Md Mukul Hossine, who hails from Patgram, Bangladesh, is a migrant worker in Singapore. The published writer holds a Bachelor Degree in Social Sciences and has been working as a construction worker since 2008. His parents, who are farmers, had sold everything they had to send him to Singapore to pursue a better life.
Working alone in Singapore, Mukul finds solace in writing poems, novels and short stories. Mukul spent many sleepless nights channelling his loneliness and homesickness into words.
Below are two excerpts from his recent poetry collection ‘Me Migrant’. These poems bring us closer to the perspective of migrants, the resilience of foreign workers and the intense isolation one feels when leaving home and labouring in a distant land.
By Md Mukul Hossine
Thousand thousand miles away
Dawn to dusk then dawn again
Bearing sighs and a cry
Love, compassion, kindness
Lose their meaning
Be careful: no one here
To see and know such pain
Outside from you
Mukul longs for his motherís love in the poem ëGolden Motherí.
By Md Mukul Hossine
Mother, o mother,
where are you?
Iím not myself anymore, mother,
come see how I live.
In the bottomless heat of this distant land,
life burns towards its end.
Come see where I am?
Wandering the blank desert,
so tired, I canít bear it, mother.
Call me khoka, just once.
Uncountable pain, wails by the thousands,
I weep alone mother.
Nobody looks at me.
Tears from the corner of my eyes
whenever I think of you
but cannot reach you.
To hear the call from you
like a swallow,
I am waiting, o mother.
(Note: Khoka means ëboyí in Bengali)
In recent years, surging xenophobic sentiments are dominating various social media platforms in Singapore. However, as Marvin J. Ashton said, “If we could look into each other’s hearts and understand the unique challenges each of us faces, I think we would treat each other much more gently, with more love, patience, tolerance, and care.”
Public-policy organisation Legatum Institute also concluded that “in countries where tolerance levels are high, prosperity flourishes”, after drawing inference from an analysis of the world’s most prosperous nations.
“As the world becomes smaller and immigration rises, tolerance towards diversity becomes a crucial issue for societies,” states the London-based institute.
There is a saying: ‘One true nationality is mankind’. Doe Zantamata, an author, artist and photographer, wrote: “When I see you through my eyes, I think that we are different. When I see you through my heart, I know we are the same.”
After all, Singapore is built on the backs of migrants – our forefathers, from foreign shores.
‘Me Migrant’ is published by Ethos Books (www.ethosbooks.com.sg). The poems are originally penned in Bengali by Md Mukul Hossine and transcreated by Singapore poet Cyril Wong based on English translations by Fariha Imran and Farouk Ahammed.
“Me Migrant’ can be purchased from the webstore – https://www.ethosbooks.com.sg/products/me-migrant. It is also available in good bookstores islandwide.