In Singapore, migrant workers live in a different world. Most live in crowded dormitories, disintegrated from the rest of Singapore, and their living conditions are significantly worse. Although this disparity has existed in Singapore for much of its history, the recent pandemic has especially magnified this inequality between migrant workers and local Singaporeans.
COVID-19 cases in Singapore have been significantly higher amongst the migrant worker population than that of the local population due to the overcrowded arrangements of the dormitories. Often, in these dormitories, one toilet is shared among 80 workers and one room is shared among 30 workers. As a result, the government has taken measures to mitigate the spread of the virus by mandating some dormitories to remain under quarantine. Most of these workers in these dorms are from India and Bangladesh with families back home that they need to support. Therefore, the pandemic has left much of the migrant worker populations confined in their tiny rooms, unable to work to support their families back home.
Given these harsh living conditions under COVID-19, it is not surprising that there have been several instances of suicides and attempted suicides recently amongst migrant workers in Singapore. For instance, recently, there was an incident of a 36-year-old worker covered in blood at the bottom of the stairs in a dormitory after self-harming. However, there is still hope. Because of these recent incidents, the Singaporean government has recognized the poor mental health among the migrant worker population and plans to lift quarantine on dormitories that are safe to re-open.
Inequality between the migrant workers and Singaporeans have existed for decades, but hopefully, these recent events will entail the government providing better living conditions and mental health support for these workers that are the backbone of the Singaporean economy.
황채린 강남포스트 학생기자 email@example.com
<저작권자 © 강남포스트, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>