Monday, May 12, 2008

How to give more jobs to Singaporeans

Straits Times. May 9, 2008.
Jobless in Canada - and Singapore
MUCH has been written about foreign workers and how they compete with Singaporeans for jobs. It has been argued that if foreigners leave, jobs for Singaporeans will be affected. I believe this problem is unique to Singapore only.

Let me relate my experience as a foreigner trying to secure a job in Canada. I spent almost six futile months trying to get a suitable job in Calgary and Toronto.

Canadian employers must get approval from the government before any foreigner can gain employment; a task they were either unaware of or unwilling to undertake.

In Calgary, jobs were plentiful but restricted to Canadians only. Whenever I went for an interview, I was told politely that although I was suitable I could not be hired for obvious reasons. I took a bus back from Calgary to Toronto, a journey of 52 hours.

During the trip I was able to marvel at the vastness of Canada with its open spaces and lack of people. Everywhere there were signs 'for hire'. But not for me.

After six months of frustration I left Canada, arriving in Singapore to see foreigners getting jobs and me jobless in my own country.

Revi Anthony Fernandez

This morning, at our weekly Young Pay-And-Pay meeting, yours truly proposed a two solutions to "fix" Mr. Fernandez's problem:

  • One, we shall give out more citizenship - any foreigner who wants it shall get it!
  • Two, we shall give out more permanent residence status, AND then consider PR as resident workers, indistinguishable from citizens in official statistics.

That way, most job will go to locals - defined as citizens and PR - and foreigners will get fewer jobs, which is exactly as Mr. Fernandez has wished for.

Haha! I am so brilliant! They should promote me to become the Minister of Manpower!


Anonymous said...

Is a complex topics that no one single solution will do for Singapore.

I like foreigner PR, in general they are more hardworking then local. Some minority foreigner whom i think just should not be here. Overpaid and unskilled. But these will be leave Singapore when times are hard. The hardworking one who intend to stay will stay and contribute. Overtime, we will have a healthy population that are hungry to make a better life for themselves.

What really bugs me is those, young Singaporean who whine and cry father and mother for anything when things dun go their way.

We are more educated and more equipped to handle adversity as compare to our fathers. Why are these young brats lack courage and confidence in themselves. They have to resort to racist remarks and unfriendly to foreigners. This show that Singapore has grown richer with a smaller heart.

A Singaporean

young-pap said...

That's because these "young brats" are hot blooded and thus have feelings for the old, the poor, and the down-trodden who are not educated and not equipped to handle the foreign invasion that the government initiated. Thus, these young Singaporeans whine and cry father and mother, NOT for their own sake, but for the sake of the abovementioned under-privileged fellow citizens.

Alas, if only they were as cold-blooded and uncaring as you and I. Then they would have, just like you and I had, think only of themselves - that we are "more educated and more equipped.." - and couldn't be bothered with the uneducated father-generation who are forced to compete with the government-endorsed foreign invasion.

So yes, not only it bugs you. It bugs me too -- just why do we have so many caring citizens who can't mind their own business and have to speak up for the poor, the aged, the sick? For eg. they themselves are healthy, isnt that good enough? Why cry father and mother for the sick who are too poor to pay for hospital bills? Now if only they are as cold blooded as you are, our job at Young Pay-And-Pay would have been much easier!

Now, having said that, I do agree that some young Singaporeans are NOT speaking up for others, but for themselves - i.e. they think that the point is not about whether they are educated or equipped enough to compete with foreigners, but that as a matter of principle, they, as citizens should have the right - not privilege, mind you - to have their jobs protected and that no foreigner should get even a single job unless a local who is competent to perform the job cannot be found. They believe that if wages are high enough, such a local can be found. They further believe that wage should be high because we should compete in the knowledge economy instead of against China/India in a manufacturing-based economy. They thus cry father and mother at their highly short-sighted leaders' who, for the past 40 years, have put all the eggs in one basket - the manufacturing sector, and till to day, still want to rely on manufacturing, hence the decision to lower wage via foreign import.

This is indeed a very complex issue with no one single solution - on the one hand, what these young singaporeans expect are very legitimate and indeed is THE expectation and rights of any citizens of any developed country! On the other hand, Singapore is no country! You and I know very well that our "country" is a company, and in a company, we hire the cheapest worker - no such thing as protecting some workers because they are "citizens" of the company! The complex issue thus is this: how do you and I on the one hand, lie to these young singaporeans that they have privilege as citizens, and yet on the other hand succeed in treating them as merely employees, no different from foreign employees!

Indeed, there is no single solution. One solution is exactly what you did: scolding them as lacking in courage and confidence, and branding them as racist and unfriendly and having small heart. Good Job! You have succeeded in transforming a matter of principle (and of feeling for the less advantaged citizens) into one of personal attack. But that's just one solution. I myself have another solution - to simply give up on these caring citizens, and push them to the limit and cause them to emigrate. Then, we can import even more foreigners - this time, not just to lower wage, but also to replace the native Singaporeans that leave!

I urge you to join us in Young Pay-And-Pay. Together, we can find more solutions to continue to fools these "Singaporeans" (actually, company employees)!

Your fellow running dog