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Broken Promises, Distant Dreams

The recent riots in Little India triggered the sensibilities of a young Indian teenage student who decided to visit dormitories and talk to foreign workers.

7/11/2014 2:52:55 PM
written By : Dhanya Nageswaran Print

If one had seen Singapore in her early developmental stages in the 1990’s, this country today in all her glory would have been virtually unrecognisable, and unlike most, seemingly growing more attractive with age. Year after year, new skyscrapers and luxury hotels appear on Singapore’s iconic city skyline. Development in all areas is also evident – new areas of land are targeted for upgrading and this seems to be a continuous process. 

As Singaporeans we revel in the first-world glory of our motherland and all it has to offer, but none of us stop to think about who is behind the scenes when it comes to building our beautiful city. Behind our ever-growing city skyline and signature HDB flats, umpteen pairs of bruised and blistered hands are toiling 24/7 working to constantly add value to our almost-perfect city. 

ConstructionThe presence and the plight of foreign workers came under the spotlight last year, especially after the riots at Little India’s Race Course road. This was followed by another panic reaction when Rex cinema cancelled the premier of a Tamil movie Veeram, featuring superstar Ajith. Police were called in when the 100-odd people comprising several foreign workers protested, but no arrests were made. 

While the Singapore Parliament is set to discuss this matter during its session, these two almost back-to-back incidents have set off a chain reaction and speculation about the presence and future of foreign workers.

Although it opens our eyes to their existence as people amongst us, it has closed our minds to accepting them as a contributing part of our society. Common stereotypes labelling these foreign workers have aggravated the issue. They are described as “hooligans” and “safety hazards” to the community, so it is no wonder citizens are uncomfortable with being in close proximity with these workers.

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