By Zoe Lin
As Islam Rezaul turned on his mobile phone to show me photos of his injury, I couldn’t help but gasp in shock at the sight of them. There was a stab wound about the size of a 50-cent coin and a long line of stitches that ran through the side of his body. I could barely imagine the pain he went through. He had fallen at work two months earlier, landing on a reinforced steel bar (rebar for short), which pierced 20 cm into his abdomen.
Luckily for him, he was able to catch the attention of nearby co-workers before he lost consciousness. Three co-workers carried him to the office, after which everything became a blur. The ambulance came 30-40 minutes later, and he underwent surgery the same day at Mount Alvernia Hospital.
Throughout his five-day stay in the hospital, there was no sound from his employer. “Company no see me, [even if] I die, company don’t care.” Islam said to me. When you’re miles away from home in a foreign country where your native language isn’t understood, perhaps what you really wish for while lying on a hospital bed is just a simple “How’re you doing?”
After his hospital discharge five days later, Islam was moved back into his temporary container housing at the Tanah Merah work site. His room was located on the second level. Still recovering from his surgery, his friends had to assist him up and down the stairs. Left alone hours on end every day while his fellow co-workers were out at work, Islam grew to feel even more abandoned and lonely with no one there to care for him. Islam’s only communication with his supervisor from the time of his injury was of the latter asking him for an official copy of his medical leave certificate, and when Islam was going back to work.
This annoyed Islam, for he was not even given a copy of the MC in the first place.
Shortly after, boredom and loneliness got the better of him. Islam moved out of his dormitory into a bunkhouse in Little India, paying a rent of $250 per month. Islam reiterates to me, “my company don’t care me.” One and a half months later, no one from his company has asked about his whereabouts; not even a phone call was made to him from his supervisors.
It baffles me. For a large organisation — Islam says they have 200 workers — is there not one person who cares about his well-being?
Everything seems to be on autopilot. But there’s a silver lining to that, for at least his salary’s still being paid to him.
Islam is still undergoing treatment, but seems to be recovering well. What would be nice is if someone from the company gave him just one call and asked him how he was doing. Every little gesture counts.