I was there 2 weeks ago and the place was packed with foreign workers. I think there were more foreign workers than there were Singaporeans there that day. When I got to my friend's HDB flat nearby and asked him about the situation, he said, "What to do, these foreign workers are also humans, they need to go out, meet their friends and shop....". He said the workers sometimes gather to drink leaving their empty beer bottles at the void deck but other than that he didn't have really have any major complaints about them.
There are more than 1 million foreign workers in Singapore. They have to live somewhere, they need to shop for stuff and they have to use our public transport. This is not a debate about whether they should be here or not but given that they are already here, what type of host country do we want to be?
Emotions ran high when a unused school in Serangoon Gardens was chosen by a contractor to house his foreign workers. Serangoon Gardens is no ordinary HDB neighborhood where 75% of Singaporeans stay. It is a private estate where richer Singaporeans live and residents there are concerned about safety, congestion and property depreciation:
"Assuming there were 1,400 households, each worth $1 million, in the estate, he said 'even a 1 per cent drop in asset value (because of the workers' presence) would mean a $14-million loss" - Serangoon Gardens Resident
"Why is no one looking for suitable places to house these workers away from all the inconveniences and insecurity that people feel?" - Serangoon Gardens Resident
After reading about these residents' concerns, I became really worried about my own safety. I walk past groups of foreign workers everyday on my way home . They stand right next to me on MRT everyday. My mom and sisters have to walk past places where there are foreign workers although they have been doing it for more than 2 decades without anything happening, we cannot assume nothing will. What about the children and old folks in Boon Lay? I fear for their safety.
.Lets all sign a petition like the Serangoon Garden folks to keep foreign workers out of our neighbourhood. If Serangoon Garden residents won't have them, why should the rest of us? Surely, if the MND takes into account of the concerns of the folks in Serangoon Garden and keep the foreign workers out, the same concern about safety, congestion and loss of property value to has to apply to the rest of us who live close to foreign workers dorms or worse still have neighboring flats rented to foreign workers.
Whether we agree or disagree with the govt's foreign worker policy, once the foreign worker comes to Singapore, most of us have accepted that they are humans like us and have the right to live, shop and meet on their off days. I'm so glad that Serangoon Gardens residents have emerged to warn the rest of Singapore otherwise - that the foreign worker living next to us is not what he appears to be, he can turn into a criminal anytime targeting old folks and children. He is the one to blame for road congestion and not the LTA. He should be stopped from overrunning our pristine gardens and parks confined to his quarters on his off day. The rest of the country who have been complacent about the foreign workers that live close to them should now wake up for they have been living in danger.....we want only the labour that these workers provide but they cannot live like us, among us and near us. Yes, if MND grant the wish of residents of Serangoon Gardens to live in an estate free of foreign workers, it should also do the same for the people of Boon Lay and other HDB estates.
I leave you with some soundbites from 938Live which had a discussion on this issue.....
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