Man who took photo of foreign worker squatting while eating lunch calls for more awareness

The Bangladeshi worker squatting near a bus stop in Jurong while eating his lunch. PHOTO: ANDRIKO ALI

SINGAPORE - A man who snapped a photo of a foreign worker squatting on the ground to eat his lunch as he said he did not want to dirty the bus stop seat has called for more to be done to raise awareness on foreign worker issues.

Singaporean Andriko Ali said his Facebook post last Saturday (April 23) of the incident, which went viral with over 2,000 shares, was a good example of how foreign workers have displayed their considerate side.

Mr Andriko, 36, who works as a Workplace Safety and Health coordinator, told The Straits Times he was at the Jalan Buroh area in Jurong at around noon when he noticed the Bangladeshi worker squatting on the wet ground next to a bus stop as he ate his lunch.

Mr Andriko asked him why he did not sit on the bench.

His reply? "No abang (brother), I don't want to the dirty the seat."

"He has such high regard for others even though it's at the expense of his own comfort," Mr Andriko wrote in his Facebook post.

Mr Andriko shared that the Bangladeshi worked for a landscaping company and had been tasked with grass-cutting duties near a worksite in the area.

"Being in the building and construction industry, seeing workers such as him sit on the ground is nothing new," Mr Andriko added. "But the sight of him squatting was weird to me, which made me ask him to explain his actions."

The incident came after a Straits Times report on the same day revealed that Orchard Road shopping mall Wisma Atria had banned construction workers from using its public toilets.

It also put signs outside the men's toilets on five floors warning them of fines and work bans should they flout the rule.

The report sparked a debate on social media over society's treatment of migrant workers in Singapore.

Stressing that his own encounter was not related to the Wisma Atria story and that he did not expect his post to go viral, Mr Andriko nevertheless urged Singaporeans not to judge foreign workers too quickly, and to bear in mind that they have also played a part in helping to build the country.

"I believe a little bit more effort to educate them on the dos and don'ts while in Singapore would be more beneficial to everyone," he concluded.

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