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5th May 2013

Sitting at a little hawker centre in North Bridge Road in Singapore, after alighting from the fiendish express bus that was supposed to have dropped me off at Beach Road but made me disembark in the middle of Jalan Sultan at an unearthly hour of 5am when I’m barely awake from the journey. Venturing further with my Eminent wheelie luggage & Millet backpack, I found this place with the nicest tea that I’ve tasted in a long time. People just don’t make tea the way tea is supposed to taste like in kopitiams anymore. While waiting for my dear, uppity tangkachi  to pick me up in her ‘meet-Ah Lian-clothes,’ I am sitting here, sipping my tea & trying to put my thoughts together.

I watched a foreign worker in bright reflector vest, sweeping the street just outside our state of the art bus terminal building in Bandar Tasik Selatan when I went there after a workshop to collect my boarding pass. I felt a surge of compassion towards him & I asked God to bless him & the family that he probably has to send money home to. A storm was brewing & from the place he was sweeping, there was no way he could reach the building or any shelter for that matter when the skies pour down. He’s got to get wet to keep OUR streets clean. I couldn’t help but feel sad at the state of the country where foreign workers take up the jobs that are supposed to be filled by Malaysians. I feel sorry that they have to be subjected to harsh working conditions because they have no status here as odd job workers & manual labourers. I felt angry for the way these people have been reduced to such working standards that give them no way to voice their rights. It hurts me to see that despite these unjust treatment levied on them, many of these foreigners are given citizenship by a crooked system that’s bent on milking the nation dry.

Here in Singapore, Malaysians who have flocked here to make their mark have made their mark one way or another. They have been given recognition based on merits & many have decided to embrace the permanent residency offered by the administration & are thriving beyond any of their peers back home. The competitive trait that most of them have acquired, is actually a simulation of the environment that they have to be in & it’s no wonder that they can be successful. Comparing that trait to that of Malaysians’, we fall short & far behind. We don’t even have a minimum wage policy until recently & wages do not increase proportionately with the inflation of goods, leaving many working in jobs to sustain a life they can’t afford to live in. In a few days, I would finish my assignment here & return home where I will be commissioned again for other assignments. I can go on but I’m not here to lament about what has been done or hasn’t been done. I want to put to use what I know for the good governance that I’m looking for & hope for a flood that will sweep the nation. 5 May 2013.