It looks as if this Indian dhobi man is in real trouble for the quality of his work and is making the “usual excuses”! Laundry men were usually called ‘dhobi-wallahs’ by soldiers of the British Army. This was from days of service in India. The word dhobi means laundry, and a wallah is a person.
Dhobi Ghaut near Orchard Road in Singapore is named after the laundry facilities which used to be there in days gone by.
The photograph on the left shows a 1940s National Serviceman doing his dhobi at Fort Siloso. The tent on the left is the Dining Tent. At the top of the steep bank is Officers’ accommodation.