Stranger To Myself: Diary Of A Bangladeshi In Singapore
Author: Md Sharif Uddin
There’s a mamak restaurant near my old office where, rumour has it, the workers - after working 14 hours, will shutter the place, rearrange the tables and turn them into beds.
They sleep where they work, so say the rumours. Whether it was true or not, I don't know, but I have always wondered how their lives were like behind the polite smiles. They made me realise how blessed and fortunate I am because unlike them, I could snuggle in my comfortable bed at night, not narrow table in a restaurant.
Sharif is a very eloquent writer, and his voice is really needed at a time when migrant workers are nearly invisible.
In this book he shares his diary entries and poetry where he details life as a migrant worker in Singapore. I love the raw, unpolished prose even if at times he seems maudlin, almost melodramatic. bBut how can he not be when faced with a life where his employers feed his rotten food, or where he couldn’t see his parents before they passed away or watch his son grow up?
Sadly, it would appear that even down south in Singapore, migrant workers are treated horribly. I had mistakenly thought that they had better lives.
“The owners of the companies are like wolves in sheep’s clothing. As long as you have the ability to work, they will care. If you stop for any reason, they will throw you out.”
This is a book that needs to be read. The only thing I wish was that it was available in ebook form because physical copies of it are hard to come by and his message needs to be spread far and wide.