Heartfelt Words from a Migrant Worker
So often when we think of Singapore's people we think of the locals. It makes sense. In most places that's all you need to think about. In Singapore however, migrant workers play such a key role in our country's development. The labourers working on the construction sites building our infrastructure all over the island and the people taking care of our children are more often than not migrant workers. Yet, they're treated like an unwanted plague by so many. These migrant workers are more than just 'foreigners stealing our jobs' or any of the other derogatory things people call them. They have families, they have dreams and they're as human as any of us.
Mhd Mukul Hossine is one of these migrant workers. He was blessed with the gift of verse and lucky enough to find people in Singapore who wanted to help him share his gift with the world.
When did you start writing poetry?
When I was just 12 years old. Then I just composed a song. I just writing the song on my own, then my mother looking at the song, and then my family also just looking, and then my mother said, “This is not song, I think it’s better for the poem.” Then my poem is going to the magazine.
What did you do before coming to Singapore?
In my country, I just lived in my country. I’m just a student.
What’s your favorite subject?
Bengali, because my dream is becoming a Bengali professor and lecturer in the college. But my dream is not true, so I think that and I believe that ‘Okay, I didn’t do that, but i have to do something.’ My writing is good so I continue writing. So I’m no professor, but when I write poetry, novels and short stories I hope that every professor and every corner in the world will read my publicity and books and my writing. So with most of the people reading my poetry, novel and short stories, I just feel ‘Yes, I’m also becoming a professor.’
Have people treated you differently since your book came out?
Not really. All of the people just want to help me. I just never had people say, ‘No, Mukul, you cannot do anything.’ No, all the people all the way just support me and say ‘Mukul, carry on and you have to continue writing.’
What do you do when you miss home?
Sometimes I miss them then I write down some of the poetry for my some friends and some of my family also, and I post them on Facebook, and sometimes I calling them on the phone. Yeah, all the time I will be calling them.
Is there something you want people to know about you?
I think most people just know I am a worker only but they don’t know how it is and how I’m doing, the writing thing. Poetry, novel and short story, I can also sing songs in Bengali. So most people didn’t know how I am, how it is inside my mind and inside my head. So most people just think ‘Ah, Mukul is a worker.’ so people don’t know I can definitely do something. So my dream is I want to make proud my family and I want to do this, make proud my family so my father, my mother can say this to others and my family say to others ‘My brother, my son is a famous writer.’
Hossine's book of poetry, Me Migrant, was published by Ethos Books and is available online or in bookstores around Singapore.