Zakir Hossain Khokan, a Bangladeshi worker in Singapore. Photos: Migrant Worker Poetry Competition website, Google Maps

A Bangladeshi migrant worker in Singapore has begun a book-sharing project called “One Bag, One Book” that aims to encourage foreign workers to read more instead of spending all their time on their mobile phones playing games or using social media. 

Zakir Hossain Khokan, 38, a construction-sector worker who is also a prize-winning poet, started the project three months ago after he noticed many foreign workers on public transport using their mobile phones. Since then, about 60 people have borrowed books from him, The Straits Times reported.

People can select from a list of 150 books, including poetry works, novels and non-fiction in Bengali and English, and meet with Khokan to pick them up. He hopes to expand the collection to include books written in Tamil, Chinese, Indonesian and Tagalog.

Singapore has about a million migrant workers from Malaysia, China, Bangladesh, India, the Philippines and Indonesia. 

Khokan moved to Singapore in 2003 and works as a quality-control project coordinator in the construction sector, freelance journalist and poet. He won first place in the Migrant Workers Poetry Competition in 2014 and 2015. 

Read: Three maids win top prizes in poetry contest

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