What could a fairer migrant worker policy look like?

Poh Yong Han argues that while addressing poor dormitory and food standards for migrant workers are important, they merely represent the tip of the iceberg. Unless we tackle the underlying structural issues that explain why migrant workers “consent” to such poor standards (low wages, high agency fees) in the first place, we are not addressing the root cause of the problem. To address them, she proposes setting a Minimum Income Threshold, and enforcing fair recruitment practices. She further suggests reconsidering whether the Work Permit scheme as it stands is even ethical, and asks if current restrictions (such as tying workers to specific employers) need to be loosened, and whether a fairer migrant worker policy would entail providing them with pathways to citizenship or residency.

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Il/licit Intimacies: Why The State Regulates FDW’s Intimate Lives

In Singapore, foreign domestic workers (FDWs) on Work Permits are subject to various bio-political restrictions: namely, restrictions that govern who they can marry and whether they can be pregnant.

What explains these restrictions, and why is the state so invested in policing the private intimacies of foreign domestic workers? Poh Yong Han traces through parliamentary debates and newspaper articles to show how these restrictions are informed by a neoliberal philosophy that informs how we view citizenship, and unpacks its consequences.

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Golden Mile Complex: Not Just Another Space

Golden Mile Complex is a Brutalist building facing potential demolition after its owners agreed to a collective sale attempt – much to the dismay of many in Singapore. Most news coverage, however, focuses on its architectural importance to Singapore’s heritage. But it plays an important social role, too, for Thai migrants. In this long-form research paper, Al Lim explores Golden Mile, and investigates the effect of its potential destruction on the Thai migrant community in Singapore.

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Can the Migrant Speak?: Migrant Worker Poetry and the Art of Advocacy in Singapore

A humane society cares for all of its members, whether they are citizens or not. But in today’s world, rights are often tied to citizenship. Poh Yong Han explores the options for migrant worker advocacy in Singapore, focusing on the potential power of the arts in bringing about positive change.

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Safer Waters: An Asylum Policy for Singapore?

Yet again, a refugee crisis in Southeast Asia has concerned the world. In Singapore, however, the Government’s usual rejection of an asylum policy has hardly been questioned- unusual for a nation with thriving and critical online discourse of issues. Theophilus Kwek argues that other options are possible- and questions the assumptions that make us shy away from them.

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