Be Bangladeshi worker Akash for a little while — that’s the concept behind the interactive video produced by Nanyang Technological University students Avril and Yanling (lower right inset above) for their final year project. It’s a documentary with a twist, taking the viewer through the experiences of a fictional character as he leaves his home to work in Singapore and encounters some harsh realities. Along the way, he meets other workers who have faced unexpected difficulties. Finally he goes home at the end of his work contract . . . but did his dreams come true?

Using tools that current digital technology has to offer, there are several stop points through the video. At some of these stop points, the viewer is asked to make assumptions and then check if those assumptions turn out to be true. At others, one is asked to make decisions when faced with dilemmas, just as migrant workers often have to do. The result is a highly engaging and informative experience.

The video was unveiled at the Bangladesh workers’ drop-in centre Dibrashram recently to a full house of workers, and “they all recognized something of their circumstances in the [story],” said Debbie Fordyce, executive committee member of Transient Workers Count Too.

John Gee, TWC2 immediate past president, who advised Avril and Yanling on the circumstances of migrant workers here, was highly impressed by the result. “I think they did a good job,” he said. He also wrote to two of them, graduating from NTU’s Wee Kim Wee School of Communications, to congratulate them on their work.

The project can be experienced by going to