Constructions of foreign labour migrants in a time of SARS: the case of Singapore THERESA WONG AND BRENDA S . A . YEOH
Attitudes towards migrants in both public and government discourse, and particularly as enmeshed in local politics, set the tone for the treatment of migrants as contributors of disease and ill-health, and these attitudes can set in motion discriminatory policies that widen the rift between local society and migrant worker populations. Migrants are often perceived to be a mobile, ﬂoating and often ‘disposable’ population, bodily reservoirs of disease and infection. Such attitudes towards migrants tend to prevail, especially in cases where arriving migrants or foreign workers are attributed a lower economic status vis-à-vis the local workforce, in which class power relations are often tilted in favour of the host community. As the other chapters in this volume (see e.g. Asis, Chapter 7, this volume) also demonstrate, such perceptions of lower status migrants are often founded on classed constructions of ethnicity and nationality.