Not Just A Worker Exhibition


Not Just A Worker is an exhibition that brings together 79 photographs by seven migrant workers, all of whom are participants of the project Topophilia and Topophobia: A Tale of Two Cities. The project is based on the “photovoice” method, where participants are mentored on aspects of photography while also engaging conversational about the issues embedded in their works. In exploring the twin narratives of topphilia (love of place) and topophobia (fear of place), the project seeks to unveil the emotive complexities experienced by migrant identities. The knowledge of pleasant, poignant and ambivalent episodes are produced not only in the participant’s capacities as workers, but also as users of the city.

FYP Visual Framework


Feedback for Parthiban’s video from Angeline’s class:

  1. Re-adjust the punctuation of Parthiban’s speech as it feels as if he is reading a script. Allow some pause moments for the viewer to think about it.
  2. Remove the background music to make the Parthiban’s voice as the star of the video.

A post by Cassandra Tan


A post by Cassandra Tan on 20 November 2016 at 14:31

My first passenger today brought me to tears and I had to hold it back till I dropped him off.

At 5.46am, I got a booking from Bt Timah Road. It didn’t state what number, just the road name. I called him, he said he didn’t know what number or where he was. He just said he was sitting at a bus stop at Bt Timah Road.
Bt Timah Road is so long. I asked him to describe what he saw nearby. He said cars, trees, at a bus stop. I asked him to look for the bus stop number, I got silence and muffling sounds.
Sensing something very wrong,
I said…just sit there and wait for me. I will find you!

From where I was, I thought…if the booking came to me. He must be at the few bus stops nearest to me, but Bt Timah Road was left and right. So I tried the right side first.

There he was… a lone Indian foreign worker sitting at the bus stop, looking around aimlessly.

I stopped my car, asked him if he had booked a car. He nodded. He opened the front door and asked if he could sit in front politely as he will vomit if he sit behind(his words).
He got in, I offered him a plastic bag and a sweet which he politely declined.

I confirmed his dropoff address, he nodded. He was upset. So I drove on, leaving him to calm down.

Halfway through, I asked him if he was okay. He nodded.

So I asked why he was at that bus stop (very quiet corner) so early that morning. He said he walked there.
I said from where.
He said from home.

Apparently home was where I was sending him now….very far from where he was.

So I casually mentioned…. wow that’s a very long walk.

So the talk continues…

Me: So where are you from?
He: India.
Me: U ok?
Me: U work here?
He: Ya.
Me: How long?
He: 6 months now.

I then offered him some tissues and he took to wipe his tears…

Me: It’s ok. You can talk.
Silence then…..then he spoke.
(After this, I was quiet for a long time while he spoke)
His next words:
my wife die after born my baby girl.

In that little bit of English that he could speak….
He went on to say he and his wife were orphans at an orphanage and grew up together and fell in love.
They had to “betroth”(his word “sell”) their baby girl to a family in their village so they had money to pay for doctor visits for her pregnancy. The baby was supposed to be turned over to the family at age 12.
His wife died during childbirth and the family had claimed the baby girl after the hospital turned her over to them.

This man sitting next to me now will never have the chance to see his baby girl or even put his wife to rest.

After I dropped him off, I declined to take his fare and even wanted to give him money for an airfare home.
He simply refused to take it and said no use go home.

He just said “Thank you for hear me” and left.
He probably needed to be alone now.

4 hours later when I finished my driving…. as I was clearing my things, I found 2 $10 notes in a slot on the passenger door. He had stuck them there after I refused to take his fare.

I tried calling him on the same number…. it has been off the last many hours.

My dear friends, give your kids and partner a good cuddle and many kisses today please!

*Update* 21/11/116

I managed to call through the phone this morning. It was picked up by another Indian man who said the phone is actually his and the man (his friend) had left this morning for home.
I asked how?
He said “Boss give money send”.

He told me also….no call here again.

I hope he will be blessed and find peace within himself soon.

I didn’t expect this post to go viral but thank you to everyone who shared to let people know what some of our foreign workers face.

Thoughts for FYP:
Is it possible to draw responses from Singaporeans about their reflection, thoughts, experience about/with migrant workers?

Existing solution: HOME, AND A HOME, 2016



Welded mild steel bars with rust-preventive transparent coating, cast concrete and weathered steel
Dimensions variable
Collection of the Artist
Singapore Biennale 2016 commission

Barman investigates ‘home’ and ‘landscape’ as an idea, not just in the physicality of its presence, but the space that it occupies in the minds and memories of displaced Bangladeshi migrants. This work grew out of the time Barman spent in Singapore chronicling the conversations and poetry of Bangladeshi migrant labourers. Juxtaposing the large, minimal sculptures of shop-houses (heritage buildings which are sometimes used as dormitories for hundreds of workers today) alongside rust-transferred drawings and cement sculptures, Barman explores the parallel realities of the migrants’ experience – the house they live in in Singapore and the ‘home’ they dream of in Bangladesh. In the artist’s words, “transferring rust impressions onto paper, casting abandoned domestic objects in concrete … realising skeletal definitions of homes – is more like sculpting from memory – reconstructions rusted in time”. The sound piece of the workers’ poems in Bangla reflects the untranslatable journey of the displaced people.

I am excited to see the performance tonight! It is heartwarming to know that migrant workers’ talent are recognized here, in Singapore Biennale.

These are some photos that I took during my visit to poetry recital by migrant workers on 29 October 2016, 5PM.

Takeaways for FYP: 

I  think that it is good to have the migrant workers present at the exhibition as it would allow interactions between the performers and visitors.

Interview #2


A. Field Trip

Location: Buona Vista MRT
Time: 7:10pm – 9:20pm
Movie: NA

B. Interview #2

All interview is available @
Participant: Male, 23. Research Assistant.

  1. When is your most recently watched movie? Which movie?
    I watched a movie three months ago at JEM (Jurong East Mall)
  2. Do you have any cinema preference and why?
    Nope, as all of them are same condition.
  3. What are the factors that you think are important for a cinema?
    The comfort level of the places and type of films which are shown.
  4. What do you usually do after watching a movie?
    Just to “reflect” the whole story and try to think any values gotten from the movies
  5. Do you stay back for after credits?
    For some movies yes
  6. How do you feel (emotionally and physically) after watching a movie?
    Usually I felt satisfied and amazed emotionally while physically I need to go to the toilet to have a pee after being in cold room.
  7. How do you feel about the exit hall post movie?
    For the place that I go after I exit from the movie theatre, I think that the condition is quite confusing because other than the people in front of me, I would not know about the direction because the sign is very minimum, if I am not mistaken.
  8. Do you think that it is important to exit at public transport place, like bus stop or MRT station?
    It’s not preferable for me, myself, because after I come out from the theatre, most the time, I will seek toilet or do shopping before going out of the mall to the bus stop.
  9. If you can change something about the exit hall, what would you like to change?
    It would be great if the exit gate could direct us directly to the mall without the labyrinth. I want to exit to the mall because it will give me clearer direction and it will give us more comfortable condition after we spend a lot of time in that movie. The mall has aircon, while the labyrinth is hot, and with a lot of people going through the exit hall together, the condition is not very good. If we are exposed to the mall directly, it would be better.
  10. What do you usually do in the exit hall?
    I will reflect about the story and make some judgements about the movie whether it is good, interesting, or even boring. It’s all in my mind, or if sometimes I watch with my friends, I can talk to my friends about that.
  11. How do you feel about the following ideas to improve the exit hall?
    a. Navigation to be displayed on walls
    That’s a good idea.

b. After credits / new movie trailers screened on walls
Too long for people to wait after that…, not a good idea.

c. Simple rating system for viewers to express their feeling about the movie
I can’t see the point for that. I don’t think viewers will be interested for that



Just give clearer explanation for the navigation compared to this current condition.