Sixteenth Story – Migrant Worker

After conducting interviews with two foreign workers from China, our team has written their stories for you.

This is their story.

Zhai Fu Ming is from Gan Shu, China. He has decided to work in Singapore to support his family back in China. He believes that it is possible to earn more in Singapore as compared to China. His family comprises of his wife, his 4-year old daughter, his parents, and his grandmother. His primary objective to work in Singapore is highly dependent on his desire to better support and meet the needs of his family. Fu Ming came to Singapore on 9 September 2016 and received training for 2 days. He officially began to work in Singapore on 13 September 2016 and worked for a period of 16 days. He was given a remuneration of SGD $1000. When he arrived in Singapore, he was prepaid SGD$100. From 21 November 2016, onwards, he worked approximately for 18 days (half days were counted as a full day) and was paid $900+. He had worked more half days in October 2016. He had sustained an injury on 21 November 2016.

Through his friend circle, he managed to gain understanding of Healthserve and seeked the organisation’s help. Healthserve is a non-profit organisation dedicated to providing healing and hope to migrant workers. He displays a positive attitude towards the people at Healthserve, in the short period of time he has spent at Healthserve. Fu Ming had sent most of his first month earnings back home and as a result does not have much for himself. Healthserve has been assisting him as they have been providing meals for him. He deems that that the food prices in Singapore are too expensive and is thankful for Healthserve. After sustaining an injury, he had filed for work injury half a month later. Ministry of Manpower (MOM) had said that it takes time for the processing due to a long list of reports and pay-outs for the injuries sustained.

Fu Ming feels that managers tend to have bad attitudes initially, however after interactions with them, he feels that things tend to get better. He mentioned that his injury has changed their attitudes towards him. He deserves to rest and needs time for recovery. The company has been supportive of allowing him to rest. Fu Ming misses his family a lot while he is in Singapore. He would chat with his family members over the phone once or twice every week to find out more about things going on at home.

Fu Wei Guo is from Hanguo, Hebei.  He has been in Singapore for almost 3 years. Like Fu Ming, Wei Guo suffered an accident at work on 29 July 2016.  His colleagues helped him to report the incident his manager. After a few days, the company had helped him to report his work injury. However, since his injury was considered to be a minor case, there was no compensation provided. However, he personally felt that his hand injury was severe. As such, he went to MOM to request for a compensation. After 3 visits to MOM, they had promised to compensate him. When he has fully recovered, he has hopes to be able to work again in Singapore. Singapore is the third country in which Wei Guo worked as a foreign worker and believes that Singapore is a much safer country with a better working environment compared to the two other countries that he has worked in (Algeria and Africa).

Wei Guo said that most of them are away from their families for many years. Some of them only return home once every year or once every two years. Wei Guo feels that Singapore is better compared to Africa. While he was in Africa, he could only return home once every 2 years. While he was at Algeria, he could return home only after 2 and a half years. He felt this was too long and felt distanced from his family.

Both Fu Ming and Wei Guo do not consider themselves as invisible in Singapore. Both of them rent their hostels and take public transport quite often. They mentioned that both youth and middle-aged adults treat them with a certain level of respect. They feel alright with the current level of treatment that they received from locals. Both believe that Singaporeans do treat them well. They have an understanding that there are cases of locals who do not treat foreign workers well. Both have come across locals who are genuinely friendly. They have seen people who are nice and pleasant. For instance, if they were lost in public, they were directed to correct locations through locals’ help. Both consider Singaporeans to be of a good nature. They are thankful to Healthserve for the services provided to them when they were injured and for looking after them. They are also grateful to the staffs at Healthserve who cared for them.

Thank you for reading.


Brought to you by,

Invisible SG


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