Known as the “class monitor” at HealthServe for his respectable image among the migrant brothers, FJ is always seen with a smile across his face. Whenever another fellow migrant brother needs assistance or advice, FJ will readily offer his help without fail. But what others fail to notice is the pain hidden behind his hearty laughter and fatherly demeanor. Since an injury sustained at work in 2018, FJ has been enduring a year, and counting, of pain in his back, coupled with high levels of mental stress.
FJ first left his family of 4 in back in China, Jiang Su province in 2009 in an attempt to secure a higher paying job in Singapore than back home. Despite the harsh working conditions and long hours at the construction site, FJ works diligently without complains for the sake of providing a brighter future for his loved ones back home. “建筑工业不容易做，每天回家衣服都是湿的。(Construction work is not easy, when we go home everyday, our clothes are drenched with sweat.)”
In early June 2018, FJ was tasked to work from a height to construct a staircase. The safety officer on duty was reassigned to another location and others had failed to notice the unstable board that FJ was working on. FJ stepped and fell through the board, and was unconscious for 3 hours. As a result, a part of his ear was torn and fell off, and he also sustained serious head, back and leg injuries. FJ had to undergo multiple surgeries stitches on his eye and ear, and for 2 metal plates to be placed in his back with 7 nails. It’s hard to imagine the amount of pain given the severity of his injury and the post accident trauma and pain FJ had to endure.
FJ was given 4 months of hospitalisation leave but shares that there has been a salary dispute with his employer. FJ claims that his employer did not pay his MC wages, and instructed FJ to pay for his treatments and reimburse him thereafter. He also faced troubles securing the Letter of Guarantee from his employer in order for his surgery to take place. FJ shares that in Singapore, it is common that migrant workers like him do not get to enjoy the benefits that most should receive, such as annual leaves. As such, it has been 2 years since FJ last visited his family.
A friend of FJ introduced him to HealthServe when he heard about FJ’s predicament. Through HealthServe, FJ met other migrant brothers from China whom he now regards as family. FJ shares HealthServe has helped him in many ways more than one, such as the accommodation provided for him to live in, the translations of english documents, the MRT top-ups and the outings that is organized. “康侍助人为乐，大公无私。有那么多的兄弟姐妹帮忙我们，心里有种说不出来的好。(In HealthServe, there are so many brothers and sisters that help us willingly without asking for anything in return, my heart is filled with an indescribable thankfulness.) ”
FJ shares that he wants to continue doing construction work when he returns back to China because that is what he has been doing for years. Yet he worries about the possibility of securing a job due to his injury. FJ has returned home in mid May after hosting a dumpling party in HealthServe as a form of gratitude to the brothers, staff and volunteers.