Comment: Can we live in paradise without our Bangladeshi workers?

In our little country we have many friends from neighboring countries. I always think about them and encounter them when I go for my frequent coffee or tea or breakfast at the various cafes, kadas and hotaas and restaurants. Most of the time, I see them in ‘hotaas’ (cafe/eatery).

It is not a surprise when you think about why there is such an influx of legal and illegal immigrant workers, and the reasons they come to Maldives

Discrimination towards certain types of manual jobs such as rubbish collection and construction labor, and a young population with no interest in such work, is one reason perhaps. But also the greedy business people who can save their pennies easily by getting cheap labor may be another cause.

No matter whether they are illegal or legal, or whichever nationality, they are in desperate conditions. They do donkey days of work and get only one holiday in the week, which of course is evident when we walk around Male’ on a Friday evening.

Whenever I enter a hotaa they usually come and ask what I need. Sometimes when I tell them cool water in Dhivehi they bring normal water and vice versa. I am not sure whether it is because they don’t understand the Dhivehi language or because they have a motive of getting satisfaction by being irritating and assertive.

Some customers talk to them in a raised voice, with threatening vulgar Dhivehi words, and treat them in a more unethical manner which is inhumane.

No wonder why many of us Maldivians find it irritating to be polite and thankful to people who serve us.

Maybe Maldivians have become such arrogant and impolite people because they may feel disgusting to thank a dirty manual laborer.

Some even avoid these friends out of consideration for hygiene. It is of no surprise that such tough men, who work like donkeys without any breaks to refresh themselves, will of course smell like goats. Moreover, not being wealthy enough to afford deodorant or good quality soap with their earnings is another reason. Or perhaps not being provided with enough freshwater to cleanse their body in their traditional bathing style in rivers, as their employers don’t like to see a fat water bill.

Strangely nobody bothers about what goes on in the kitchen of the hotaa, except when an occasional hair in a bajiyaa or a piece of boakibaa is evident while savoring the hot and spicy delicacies. Many such kitchens are infested by roaches and rodent aliens as well, and our friends never bother to kill or chase them.

Maybe they feel empathy towards such aliens in their surroundings and want to show others it is inhumane to victimise God’s creations.

Well it’s of no surprise as the hotaa is both bedroom and bathroom, as well as hotaa. In the night our friends who are not given places to sleep put tables in the hotaa together and spread a sheet on them and sleep on these tables.

Sometimes their washed clothes, including their undies, may be seen hanging on a rope in the corner of kitchen.

Well, still they are happy and continue to enjoy the day’s heat and occasional rain and the tropical climate. Maldives of course is paradise to a person who only enjoys the physical environment – but the social environment, especially in Male’, is devastatingly unsuitable for living.

My dear bondhus and bhais and machaas and mahathiyaas, without your ways and your life and your labour, how could we ever live in this Paradise?

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13 thoughts on “Comment: Can we live in paradise without our Bangladeshi workers?”

  1. Male is largely built on the sweat and blood of mostly Bangladeshi workers.

    I for one, as a Maldivian recognize and appreciate the work of foreign labourers.

  2. This is an excellent articale. extremly happy to see there are some locals with
    broad mind and brave enough to talk the reallity.
    Definitly these labors deserve a better living condition and some respect.

  3. The author sounds like he's on a safari or something.......


    So many maybes.

    Maybe you should have asked those people what they think.

  4. First thing is first, reduce there numbers and people will start to appreciate and respect them more.

  5. If Maldivians would do the work, they are doing, and not feeling to proud to pick up rubbish or work as cleaning boys, no one would need so many bangladeshis...
    But they are hard workers, taking the advantage of a lot of lazy people in this country, who prefer to call friends for phonecards, or who decide to resign from a job, because a resort is not having a staff swimming pool...
    this article is absolutely right!
    At least appreciate the foreigners, because mostly they are doing the work, others are too proud enough to do...

  6. Thank you, for your comments and kind empathy toward all immigrants in Maldives. Being a human we should have same attitude as you expressd.

  7. We have spoiled one whole generation and they don't want to do petty work even if it is their own responsibility, even parents themselves (father and mother). We have taught our kids not to take responsibility and let others do their work. Most of our youths are spoil brats and they look down on those who serve them. It begins from house and even at work. We are good at shouting and blaming others but in fact it is his/her responsibilities as well. We see this being replicated even in political and social life. It is us parents (mostly) who have made our generation like this lazy, insincere, irresponsible, ungrateful, unethical, discriminatory and most importantly blame on others.

  8. For me what I see in the morning on my way to work is hoards of expatriate laborers heading to work along side , while literally,against the flow walks the young Maldivian youth,well for a lack of a better word lets call them "bums" . Starting their morning shift , sitting around on the parked motor bikes. 5 o'clock you come back from work , still sitting on the bike. this continues late into the night, sitting around , wasting their time. Harassing passers by , drug dealing and gang warfare.While the average Bangaalhee , after toiling through the days work , cleans motor cycle or cars in the evening , and collect bikes loads of garbage at night .And send all the money home. They are just enterprising people , while we are just lazy .No , it's a problem with our attitude. How we have been lead to belive in school and at home , by parent. That it's not worth being called a job if its not a desk job . And we want to get the highest salary , the most flexible work arrangements , and unlimited coffee and cigarette breaks . I say it's our attitude that is to be blamed.

  9. Good artiacle. We should appreciate the work done by expatriates and their contribution to our economy.

  10. Someone has to educate Maldivians that Male’ is the most inhospitable and unfit place to live on the face of earth. The definition of beauty that westerners imply to Maldives is based on its sea and beach and sun that they enjoy for a holiday break. This does not mean that we Maldivians should be proud of owning the most beautiful country to live our life. We should respect people of all races and nationalities not only because it is the morality of good human being, but rather we being as most venerable people in the world who entirely depend, to breath a single breath on the other nation in the world. We must respect others so we can get others sympathy, if we show our arrogance to some misfortunate people who come to our shores, who are far better than us in terms of their nationhood, it will be a foolish behavior and a clear sign that we are a kind of savage people.

  11. To be balanced is to be balanced!!!
    Yes, the poor victims of trafficking is not a healthy and decent thing to do! However, revenue earned by this traffic too inviting to loose (for the traffickers), and too heavy a burden on the peoples of the invitees and the invited! True!

    However, it has to be noted that in par with the Maldivians having to be educated, the Bangladeshi, or the bondhoo equally have to be educated!

    Does spitting on roadside a nice thing especially when paved?
    Is spitting INTO someone's shoe left near the mosque a nice and a healthy thing to do?

    Bangladeshi worker class (especially from the rural population) have been brought up unfortunately like dogs (by the politicians of that country and used as a rubber stamp for their votes), and the only thing they obey is the cane/stick or as they call LAATEE, what we in Maldives call the LATIBURI!

    These Bangladeshis unlike most Sri Lankan and Indian workers are more ignorant and more stupid and in fact they know nothing other than the cane/laatee. If one has to extract work out of them, a stern foreman with perhaps a cane in his hand, can work wonders with these people. The simple reason being they know nothing except the cane/laatee!

    Unfortunately some of the Maldivians to be true, have been and still are up to no good, for sure!

    The bare truth about Banglar population in the Maldives goes way back to the 80s, when the Ports Authority, brought them as PORT WORKERS, their ignorance and stupidity was seen there and the crowd of the port area saw the potential and the spree started!

    Being sympathetic in proportional manner is not going to solve problems, but indeed will have adverse effects.

    Reality is, you give them an inch, and they will grab a yard! Perhaps readers may think otherwise, but this is the reality and I do sympathize with the poor Bondhoos who spend unbelievable sums of money to come earn a living and get the ultimate and unfortunate brunt of it in sympathetic manner!

    However, reality cannot be and should not be judged being sympathetic!

    Professor who happened to be the catalyst for this analysis will certainly have a one mind track if especially is in POLITICS!

  12. This issue will never be solved unless we fight for workers rights in general. It's not that Maldivians are lazy, it's just that most Maldivians are unwilling to work in the hazardous and inhumane condition Bangladeshi's are desperate enough to work in.
    Maldivian employement regulations need to reflect the standards that Maldivian employees are willing to work in. Otherwise, if not for Bangladeshi's some other destitute people will come and fill their shoes.


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