Migrant workers likely to stay away from Little India, say dormitories
- POSTED: 13 Dec 2013 22:56
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After last Sunday's riot, migrant worker dormitories Channel NewsAsia spoke to say most of their residents are planning to stay away from Little India this weekend.
SINGAPORE: After last Sunday's riot, migrant worker dormitories Channel NewsAsia spoke to say most of their residents are planning to stay away from Little India this weekend.
Migrant workers have been advised to stay in, or at least be away from Little India.
The temporary alcohol ban and stoppage of bus shuttle services are deterrents, though caution is a stronger reason.
"Everybody is scared to go there. We're all waiting for government instructions. I feel sad and angry also. Because Singapore law is very strict, we come here, make money, and follow the rules and regulations,” said Suresh Kumar, a driver.
"I'm building a house back home so I need to work for it. The riot has affected me emotionally. But the government is trying to improve the situation," said migrant worker Sudhakar.
"Suffering, yes suffering. But don’t know go where, cannot go out," stated Joga Rao, a welder.
Dormitory amenities like a remittance counter, an ATM, and a cafe offer residents some essential services. However, dormitory operators say it is neither realistic nor right to expect residents to stay in on their rest days in the long term.
Shaik Mohamed is a director at Mini Environment Service Group, which runs three dormitories including the Jurong Penjuru Dormitories 1 and 2.
“I would probably call it book-out mentality. After working for one whole week or five to six days, they naturally would like to go out, get some fresh air, and probably meet some of their friends from dormitories all over Singapore,” he said.
“I think telling the workers not to go to certain places is definitely infringing on their personal liberty. Probably advising them why we are telling them to avoid going there would be a better option."
For this weekend at least, there is entertainment around the corner as Sunday happens to be International Migrants' Day.
For migrant workers who want to stay away from Little India this weekend, the Penjuru Recreation Centre is an alternative spot, especially for those in the Jurong East area. Tents have been set up inside for a Sunday concert, featuring Bangladeshi and Tamil singers.
The programme runs from 2pm to 7pm and is co-organised by the Jurong Penjuru Dormitory and Migrant Workers' Centre.