Remember that hovel in District 9? For months, dozens of Chinese migrant workers lived in filth in the middle of Singapore’s poshest neighbourhood. And then, one very brave man decided to say something. His little video triggered outrage on the internet. It even led to a petition for better living conditions for ALL migrant workers in Singapore. More importantly, it shamed Tiong Seng Contractors, the company that put those men in the hovel, into cleaning up its act.

This, apparently, is what the place looks like now:

It took public humiliation for a company to act. Nothing like a bit of bad PR to spur penny-pinching executives into action. And what action too – I mean, didja see the flatscreen TV?

The truth is, most workers we know don’t expect extra-special treatment. They want to be able to sleep in clean quarters with proper sanitation. They want employers to give them regular work and pay their salaries on time. They want to be able to send money home so their families can service the debt they took on in order to come to Singapore. They want to be treated like human beings, not units of work, ignored, despised, consigned to… hovels. There are many more in Singapore. We’ve seen them – overcrowded, bug-infested, unsanitary. People don’t deserve to live like animals. Actually, animals don’t deserve to live in some of the cesspits we’ve visited.

Click here to sign the petition.