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Multimedia Resources for Learning about Migrant Workers in Singapore (in the time of COVID-19)

Male migrant workers who work in the construction industry in Singapore, also known as foreign construction workers, are the backbone of the country’s rapid urbanisation and growth. Many of them leave their families from countries across South Asia (mostly from Bangladesh and India) on short-term and precarious work permits to make a living in Singapore. Yet, they are generally relegated to poor living and wage conditions, and experience xenophobia and alienation everyday from Singaporeans.

In the time of COVID-19, these migrant workers are especially vulnerable with clusters of outbreaks across various dormitories. However, the state and corporations who employ these workers have been slow to respond to their needs, and many Singaporeans appear apathetic about their welfare.

Given the information saturation at the moment, I have compiled a list of accessible multimedia resources for anyone who might like to learn about migrant workers in Singapore (in the time of COVID-19). This page includes:

1) Selected news coverage on the impact of COVID-19 on migrant workers, as a backgrounder for those who are unfamiliar with the crises unraveling

2) Multimedia news stories, primarily from news outlets who have produced stories about the migrant worker population in Singapore

3) Video editorials & Short documentaries, primarily from independent media, content production houses, social media influencers, researchers, and student projects about the migrant worker population in Singapore

4) NGO & Civil society resources, primarily a short list of social media links where you may follow and contribute to their advocacy

Recommendations are welcome in the comments section below or via email. Thank you to the original creators of these contents; please feel free to use and circulate for learning. Take care.



Coronavirus: Singapore migrant worker dormitories still hot topic as Covid-19 cases rise. South China Morning Post, 14 April 2020. <Article>

Gold standard no more? Singapore’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak begins to tarnish. MSN, 13 April 2020. <Article>

Singapore’s migrant worker debate: Advocacy amid a pandemic. The Diplomat, 12 April 2020. <Article>

COVID-19: 2 more dormitories declared as isolation areas. Channel News Asia, 12 April 2020. <Article>

COVID-19 hits our migrant workers hard. We, the citizens, 11 April 2020. <Newsletter>

In defence of… squalor. TWC2, 11 April 2020. <Article>

COVID-19: Battling fear and boredom, migrant workers grapple with isolation in dormitories. Channel News Asia, 11 April 2020. <Article>

COVID-19: Tampines Dormitory declared isolation area under Infectious Diseases Act. Channel News Asia, 10 April 2020. <Article>

Coronavirus: 7 in 10 new Covid-19 cases in Singapore linked. toforeign worker dormitories. Straits Times, 9 April 2020. <Article>

COVID-19: Sungei Tengah Lodge declared fourth isolation area. Yahoo! News, 9 April 2020. <Article>

Singapore: Let’s not ignore the downtrodden; nor those who speak up for them. New Naratif, 9 April 2020. <Article>

Protecting the precarious: COVID-19 and migrant workers., 8 April 2020. <Article>

Covid forces Singapore to confront conditions for its migrant workers. Lowy Institute, 8 April 2020. <Article>

TWC2 calls for increased testing and relocation of migrant workers amid COVID-19 outbreak. We, the citizens, 8 April 2020. <Newsletter>

Singapore’s migrant workers on front line of coronavirus shutdown. Al Jazeera, 8 April 2020. <Article>

Covid-19: Media Statement, 8 April 2020. TWC2, 8 April 2020. <Media statement>

Coronavirus: 21 vacant HDB blocks in Bukit Merah being refurbished to house essential foreign workers. Straits Times, 8 April 2020. <Article>

COVID-19: Toh Guan Dormitory declared isolation area after 14 confirmed cases. Yahoo! News, 7 April 2020. <Article>

Coronavirus: Workers describe crowded, cramped living conditions at dormitory gazetted as isolation area. Straits Times, 6 April 2020. <Article>

Singapore: Over 20,000 migrant workers in quarantine must be protected from mass infection. Amnesty International, 6 April 2020. <Article>

Straits Times Forum: Employers’ practices leave foreign workers vulnerable to infection. TWC2, 23 March 2020. <Forum letter>


Multimedia news stories (reverse chronological)

Life in isolation: Inside Singapore’s foreign worker dormitories during COVID-19. CNA Insider, 12 April 2020. <YouTube>

Singapore migrant workers under quarantine as coronavirus hits dormitories. South China Morning Post, 9 April 2020. <YouTube>

Singapore migrant workers living in fear as virus hits dorms | AFP. AFP News Agency, 8 April 2020. <YouTube>

Life as a migrant worker in Singapore | Migrants’ Diary | Full Episode. CNA Insider, 9 February 2020. <YouTube>

Keeping Singapore’s migrant workers safe. CNA Insider, 29 December 2019. <YouTube>

‘He got too famous’: A construction worker turned poet pays the price. CNA Insider, 15 August 2019. <YouTube>

The Bangladeshi town with a Singaporean dream. CNA Insider, 20 July 2019. <YouTube>

The migrant worker who founded a polytechnic. CNA Insider, 6 July 2019. <YouTube>

Life after Singapore for migrant workers: New Series! CNA Insider, 5 July 2019. <YouTube>

Ramadan diaries: The secret life of migrant workers | CNA Insider. CNA Insider, 2 June 2019. <YouTube>

Diary tells of Singapore migrant struggles. South China Morning Post, 23 May 2019. <YouTube>

Bangladeshi diary spotlights Singapore migrant struggles. AFP News Agency, 23 May 2019. <YouTube>

Living city: Migrant workers find refuge in Rowell Road shophouse. The Straits Times, 2 July 2018. <YouTube>

Migrant dreams: Bangladeshi workers in Singapore – Rewind. Al Jazeera English, 10 January 2017. <YouTube>

Young Singaporeans are giving migrant workers a voice. AJ+, 27 February 2016. <YouTube>

We built this city: Singapore’s migrant workers | 101 East. Al Jazeera English, 9 May 2014. <YouTube>

Jobless and unpaid, migrant workers face daunting fate. The New Paper, 24 March 2017. <YouTube>

Charity helping exploited migrant workers in Singapore. AP Archive, 21 July 2015. <YouTube>



Facing COVID-19: My migrant worker reality. Our Grandfather Story, 10 April 2020. <YouTube>

Nobody Asked EP 15: Let’s raise $100k to help migrant workers in SG. Preetipls, 7 April 2020. <YouTube>

A migrant worker’s perspective in Singapore. MothershipSG, 29 January 2020. <YouTube>

Migrant workers Singapore. Migrant workers Singapore, 9 October 2019. <YouTube>

They help migrant workers. So can you. Our Better World, 21 July 2019. <YouTube>

A migrant worker’s micro-influencer life. Our Grandfather Story, 20 April 2019. <YouTube>

Helping migrant workers | Dipa Swaminathan | TEDxTanglinTrustSchool. TEDx Talks, 29 November 2018. <YouTube>

Cooking up a storm with Bangladeshi migrant workers. Ryan Sylvia, 10 August 2018. <YouTube>

Mini documentary: No minimum wage in Singapore. dalilah ab, 17 January 2018. <YouTube>

Migrant worker life swap | TSL Vlogs. TheSmartLocal, 20 April 2017. <YouTube>

Four important life lessons that I learned from the migrant workers « Raj Singh | TEDxNTU. TEDx Talks, 14 March 2017. <YouTube>

Singaporeans read mean tweets to migrant workers (Part 2). Nubbad TV, 14 June 2016. <YouTube>

Singaporeans read mean tweets to migrant workers (Part 1). Nubbad TV, 9 June 2016. <YouTube>

Migrant workers respond to comments made by Singaporeans. Familiar Strangers, 17 January 2016. <YouTube>

Is Singapore better without foreigners? Jade Seah, 4 September 2015. <YouTube>

Migrant workers in Singapore helped build something more valuable than skyscrapers. The Hidden Good, 3 September 2015. <YouTube>

Building bridges – A migrant story | Saiful Islam | TEDxNUS. TEDx Talks, 15 June 2017. <YouTube>

Working in Singapore costs an arm and a leg: Mahabub’s story. TWC2 Media, 26 June 2016. <YouTube>

The invisible migrant. The Invisible Migrant, 3 June 2015. <YouTube>

Labour Day in Singapore with foreign workers. Ministry of Funny, 3 May 2015. <YouTube>

Singaporeans react to foreign workers’ feelings for Singapore. AnOther Angle, 21 December 2014. <YouTube>

How do foreign workers feel about Singaporeans? AnOther Angle, 14 December 2014. <YouTube>

Foreign workers react to Singaporeans. AnOther Angle, 29 November 2014. <YouTube>

Singaporeans react: Views on low wage migrant workers. AnOther Angle, 21 November 2014. <YouTube>

Migrant workers love Singapore. SPH Razor, 25 July 2013. <YouTube>

FYP – “In Silence”. A documentary on foreign workers in Singapore. Pearline Chew, 13 February 2013. <YouTube>

The hidden slums in Singapore. publichousesg, 27 December 2012. <YouTube>

The life of a migrant worker in Singapore. CELSprojects, 17 May 2011. <YouTube>

Interview with a typical construction worker in Singapore. TeamDifferentButSame, 1 September 2010. <YouTube>


NGO & CIVIL SOCIETY resources (alphabetical)

COVID-19 | Needs in the migrant community:
Google Doc

Geylang Adventures:
Website | Facebook | Instagram

HOME (Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics):
Website | Facebook | Instagram

It’s Raining Raincoats:
Facebook | Instagram | Signup

Migrant x Me:
Website | Facebook

Translation of Singapore COVID Updates:

TWC2 (Transient Workers Count Too):
Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Donate


This page was last updated on 14 April 2020.

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