For the first time, three female domestic workers won all the top prizes in the fourth Migrant Worker Poetry Competition on Sunday at the National Gallery in Singapore.
The competition, which began in 2014, has mostly been dominated by male Bangladeshi migrant workers. However, this year’s competition had a large increase in female participants. Of the 107 participants, 80% were women, The Straits Times reported.
Deni Apriyani, 27, an Indonesian domestic worker, won first place and S$500 (US$370) with her English-language poem titled “Further Away,” which was about her abusive marriage. She said she was inspired to write the poem after an encounter with a stranger in her home town of Indramayu, West Java.
Second place was awarded to a Filipino domestic worker named Naive L Gascon for her English poem titled “And Again,” which was about her love of the sea. Fitri Diyah, an Indonesian domestic worker, won third place with a poem in her homeland’s official language titled “A Sunday Morning in Paya Lebar.”
This year’s competition had 107 participants from seven countries including Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
The winning poems can be viewed on the Migrant Worker Poetry Competition website.