The Sun: Spare a thought for our manual workers

My most recent piece in the Sun was written in Hanoi. The manual cleaners and construction workers are a hardworking lot there, and much more visible than in Kuala Lumpur. But it made me think of all the people who clean up after us and who build our city for us:

This made me think of our cleaners, sweepers and builders. Because many of us live in the suburbs, they are not that visible to us, and yet they exist. They clean our cities for us. They build our cities for us. How much of our awareness goes towards them?

It can’t be easy. We aren’t known to be a clean lot. How many times have you seen people litter? Once in Puchong, I saw a woman diligently throwing empty water bottles into a drain. There were so many bottles, she had to make four trips.

That must have made our cleaners’ life much more miserable. Who would want to be a city cleaner? Who tells their parents and teachers that they want to grow up to sweep our streets and handle rubbish disposal?

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