After reading a few shortlisted poetries by our construction worker, I chose the one written by Mohor Khan. This is what he wrote:
Streets with no madding crowds, its traffic melodious
spotless as the hearts of the civilized people of this city
diverse with crafted monuments
Trees nurtured as carefully as children
Among their branches the kokila sings
with the magical voice of forever spring
Everyday, with the perfect touch
of the bottomless love of my heart
this city, mother Singapore, has turned into
the chariot of the world
riding on the extravagance of youth
Day after day I labour
Layers of this city are infused
with the salty smell of my sweat
Today I am a mad city lover
Have I forgotten
My mother, my motherland?
My wife waiting for me all this time?
The child who will carry the flag of my family
Have I forgotten him too?
Every night, sleepless in the same dream
The underground train of dreams moves relentlessly
And the greed of money blurs my destination
At the delta of my dreams
I am as lonely as a sodium lamp post
Slowly in the dim light of my dreams
enters the miserable cry of my son
In my loneliness I can hear him say:
Father, when will I go to Prince Bazaar
holding your hand?
The dream of reaching the sky
riding on your shoulders is over
I have learnt to walk, run
Father, I have grown up
I have learnt to forget your dear existence
Father, I have grown up
Every night, unable to sleep
I turn into a nocturnal creature
I am not only a migrant worker
I am the lamp post of a family
A short introduction of Mr. Mohor Khan, he came to Singapore in 2007 and works in the construction sector. He writes sonnet but he also written short stories, novels and non-fiction. His sonnet typically reflects social realities in Bangladesh and Singapore.
What makes me fell in love with his poetry is the way he describe his life as a migrant worker. It reflects on the hard work done by the migrant workers to make Singapore a better place and the result of who Singapore is today. However it also shows the consequences of them devoting their life helping to build Singapore to earn money and neglect their own families. They spent most of their time working, away from their family doing those dirty chores, doing the job that most would actually consider ‘tough’ and not want to take on the job. Despite those hard works given to them, they were resilience and hang on. Working hard under any circumstances, bad weather, bad living conditions given to them, low wages and more, this list can go on and on. They did this to earn a living, for themselves and their family members for this I really admire them. Although for those who have children, as a migrant worker they are unable to witness the process of their child growing up as mentioned in the poet. They are not capable to do what most parents are able to do to their children e.g. spending time with their children, playing with them and building bonds or even memories together. Both the worker and his/her child will only have little memory of each other throughout the growing process which is kind of disheartening to know. Unlike the other children, the child is not able to see his father daily or even have a proper conversation. The most is to have video calls, phone calls or by texting each other due to the long distance apart.
In this poetry, it beautifully represented the life of a migrant worker making a difference in our country as well as the consequences of being apart from their family. The migrant workers hard work touches my heart and I am truly grateful for what they have done for us. There are many articles regarding people ill-treating the migrant workers because they were smelly or because they are sitting on the seats on the train. I really hope people are able to understand their situation just by reading this poetry, be grateful and appreciate what they have done instead of doing these things to them. It is disheartening to know as all the workers wanted to do was to earn a living for their family, they did not come here to be ill-treated. They are normal human just like us sadly the only difference is that no matter how badly they are treated they are still forgiving and nice to the people around them. I simply do not get why some people are so against them, they are nice and kind people. I witness countless time of them helping Singaporeans. E.g. Workers giving up seats to others who are in need while the other citizens simply ignore them. The migrant workers who work as cleaners around my resident area greets me every morning as I am on my way to school, these may seem as ‘simple’ action but they are willing to make an effort to do it. My parents taught me that we can simply show our gratitude through small actions, hence occasionally when we bump into these cleaners around my resident area we will give them drinks and snacks or during Chinese New Year we will give red packet to them. These small actions are the one that counts.