Working with the Banglas on New year’s eve

Posted on 01 January 2012

By Zahid Monday, from his facebook post.

"I asked one of them how much they were getting paid for every occasions like these. He replied, "$24". We were getting $80."

On the 31st December 2011, i decided to take up on a ‘sai kang’ job that my friend offered me. He told me that i was being paid $80 for that day itself.

My friend told me that he needed to find people who were willing to do the job. The pay being the most rewarding factor for me, I took the job despite the fact that that day was the last day in 2011. Jun Kai, Junyuan and Stanley agreed to also work with me. This was our first time experience in this kind of work.

The job? Simple. Do road closures in the heart of town area in singapore by shifting metal barricades to regulate traffic flow for the new year.

Little did i know that i was soon going to be working with what we normally call bangla workers. We were soon given the typical reflective safety vests to wear that you’d normally see in construction sites.

On the lorry ride to different areas that we had to set up, i was basically trying to know them better. They had the same mindset. To work and earn money. They had families overseas and the money that they earn will be given back to their families.

At around 8pm we were basically walking along marina square to our next location. Few singaporeans noticed that i was a singaporean amongst the rest and they were staring at us as if we’re doing something illegal. Something bad. A couple even gave that confused look like, “That young boy siao one ah. Countdown people all go celebrate this boy go and work, with the bangla people somemore. Didn’t the parents teach him anything useful?”

You know what i mean.

But what were we doing? Ensuring that there is enough space for pedestrians to walk as it’s the new year. There’s bound to be overcrowding at these areas.

They were basically looking down at these bangla workers and ourselves too. If it isn’t for these workers who are willing to sacrifice the very last day of the year to ensure the safety of the pedestrians and also regulate traffic flow at congested areas, some of us wouldn’t even be able to see the new year.

Barricades are set so that there would be less people trying to jaywalk over to the other side of the road. Normally on these kind of occasions, we would go and celebrate the year by meeting up with our close friends to enjoy. By drinking and partying. And that’s when you’d get drunk and the thing that might eventually save your life is that metal barricade that prevents you from going over.

Now i know how these foreigners feel.

Yes, i stereotype these people too. I’d normally try to avoid them due to the smell and the list eventually goes on.

But on the very last day of 2011, i’ve achieved something greater than drinking or partying. I learn to accept.

I’ve also learned that you can say that you’re this and that but when it comes to the real thing, you’ll see the true colours.

********
So since 2012 is a brand new year that has started, I would like to ask all of you to do me a small favour:

1)
Stop discriminating these people. From what I’ve experienced they are nice people. You can’t really blame them for taking photos of bikini girls at sentosa or at any other areas similar as such. They work almost 24/7 and when they have their free time, they would like to see the nicer side of singapore. And they are humans too. And they are men. Since when did men ever not get attracted to the opposite gender. So if you’re wearing a bikini at sentosa to show off that fabulous body of yours to get hunks looking at you, go fuck yourselves.

If you’re suntanning, I would suggest going to another area where there are lesser foreigners around.

2)
Do not look down on them. These are the people that would go through shit jobs just to ensure that singaporeans would never need to do these kind of jobs.

3)
They did nothing wrong to all of you. So stop disturbing them just because you think it’s a fun/funny thing to do.

********

I took this photo with a few of them whom i worked with.

Laugh all you want.

Yeah, make jokes like “Eh sialah zahid you look just like one of them sia omg”

I do not give a single fuck.

I AM PROUD TO BE HAVING A PHOTO TAKEN WITH THEM.

P.S. I asked one of them how much they were getting paid for every occasions like these. He replied, “$24″. We were getting $80.
P.S.S. Two teenagers were clapping at us when this photo was taken. They can go fuck themselves.
P.S.S.S. I saw a teenager spraying snow spray at a bangla walking past outside Orchard Cineleisure during christmas. He can also do the same with the other two teenagers.

I apologise if this may offend to anyone that is reading this. Certain things might not be accurate and might also be exaggerated and this is only based on my opinion. My main motive of this is to ask singaporeans to do that very small favour.

This was first posted on facebook here. New Nation doesn’t usually re-post content wholesale but this is awesome in its entirety.

This post was written by:

- who has written 2685 posts on New Nation.

Wang Pei can be considered a new citizen of Singapore. She has been here all her life, just that her environment's changed beyond recognition.

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  • Jian

    Zahid, thanks for humanizing this underclass of workers in Singapore. They really need to be understood more so that stereotypes can be dispelled. Would you take it upon yourself to write an in-depth exposé of how Bangladeshi workers live and think?

  • scarlett

    Well written. Just one note: don’t refer to them as Banglas; it’s derogatory. As a Singaporean Bangladeshi, it’s pretty offensive to me. The term ‘foreign workers’ is good enough.

  • KennethSYC

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience you have. I enjoy your article and how freely you have expressed yourself working with these migrant workers. Do log on to TWC2 website and see what they do to help these foreign migrant workers here in Singapore! You are a great guy!