Some cricket for foreign workers?

Some cricket for foreign workers?
HELP THEM FEEL AT HOME: More social activities for foreign workers here, like this group of cricket fans who gathered in an open space in Little India to watch a cricket match, can help them be happier and more motivated to work.

Thousands of foreign workers arrive in Singapore every year, filled with excitement and hope as they embark on a new chapter in their lives.

But this optimism is often tempered when they are confronted with regimental lifestyles and tough work conditions.

Many work 10 to 12 hours, six days a week, earning around $700 a month. But they do not have much to spend as their first year's salary typically goes to paying off about $8,000 in recruitment fees to agents back home.

They have to queue up to use the bathrooms. Often, it is past 10pm when they finally get to unwind.

Some squeeze in a quick phone call to family members or surf the Internet on their phones or laptops using Wi-Fi in the dorms.

The highlight of the week, therefore, is a Sunday jaunt to Little India where they can relax for free in the open fields. It is also the only day when shuttle buses ferry them, for a small $2 fee, from their dormitories in remote areas, like Tuas, to the area.

Sunday night's riot in Little India, which saw apparently intoxicated South Asian workers turning on police officers, has now raised the question of whether Singapore is doing enough to care for the social needs of these migrant workers.

Let's be clear: The violence that broke out was needless and unacceptable.

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