Examining The Foreign Workers In Singapore Cultural Studies Essay

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One may ask, with the increase in foreign labour in the industrial and construction trade, will there be sufficient housing to accommodate them. Today the problem is being tackled by constructing permanent dormitories, on site construction housing and factory converted quarters. But from the year 2004 to 2009, many of these dormitories have been deemed unfit for these workers, factors like overcrowding, filthy and unsafe conditions have been on an increase. Fire safety laws, pest control laws and land use laws are some of the regulations that are violated by these unfit dormitories.

The project hypothesis to these issues lies in a 2 way interaction between the workers and their dormitory owners. On one hand, dormitory owners fail to take responsibility in providing these workers with a clean and safe living environment; some possible reasons are caused by the lack of necessity to provide for the workers well-being. This ideology of treating a foreign workforce as expendables, have been around since the time of Ancient Egypt where a community of foreign Hebrew slaves were treated as an expendable workforce. The brutal past is not seen in today’s context but the idea of lowering a social status of a person due to the fact that he or she hails from a foreign soil and the concept of always having an expendable workforce is still seen here today.

This problem will affect the workers mental and physical well-being, as the implication of an overcrowded space increases social interactions. Thus with this social interactions together with an overly stressful and crowded living space will cause tension as a result of interpersonal mistakes and cultural misunderstanding in day to day social judgement. In addition to an overcrowded living space, privacy is also another factor in which most dormitories fail to meet as the most fundamental individual needs. With the setting of social interactions between unfamiliar persons coming from different parts of the world bringing along with them their different cultural heritage, the experience these workers will face is a constantly changing one and these workers have to adapt to it on a day to day basis.

In terms of a safety and environmental perspective, the reality is that these overcrowded dormitories can barely allow a person to move freely within their own living space. Picturing a scenario where a fire breaks out, are the workers going to force their way out instead of escaping in a safe and secure manner? In most cases, the hygiene infrastructure is not established in the dormitories, hence even if a person has got a good personal hygiene habit inculcated into them; it will not serve any purpose in ensuring that the place is up to hygiene standards as with the absents of a structured and hygienic infrastructure, the dormitory will still be below hygiene standards. An example, a dormitory in Mandai, where workers lived, sleep, cook and interact within a container that is build side by side closely to one another. This is one case of the absence of a hygienic infrastructure where cooking is not done in a proper location which will result in a serious rats infestation.

In terms of flexibility, interviewing is a much better information gathering tool compared to a survey questionnaire. As the assessed information will be free from any ambiguity that an un-structured and un-clear survey question might post. The trade of an interview tool requires the understanding of phrasing a question clearly and properly; institute a rapport with the interviewee and avoiding misunderstanding when posing out the questions. This therefore will lead to a large amount of time preparation during the grounding phase and a restriction of the amount of persons that the interviewer is gathering information from. Hence the entire process will take a long time.

Unlike interviewing, survey questionnaires are self-administered hence making it economical and requiring a less technical approach to administer the test as compared to interviewing. Being the fact that, this tool is a self-administered device, the questions posted in the questionnaires should be clear and with explicit instructions. This hence would facilitate in achieving a more accurate and honest response from the subject. In survey questionnaires, the response and collection rate is much quicker as compared to an interview; as a large number of respondents can administer the survey in one go.

When administering a survey questionnaire, the possible challenges will be motivating the respondents. Most people are not strongly motivated to take part in a survey questionnaire unless there is a personal relevance to the topic being administered. Unlike an interview method, a good and considered response cannot be seen when administering a survey questionnaire. But this aspect can be clearly seen when administering an interview as whether an effort has been made to answer the question is apparent. Another universal truth would be that people would feel more comfortable when talking as compared to writing when gathering information. As good information requires a level of seriousness and honesty in the respondents answer, this is resulted from the fact that survey questionnaires are not seen as impersonal hence an honest and serious answer will not be seen as top priority therefore the answers maybe bluntly frivolous.