Dreaming Singapore

In early 2014, I flew to Singapore to document the lives of domestic workers who have traveled from their homes in Indonesia to work in Singapore. I met Tutik and Anandha, two very different women living very different lives in Singapore. Anandha is, in a way, a success story. She had come to Singapore from her home in East Java, was able to find work with good employers, go to college, learn new skills and participate in many events offered to domestic workers through various organisations. Tutik, on the other hand, was confined to working 7 days a week, for long hours every day. With her minimum wage, she was trying to support her two children back in Indonesia. Later on, I met Istiana and traveled with her from Indonesia on her first trip to Singapore. The work we did in Singapore and Indonesia was put together as a multimedia webpage, with images from both Thomas Cristofoletti and myself, with text by Michael Malay. It weaves the experience of migrant workers together with the people they meet during their journeys: social workers, employers, recruiting agencies, and government officials.

For four years I documented their changing lives. Tutik left her employer and went home, later returning to Singapore again, this time for a different employer. Her daughter joined her in Singapore also to work as a domestic worker. Anandha went home to get married and have children. Istiana later returned home after a bad experience with an employer. The multimedia site describes the risks the three women have taken, the hardship they’ve endured and the sacrifices they’ve made.


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