Singapore's economy: Downturn affecting remittances by migrant workers

Singapore's economy: Downturn affecting remittances by migrant workers

SINGAPORE - With scores of migrants from neighbouring countries coming to work in Singapore, the city-state has become a major hub for remittances to Southeast Asian countries.

In Singapore, there are several places these Southeast Asian workers go to send money home. Workers tend to go to different buildings depending on their country of origin - workers from Myanmar, for example, go to Peninsula Plaza near the famous Raffles Hotel Singapore. Thai workers go to Golden Mile Complex, a commercial facility on the outskirts of the city.

These buildings are equipped with shops selling each country's food, goods, clothing and restaurants, and, strolling the aisles, one can hear various languages being spoken.

On a recent Sunday afternoon, Filipino workers crowded Lucky Plaza, a shopping mall on Orchard Road, Singapore's largest shopping district. They were sitting along nearby streets to have lunch with their friends and take photos. They line up to send money to their families back home at a bank in the shopping mall.

Jocelyn Supsupin, a 32-year-old live-in maid for a public housing in suburban Singapore, came from the coastal town of San Fabian in Central Luzon. She said she came to Singapore in May 2013 to pay for the education of her two children. "Singapore is safer and [offers] higher salaries than Manila," she said. "Finding job is difficult in my home town."

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