“The tour around the Tuas View Dormitory was an engaging and intriguing experience. Despite being part of the ACE Migrants committee for a year, I had personally never visited a foreign workers’ dormitory prior to this opportunity by the National Youth Council. As such, I approached the trip with curiosity and with little knowledge of what to expect, eager to catch a glimpse into the lives of Singapore’s “invisible visible”.
The first tangible thing that struck me was the sheer size of the dormitory – spanning 8.4 hectares, it has a capacity of roughly 16 000 people. Available on the premises are clinics, several hardware stores, remittance services, a barber, and even a cinema. The idea of this whole separate, self-sustaining community existing within Singapore but not so-called “with” Singapore made me quite pensive – the dichotomy between the lives of Singaporeans, and the migrant workers who build up a country they have no idea about, was very stark to me in that instant.
The dormitory also has various amenities such as gyms, pool tables, dart boards, and air-conditioned reading rooms. While on tour, we noticed the clean, well-maintained grounds and large open areas. While assuredly impressive, as I shared later on during a group reflection, it is salient to note that this dormitory is among the best, if not the best of what Singapore has to offer in terms of accommodation for foreign workers. Overcrowding and poor sanitation are some of the many imperative issues that still exist. The efforts of civil society groups such as Healthserve, TWC2, and Itsrainingraincoats cannot be discounted in their crusade to better the lives of migrant workers in Singapore, of whom we should be more cognisant and appreciative of.”
As we can see from Natania’s reflection, the event was truly an eye-opening experience that gave our CAPTains many insights into the lives of migrant workers in Singapore. If you’re interested in engaging in similar events, do keep an eye out for more from our ACE committee!