Getting Stepped On My Head

…and I don’t mean this literally, no.

News has been circulating around the workplace that we think our living conditions are terrible.


We were given explicit instructions to “NEVER COMPLAIN” no matter what happens because we were given this rare opportunity to go overseas for our internship and some people are stuck in Singapore. I’m wedged between two fences now:

  1. Suck it all up and keep showing plastic smiles at work. Say “Everything’s fine!” in a bright cheery voice when it’s obviously not.
  2. Dish out the truth.

Here’s the truth:

  • We are being charged 300 euros EACH per month for a twin room.
  • No, they are not ensuite.
  • The communal toilets have a mean temperature of 14 degrees Celcius on a warm night; when it’s cold, we shiver while doing our businesses.
  • The shower drains are clogged up by something deep down under and we have to turn it off multiple times and slosh around wet and naked while waiting for water to drain off before recommencing our cleaning rituals.
  • The showers have recently started flooding; we’re showering at work now.
  • We’re also basically living at the staff kitchen because there are tables and chairs for us to write or use our laptops on (there’s only one table in our room which we use to keep our more precious food and various necessities).
  • We have to pay 1.50 euros to use the washing machine every time (oh and wash it before usage or soap powder will clump up and we’ll have to hand wash our jeans after that).
  • It’s another 1.50 euros to use the dryer.
  • The laundry room has a radiator, a non-functioning radiator.
  • The kitchen is pretty dirty at times.

The last point really ticked me off and started me on this mad rampage with an axe to hack down anyone who’s trying to get the better of us. Really? 600 euros per month for a twin room in a creepy as hell hostel with no shower facilities and terrible thieves as fellow inmates. Should I really keep my mouth shut? Older Asians always pride themselves as people who quietly suffer hardships (that’s why our lecturer told us to shut up), but we’re paying to live here to work for the hospital. Isn’t it basic courtesy to provide us with a habitable environment to live in? I guess it doesn’t apply here. I’m very sorry to say this because I love this country so much and people are very nice to us at work.

The colleague who suggested that we live there paid only 100 euros for a single room six years ago and everything was fine then. He mentioned that there were many people living there too. Now the place has fallen into disrepair and it’s practically a ghost town at night, with only 3 regular inhabitants including us. And they hiked up the rent almost 4 times. Is this fair treatment? I wouldn’t have minded if we were staying for free or paying 100 euros per month, but this… it’s just too much. All our emails regarding insufficient heating went unanswered (the person-in-charge went on a nice 2-week holiday) and people are talking behind our backs and making us out to be annoying Asians coming to cause trouble. What about our food now? We’re barely able to keep our stomachs from growling every night and now our food starts disappearing.

I withstood everything for almost 2 months, telling myself that it’s alright, but with two more months to go, the bulbs might just burn out and the pipes might burst and there would be nothing we can do about it except keep paying for the person-in-charge’s holidays.


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