Forum: Offshore dorms? Put the humane component in the equation

Mr Joshua Boo Jin An brought up a poignant point about migrant workers in Singapore (Moving migrant workers offshore distracts from deeper social issues, May 26).

He said: "Our responsibility to them does not stop at providing a salary; we need to accept them as part of our community, and take measures to protect and enhance their quality of life."

I felt similarly when I was reading Mr Lim Soon Heng's suggestion to build offshore dormitories for migrant workers (A floating dorm for workers: An idea that merits consideration, May 23).

Mr Lim's proposal seemingly leaves the social aspect at the door.

He believes that a technically and commercially feasible dormitory platform moored 2km offshore will be sufficiently far away from urban centres to avoid stressing urban infrastructure.

The land occupied by existing dormitories could then be redeveloped for high-tech digital industries, which would, he said, "contribute better to the image and economy of this country".

That sounds like a manifestation of the Nimby (not in my backyard) syndrome.

Mr Lim did, however, refer to the foreign community as a national asset and said it deserves better.

We should come up with ideas to integrate foreign workers into our community.

That would help us understand and appreciate their contributions and concerns better.

While I am sure Singapore has the resources to construct offshore dormitories promptly, let us try instead to include the humane component in the equation, especially because we would not be the ones having to live in those facilities.

Foo Kwang Sai

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