Chinese-language morning daily Lianhe Zaobao devoted a half page to Transient Workers Count Too in their edition of Monday, October 31, 2011. Describing TWC2 as an organisation that extends a helping hand to migrant workers, the story opened with an interesting, yet important perspective: That fair treatment of guest workers is not just a matter of workers but can affect international relations. Workers who feel unjustly treated in Singapore can impact, through their experiences, their home country’s perception of Singapore and Singaporeans as a whole when they return.Treating workers fairly helps to build good international relations.
The story also provided a general summary of our origins in the wake of a domestic worker’s death through beating and how we soon realised that the problems are widespread and serious enough to warrant an organisation with staying power.
Quoting TWC2 president Russell Heng: “We are sometimes subject to criticism that we are always biased in favor of labor. In fact, we recognize that some workers may themselves be a problem and we do not favor any party. We just want to make sure both sides follow the formal procedures to resolve differences. Do not see this as a confrontation, but as a cooperative search for a solution.”
The story goes on to describe TWC2’s Cuff Road Food Programme, noting that we serve about 1,400 meals a week to workers who, falling through the cracks in the system, end up destitute. Volunteer Avelyn was mentioned for her dedication. Learning of workers’ experiences, she remarked, “I can’t believe someone can be so cruel to other humans.” As a teacher, she has shared some stories with her students and “I hope to raise public awareness through the sharing.”
The feature concludes with an appeal for more Chinese-speaking volunteers. TWC2 is currently shorthanded in this area.
In fact, the day the feature was published, TWC2 received two calls for help, both from Chinese nationals working in Singapore. They learnt about TWC2 from the newspaper article.
If you can read Chinese, the full text of the story can be found on a TWC2 Facebook note.