Five men, like flotsam


These five men, all farmers from the rural backwaters of Bangladesh, were flotsam for our bureaucracy for three months recently. They didn’t know what was swirling around them and had absolutely no control over their fate. All the while that they were stuck here and not allowed to work, their already-poor families fell into financial desperation.

Their experience reveals a side of Singapore we can’t be proud of.

Unable to eke out much of a living from their tiny plots of land, and without much education — Ali Abbas had only four years of school, Chisty had eight, and the rest in between — they were attracted by a job recruiter’s promise of good farm-sector work in Malaysia. They had absolutely no idea that Malaysia had banned recruitment of Bangladeshi workers four years ago [update: the ban has just been lifted, 1 Jan 2013] and that the scheme was therefore illegal.

The recruiter Zahid did say however that going directly from Dhaka to Kuala Lumpur would be a “problem”, but the five men had no clue what kind of problem that might be. They hardly knew a thing about the outside world and didn’t feel they would understand the explanation even if they got one. International travel and border protocols were all mysteries to them. In any case, Zahid was well known in their part of Bangladesh as a professional businessman who had long been in the job placement business, with considerable success too. He would take care of all the details.

Zahid told them that the “proper way” to enter Malaysia was to fly to Singapore first, and then enter Malaysia from here. However, almost at the last minute, plans were changed. They were told they’d be flying Dhaka to Singapore, then Singapore to Indonesia, then Indonesia to Malaysia. Committed to the deal and anxious for work, the men could hardly have objected.

Each man had also paid 100,000 Taka (about S$1,538 at today’s exchange rate) to Zahid as the first installment of the agent’s  fee. The balance 200,000 Taka (about S$3,077) would only become due after getting to Malaysia and starting work. Zahid was a reputable man; the way he structured the deal showed that he was sincere.

Just before they left Bangladesh on Friday, 12 October 2012, Zahid gave them a Singapore SIM card and assured them that on arrival at Changi airport, his sub-agent would contact them. The sub-agent would provide them with the necessary tickets and boarding passes for onward travel to Indonesia.

And so the men, each with just a small bag of clothes, armed with newly-minted but genuine passports, said goodbye to their families and entrusted their lives to a giant metal tube hurtling through the sky.

Arrival at Changi

They arrived at Changi at around 4:30pm on Friday 12 October 2012, only to wait anxiously for a phone call. It wasn’t until 8 pm before their phone rang, but instead of the sub-agent, it was Zahid on the line. They’d have to wait within the terminal for about 24 hours, he said. Reason: something about their Indonesian visas being delayed. But don’t worry, the sub-agent will show up.

After a sleepless overnight wait in an alien airport, their nerves a little frayed, stomachs growling, the sub-agent finally called a little before noon on Saturday. They arranged to meet somewhere within the airport and he handed them a new set of tickets and boarding passes. “Go to Gate D47,” he told him in English, a language that only Chisty had a halting knowledge of. The others barely knew ten words.

They had to rush to D47; they were already somewhat late.

At D47, the airline staff, on looking at their documents, took them aside and put them in a room. The police were called. A Bengali interpreter came too. And their nightmare began.


The police officers asked them where they got their visas, tickets and boarding passes.

From the sub-agent, they said.

Well, describe the man then, the police said.

Several hours later, they were taken to a police station and then held two nights in lock-ups till they were taken to court. The court ordered seven more days in remand. So back to the lock-ups they went. In court again on 22 October; remand extended to 29 October.

They didn’t know what was going on. They didn’t know what, if anything, they did wrong. They were terrified that they might have to spend years in jail in a foreign country where almost nobody spoke their language, while at home their families starved and money-lenders came to seize their sisters and sell them into prostitution.

At TWC2, the phone rang

I think it was a Tuesday — that would be 30 October — when the phone at the office of Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) rang. I volunteer there, but it was not me who took the call. It was one of our social workers.

Later, he told me, “The CPIB was on the line.” CPIB is the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau.

“Why?” I asked. “What has CPIB got to do with migrant workers?”

“They said they’ve got five Bangladeshis whom they have to release — they have no reason to hold them because investigations show they are victims — but they have nowhere to stay. They’re asking if we can help.”

My colleague, the social worker, continued: “But the men are not allowed to leave Singapore. CPIB wants to keep them here, maybe as prosecution witnesses. They said it will be for two weeks to one month.”

Compassion clouded our minds and we said we would try to help. It would be heartless to throw them out onto the streets in a foreign country with no money in hand. Moreover, if they were victims of some trafficking scheme, we would like to do our part to ensure that the perpetrators face justice. Still, we needed a few days to look around for a place. Fortunately, a well-wisher offered us the use of his house, but we needed 48 hours to organise sleeping mats, toiletries, cooking and eating utensils — the men are Muslim and therefore need a separate set. It was Thursday before we took them in.

Take stock of the situation here. The men were victims of some shady scheme, but nonetheless they were held in police lock-ups for more than two weeks. It might have been longer if the police did not manage to catch the sub-agent, whose name was Siva (may not be his real name, but it’s the name the men knew him by). His capture would have indicated to the investigating officers that the men were telling the truth.

How did the men know the police had caught him? One day during the remand period, they were called by the police to stand on one side of a mirrored glass window. On the other side was Siva.

Why was CPIB involved? Why not the normal police? We may never know. One possibility is that Siva being able to enter a controlled area with boarding passes when the men never queued up at the airline’s check-in counter to show their passports, would be a highly suspicious chain of events. Was there something wrong with the check-in process? But I am only guessing.

Why doesn’t the government have facilities for housing foreigners whom they need as witnesses? Every year in the wake of the US State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report, our government makes a song and dance about how wonderfully they are doing to combat the scourge. When they don’t even have accommodation and support structures for victims and witnesses? Well, this question is better directed at the government. Certainly, CPIB  had no means to house them; I’m not sure if other branches of the government have such facilities either. Instead they approached a charity for help. It’s not even as if the government gives TWC2 funding for our operations. Not a cent.

So the net result was that a charity subsisting on donations was asked to help out a government well-known for its overflowing treasury.

Personal kindness

Where were the men for the two nights after release, before we took them in?

Our social worker told me, his voice trilling with amazement, that, unable to find a place for them for the night, the CPIB officer in charge of the case took them back to his home. Yes, here we have a man using his private resources helping out a government well-known for its overflowing treasury.  The incredible contrast between the gaps and incapabilities of the official processes and the creative kindness of an officer almost boggles the mind.

Unfortunately, the men could only stay one night. I heard that because the officer’s wife was returning from vacation the next day, the men had to be out of his home by then.

The second night they spent in the CPIB  office, I am told. They had nothing to eat for over 24 hours.

To the shelter

Their hunger showed. On the way to the shelter (the well-wisher’s house), our social worker had with him some biscuits and other snacks, meant to stock up the place for the next week or so. But the men couldn’t wait. They stuffed their mouths like they were possessed. Even fellow passengers noticed. A woman sitting nearby remarked to our social worker, “The men look very hungry like they’ve not even for days.”

One has to wonder: How does our bureaucracy treat the people they are responsible for? Or do they feel no responsibility?

But this was only the beginning.

Bored senseless

They stayed at the well-wisher’s house for over two months. There was nothing to do. Day in day out, there was only boredom to look forward to. They had each been issued a Special Pass to regularise their stay in Singapore, but the passes contained a stern condition that they should not work.

This meant they had no money at all. They could only depend on what TWC2 gave them. TWC2 is always very careful about the money we disburse, limiting it to grocery purchases — must be backed by receipts — and the occasional phone card so that they could keep in touch with their families. There was no money for transport, which meant they couldn’t even get beyond walking distance from the house. Needless to say, the police didn’t offer to contribute to the costs.

With nothing to do, the men began to sleep late, rousing themselves before noon only because they needed to cook. They were no other chores to do around the house, not even much by way of laundry since they had only about three shirts each. The highlight of each week was the chance to go to the supermarket to buy rice, meat, vegetables, etc.  Occasionally a few of TWC2’s other Bangladeshi beneficiaries would make a trip to visit them, and the five men might have a chance to chat with some new friends in their native language. But the house was far from downtown and these visits were relatively rare. Days would pass with absolutely nothing to do.

Under such conditions it was no surprise that depression began to set in.

We thought about pressing the authorities to let them work, but almost immediately decided it would be hopeless. Only the Manpower ministry could make that decision, not the police, and the Manpower ministry would surely say this case was none of their business. In any case who would hire them when they couldn’t speak English?

No court dates

One month passed and we heard nothing about court dates. On enquiry, we were informed that the CPIB had handed the case to the Airport Police — why, we were not told — and that Siva had disappeared after posting bail. Absconded. Vanished.

The five men’s Special Passes were extended another month, perhaps in the hope that Siva would be caught within that time and brought to court. So another month passed, taking a heavier emotional and psychological toll on the men. When we go home? they asked repeatedly. How our family eat? We had no answers for them.

To help relieve the boredom, we asked two of them to come to the office to help clean out the place. We had stuff that needed to be sorted and disposed. More importantly, at least they’d feel a little bit useful. It was also a chance to let them eat at the nearby coffeeshop where they’d get a change of diet.

Should we throw them out?

It seemed to us that the authorities virtually forgot about them. Out of sight, out of mind, as the saying goes. If ever they came to mind, it was as objects to be kept or moved around to suit the bureaucracy’s purposes. Nobody asked about the men’s feelings, their worries and all the other complications the enforced stay was causing them and their families.

I mentioned the problem to a fellow volunteer at TWC2, telling her that so long as Siva couldn’t be found, there was no saying how long the men would be held here.

Putting on a look of incredulous consternation, she said, “So, if we can’t find the culprit to punish, we’ll just punish the victims?”

By late December my colleagues and I at TWC2 began discussing how we could impress on the bureaucracy the urgency of the problem. We needed to make them aware that keeping men idle here exacts a terrible psychological toll. Five families in Bangladesh were also being penalised when none of the men did anything wrong.

pic_201301_08Then in the last week of December, Babu’s mother passed away. He was distraught with the thought that he couldn’t be there on her last days, and that she died filled with worry about him. Maybe if he had been able to send home some money, she might have been able to see a doctor. His grief in turn ratcheted up the emotional turmoil within others concerning their own families. It was crisis time.

TWC2 was roused to action and a a letter to the Airport Police was drafted. It reminded the police that at the beginning we were told the stay would only be one month at most; but it’s been more than two months now. The psychological, emotional and economic toll was unconscionable. What we didn’t say: And you’re no closer to catching Siva.

Just then, the police called. Would TWC2 pay the airfares of the men back?

The question was preposterous. It was as if a rich man in a Lexus came up to a roadside hawker, asking for a free bowl of noodles for his hungry chauffeur.

We had only a one-word reply: No.

It was ridiculous that a government with an overflowing treasury, who was always ready to brag about their efforts combating trafficking — and I will leave you to judge how much those efforts are worth — would once again be appealing to a charity for resources.

Following our emphatic “No”, they must have scrambled around for the next few days because we heard nothing more. In the meantime, we sent off our letter to them fearing that once again, they would lapse into inaction.

This morning, Wednesday 9 January 2013, they finally called again. They’ve made arrangements to fly the men home on 10 January [Update: they managed to get onto an earlier flight and flew home on the evening of 9 January 2013]. I think it’s the government paying for the tickets, as it should be.

Case closed. Perhaps. Except that I don’t think we do justice to Chisty’s, Ali Abbas’, Toriqul’s and Repon’s wasted months of suffering and Babu’s inconsolable grief unless I tell you their story.

52 Responses to “Five men, like flotsam”

  1. 1 JG 9 January 2013 at 17:01

    ESM Goh : “How come we’re #1 in Maths, #1 in Science but rank almost last in charity?”

    Suggest you print and mail this article to him.

  2. 2 John 9 January 2013 at 18:13

    Next time send them to the government sleeper cell aka MWC

  3. 3 The 9 January 2013 at 18:23

    In your context, these 5 looks more like jetsam than flotsam.

  4. 4 Grace 9 January 2013 at 18:26

    Thank you Alex for telling their story. I hope the relevant authorities will look within themselves to make some changes to their policies and especially their whole mindset with regards to compassion and fairness and what it means to be human. The officer who requested a charitable organisation to pay for something that is their responsibility in the first place is so very sad.

    Have we lost our ability to feel for another human being just because we ourselves are well fed?

    • 5 Shia Lee 9 January 2013 at 20:28

      “Have we lost our ability to feel for another human being just because we ourselves are well fed?”


  5. 6 Anon 7i8R 9 January 2013 at 20:14

    How the agencies function are just like a typical MNC.

    Every department just handle their own scope and nothing else.

    Not to fault the agencies, but the process and policies to handle such cases are very much flawed and can be improve.

    In this case. CPIB job is just to ensure the men stays in Singapore and provide statements as and where needed.

    It does not worry itself with how the men are going to support their stay in Singapore and what happens to their families even thought the men are victims and did not commit any crime here.

    They are being forced to stay here with no visible timeline and on a “just in case we need you basis”

    They are not the first example and they certainly will not be the last.

  6. 7 Kai 9 January 2013 at 21:28

    Although we’re not responsible for these workers’ misfortune of getting duped, shouldn’t our government’s social work department be there to help them just on humanitarian ground, let alone when our police and the CPIB no less needed their help to be witnesses? Is it even lawful to detain VICTIMS of human trafficking indefinitely against their will in order to become prosecution witnesses? When victims are rescued, shouldn’t a first priority be to re-unite them with their families? If we even need them to stay on for our legal benefit, that a basic level of support be provided to them goes without saying, for how’re people going to survive for weeks or months without income and resources? It’s not like our government can’t afford it, so it’s incredible for me to be reading here that the authority is asking a charity organization for money (!), when the charity ought to have been funded in the first place to do the work for the government. I truly couldn’t believe this is happening in Singapore if I didn’t read it here from a first-hand account, and I’m thankful to Alex and the volunteers at TWC2 for the good work they have been doing all along to help fill in these gaps in our labor protection, and for doing their best to help these five workers in this case. Kudos!

  7. 8 henry 9 January 2013 at 22:14

    These are citizens of Bangladesh. What did their embassy do?
    Could they go there and wait it out? Were they disowned by their own government?

    • 9 yawningbread 9 January 2013 at 23:29

      This cases didn’t really involve an embassy angle. It wasn’t as if the Singapore government wanted them out. Our government wanted them in the country as witnesses to a domestic crime. As for staying in the embassy, it isn’t realistic. Suppose you were stranded in some other country, do you imagine you would be allowed to sleep in the Singapore embassy?

      • 10 Felix 10 January 2013 at 05:22

        But the Bangladeshi embassy should at least provide some sort of relief, though not financially (i think they should) at least give diplomatic pressure for singapore govt to act. How about arranging for accommodation and flight home. It would be quite surprising that they would not be able to do anything for their citizens stranded in a foreign country where they hold ambassadors? What is the embassy for then? Australian embassy would step in if one of theirs have had problems, this i know.

      • 11 Mack 10 January 2013 at 11:18

        “It wasn’t as if the Singapore government wanted them out.”

        I don’t see this as a reason for not involving the Bangladesh embassy. What legal right does the Singapore government have to stop foreigners (or even Singaporeans) who have not committed any crime from leaving Singapore? Were the foreigners’ passports illegally impounded? Would it have been possible to just replace the passports at the Bangladesh embassy?

      • 12 yawningbread 10 January 2013 at 12:05

        Fair questions; I don’t have answers. Except that yes, the passports were withheld from the men by the authorities. Whether doing so was legal or not, I don’t know either.

      • 13 Duh 10 January 2013 at 14:01

        Felix’s point is a good one – why wasn’t the high commission of Bangladesh roped in to contribute towards the management of this case? The victims are citizens of their country are they not?

  8. 14 What if... 9 January 2013 at 22:15

    What if the govt comes in to help for the next 100 cases, and another 1000 gullible workers comes in next. If there are gullible workers coming in, do I expect the govt to pay to send them back? No, I also do not expect the govt to ask TWC to pay either. I don’t know what to say actually.

    • 15 yawningbread 9 January 2013 at 23:23

      There won’t be 1000 more if we catch the traffickers and deal with them according to law expeditiously.

    • 16 gata omei 10 January 2013 at 00:53

      Are you some kind of wingnut? Listen to what you’re saying: that if we treat these cases with some basic consideration and compassion, thousands more from other countries will sign up to be trafficking victims.


      • 17 GingerBaker 10 January 2013 at 03:29

        @What If… is merely offering the kind of absurd thinking the govt offers all the time. Eg, If we build more hospitals, then more people will want to be hospitalised!!!

    • 18 Felix 10 January 2013 at 05:25

      In the same vein, if one poor singaporean get welfare from the govt, another 100 and then 1000 will volunteer to be poor so they can also benefit from the state?

  9. 19 kampong boy 9 January 2013 at 22:29

    so sad, no body in the government organisation dare to stand up and say this is wrong, how pathetic…

  10. 20 ape@kinjioleaf 9 January 2013 at 22:57

    Hi Alex, why didn’t anyone (I’m assuming) approach the Bangladesh Embassy for assistance?

  11. 21 samuel 9 January 2013 at 23:18

    who is the cpib officer? someone should give him a medal

  12. 22 George 9 January 2013 at 23:30

    This is indeed horrific ‘1st’ world treatment of victims.

    The govt has most certainly lost the plot.

    The inhumanity is disgraceful and shocking.

    No wonder our old, aged and sick are neglected as they are.

    • 23 leong 10 January 2013 at 13:00

      The recent ship which rescued the Rohinya refugees that was not allowed to land nor even provided with provisions and medical aid just tells alot about this Govt.

  13. 24 SS 10 January 2013 at 00:26

    The government have to get their acts together in a multi-agency approach. Otherwise this is just inviting problems, to have foreigners stuck in Singapore without money or work.

  14. 25 lennon 10 January 2013 at 00:41

    Can they sue the PAP government for ill treatment? Or is it because they are uneducated people that they are treated this way? Actually it also happens to human rights group trying to enter our country. But they can never win in our court.

  15. 26 lennon 10 January 2013 at 00:52

    This reminds me of a recent complaint on ST forum about a person whose stolen phone is impounded by the police for a few weeks just because they need it as evidence. Suffer thy victim. Motto of SPF???

  16. 27 George 10 January 2013 at 01:13

    I wonder if this is the same policy in other countries? How is it possible for the govt to leave such people to their own devices when they are penniless and homeless. They are not supposed to work, so how does the govt expect them to live. Or, does the govt thinks the charitable organizations are an extension of its public service?

    What a terrible shame!

  17. 28 B 10 January 2013 at 04:44

    There is no doubt that there should the local authorities should have been more proactive in settling this matter. However, shouldn’t the Bangladeshi embassy have been involved in this case/their care?

  18. 29 Felix 10 January 2013 at 05:30

    Citizens should not expect much from the Government to deal humanely with foreigners who were victims of organised scams knowing that they will say “you want 3 meals in hawker centres, food court or restaurant?” to their own people with a stoned-cold face

  19. 30 OMNI 10 January 2013 at 10:44

    Point noted.One may not expect the embassy to house them, but isn’t it an embassy’s responsibility to see to the needs of its nationals in a foreign land?

  20. 31 Chanel 10 January 2013 at 11:28

    It is ironic and laughable that CPIB (a govt agency) seek help from a charity that the govt secretly despises.

    Why didn’t CPIB approach PAP’s Yeo Guat Kwang and his Migrant Workers’ Centre (“MWC”) to house the witnesses.

    Didn’t Yeo boast to the mainstream media (during the SMRT drivers’ strike saga) how “helpful” and “caring” MWC has been towards migrant workers? Didn’t Yeo boosted that they have appropriate dormitory to temporarily house migrant workers in trouble. Is it because there is no mainstream media coverage for this case??? No limelight means don’t bother?

    • 32 yawningbread 10 January 2013 at 12:08

      A tiny little question might be: Are they ‘migrant workers’? They never intended to work in Singapore. They were only passing through. They are suspected to be trafficking victims, as far as I can tell. But one can equally argue that the line between ‘workers’ and ‘trafficking victims’ is blur at best.

      • 33 Chanel 10 January 2013 at 15:31

        Agree that they aren’t really workers here, but like you alluded to, the line is blur. With most migrant workers paying ridiculous sums of monies just to work here and being housed in appalling sleeping quarters, one can argue that migrant workers here are trafficking victims.

        Didn’t the government impose a “no wrong door” policy on all ministries following GE 2011?

  21. 34 chazza 10 January 2013 at 12:10

    Hi Alex, thanks for sharing this story. Having encountered many similar cases in the past, I entirely agree with your argument. Until we bring about proper change, I have a few suggestions that may help you mitigate the situation for future cases:

    (i) If the witnesses have to be here for a long time, they CAN be elligible for MOM’s TJS (temporary job scheme) program. What you do need is the police I.O.’s written approval. Call the IO, get him to write a letter and bring the guy(s) down to MOM and help him/them look for an employer. Different nationalities are restricted to certain kinds of jobs – and frankly, they all pay pretty crap. Still, this may be of some help – and it has been done before.

    (ii) No money for air-ticket, call MUIS – they have a scheme to provide one-way tickets for stranded Muslims. Needless to say that if the victims are not muslims then you can’ use this option.

    None of these address the root problems but they might help alleviate the suffering that the victims of trafficking have to go through here.

  22. 35 yawningbread 10 January 2013 at 12:29

    TWC2 office received a call from someone in CPIB this morning, expressing unhappiness that I published this story. The caller said something about ‘confidential information’.

    I re-looked at the story and I can see no part of it that came from what CPIB told TWC2, confidential or not. The bulk of the story is based on a lengthy interview I conducted with the men themselves. They told me, step by step, what happened to them at the airport, during remand, etc.

    As for the few bits based on what I heard from the social worker, it is and should be, any charity’s operating paradigm that things that go on in our office should be transparent to the public. A good charity has to be transparent about what goes on. Charities depend on donations and the public needs to know how decisions are weighed and made.

    I can only imagine that CPIB’s unhappiness springs from the fact that it doesn’t show the authorities in very good light. It’s not the first time that a govt department doesn’t like what is here on Yawning Bread.

    • 36 chazza 10 January 2013 at 13:45

      i think your portrayal of CPIB here is rather neutral. and quite positive in the paragraph where the officer put the guys up for a day.

    • 37 Chanel 10 January 2013 at 15:38

      I guess you will get another call from CPIB complaining why you wrote about them calling you this morning!

      But seriously, why should CPIB be afraid if they have followed established procedures? Unless their protocol is to properly house the witnesses (which would be highly unlikely), but they didn’t follow.

    • 38 Felix 10 January 2013 at 19:43

      Well if they want happy news and feel good story about themselves, then simple: help these people and get ST to write an article, then Singaporeans all feel good about our CPIB. i’m sure they shouldn’t have problems financially since our Govt is one well known for its overflowing treasury

    • 39 Geewhiz 12 January 2013 at 09:30

      My guess is that the CPIB calling TWC2 is the “confidential information”. No govt department is supposed to be asking an NGO for help, perhaps? that every govt dept is infallible, perhaps?

  23. 40 EternalSpotlessMind 10 January 2013 at 17:08

    i hope to have a house with a spare room if TWC2 ever need but at this moment, i don’t. i almost shed a tear reading about these men and i hope they and their families will recover. what is TWC2’s contact number, i would like to make a small donation. thank you.

  24. 42 The Sanguine 10 January 2013 at 17:18

    Thank you for telling the story. I really wish those five men would be stronger and finally get what they deserve: justice.

  25. 43 Charles Soon 10 January 2013 at 20:16

    It’s NOT the Ugly Singaporean ………… It’s the Ugly PAP Government of Singapore. Everything is measured in dollars & senses; A man’s worth; We are not even charitable to our own old age citizens. How do we find the resources to be charitable to foreigners.

    We must change this Singapore culture. We must chnage the government no less.

  26. 44 Beng Tang 10 January 2013 at 21:25

    EternalSpotlessMind, if you want to donate to TWC2 (and also HUMANITARIAN ORGANISATION FOR MIGRATION ECONOMICS, a similar charity that helps foreign workers, maids, etc) an easy way to do so is via SG Gives:

  27. 45 Alan 10 January 2013 at 22:55

    Remember the infamous phrase “Get out of my elite uncaring face” uttered by the daughter of a PAP ex-MP.

    Maybe this sort of mindsight can explain why our PAP Govt leaders are not walking the talk in asking us to be a more gracious & kinder society, no ?

    • 46 Anon bV56 11 January 2013 at 05:37

      Previous PM National Day speech encouraged citizens NOT to adopt “boh chup” attitude.
      Well it’s look like its the very same “boh chup” responses from all the government organisations with the typical “Kia Si” attitude.

  28. 47 KAM 11 January 2013 at 06:28

    In the face of these govt people and leaders, I’d use these reserved and carefully chosen words. KNN CCB.

  29. 48 KAX 11 January 2013 at 16:15

    Yawning Bread, you should really investigate more on the embassy angle. I think it is very likely that it is the proper way of handling these cases. Singaporeans in distress overseas do look for the Singaporean embassy (if there is one).Rather than dismissing it out of hand, perhaps you could check it out and write another article here?

  30. 50 Bai Hu 12 January 2013 at 10:42

    Our Singapore’s progress has brought about the lack of compassion & indifference to our society. This is the country where money is linked to great power & the ‘u die, your own problem’ mentality? I really feel our PAP government is getting more & more hopeless. Gone were the times where they were good, efficient & take care of its citizens. Sign……

  31. 51 KMT 12 January 2013 at 12:52

    What culture are we talking about ? Singapore culture is shaped by the policies of this government. No tolerance, no mercy, no money no talk and etc.

  32. 52 reservist_cpl 16 January 2013 at 16:15

    Kudos to TWC for making the government do the right thing.

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