• Tuesday, Nov 20, 2018
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Bangladeshi construction worker's poetry book translated to Chinese

  • Published at 04:02 pm December 5th, 2017
Bangladeshi construction worker's poetry book translated to Chinese
Bangladeshi construction worker Md Mukul Hossine's new poetry book "Braving Life" has been translated to Chinese. The translated book, which also has an English translation, was launched at the Nanyang Girls' High School (NYGH) on Thursday. The translation work was done by a group of students at the NYGH. This was the first time they interacted closely with a migrant worker. Liu Jiahui, a 15-year-old student from NYGH met Mukul at a poetry event organised by Mukul himself. She was fascinated by the effect of his poetry though she could not understand the language it was written in. Liu admitted that translating the work was difficult since raw emotions and voice needed to be intact in his poems. She hopes that the poems by Mukul will help him find an audience among foreign workers from China and Singaporean Chinese workers. Mukul, 28, came to Singapore to work in a construction company in 2008. He is the son of a farmer from Patgram in Bangladesh. He became famous after his poems were published in Me Migrant by Ethos books. Most of his poems were written late at night and some were even scribbled on cement bags. In addition, he is the first foreign worker to have his poetry published by a local Singaporean publisher. Mukul has been interviewed by international news media such as the BBC and The Economist, and had his poems printed in stencils outside the pavement of Art's House as part of the project Sing Lit Station in 2016. He used his own funds to start a poetry reading session this year where he highlighted the challenges faced by migrant workers. He has gained very little financially from his recent rise to fame. Mukul lost his job at a design company in October and was sent back to Bangladesh. The proceedings from his books will be used in building a new house for his family which had been damaged by floods. Healthserve, a migrant worker community clinic in Singapore, will be bearing the cost of publishing the book, estimated around $5000 to $7000. Mukul had volunteered there for three years. Of the 2000 copies of the book printed, 200 have been sold so far. Some of the copies will be sent to English colleges in Bangladesh. The community clinic arranged for a tourist visa for Mukul to visit Singapore during the book launch. Mukul is hopeful of finding a new job in Singapore but is unsure of when that might happen. In "Braving life," Mukul talks about his observations of Singapore's society as well as the various challenges faced by migrants. He also discusses people busy with social media on their mobile phones as they pass by people who sell tissues or collect cardboards from the street. One of his poems reads: "Body exhausted by a busy city, I write poems for you/and lose myself in the fold of words." Mukul's dream is to work with other migrant workers to promote the culture of Bangladesh and show his superiors and Singaporeans how a migrant faces daily challenges.