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2014:
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This thesis is a critique of Singapore’s problematic relationship with our foreign workers. While Singaporeans recognize the economic logic of having them, they are also associated with the poten! al threat of disorder and disrupting our social fabric.

 

State policy is firmly committed to managing these workers as a transient and controlled phenomenon. Apart from administra! ve policies such as work permits, this approach is also translated spatially into urban control strategies, such as the remote loca! ons of worker dormitories and dormitories and attendant on centers.

 

Nonetheless, every weekend sees the infl ux of 20,000 South Asian labourers into Little India, due to their cultural and ethnical affinities, thus creating a vibrant symbiolic relationship with the urban ecology. Yet it is also a site of contesta! on and social tensions, stemming from Singaporeans’ reluctance to recognize the ethical obligations of sharing common spaces.

 

Thus, this thesis proposes a Little India Recreation Centre, a mega one-stop destination that is designed to cater directly to the foreign workers. In the wake of the 2013 riot, it is both politically and socially necessary to re-examine and address the needs of the workers. While the provision of collectivised recreation and welfare is not a purely altruistic gesture as it aligns with the state’s stance on control and management, it nonetheless enables the workers by allowing them to reclaim a space of their own and a sense of freedom.

 

Thus, the centre is conceived as a city in a city, and serves as an alterna! ve social condenser that takes Liittle India and reorganizes, augments and compacts its programs into a centralized vertical system, hence reflecting the bustling vibrancy of its environs.

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