Sarkar Robel finds his salary in a time warp

The main part of this story is based on an interview in November 2017, when the outcome was hard to predict. The postscript was written in April 2018 after the case had concluded.   The narrative hinges on dates. As you read it, pay close attention to the dates. On Thursday, 16 November 2017, Sarker Md...

“Excuse me, can we talk to you a little bit?”

Photographs by Nguyen Phi Yen, from an evening in April 2018 Every weekday evening, volunteers with Transient Workers Count Too are there on the streets in front of our meal stations. It’s warm and humid, but we’re there because we want to make it easy for foreign workers to approach us if they need help....

Bumpy ride for Alaguraja as employer goes doctor-shopping

By Alston Ng, based on an interview in March 2018 It has been 18 years since Ganapathi Alaguraja first arrived in Singapore as a foreign worker, but his impeccable record of accident-free workdays came to an end when a spinning drill-bit crushed a finger on 1 March. Despite the years of experience living and working...

From too much noise to an uneasy silence

By Sun Hanchen, based on an interview in January 2018 I wrote about Rajan (not his real name) in an earlier story “Worker asks for reimbursement of medical bills, sets off chain of events”.   In this story, I will recount his work history, to give readers a glimpse into a foreign worker’s experience in Singapore through...

The cook and the consumer

By Aaron Chua, based on interviews conducted in March 2018 At Transient Workers Count Too, we are mostly dealing with cases of salary and injury problems, but what do the day-to-day affairs of an average migrant worker look like? We got a glimpse of how their meals were managed when we recently interviewed a couple...

“Company don’t want me anymore,” says this year’s luckiest worker

About ten months after Subra broke his hip, the doctor said it was time to take the metal plate and screws out. His bones had fused well. It would mean a second operation. Subra rather liked the security of having the metal pieces in place; who knows what would happen if they were taken out?...

Worker asks for reimbursement of medical bills, sets off chain of events

By Sun Hanchen, based on an interview in January 2018 Some months after the accident in September 2016, Rajan (not his real name) was back at work on Jurong Island, albeit instructed by the doctor to undertake only “light duties”. One morning in April 2017, heading to his worksite, he was informed by a colleague...

Alone in a foreign country knowing no one who can help

In the middle of March 2018, TWC2 got a call from a Sikh temple. They were sheltering a young woman who had come to them for help. We asked that she be sent to our office. Khushpreet (not her real name) was a first-time domestic worker, who arrived in Singapore just three weeks earlier in...

Neither here nor there: ‘Supply worker’ predicaments

By Sun Hanchen, based on an interview in November 2017 When most of us apply for a job, we have expectations that the job scope will be related to our field of education or training, and that we will have some knowledge of the people whom we will be working with. It goes beyond expectations...

Hossain Sabuj tells us who got rich from his working in Singapore

By Tristan Powell-Odden, based on an interview in January 2018 Hossain Sabuj, like many other migrant workers, had a dream: To open a clothing store that re-sold American brands in Bangladesh, his home country. To raise the needed capital, he would work for a few years overseas. However, because of the exorbitant amounts of money...