Left bleeding for four hours, no ambulance called

By Sun Han Chen The senior volunteer clenches his fist tightly. “Are you able to do this?” he asks Khalil Ibrahim whom we’re interviewing. “Yes, but very pain,” Ibrahim replies softly, repeatedly rubbing his right forearm, which reveals a long scar where not long ago there had been seven stitches. It was a deep wound,...

Bangladeshi bank charges 10% interest per month

Rakib and Kanak don’t know each other, but both come on the same day to Transient Workers Count Too with similar stories. The chief similarity was that they both had borrowed from Brac Bank whose branches and billboards can be seen all over Bangladesh. This bank is a major loan-maker to Bangladeshi men needing to...

Neat payslips hide violations in plain sight

Rahman Habibur complains that he has been short-paid for well over a year. It is not immediately obvious when one looks at his payslips. They appear very clearly drawn up. But closer examination reveals that he has a case. Habibur, together with workmate Uddin Jashim, figured in an earlier story Construction worker says he was asked...

Injured worker given ‘good news’: “Go home, see your family for a week.”

By Chow Zheng Shuan Uddin Md Jashim — or Din, as his friends call him — is at Isthana Restaurant this Monday evening for dinner provided by TWC2. After receiving his packed meal from the counter, he settles down at a table to recount his story to me. I picked him randomly to talk to....

No work, no money, no food

By Bill Poorman “No work.” Those were the worst possible words that Masud could have heard. Like all foreign workers, he had come to Singapore to put in long hours and make a better life. In Singapore, he could earn a higher income than in his home country of Bangladesh. But when he arrived here in September of...

Cheating agents and sleeping agencies

By Jean Law Debesh* is going back to Bangladesh after a mere four months working in Singapore. He is leaving much poorer than if he had not come at all.  This is because his money was taken from him in an illegal transaction that was not brought to justice. He tried to get the police...

Worker can’t get surgery; everything’s a bureaucratic mess

By Namgay Choden Hasan Mohammad Suman’s left thumb was injured December 2016 when it was jammed between steel bars at his worksite. It is late February now as I speak with him. He is scheduled to have surgery tomorrow at Ng Teng Fong Hospital in Jurong East. However, for the surgery to go ahead, he has to present...

From a complicated injury case, a simple truth

By Long Yiou As a rookie interviewer, I feel that Hossain Mohammad Alamgir’s injury case is far more complicated than the storyline of the movie Inception. Though he has only been in Singapore for two years — he came in August 2014 — Hossain has had two injury disputes with three different companies. The interview hits...

When a case is “resolved”, what does that mean?

By Sean Yee In Parliament on 6 February 2017, Manpower minister Lim Swee Say said, “MOM received about 9,000 salary-related claims involving some 4,500 employers in 2016. So, 9,000 claims; 4,500 employers. Through mediation by MOM and adjudication by the Labour Court, we have been able to resolve more than 95% of these claims.” This...

Construction worker says he was asked to repair taxi gearbox

Singapore is so short of labour that a well-known taxi company has been relying on construction workers to run its vehicle workshops. They are asked to clean the taxis, but also “do gearbox repair,” says Uddin Jashim, 31, a former worker there. Your writer asks him, with some concern, “Do you know how to repair...