A lot of my articles have something to do with my life in Singapore. When you read them, it’s obvious that the people here is not one of my favorite things about Singapore. But generally speaking, I have nothing against them.
Until this morning, when I read an article at The Straits Times today titled “Foreign Workers? Not in my Backyard”. The article basically described that some 600 residents of Serangoon Gardens signed a petition against converting an unused school there into a dormitory for foreign workers, citing concerns for security and social problems as well as fear that foreign workers would spoil the ambiance of the estate.
And I started thinking, “Wait a minute…. why are these foreign workers here in the first place? Because YOU GUYS want them to come to work on jobs that you yourselves despise.” It is widely known that construction workers and seamen in Singapore are largely foreigners, so are the domestic helpers – no Singaporean seems to want this job. So here are 600 Singaporeans, wanting foreign workers to come and work, but not wanting to provide them with decent shelters.
But upon reading the rest of the article and the direct quotes from the residents, I just can’t help myself but being furious. Below are direct quotes from the residents who signed the petition:
“Many were afraid that their maids might befriend the foreign workers and invite them into their houses while they are out.”
Isn’t making friends one of the basic rights of every human being?? Do I need to even create new articles in this blog that many Singaporean employers actually lock their foreign maids in the house in so they cannot make friends or report any employer abuse to authorities?
This is such a simple issue. If people are worried about strangers being brought into the house, simply put cameras at the front and back door to monitor. If you say you don’t have the money for all this extra safety precautions, well, simply … just don’t have a live-in maid! I have had live-in maids all my life and having them inviting guests in is a latent risk, especially when the employer doesn’t provide them with room and space to socialize.
Which brings me to my next point. Employers can actually give their maid one day off a week or a few hours off every day (a basic work right MOST maids never get in Singapore) so they can actually go out and meet friends so they don’t need to invite anyone in just to satisfy their social needs of making friends.
Another quote said, “My sister, who also lives in the neighborhood, had forgotten to lock her car one evening. A foreign worker was caught trying to steal her CashCard and other items in the car.”
Probably Singapore is the only country in the world where someone who forgot to lock the car blames someone else for wanting to steal things. It’s her own bl^*&&$%^y fault that she forgot to lock her car, she’s lucky that this guy only attempted to steal CashCard and a few small items. In other countries, her car would have been taken away in no time at all!
I have also forgotten to lock my car one evening at East Coast Park, with three laptops, a GPS device, and a CashCard worth $100 inside. If any of these items were stolen that evening, I had no one else to blame but my own stupidity.
Another quote: “With 1,000 workers living here, there would be so many of us using the buses.”
I believe the 69 year-old retired teacher who said this has lived in Singapore way longer than I am …. she should have known better that the Singapore government never executes a redevelopment plan without thinking about the additional facilities required. With 1000 more residents in the area, I bet the government will get more buses to come to this neighborhood, or even build new bus stops. Or create food centers and convenience stores within walking distance from the dorm.
In addition, most foreign workers (I assume that these foreign workers would mostly be construction workers) are picked up by their employers in the morning, and driven back to their dormitory after work. They won’t create additional congestion to the bus and subway (MRT) system during rush hour. If ever they use the bus, it would be to go out to a food center to eat, or to meet up their friends – which supposedly will take place off-peak hours.
I cannot help but think how selfish and short-minded these Singaporeans are, when their government has actually done so much more to them than any citizen of the world could ever dream of from their leaders.
Some times, when I think about this, I just wish that every Singaporean would go through a mandatory two-year internship in another country where the government never takes care of the people and infrastructure planning simply does not exist … just so they learn not to take their government for granted.
If anything should be taught to these Singaporeans, it is definitely how to be less selfish and more considerate.