"Dreaming in Singapore, a Builder’s Perspective", is a project that documents the conversations that two guys have with various construction workers in Singapore while they wait for their transport back to their dormitories. Honest and self-conscious, these conversations surface the dreams and ideals of the Indian diaspora who often, suspend their own to help us build ours.
Stories of leaving families behind, being in debt with the belief that they can recover it all and have more by working here, remind me of the work that is being done at Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) and the ongoing documentation of Singapore Gurkhas by Zakaria Zainal and Chong Zi Laing, something which I once featured in a FIVEFOOTWAY Article.
Curious, I sent an email to the project email to find out more and learnt that the gentlemen who signs off as "Still, Waiting for lorry" are actually two Singaporean undergrads in their early 20s. Consciously choosing to remain anonymous (because there is no reason to not be), this project is unrelated to their studies but rather one that was driven by a social condition that they observed.
"We have heard enough sad stories told about migrant workers. These stories have presented a homogeneous identity of the workers. We believe that there are more aspects to their lives in Singapore and we wish to uncover these stories through our project. Hopefully, the process of meeting these individuals, chatting with them and reflecting about it gives us a better idea of them by dispelling the preconceptions held by our society about migrant workers. "
Born over a plate of hokkien mee and beef horfun one night, this project shines a spotlight on the men who use their physical energy to literally build our cities, a fact that is easy to forget as buildings and roads just seem to sprout-on-demand in Singapore. I hope we never forget these guys during our SG50 celebrations.