THE STRAITS TIMES / CHANNEL NEWS ASIA (Singapore)
SINGAPORE – "Since January, there have been nine fatalities, compared to four cases in 2011 and eight in 2012," reports the Straits Times.
Is the newspaper talking about car accidents or bird flu? No, that's the number of maids that have died from falling out of a building while they were cleaning the exterior of office or apartment windows.
Following the recent spate in accidental falls, Singapore's Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has ruled that foreign domestic workers are not allowed to clean outside windows.
According to Channel News Asia, employers failing to comply risk a fine of $3900-$7800 and six to 12 months in jail. They can also be permanently barred from employing a foreign domestic worker.
In Singapore, like in Hong Kong or Dubai, it is quite common to look up and see a silhouette dangling out of high-rise window, with a rag in hand or hanging laundry.
The maids –hailing from poorer Southeast Asian countries– are paid from $170 to $270 a month, depending on experience and nationality, and usually work seven days a week.
An appetite for gentrification
Informal street vendors are casualties.
On paper, this all sounds great.
A call for food justice
Food, it seems, has become the perfect lure.
Upending an existing foodscape
Longtime residents find themselves forced to compete against the "urban food machine"
But that doesn't mean objections don't exist.
All represent strategies to meet community needs in a place mostly ignored by mainstream retailers.
So what happens when new competitors come to town?
Starting at a disadvantage
When I see that City Heights' home prices rose 58% over the past three years, I'm not surprised.
Going up against the urban food machine
I argue that investors and developers use food as a tool for achieving the same ends.
It's hard to see how that's a form of inclusion or empowerment.
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