Chun Weng, a Malaysian YouTuber, recently embarked on a unique endeavor to understand and document the daily grind faced by countless Malaysian workers commuting from Johor Bahru (JB) to Singapore.
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His video, released on September 21, captured his firsthand experience of the challenges these workers encounter and offered an insightful look into their routine.
The daily life of a Malaysian who lives in JB and works in Singapore
Despite the allure of cheaper housing in JB and the beneficial currency conversion rate – which potentially multiplies a Singapore salary by approximately 3.5 times – the commute is not without its hardships.
Setting out in the wee hours of the morning, Chun Weng initiated his journey at 4:19am, and it took him nearly 3.5 hours to reach his ‘workplace’ in Woodlands, Singapore.
The video captures several moments that he experienced, such as workers bidding farewell to their families at the JB border checkpoint, individuals hurrying across the borders to reach their workplaces, and a lengthy queue of motorcycles waiting to cross the border.
As he navigated through crowded bus rides and the congested Causeway, he was struck by the vast numbers of workers making the same journey daily.
Took 2-3 hours per trip
During his day, Chun Weng also conversed with Ash, a seasoned cross-border worker of eight years, who shared her insights into the lifestyle.
Ash highlighted how the escalating conversion rate between the Singapore Dollar and the Malaysian Ringgit in recent years has driven more people to adopt this cross-border work routine.
I think it makes sense, let’s say (if you are) in Malaysia and going to Singapore to look for a job, then it(the salary) will be like SGD 2,000 (RM6,800). The conversion rate is like 3.4x now,” Ash told Chun Weng.
She also mentioned that many of these workers, including herself, manage minimal sleep, sometimes as little as three hours as she needs to wake up at 4 a.m. every day.
To provide perspective on the cost of living, Chun Weng visited FairPrice in Singapore, highlighting that everyday products are similarly priced in both countries.
Yet, the higher wages in Singapore allow many cross-border workers to save significantly.
As the day concluded, the fatigue from the rigorous commute became evident on Chun Weng.
Reflecting on his experience, he expressed deep admiration and respect for the dedicated cross-border workers who undertake this strenuous routine daily.
At the end of the day, when the sun sets and it’s time to go home, for the most of us, we would do anything for the people that we love,” Chun Weng concluded in the video.
The sense of relief was palpable on his face as he finally crossed back to JB, culminating his day-long odyssey.
In awe & tired out
Speaking to WeirdKaya, Chun Weng also shared that he was at awe at how much effort it took to get to a job.
“Ash had this sports watch that was monitoring her number of walks. They are really high, and she stoically braved through it as if it was nothing, I thought that was very impressive and cool.”
When asked about the inspiration behind creating this video, Chun explained, “I often discuss personal finance and strive to provide people with diverse methods to earn and comprehend money.”
“This often involves maximizing one’s income within a limited time frame. For many, the Singapore to Johor Bahru (SG-JB) commute is perhaps the most obvious example. However, as is the case with all endeavors, valuable rewards don’t come easily.”
“Therefore, I decided to document my own journey, not only to assist and educate people but also to shed light on the challenges and incredible determination of the individuals I encountered.”
“I found a whole new level of respect that I can’t really describe via words, and that’s why long-form videos are such an important medium,” he told WeirdKaya.
You can watch the video here: