as scaffolder, safety-trained as painter, made to work as grinder

By Koh Jie Min, based on an interview in June 2018 Balal comes across as soft spoken when I meet him for this interview. He gives me a wry smile as he points to two long, white scars on his fingers, and recounts his tale. It’s a not unheard-of story: Leaving his wife and two...

For men from a poor country, choice is a mirage

In June 2018, TWC2 volunteer Alston Ng went around asking Bangladeshi workers, “Why did you choose to come to Singapore to work?” The words “neoliberal capitalism” are rarely heard in Singapore, but its message has nonetheless found a faithful following among Singaporeans. Markets are best optimised when left to run by itself, because the exercise...

The thing that most irks him? "MOM take my passport"

By Ng Zuxiang, based on an interview in July 2018 You have a carefully trimmed goatee. You are 26 years old. You have come from Bangladesh to Singapore as the job opportunities and pay here would likely be better than at home. You came to earn a living on which your family back home can...

Policy brief 2018, no. 3: Require standard employment contracts

In the third of our policy briefs for 2018, Transient Workers Count Too recommends that it should be mandatory for work permit holders to first sign a Standard Employment Contract (SEC) even before a work permit application is made. The SEC should set out all the key employment terms, and these should be in accordance...

Listen as peeved MOM officer flames out in phone call

A Bangladeshi worker Rimon (not his real name) received this phone call (audio below) from a case officer of the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). As you will hear, the officer was telling Rimon off for not returning to the company dormitory as earlier instructed. As penalty for disobedience, Rimon would be repatriated forthwith. The tone...