Imagine being away from your husband and three children since the movement control order (MCO) began, with no choice as it is the only way to earn a living.
Priya Ramadass from Perling in Johor Bahru is one of 58,000 cleaners working in Singapore during the Covid-19 pandemic. Her work is an essential service that involves disinfecting and deep cleaning high-touch surfaces like doorknobs and toilets.
The 34-year-old hasn’t been home since the MCO began, as her employers have provided lodging for her. Priya decided to stay on in Singapore. If she returns, she will not be paid.
“Now much work to do, very tired. Sometimes I sit down also, my manager, if he doesn’t know it’s my lunchtime, he asks: ‘Priya, please come and help clean the table.’ I must go, I cannot say no,” said Priya in her interview.
“Sometimes the tissue people use, I want to throw away, I think I will kena (catch the virus). I’m scared. I think only of my family. I can only pray to God.” she said.
Priya’s husband is working as a logistics assistant in Singapore as well. But they haven’t been able to meet due to the island nation’s strict circuit breaker measures.
“My husband now is very lonely. We are in the same country, but we can’t see each other,” said Priya tearfully. “Yesterday, he cried. He said we need the money, must stay (in Singapore) for the kids.”
Watch Priya’s full interview here