• Short Summary

    THE SAM SUI WOMEN OF SINGAPORE ARE FREQUENT AND DISTINCTIVE SIGHTS ABOUT THE CITY IN THEIR BLACK OR BLUE SAMFOOS AND SCARLET HEADCLOTHS.

  • Description

    THE SAM SUI WOMEN OF SINGAPORE ARE FREQUENT AND DISTINCTIVE SIGHTS ABOUT THE CITY IN THEIR BLACK OR BLUE SAMFOOS AND SCARLET HEADCLOTHS. ALTHOUGH THEY LOOK FRAIL, THEY ARE AMONG THE CITY'S MOST DEDICATED PHYSICAL LABOURERS. MOST ARE IMMIGRANTS WHO CAME TO SINGAPORE AND MALAYA FROM CHINA IN THE 1930's. THE SECOND WORLD WAR AND OTHER FACTORS, HOWEVER, PREVENTED THEM FROM EVER RETURNING.

    THEY HAVE MAINTAINED THEIR TIES WITH THE SOUTH CHINA DISTRICTS OF TONG KOON, SHUN TAK AND SAM SUI - THE REGIONS FROM WHICH THEY CAME. WHEN THEY FIRST ARRIVED, THEY WOULD SEND PART OF THEIR EARNINGS BACK TO THEIR FAMILIES IN SOUTH CHINA. THEIR FUNDS CAME FROM JOBS IN SOME OF THE HARDEST FIELDS -- THE RUBBER, TIN AND CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES. THE SAM SUI WOMEN TOOK JOBS IN ALL AREAS OF THESE TYPES OF WORK -- FROM CARRYING EARTH TO MIXING CEMENT.

    BECAUSE TRAVEL TO THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA IS RESTRICTED, THE SAM SUI WOMEN HAVE REMAINED IN SINGAPORE. THEY WORK ON A CONTRACT BASIS FROM DAY TO DAY, AND EARN FROM SIX TO EIGHT SINGAPORE DOLLARS PER DAY, (ABOUT 16 SHILLINGS STERLING TO ABOUT GBP1 POUND, TWO SHILLINGS) FOR UP TO EIGHT HOURS WORK. THEY ARE SLOW, BUT CONSIDERED VERY EFFICIENT.

    THEIR LIVES HAVE CHANGED LITTLE IN THE YEARS SINCE THEY HAVE BEEN IN SINGAPORE. THEY REMAIN ALOOF FROM THE REST OF THE COMMUNITY, CENTREING THEIR LIVES ABOUT THE CITY'S DISTINCTIVE "CHINATOWN" AREA. THEIR MEALS AND HOMES ARE FRUGAL AND THEY ARE KNOWN TO BE VERY THRIFTY WITH THEIR MONEY.

    ALTHOUGH THEY HAVE STILL MAINTAINED THEIR TIES WITH THE SAM SUI DISTRICT, MOST HAVE NO PLANS OF EVER LEAVING SINGAPORE. SOME HAVE MARRIED AND HAVE DAUGHTERS WHO ARE FOLLOWING THEM INTO THE TRADITIONAL LABOURING WORK.

    AS TIME GOES ON, THERE WILL PROBABLY BE FEWER WHO WILL WEAR THE DISTINCTIVE BLACK OR BLUE SAMFOOS AND SCARLET HEADCLOTHS. BUT AS THE GROWING NEW SOCIETY OF SINGAPORE CONTINUES TO DEVELOP, THE SAM SUI TRADITIONS OF HARD WORK AND THRIFT WILL BE NEEDED AS MUCH AS EVER. THESE ARE THE TRAITS THAT HAVE PLAYED NO SMALL PART IN HELPING THE CITY TO EXPAND.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA6NELAL5IZC5IE5RNE6GOX213O
    Media URN:
    VLVA6NELAL5IZC5IE5RNE6GOX213O
    Group:
    Reuters - Including Visnews
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    25/06/1969
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:06:00:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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