Domestic Workers in Singapore Share Their Experiences of Injustice and Loss of Human Dignity

Brave (verb): To endure or face unpleasant conditions or behavior with courage. This week marked our very first focus group session with 10 women who are domestic helpers in Singapore, while we continue to conduct interviews with those currently working in their employers’ homes. The word “brave” scarcely captures the depth of the stories we heard. Together, the CARE team and the focus group participants unearthed numerous challenges, injustices, and issues to confront. Amidst tears shed during the session, including his own, Prof. Mohan Dutta was confronted with the stark differences in our worlds but the striking similarity of our shared humanity. At the core, irrespective of socioeconomic status, occupation, or culture, individuals yearn to be treated with respect and dignity. The absence of these basic rights can be deeply painful.

These interviews are part of the “Respect Our Rights” Campaign, initiated by researchers at the National University of Singapore’s Centre for Culture-Centred Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE), under the leadership of Prof. Mohan Dutta. These women who have endured mistreatment by their employers have played an integral role in shaping the campaign’s direction and execution. This campaign is dedicated to advocating for the rights of foreign domestic workers in Singapore.

Media coverage of this Campaign: 
Covered by Today Online

938 Live ‘They are making a difference’ feature

Listen in to what ‘Respect our Rights” means from Prof. Mohan Dutta

CARE Team visits Photovoice Exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore

On April 26, the CARE team embarked on a visit to the National Museum of Singapore, where they had the opportunity to explore a captivating Photovoice exhibition. As the team delved into the exhibition, they were struck by the power of visual storytelling to illuminate diverse narratives and shed light on pressing social issues. This enriching visit not only fostered a deeper appreciation for the transformative potential of visual mediums in advocacy and research but also served as a source of inspiration for future endeavors.

‘Films for Social Change’: Screening of Sandcastle by Boo Junfeng

by Tan Ming Tuan (CNM Year 3 student)

The Films for Social Change series kicked off on Feb. 25 with a screening of Sandcastle by Singaporean filmmaker Boo Junfeng. “Sandcastle,” the 2010 film by Singaporean director Boo Junfeng, is the first Singaporean film screened at the Cannes Film Festival’s Critics’ Week. The film follows 18-year-old En as he grapples with impending military enlistment and a series of revelations that challenge his worldview, including family dynamics, first love, and his father’s activist past. Through its compelling narrative, “Sandcastle” explores themes of identity and memory against the backdrop of Singaporean society.

Films for Social Change is an initiative by the Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE), a health communication research centre based in the National University of Singapore.

Singaporean filmmakers Boo Junfeng and Tan Pin Pin Visit NUS

Films can be a powerful medium to bring about social change, simply by showing us stories that would otherwise go unnoticed. This week, CARE rubbed shoulders with notable Singaporean filmmakers Boo Junfeng and Tan Pin Pin, who came down to NUS for screenings of their films and to chat with the audience. The common thread running through both of the films screened was one of individual histories which often differ from official accounts. More about the screenings and Q&A’s to come!