The Online Citizen posted a story about the container dormitories in Jurong. We’ve been reading the comments section… and getting depressed.

11) blackfeline on March 12th, 2009 3.56 pm

im getting tired…..seen the movie “slumdog millionaires” ?….are they better off back home? I am not suggesting we should treat them badly…get your perspective right and dont get carried away….spend more times checking our own people who are living in equally terrible conditions!

12) poppoppop on March 12th, 2009 6.52 pm

The workers staying there got water supply, electrical, air-con, place to cook, DVD,Television.Why disturb them, make everybody busy shift and shift again.Mohamed if you are happy staying there go rented condos or go back home better.

Strange how some people seem to think that migrant workers should just shut up and well, be grateful for sub-standard accommodation that they are in fact, paying for. It’s almost as if WE are the ones doing them a favour by allowing them to come and clean our streets, clear our garbage, build our skyscrapers, and prop up our marine industry. We pay them a pittance, and expect them to just suck it up when they get treated like shit.

Stranger still is the assumption that just because someone highlights the plight of migrant workers, he or she is somehow being unpatriotic – because you know, there are Singaporeans living in poverty and they deserve to be helped first.

15) Jeff on March 12th, 2009 9.38 pm

Change your name to ‘A community of foreign workers’ that’s all you seem to be caring about. Why don’t you pay a visit to those 1 room HDB flats that are rented out (at enormous) profit to the poor and the elderly.

How illogical. It’s like telling the SPCA they should stop saving animals because there are human beings dying across the world. Or Greenpeace to stop campaigning for whales because Darfur is imploding.

Surely there is space for everyone and their causes.

And then there’s the xenophobia, the pure ignorance, the assumption that just because someone comes from a poor country, his house must be a real shithole.

54) FWGoHome on March 16th, 2009 12.08 pm

These FW came here to work, and they should be expecting the fact that they will not be staying at nice houses, and as long as the it is a shlter over their head, WHAT’S THE PROBLEM!! Are you guys so sure that they have better housing in their own country, or they are probably living in slums worst then what they are currently staying in. Common, let’s get realistic!

We’ve met some of these workers, and the truth is, no one was destitute or homeless, or living in a hovel before coming to Singapore. They all had decent jobs, a decent (by their country’s standards) income, and decent homes which they, more often than not, sold, in order to pay their agents to find them a job here. Why? Because like everyone else, they want better lives for their families.

And so they gave it all up to come here, to Singapore, this wonderful first-world country where the streets are clean and the people so very civilized…. and they get herded like animals into containers.

These workers are open to abuse – we recently spoke to a Bangladeshi migrant who was made to stand in the sun for four hours, on ONE LEG, because he had the gall to ask his employer why his salary was late. Another, got slapped so hard by his supervisor, his eardrum ruptured.

They are here not because we are charitable but because they play important roles in our economy. We need foreign workers to do the jobs we won’t do. And yet they are derided, ignored, subjected to racial slurs and taunts. And we expect them to take it quietly. It is as if they don’t deserve a voice. And we get offended when someone stands up for them. US. Gracious people from Singapore.