Torturing the poorest of the poor, in the name of law and order

“Does it still hurt?” I asked Rubio that Wednesday evening.

He nodded and asked me for some painkillers.

Over the counter, there weren’t a lot of options. I did the best I could for him.

“What about clothes?” I asked. “Do you have anything else besides what you’re wearing?”

“No, don’t have,” he said. “Everything gone.” Maybe they had all been thrown away by the landlord when he failed to return and pay his rent.

Rubio is not his real name, but his real name is also a single five-letter word.  There was no father’s name attached, as is the custom in Bangladesh. I asked him about it, and he explained that he didn’t know who his father was. He, together with his two older brothers and three sisters, were raised single-handedly by his mother. “My family very, very poor,” the 20-year-old said.

Without money to pay an employment agent for a job in Singapore like most other Bangladeshis do, Rubio tried his luck by coming here under a social visit pass and looking for work. He managed to evade the law for about seven months, but was caught around end July 2012. Hauled away with only his clothes on his back, he lost all his other possessions.

He was sentenced to seven weeks in jail and four strokes of the cane. Overstayers for more than three months get caning.

“Actually, I was supposed to be released last Saturday,” he told me in English that was unusually good for someone from an extremely poor Bangladeshi family. But on that day itself, they pulled me out and did it,” referring to the four strokes.

The lashing would tear through the skin, leaving deep, bleeding cuts that would scar his buttocks for life. He had to lie prone for days, and his release was held back till Wednesday morning, when he could walk.  Even so, I noticed that he walked slowly in order to minimise abrasion between his underwear and his not-fully-healed buttocks.

Why the prison authorities held back the caning till his last day is unknown. Was it an oversight? Or was it deliberate to inflict psychological suffering through the entire seven weeks, as a prisoner waited anxiously for the caning day? Prisoners are never told in advance when the punishment would be meted out.

* * * * *

Most countries, if not all, make it a crime to overstay. Most also make it a crime to work illegally. The moral question before us is whether caning should be part of the arsenal.

I disagree with it. I think inflicting physical injury and unnecessary suffering is immoral, and is a form of torture, outlawed by Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

The standard Singapore defence is that criminals fear caning more than they fear imprisonment. Therefore, it is an effective deterrent.

I asked Rubio whether he knew, prior to being arrested, that having stayed more than three months, he risked caning. He said he didn’t. He was shocked and cried for days when he found out.

How can it be a deterrent when people don’t know about it?

There is another aspect that also poses a moral problem for us as Singaporeans and it lies in the way the reality of foreign labour recruitment generally involves high upfront fees. Considering the impecunious backgrounds of migrant labour, the $3,000 to $12,000 that a typical low-skill worker pays to his agent is a prince’s ransom. As explained in the box alongside, there are strong indications that these high fees are the result of agents and employers behaving illegally, yet the practice persists because enforcement is weak.

However, for those like Rubio who cannot even raise the upfront fee, this route to legal employment, however onerous, is closed to them. Their socio-economic circumstances force them to bear the risk of illegal overstaying and working, leading to the punishment of jail and caning.

In other words, our failure to enforce our own laws create that inequality. The less poor migrant gets to be legal; the extremely poor receive strokes of the cane (torture) at the hands of our state. Does our failure to enforce our own laws and eliminate the practice of kickbacks make us, at least in part, morally responsible for the uneven outcomes? Are we too responsible for what we have done to Rubio?

* * * * *

Now extend the same thought beyond migrant labour to those Singaporeans who are from impoverished circumstances.  What is the meaning of equal opportunity and the promise of social mobility, if we do not do enough to combat the socio-economic disadvantages they are burdened with from the start?

* * * * *

On release, Rubio was asked by an officer from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) whether he could afford to buy his airticket home. He said he could — he had saved his earnings while working — and was given a few days to arrange it. But in the meantime, he had no clothes and nowhere to stay.

“But I have a friend,” he says, whom he believes will shelter him for a short while. Perhaps he can borrow some clothes from him too.

“Does it still hurt?” I asked Rubio that Wednesday evening. His eyes moistened as he nodded.

57 Responses to “Torturing the poorest of the poor, in the name of law and order”


  1. 1 Xu 25 September 2012 at 10:35

    This is just a slight technicality, but the caning wasn’t torture because it wasn’t for the purposes of breaking the torturee’s will, but rather for some form of retributive justice. I do agree however that it certainly is cruel and unusual punishment. Also, there are some serious doubts about the effectiveness of retributive justice systems.

    • 2 Anon 0wmB 26 September 2012 at 14:10

      No “technicality” is involved here because torture can be imposed as punishment and not just for the purpose of breaking one’s will to extract information. I agree that caning is a form of torture that goes against universal human rights standard understood in the modern civilized world that Singapore ought to be a part of. Caning is an inhuman punishment that should never exist in any civilised society in the 21st century, let alone Singapore who aspires to be a modern enlightened forward-looking city. This is an instance where the end (presumed deterrent effect) does not justify the means, for no hman beings deserve to have their basic human rights thrashed and violated, no matter what crimes they’ve commited, let alone such non-violent offences. I’m ashamed that our society in Singapore still retains such a backward-thinking measure in the present day and age. Kudos for drawing attention to such an incongruous and flagrant aspect of Singapore’s legal system.

  2. 3 Populist 25 September 2012 at 10:57

    You write to serve your own political agenda. Why don;t you also help him with food and accommodation and Job as well

    • 4 Chanel 25 September 2012 at 16:36

      Populist,

      You have to rethink whether what you said is a fair comment. Is helping migrant workers = having a political agenda?

      What about PAP MPs using taxpayers’ monies to help low income earners? Does that equating to them having political agenda?

    • 6 Chow 25 September 2012 at 18:06

      In case you didn’t have a chance to read some of his older articles, Alex helps at an organization called “Transient Workers Count Too” which helps the often under-represented migrant workers. Would you like to visit their website to find out more and see if you can help?

    • 7 Descended 26 September 2012 at 06:04

      Your comment is void of human-ness. Are you a sociopath?

    • 8 jacktandkg776@hotmail.com 26 September 2012 at 16:47

      I am sure Alex had helped him in some way otherwise why would he ‘d been with him? What exactly have you done other than pushing keyboards?
      Everything is political if you care to define it. Writing this post would allow people like you and I become more aware about how this country is being run, the injustices, the plight of the poor and disadvantaged..
      I am sure everyone like to know, or otherwise why did you come to this blog in the first place? Alex is not exactly known for writing mundane stuff like food or fashion,

    • 9 Toothy 30 September 2012 at 18:34

      Exactly what I thought of most such commenters. They criticize much but do little in love. True help requires sacrifice more than criticism. They may make a little point, point out faults to win votes, but their agendas are questionable and their strategies dark. I am in no peace to allow self lovers clueless about societal’s boundaries impose their views, or worse, dictate my life and society.

  3. 10 Ouch! 25 September 2012 at 11:06

    So don’t cane them? Then where got deterrent for those illegal workers?

    Caning is easy (to enforce) and also an effective deterrent for those overstaying and working illegally.

    Why care whether they know about caning or not? So cane first lah and then word will spread to get others informed.

    After all, and most importanly, it is not an issue with voters who are themselves already stressed and “pained” by their own other matters.

  4. 12 Mike Zeng 25 September 2012 at 11:08

    There’s no other word to describe the PAP Govt…an evil regime, no doubt!

  5. 13 Wong Souk Yee 25 September 2012 at 11:31

    Now we know why there is Arab Spring and several other revolutions in the brutal history of humankind.

  6. 14 mel 25 September 2012 at 14:07

    I suggest they cane the employers instead. Sure they would be aware.

  7. 15 Tan Tai Wei 25 September 2012 at 14:10

    LKY said in published autobiography that he learnt all that brutality from the Japanese. They chopped off heads of petty thieves and hanged them on lamp-posts for all to see, and then all could keep their front doors open at night, and be quite safe. And so, we hang petty drug traffickers and cane even desperate “over-stayers”. And yet they claim only “talents” have been taken into government, for only they can run the place.

    May I observe that you need not any intelligence, leave alone “talent”, to instil fear through “terror”, but only a sadistic streak?

    • 16 Chow 25 September 2012 at 18:10

      I concur. Talent is highly overrated and subjective in some areas of life. Look at how the ‘talents’ aka Masters of the Universe got us all into this huge financial and now economic mess.

  8. 17 Singaporean 25 September 2012 at 14:23

    Caning is a barbaric punishment that should not be used in any civilized society. Check http://teapls.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/cane.jpg

  9. 18 5-extra-days 25 September 2012 at 14:56

    Rubio was supposed to be released on a Saturday but because of the physical pain from the last minute caning on that Saturday itself, he was only released on the following Wednesday. I am interested to know has the authority, the Prison Service, unlawfully detained Rubio for 5 days?

    • 19 Anon 55Js 26 September 2012 at 00:31

      I wonder if it is the prison authorities responsibility to ensure to prisoner is released fully healed?

      Or they are trying to save some medical bills in this case?

  10. 20 Prison-is-not a-hotel 25 September 2012 at 16:30

    Does this mean that if I claim that I don’t know that killing is a crime then I won’t have to go to jail?

    The fact is the guy is an illegal immigrant and committed a crime and was sentenced to caning. Prison is not MBS hotel where the prisoners can choose when they are being caned depending in their mood that day…

    • 21 octopi 26 September 2012 at 18:56

      If you want to talk about it as committing a crime, this is something you have to think about. Most people – the unskilled labourers – who come in here do so without a job. Those who find work and get their papers done up get to earn money and send it home. Those who don’t, or those who get cheated by agents (most of them, actually) might end up overstaying (maybe they can’t find a plane ticket) and get caned.

      So the difference between getting caned and not caned is not whether they are “criminal” but rather also a matter of luck.

    • 22 Human 4 October 2012 at 13:37

      Ur lack of sensitivity, empathy and compassion to a poor worker who was only trying to better his life and that of his family is truly shocking not to mention inhuman. I am very certain he did not choose to be born in that state. I hope you will reincarnate and come back as a poor Blangladeshi or someone in the third world in your next life that is if you do indeed qualify by virtue(?) of your “luxurious” life lived here, to be reincarnate, in the first place, to be a human being instead of an animal.

  11. 23 Cowpeh Cowbu 25 September 2012 at 16:38

    Oi, I don’t understand why you Cowpeh-Cowbu about these chaps who chose to enter illegally, stayed illegally and work illegally. If you stand up for the Ah Peh and Ah Ma cleaning toilets and food courts, I will shout with you. Now … You talk about Human Rights against caning them. Unless you are already to keep, feed and provide work for these bunch of illegal workers … I suggest you Whack your own butt.

  12. 25 GoonDoo 25 September 2012 at 17:25

    @Populist:

    If Alex’s ‘political agenda’ is being humane I’ll vote Alex in. Many Sg’reans don’t know what caning involves, nor the anguish & cruelty of capital punishment – so its OK if others are punished by it, so long as its not me. Those others ‘deserve’ it. I’m baffled by the need for inflicting retributive physical suffering on another human being for an economic crime… The punishment far outweighs the crime.

  13. 26 jessalina 25 September 2012 at 17:49

    Wow Alex nice one. What Are u trying to do by posting up this sob story? I agree with “ouch” up there. I also think Caning is an effective deterrent. U question how it can be a deterrent when ppl don’t know abt it. I say Word of mouth can be a powerful tool.

    Anyway I thk some of us who defend these illegals are really hypocrites. Yeah u feel sorry for them now, but tell me u dun complain abt them crowding us out n “polluting” our urban landscape? Tell me ure ok with the hundreds of them sitting on the grass patches in little India on Sundays, leaving behind loads of litter? Or loitering around farrer park mrt and staring at u when u walk past? Or feel annoyed by the PRC labourer talking loudly on his hp in the mrt? How isit that we can feel soooo sympathetic towards the illegals who get caught and yet at the same time complain abt the legal ones? Double standards.

    • 27 Chow 26 September 2012 at 18:43

      You are confusing two separate issues. The issues raised in this article (or at least as I understand it) are a (1) moral issue questioning the need to cane an illegal overstayer, and (2) that it seems as though agents and employers are acting illegally by withholding wages due to the foreign workers.

      With regards to (1), you are fully entitled to your opinion that you support caning overstayers/illegal workers (although I would love to hear more about why you support it) but to insinuate, just as Populist did, that he has a hidden ‘agenda’ leaves us all puzzled. It is clear that Alex is stating his opinion that he thinks caning should not be meted out to overstayers on humanitarian grounds. That is his agenda and it is always put up front.

      Next, you digress by stereotyping people. You do this by elaborating on migrant workers sitting around, staring at people, talking loudly on the phone, and also how ‘we all’ always complain about them. You also say that some of them are hypocrites. That is their problem. It does not negate the unfairness and illegal practices that do occur in Singapore. At the same time, I do not think that you are reading the situation right. A person may feel sympathetic towards the plight of persons like Rubio but at the same time disagree with the ultra-liberal immigration policies adopted. They are two separate things. Do not confuse them. I sympathize with Rubio’s plight, but I do not agree entirely with the immigration policies. Surprisingly (to you, maybe), I still support immigration.

      I trust that it is a typo when you changed from ‘some of us’ to ‘we can feel’. In general, this is dangerous practice. It goes silently from targetting a subset of people and begins to generalize. If you don’t catch yourself often enough, you may find yourself starting to binarize issues instead of appreciating the fine distinctions between them. At that point, things start to become highly polarized.

    • 28 octopi 26 September 2012 at 19:05

      Tell me if you’re OK with living in a HDB flat that was built for you by a bangla.

      You don’t understand: what is criticised here is the system that indiscriminately brings in labour by the planeload and then beats up those who get cheated by the agents. It’s not about criticising the labourers, but rather the contractors who employ the labourers, the agents who act as go betweens and the government who writes the laws.

  14. 29 Jan 25 September 2012 at 18:05

    “So don’t cane them? Then where got deterrent for those illegal workers?

    Caning is easy (to enforce) and also an effective deterrent for those overstaying and working illegally.

    Why care whether they know about caning or not? So cane first lah and then word will spread to get others informed.

    After all, and most importanly, it is not an issue with voters who are themselves already stressed and “pained” by their own other matters.”


    Hey do you know you are a dickhead?
    Its people like you who make me want to leave Singapore.
    I hope you get caned one day and lose all your possessions you selfish asshole.

  15. 30 Tsumujikaze no Soujutsu 25 September 2012 at 18:57

    The biggest issue here is whether anything can be done by the middlemen in the workers’ respective countries. More often than not, these fellas will be the first one to escape with clean murder and there’s no proper channel of enforcement to bust them down (which is a clear cut show of ineptitude, if not rampant corruption).

    The US once stated that our country had one of the worst record in human trafficking. What made me laugh with regret is that while our authorities invoked the whole “pot call the kettle black” logic, nothing was said beyond mere formalities from them.

    And lastly, I agree that caning in this context is nothing more than a moot law if the over/illegal stayers don’t know a dime about the rules.

  16. 31 Lee 25 September 2012 at 19:20

    I do not know where the yellow paragraph was lifted from but i do not think most foreign workers earn only $500-$900. I have 15 bangladashi and indian workers working for me, categorised under ‘CW’ construction industry by BCA. Their work is definitely not the riskiest in the industry and including OT pay (OT hrs within MOM’s rules), they are each earning abt 2,000$+ in low season and 3000$+ in peak season where we have more jobs. This is the pay to them directly, excludes all other levies paid to our govt agencies and agents. As the employer, i pay for their dormitory fees too. I am curious to know where these 500$-900$ workers are working at as when i offered anything less than 1500$, i was not able to find any workers. I have asked other companies in my idustry and they are also payin wages similar to what i pay my workers. I hope the 500$ to 900$ is not exagerated….

    • 32 yawningbread 25 September 2012 at 23:43

      Are your workers skilled workers? On S-Pass?

      You are welcome to make an appointment an visit the soup kitchen run by TWC2. A typical evening sees 200 – 300 workers. If you get a chance, ask any of them what they earn; ask to see their documents, which include the ‘In-principle approval for work permit’. This document, issued by MOM, contains the monthly salary declared by employers to the MOM, and for work permit holders typically constitute the employment contract.

      • 33 Lee 26 September 2012 at 00:12

        No they are not s-pass holders. Work permit holders, renewed yearly. From what i understd from the dormitory owner, my workers are not even the highest paid.

        Eitherway, my workers are not satisfied with the pay. 80% do not stay longer than 3-4 yrs. they ask the agent to look for employers who can offer higher wages. And they get it. I know because my agent told me they managed to reallocate them to other employers under CW/CR workheads.

        As much as my workers want more OT hours, we stick with the cap set by MOM to avoid fatigue. If we exert them, they will not be produxtive the next day. However i know many in their dorm work way past their max working hrs just to clock more OT hours. I was shocked to learn that a couple has ever earned abt 4k$ incl of OT.

        There may be those who earn a couple of hundreds as you posted, but it must be known that there are also those who earn the same, if not higher, as the median salary of a singaporean. I cant give u the exact statistics coz i dont know have the figures. You may be shocked that some foreign workers earn so much, but i too am surprised by the figures you posted.

      • 34 Lee 26 September 2012 at 00:32

        We may have drifted off-topic but i wish to highlight that it is incorrect to say that the punishments are ineffective because the workers do not know about it. Trust me, in the past 20 yrs i have been employing foreign workers, most of them KNOW. When their permit is about the expire, they remind me or the agent about it. If they do not know of the consequences, why would they remind us? Perhaps those who know are those who came to singapore legally, paying the right fees to the agents hence they hae been briefed constantly. Those who do not chose to enter illegally thinking that singapore is a gold mine. They have to bear the consequences.

      • 35 yawningbread 26 September 2012 at 09:49

        You’re missing my point. My point is that failure to enforce our own laws create an inequality between the poor and the extremely poor. It’s easy to shift blame to the workers themselves without first examining our role in it.

    • 36 Alan 26 September 2012 at 12:11

      From my own working experience, many contractors as far as possible do not employ foreign construction workers on their direct payroll so as not to get boiled down with administration problems associated with them. However they often keep a very small number of workers as drivers or for housekeeping or other general tasks and keep them on direct payroll for control purposes.

      So paying FW S$2K~S$3K per month may be referring to the gross payments made to labour subcontractors who in turn are responsible for the general welfare of their respective workers. For this ‘general welfare’, they take a major cut of the payments for their own profits & costs and that’s how the poor workers are often left with S$500~S$900 monthly pay. This is the reality in Singapore.

      Singapore will be a paradise for foreign workers if they do end up with a pay amounting to S$2K~S$3K per month when many Singaporeans can’t even earn that much ! I am told that a fresh dealer at either one of our casinos starts with a commencing salary of only S$1.8K.

      So if Lee insists he is paying his foreign construction workers S$2~S$3K per month, he needs to make clear whether he paying them on direct payroll or through labour agents as is the normal practice ? Otherwise, I can only conclude that he is only trying to confuse the matter.

  17. 37 dff 25 September 2012 at 21:35

    Ask the government; if it was an Ang Mo, do they dare to cane him?

    • 38 Anon pP20 26 September 2012 at 10:43

      It did happen to a caucasian before and there was a hoo-haa all over the States back then. Would it change now? I don’t think so.

      • 39 octopi 26 September 2012 at 18:45

        No, I think it changed a lot of things.

        I remember reading some case where some angmoh drug dealers escaped death because the amount of drugs found on them turned out to be 14.85g. I was thinking, “where got so zhun one”?

        Then there was that case of the Suntec brawl, where the angmoh perpetrators were allowed to jump bail.

        Singapore just doesn’t have the same amount of integrity it used to.

  18. 40 Tom 25 September 2012 at 22:07

    Sayang Sayang… But shd we b nicer to the prostitutes along geylang too…

  19. 41 mirax 26 September 2012 at 00:33

    And with this slice of your commentariat, you realise why Singapore is such a shitty place. So many of these comments reveal no emphathy, no reflective thought and certainly no moral quibbles over corporal punishment. That’s the reason I stopped talking to my local friends about the death penalty – i expected support for it (if in a resigned, let’s all be pragmatic way, as my friends are pretty well educated) but the level of enthusiastic support for it shocked me. It made me shut up. I realised how far away from a civilised, thinking society we were.

    I admire you Alex for plugging away and hope that you change a few minds.

    Compassion for a poor foreign worker even if he is illegal is not that different from compassion for our own elderly poor, toiling away in their twilight years, abandoned by one of the richest governments on the planet right now. If you cant see that, you every shitty thing the PAP throws at you.

  20. 42 Will 26 September 2012 at 09:03

    Do we have the same set of rules for Viet girls on social visit pass plying their trade along Joo Chiat and numerous KTV bars? I am sure they are as poor as the illegal Blangadeshi workers. Try housing them together and see what happens.

  21. 44 Anon 5T8f 26 September 2012 at 11:16

    I don’t understand you people. You complain about having too many foreigners working in singapore – mind you, foreigners who come here to work legally. Yet you also complain about measures taken to keep illegal foreigners out. What exactly do you want, really?

    • 45 yawningbread 26 September 2012 at 16:40

      Who is “you people”? Do you include me? Did I complain that there are too many foreigners here?

      Can you read the article again with a few lobes of the brain in action? Did I say we shouldn’t punish overstayers?

      • 46 Cedric 26 September 2012 at 20:20

        Alex, i dont understand your take here. Are you defending overstayers or for punishing them? First you want us readers to sit up and take notice of the punishment, then now you say they should still be punished? How if not caning n jail? Fine them?

      • 47 yawningbread 26 September 2012 at 23:52

        You wrote: “How if not caning n jail?”

        Why must caning go with jail?

        For female overstayers, we jail them but NEVER cane them, but I’ve yet to hear anyone say that we’re being too soft or that it is not enough of a deterrent.

    • 48 Anonwtfymous (@Anonwtfymous) 6 October 2012 at 22:23

      Anon 5T8f: r you a dick in disguise? singaporeans complain about the government letting in too many foreigners too quickly. this is obviously different from “too many foreigners”. don’t obfuscate the issue.

  22. 49 rayson 26 September 2012 at 11:40

    for goodness sake, this is not torture.. gives people the impression that a running hose was forced down his throat.

    i am surprised that he doesn’t know that he will be caned. workers would definitely share this sort of information amongst themselves. rogue middlemen are also at fault for this.

  23. 50 rfgfdg 27 September 2012 at 01:30

    i read from newspaper before that in singapore, we do not know of a law do not mean we will not be punish if we break that law.

    so do most countries practice this way??

  24. 51 Lulu 27 September 2012 at 09:28

    Dear Alex, your post, and some of the awful reactions to it, prompted me to apply for volunteering at TWC2. Hope I can do my share to help.

  25. 52 walkie talkie 28 September 2012 at 09:17

    I refer to the statement “Jail sentences are the same. Caning is not meted out on females. . . which in itself probably breaches the Equality rule of human rights”

    Could it be that “fair treatment” would be a more appropriate principle instead of “equality” (equality in the sense of treating everyone in exactly the same way)?

    The principle of fairness or fair treatment may be consistent with punishing a child at the level appropriate to the child (instead of punishing a child in the same way of punishing an adult). This may imply it is fair treatment to punish the female persons in a way that tailored to their physical level just as we punish children in a different way that is tailored to their physical level.

    Correct me if I am mistaken.

    • 53 Mike Zeng 30 September 2012 at 18:42

      Yes indeed….the female’s reproductive system is more vulnerable than the male’s to the brutal prison caning. 3-5 strokes alone even with less force used by a female prison caner will permanently damaged her rs to the extent she might not conceive not reproduce an offspring forever more.isn’t that cruel and inhuman?
      Ask any gynae….

      • 54 Anon 4yWs 8 October 2012 at 01:24

        What in the hell are you talking about? Do you even have any clue as to how bad the rubbish you’re spouting is?

  26. 55 Alien Nation 29 September 2012 at 14:59

    Let’s jail and cane a few of those bosses who receive kickbacks from recruitment agents, and publicise it like the underaged sex scandal. This will help with the non-sensical placement fee problem.

    I look forward to seeing those despicable bosses being caned in public. Scums with zilch scruples.

  27. 56 liu 5 October 2012 at 23:46

    I am enlightened by your blog, coming from a low income family myself, I have personally experienced the inequality in our society. Be it in education because you can’t afford educational resources or tuition. In jobs, because you do not have the connection and have to compete with foreigners for middle end jobs. To protect the interests of companies, the govt has deliberately kept the wage of low skilled workers like my father low…

  28. 57 LinCH 11 November 2012 at 17:35

    I have met a contractor who swindled me. He don’t pay his foreign workers on time. Eventually, it is possible he will default on his payments as I understand he has financial problems.

    Another one, a big contractor: Every month, he tries to delay paying his rent to me. I don’t know whether he pays his workers on time.

    The problems are there. Each problem causes another. Can I help? I wish to but I can’t because I don’t know whether each of them are honest; and even if I agree to help, there’s a limit to what I can do.


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