Workers Writes #CA1

Search the internet for the winning poems from the 1st and 2nd Migrant Workers Poetry Competition and share your favorite poem. Tell us why you like it!

I could not choose a favorite poem so I’ll give the two I liked the most, one from the 1st competition and another one from the 2nd. The first poem is written by a man named N Rengaranjan and the title is “Lessons from Circumstance”. The reason why I like it is because I feel like I can relate to it and the poem has a lot of meaning. I quote


I fell, not knowing how to walk,
you would pick me up
when you fell, unable to walk
I pushed you
away. Regards, the
modern, (un)civilized family” (N Rengaranjan)

This is very true and I teared reading it. Especially in Singapore, walking at HDB blocks, you are able to see many old folks home around and there are many old folks inside. I had been to many old folks homes during my secondary school days to help out and provide some entertainment for them. When conversing with the old folks there, most of them always say how their own kids “gave up” on them and put them in the homes. Most of them look very sad when they are there and they always say how happy they are when we come. I feel very sad when I heard how their own kids just abandoned them at the old folks home. The reason why I like his poem is that I can relate to it, I’m sure a lot of others can too. The ending of his poem is about money and his last line, ” Money alone, kills by absence ” the upper half of that is how diseases kill by presence which is true. How money kills by absence, I feel that he is trying to say that without money, we would so call “die” and that is quite true. As some people these few days are very “money-faced”, always wanting the job that pays more so that their future is so called “secured”. Many people around the world are poor and lack proper care, food and homes hence suffer a lot and may even experience death.

(If you want to read the full poem here is the link: )

The second poem is also written by a man, named Mohor Khan and the poem is entitled “Lamp Post”. I quote part of the poem

“Have I forgotten

My mother, my motherland?

My wife waiting for me all this time?

The child who will carry the flag of my family

Have I forgotten him too?

Every night, sleepless in the same dream

The underground train of dreams moves relentlessly

And the greed of money blurs my destination

At the delta of my dreams

I am as lonely as a sodium lamp post

Slowly in the dim light of my dreams

enters the miserable cry of my son

In my loneliness I can hear him say:

Father, when will I go to Prince Bazaar

holding your hand?

The dream of reaching the sky

riding on your shoulders is over

I have learnt to walk, run

Father, I have grown up

I have learnt to forget your dear existence

Father, I have grown up” (Mohor Khan)

The reason why I like this poem is that it really speaks out to you. It tells you how these migrant workers actually feel when they are away from their families and it is really heartbreaking especially the line ” Father, I have grown up, I have learnt to forget your dear existence “. This makes me truly understand how these migrant workers feel being away from their family and having to work in another country so that they are able to provide for them and most of the time being treated disrespectfully in the foreign land.

(If you want to read the full poem here is the link:!poets/jg0k8)

In conclusion,  I am really glad Singapore is having this competition as it really lets the workers prove that they are so much more than just construction workers or domestic workers. It provides a place for them to show their creativity and allows them to express themselves.



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