Singapore’s spectacular skyline, garden-like setting, world-leading schools and public housing schemes are famous around the globe. And sure, we all recognize that Singapore would never have been built without the hard work of millions of ordinary people. But do we understand what that labor feels like? How do people in Singapore talk about their experiences of work?
Have you ever walked past an ice cream uncle and wondered why he does that particular job? How did he get it? What does your barista think of you as she takes your morning coffee order? What is it like to be a gay volunteer police officer tasked with enforcing the law in a country where sex between consenting adult men is a criminal act? What exactly does a funeral director do in multi-religious Singapore? And did you know that Singapore’s job market includes roles like academic ghostwriter and Thai disco girl agent?
Hard at Work gives us access into the interior lives and experiences of more than fifty Singapore workers. It forms a snapshot of Singapore’s working population that will fascinate contemporary and future readers. Their stories reveal Singapore as a place where ordinary people from around the world work hard to survive and –with a little bit of luck– to thrive.
Introduction to the author
Edited by Gerard Sasges received a PhD from UC Berkeley in 2006. In 2012 he joined the National University of Singapore where he is an assistant professor in the Department of Southeast Asian Studies.
Edited by Ng Shi Wen is a photographer, educator and chronicler of everyday life. She is the founder of Photo Rikiki and has taught at the National University of Singapore and School of the Arts, Singapore.