The Different Hats We Wear ft. Ali Jamat

Migrant Worker (Excavator Operator), Father of Three, Friend of HealthServe

The skyscrapers that surround us; the condominiums that some of us call home; the MRT stations that we pass through everyday – these are just some structures that Ali has supported in constructing as an excavator operator in Singapore over the years.

Working a daily 10-hour shift that begins at 6am, his key responsibilities involve operating the excavator for heavy works like piling or digging and loading rocks, rubble and debris.

Some other tasks include cleaning the heavy machinery to keep it well-maintained, as well as casting and laying cement in places the excavator crane cannot reach.

At times, the physically demanding nature of his job is exacerbated by his medical condition – an inflammatory bowel disease that causes irritation and ulcers in one’s large intestine.

During the lockdown last year, Ali was referred to HealthServe by a friend. He now visits us regularly for chronic disease management of his gastric issues.

“Everyone here is really friendly and nice, and is always willing to offer a listening ear,” Ali shares with a smile.

Because of his condition, Ali prefers to stay in to rest on his off-days. 

He avoids eating canteen or catered food as well as sweet  treats like coffee and biscuits. Home-cooked meals are a healthier alternative, which he prepares late at night after a long day’s work, taking extra care to avoid ingredients like peanut oil, papaya, and cauliflower which can add to his discomfort and inflammation.

A typical off-day for Ali begins with checking off daily chores from his to-do list. It is only after going to the market to stock up on groceries, cooking and doing laundry that he is finally able to relax and enjoy a peace of mind, he shares.

Being a family man, Ali makes it a point to catch up with his loved ones back home via imo (an app popular among our Bangladeshi migrant brothers) no matter how tiring work gets. Ali beamed with pride as he told us about his two sons aged 15 and 8, as well as a 5-year-old daughter.

Like most of us, Ali likes to unwind from the stresses of life by using his phone. He particularly likes to read up on news, whether it’s the latest happenings in politics or current affairs about his religion.

One thing that struck us in our chat with Ali was his heart for helping others.

For one, when he hears of people who want to come to Singapore to work like he did, he would tap his social network to source for openings in different companies.

If a fellow migrant worker is unable to head out to buy daily necessities due to COVID-19 restrictions or other reasons, he would try his best to run these errands for them. 

Despite having to support his own family with his income, he does not hesitate to look out for his peers who are in need of urgent financial assistance.

“All I really want from my life is to walk a straight path, help others, and be healthy,” he shares. 

𝘉𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘪𝘯 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘩𝘪𝘱 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘞𝘦𝘦𝘝𝘰𝘭𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘦𝘳, 𝘢 𝘴𝘵𝘶𝘥𝘦𝘯𝘵-𝘭𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘳𝘨𝘢𝘯𝘪𝘴𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘕𝘢𝘯𝘺𝘢𝘯𝘨 𝘛𝘦𝘤𝘩𝘯𝘰𝘭𝘰𝘨𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭 𝘜𝘯𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘪𝘵𝘺’s 𝘞𝘦𝘦 𝘒𝘪𝘮 𝘞𝘦𝘦 𝘚𝘤𝘩𝘰𝘰𝘭 𝘰𝘧 𝘊𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘐𝘯𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯.

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