Surgery not covered by insurance, says boss. Go back to India instead

By Nicholas Lee based on an interview in May 2018 The crowd at TWC2’s food programme grows as the hour for the breaking of the Ramadan fast approaches. Among the non-Muslims is Paranthaman Arulvendan, registering himself with TWC2 for the first time. But he’s not new to Singapore. Arul has been working here since the...

More frauds committed using ministry letterhead

In October 2017, we carried a story Fraud committed using ministry letterhead [link] about how a worker was misled about the salary he would be getting before he signed on for a job in Singapore. While, as we explained in that article, we did not know who exactly was the culprit, the fact that a scam...

Life and happiness for some, downward spiral for Alam

By Sun Hanchen, based on an interview in March 2018 Money is not important, they say. Chase your own happiness, they say. Live for yourself, for life is meant to be enjoyed. As a middle class, soon-to-be-university educated, Chinese (read: majority) person, I often hear this advice from my more carefree friends – who are,...

MOM accuses us of “inaccurate or false information” — here’s our response

This is TWC2’s response to a statement by the Ministry of Manpower over “inaccurate or false information” in our recent stories. The statement was dated 6 July 2018 and carried on the government’s “Factually” website. From time to time, differences will occur between what TWC2 records workers to be saying in our interviews, and what MOM...

$55 a day and the bright side of things

By Philomène Franssen based on an interview in April 2018 It is quite an unusual story that I got to hear at TWC2’s Cuff Road Project food programme, one Monday evening. Indeed, as a volunteer member of the Communications team, when I sign up to interview one of the migrant workers that TWC2 assists, I...

Mithun’s first 20 minutes with TWC2

By Zhan Nanxin, from an evening in March 2018 Like many other first timers, Sheikh Mohammad Mithun comes to Transient Workers Count Too’s Dayspace in Little India unsure of what to expect, hoping for advice and help. What catches our eye is the large bag of medication in his left hand. That’s quite unusual. He...

Rashadul goes home with only pocket change

Based on an interview in April 2018 Despite giving us a broad smile, Rashadul’s life has changed for the worse. For example, his broken knee means he will never be able to squat again. The best he can do now is to kneel on his one good knee, which at least is good enough to...

When court orders are worthless: the Zach Engineering case

Longform by Gautam Joseph with contribution by Choo Wai Hong  Timeline Dec 2014 Two workers at Zach Engineering summarily dismissed after employer has disagreement with Ministry of Manpower (MOM). Mar – Jun 2015 Two workers rehired by Zach Engineering, three other Bangladeshi workers join. Oct 2015 Fifteen workers paid only food allowance. Indian workers fight...

Jaynal lost his case at ECT; was the tribunal’s decision sound?

On 19 October 2017, Abedin Md Jaynal spent virtually the whole day in the Employment Claims Tribunal (ECT) arguing his case. By the close of the day, it was over, and he had lost. The magistrate dismissed his salary claim. Jaynal told TWC2 that the magistrate was actually sympathetic to his side of the case,...

48 Nihal workers left high and dry, and MOM’s ‘softly, softly’ role

None of the workers has gotten any real satisfaction. Nada. Worse yet, it was hardly an unusual case; it’s becoming all too common for migrant workers to be left high and dry after their employers fail to pay the agreed salaries and the Ministry of Manpower’s dispute resolution system either grinds too slowly, or grinds...