The Unseen, Unknown Population of Singapore



This was the 31st post (Day 31) of an entire year-long series, which I named ‘Project 365′. The idea was simple enough: travel for a full year and document every day of it, in the form of a daily picture and poem. I am still working on a book of this year-long travel, but till then, enjoy all the posts here. You can check out the daily posts in the details below or jump to the final day of the project by clicking here.


1st August 2014 – Singapore

Their boots were filthy, and dust danced on their palms

They carried stories of pain, and all the agonising lore.
Yet they slept in unknown corridors, and roamed unseen roads.
Beyond preying eyes. Beyond stomp. Beyond Singapore.
Singapore labourer

The 3rd section of Singapore’s population.

And after Melbourne, I am back to Singapore, although just for a bit. The plan is to spend 4 days here catching up with friends, before I proceed to the next phase of my journey.


Further Reading: Check out images from the Thaipusam festival in Singapore


So, this left me in a quandary. I have pretty much photographed anything of touristic value in Singapore, so what do I click today? Hence, the search for ‘the others’.

I don’t like to write social narratives, but you see, I have always believed that Singapore had three types of population classes. First, the locals. Second, the expats. And thirdly – much like ‘Divergent’ (the book/movie, both of which were horrendously made) – there existed a third class of people. The manual labourers, who came from all parts of the subcontinent, like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. I remember reading somewhere that there were 50,000 daily wage labourers in Singapore, and somehow, they manage to stay out of the reach of the well-ironed landscape that is Singapore. They slept in cramped dormitories, and hung out in open fields. They smoked rolled cigarettes, and drank cheap Knockout beers.

And they avoided contact with the other two classes as much as they could.



Click here for the previous day’s post. Or you can follow this project from Day 0, by clicking here

Or. Follow my travels on Facebook.

Unless mentioned otherwise, all pictures are taken by the blog admin. If you would like to use them for any commercial or non-commercial purposes, please contact for approval.

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About Abhi Surendran

Abhi quit his corporate job, and decided to immerse himself in travels, photography, occasional periods of bankruptcy, and copious amounts of insanity. He is currently working on a book of his experiences, and a dream road trip through South Asia. Both in a haphazard fashion. He blogs at Iamnothome and you can also catch him at times on Facebook and twitter.

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