What would it take from us to make Singapore a great city?
We have a vision for Singapore: a more gracious place. A more creative place. A more inspiring place. We believe that you too can start somewhere. And it is our sincere hope that we inspire you stand up for our Singapore too.
On 1st May 2016, they had an event in Little India to create a conversation between the locals and migrant workers. The migrant workers also got to write their thoughts on a piece of paper, and hang it on the wall.
Feelings of home amongst Tamil migrant workers in Singapore’s Little India by Wajihah Hamid
Low-wage Tamil migrant workers have long been contributing to Singapore’s economy. Despite labouring there for three decades and being connected to the existing Tamil diasporic community in Singapore, they have been left out of both state rhetoric and society, often due to claims of transience. However, a fatal traffic accident in the locality of Singapore’s Little India in December 2013 involving a Tamil migrant worker that morphed into a riot has again brought the problems of these men and their presence within the vicinity of Little India to the fore. This paper is based on a wider ethnographic study of a group of Tamil migrant workers from the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu who were working in Singapore in 2012. The homely feelings experienced by the migrant workers highlight their feelings of homesickness vis-à-vis the need for a sense of belonging felt amongst transnational male migrant workers. On the other hand, practices that make the space unhomely for them not only illustrate their social position but will also lead to to the study of the governmentality of migration and control of migrant bodies.
Keywords: Tamil migrant workers, Singapore, Little India, transnational home, policing, governmentality
I met Tong Yee, who is the director of The Thought Collective in The Social Wave – Flagship Panel Series Discussion by NTC and NTUES. I told him about my FYP project about kindness, and he connected me to Khoon, who oversees Little India trails.
What is interesting about Little India is, it contains people from different nationalities as well as locals. From our discussion, I learned that as the space is quite small, suspicion is increasing among strangers living there.
What I could potentially be the directions for my FYP are:
- How to connect people from different cultures? What kind of universal kindness language that could help dissolve suspicion among people?
- What is stopping someone from trying to have conversation with strangers, and how could we solve the problem?
There has been an initiative happened as a response to this issue, called Kapor Chatparty by Octopus Residency. I will contact the person involved soon to know about Little India community better, and see how I can contribute to the society using my FYP.