I think this is important to put out in the light of what i see as migrant crisis porn. As a second gen migrant with active work and family links to both the Gulf and Singapore i can feel the pain of a genuine migrant in trouble. I have not been paid my former employers whom i have taken to court and have got my pending salaries. I have absolutely no hard feelings for them, rather a sense of gratitude as salaries is not the only element we earn at work. These are skills, ideas and life long networks too. I work with non profits and write on migration issues regularly. In the pandemic i have pitch in to many civil society micro initiatives. As a migration researcher, i speak multiple languages including Bangla and see a lot of unnecessary banter of migrants playing the victim card. Singapore has done the maximum in this crisis as have other Gulf countries even more than passport countries, ask anyone from India or Nepal. There needs to be gratitude. If the elevator in your dorm is not working, complain to the dorm management rather than defame the country.
If things were that great back home, you would not have mortgaged your family land to pay the broker to arrive in Singapore. Get a sense of proportion. Do not blame the host country for your migration debt when the bribe was paid to your relative for the IPA?Many migrant workers have done really well for their families as well. Let these stories also come out.
Calcutta and Bengal’s greatest contemporary export is intellectual (wo)manpower as a talent pipeline to western liberal arts university campuses and in turn to the progressive media worldwide. This is implicit and underrated. Just read through the surnames across the websites.
Miss the karak chai, in a pakistani or malbari paratha tea shop in Bur Dubai or in Ruwi on the red and white tiled tables, where ARY or Asianet would be showing a cricket game or news on full blast. I would be at the corner table soaking in the chatter. Soon, Inshallah.
There is a difference between a cultural insider and a ‘tourist-academic’. How can we contribute to our communities who are vulnerable, in a material sense which can remediate the sense of predatory mining of pathos ?
I personally abhor the notion of the access to the field site as extraction oriented one way street. For me the Khaleej is Bayt, and the stories are dialogic as these are my Sadiq- old and new whose pain and aspirations i feel as if my own. We are not data.