By: B Goode
Just the other day I was sitting alone under the banyan tree nursing my broken heart and empty wallet reminiscing about the days gone by, checking my phone balance and thinking :
“How the hell did I end up broke and sitting alone under a banyan tree?”
Sadly there was no one to capture my photo ‘cos it would have been awesome. Against the backdrop of the setting sun, I would have made a mesmerizing, picture-perfect silhouette of a forlorn man. Heck! They might even mistake me as a sad and lonely foreign worker because you know only a foreign worker would do something as depressing as that, amirite?
And it would have made a fantastic Facebook post about the trials and tribulations of foreign workers in Singapore.
/cue the sound of the world’s smallest violin
Meanwhile, most of the foreign workers were celebrating New Year like the rest of us. Like this.
I get it and I totally appreciate it. The legion of foreign workers have helped to build the country’s infrastructure but don’t make it as if they were forced to come here on slave ships. And don’t make it as if Singaporeans are lazy bastards who contribute nothing to the country. Like as if we spent all our time lounging on a sofa being fed grapes and poured wine through our noses:
The narrative about our foreign workers must change. We have to stop being condescending towards them and to stop giving back-handed compliments. They are after all humans and as humans they are expected to do what other humans would do like sitting under a tree. It is normal and it is natural. There is nothing to romanticise about those actions and certainly nothing further to extrapolate.
They don’t need a pat on the head after each and every normal human act like helping to change tyres. Only pets need that.
And never forget. Our forefathers used to sit under a tree somewhere after a hard day’s work dreaming of good times ahead.
Only difference is that there was no smartphones then and no facebook to post our ode.