Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/143853
Title: UNTOLD STORIES: STATE-PLANNED FOREIGN WORKERS RECREATIONAL CENTRES IN SINGAPORE
Authors: LOW YI YUN
Keywords: Foreign Workers Recreation Centres, Migrant contract workers, Foucault, Borders, Checkpoints, Human Agency
Issue Date: 2017
Citation: LOW YI YUN (2017). UNTOLD STORIES: STATE-PLANNED FOREIGN WORKERS RECREATIONAL CENTRES IN SINGAPORE. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: The influx of migrant contract workers (MCWs) over the last few decades makes them an integral part of the labour pool in Singapore. Past literature has revealed that while MCWs are integral to the nation’s development, they face marginalisation due to state policies and discourses transcending different scales. Recent incidents like the 2013 Little India Riot have also prompted greater efforts to ‘manage’ and ‘control’ the MCWs in Singapore. One such effort is the construction of Foreign Workers Recreation Centres (FRCs). While constructed with the intention to improve the wellbeing of MCWs, the FRCs have also been framed as approaches to ‘manage’ the MCWs more effectively within ‘self-contained’ spaces. Contrasting discourses and limited exploration of the experiences of MCWs thus prompted this research. Informed by literature surrounding borders, Foucault’s Geographies and Geographies of Exclusion and utlising Joel Migdal’s (2014) concept of checkpoint, this thesis endeavours to unveil the power politics that play out through space in relations to MCWs’ activities and behaviours. It can be argued that the construction of the FRCs and the checks within represent ways in which state discourses on MCWs materialise and manifest spatially. These checks aim to ‘control’ and ‘manage’ MCWs’ behaviour, spatial activities and mobilities while keeping them productive within this knowledge-base economy. Such actions can potentially make invisible MCWs in Singapore further heightening segregation. Furthermore, through examining the FRCs, it is argued that the state has homogenised MCWs based on their needs, wants and ethnicity. However, MCWs are from different backgrounds and have varying perceptions of their wants and needs. This plurality further results in the re-conception of the FRCs and spatial activities by the MCWs. The actions can be interpreted as cognitive and spatial checkpoints that signal MCWs’ human agency in contesting state constructions.
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/143853
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses (Restricted)

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