Commercially co-dependant, Singapore and Bangladesh are in a marriage of convenience. Whilst the immigrant labour camps might not be the dream that Bangladeshi workers paid their five-figure migration fee for, the draw is still the same. With its bright lights and progressive architecture, Singapore’s skyline is built on the risks that migrant labourers take as they dangle against cargo tankers in a blanket of welding torch sparks.
In one such example, fortunately, cradled in the convalescence of a TWC2 (Transient Workers Count Too) bed, Feroz Mamum is one of many injured migrant workers. Unlucky in catching the white-hot end of the Singaporean dream and ignored by his employer when it comes to any healthcare, the documentary centres on caseworker Ethan’s desperate attempts to fly Feroz back to Bangladesh.
…subtly underscores the neon-lit advantages being taken.
Commendably shot and relayed without narration, ‘I Dream of Singapore’ is a hypnotic walk through the highs and lows of migrants life lived on the edge of a dream. From their tears at morning prayer, some of which stain the t-shirts of their commercial allegiance, to the desperately charming discos for two on a steel bunk bed, the Singapore skyline is revealed to be permanent benefactor to an ugly truth: “Bangladesh has the humanity but it doesn’t have the human rights” – and there, in the space of one, wry, single sentence, the intoxicating dream of working in Singapore is revealed.
Whilst ‘I Dream of Singapore’ subtly underscores the neon-lit advantages being taken, it is also the heart-touching story of Feroz and Ethan that will live the longest in your memory. If he returns home with bags of first world goods, Feroz will be seen as a returning hero, but inwardly it will be the tears of both the carer and the cared-for that will splash down the hardest on your cheek.