PJ Thum speaks with Zakir Hossain Khokan, a migrant worker from Bangladesh and founder of “Migrant Writers of Singapore”, who is currently ill with COVID-19 (but recovering), and Jay and Michelle, two Singaporeans who volunteer with his organisation, about their work and other initiatives, including aid to workers in the ongoing crisis ( 2:30 ). Zakir also talks about how he’s doing with COVID-19, his own history, how he came to be in Singapore, and his experience in the past 17 years of a migrant worker ( 7:40 ). Then the group discusses the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, what their group are doing, and segues into a discussion about broader structural and systemic issues facing migrant workers in Singapore (16:03).

If you’d like to learn more:

Daily Life in Covid 19:
One Bag, One Book
Migrant Writers of Singapore

New Naratif:

Myths and Facts: Migrant Workers in Singapore:

A Creative Outlet for “Invisible” Hands:

Call and Response: https://www.booksactuallyshop.com/products/call-and-response

Collective of Migrant Efforts (COME):

Thum Ping Tjin (“PJ”) is Managing Director of New Naratif and a historian at the University of Oxford. A Rhodes Scholar, Commonwealth Scholar, Olympic athlete, and the only Singaporean to swim the English Channel, his work centres on Southeast Asian governance and politics. His most recent work is Living with Myths in Singapore (Ethos: 2017, co-edited with Loh Kah Seng and Jack Chia). Reach him at pingtjin.thum@newnaratif.com.