The Cleaners Project Interns Share Insights

by Li Shan Chan

Ashley Tan and Nikolas Lim are two students who spent the last two months interviewing 10 cleaners. Ashley had some thoughts to share about his experience:

“The past two months have been really fruitful especially learning about the stories of the different individuals that I interviewed. I came to understand about the plight or situation of the cleaners in Singapore and why they chose to work at this job. Some merely choose this as a form of income and leisure to keep their mind off growing old while others are working their heart and soul for the sake of providing for their family.

The elderly Singaporean cleaners lived a harsh life in the past slogging their way through work but now with their children supporting them, they lead a more comfortable life where they can enjoy their work with peers. Those that came from overseas at a young age worked really hard as domestic workers or cleaners to support their family back home. As much as some of us might see foreigners in a bad light or have an opinionated view on them, their stories and their determination to keep their family happy are truly inspiring and are things that perhaps Singaporean individuals can take a lesson in.

This also leads to their treatment in the workplace… there are those who work in a happy environment such as the office cleaners, maintenance workers and some domestic workers who often mingle with the friendly staffs or families in Singapore, but there are also those who work or had work with a difficult employer or especially in the service industry where customers ill-treat those individuals even to the extent of their nationality.

Through these interviews, I gain a lot of respect for these cleaners and their motivation to work, their unwillingness to give up is truly commendable and is something I admire greatly…they worked hard at their jobs to the best they can and they deserve the same amount of respect that others do at their job.”

Do you have a story or something to say about cleaners? Send it to thecleanersproject@gmail.com. We will be collecting stories/anecdotes/ thoughts on cleaners for the purpose of raising more awareness and interest regarding the cleaners of Singapore. The stories/anecdotes will then be published on a website.

If you don’t have a story, do share this post so it can reach someone who does! Thank you.

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