Oct 6, 2009

Challenges on the Job Front

I found this article on the Little Speck website:

A resentful citizenry
Singaporeans are not annoyed by their arrival, but the overwhelming numbers and sometimes having to play second fiddle to them.
By Seah Chiang Nee.
Sept 26, 2009

AN ELECTRONICS firm that advertised last week for a “preferably non Singaporean” engineer has added fuel to a worsening controversy in this migrant city.

It particularly stipulated that “permanent residents are welcome” to apply for this “mid-career job (salary negotiable)”.

A copy of the advertisement found its way onto the web.

Applicants should have a diploma or a relevant trade certificate, with 3-5 years’ work experience, and “preferably non-Singaporean (PR welcome),” it added.

This provoked strong reactions from Singaporeans who are already upset at the large number of foreigners allowed to work here.

One asked if such discrimination is legal. “This sort of ad would have landed this company in heavy trouble in most developed states,” he added.

Another writer said: “Now we know where we stand. The policy has downgraded Singaporeans to below foreigners.”

You can read the rest of the article here. Of course, it does not really surprise me. For years, Singapore has been moving steadily in the pro-foreigner / anti-citizen direction.

I'm not going to bitch or moan about it. Yes, I do think that the PAP government has repeatedly made some bad mistakes. Still, we're not the only country in the world with stupid politicians. Each of us just needs to find a way to move on, adapt and survive - notwithstanding the government's errors.

No point complaining about it. Just take the PAP as another challenge in life you need to overcome. Take your small, steady steps to deal with it.

Here's one small, steady step I took. I updated the "personal particulars" section of my resume. It indicates that although I am a male Singaporean, the SAF does not call me up to go for annual NS duties (due to medical reasons).

On the career front, this helps me to avoid the kind of discrimination highlighted in this old post of mine - NS and Employment. (Incidentally, that post dates back to 2006. That simply goes to show how none of these issues are new).


Anonymous said...

Somehow I feel that Singapore does not belongs to Singaporean any more. I feel that it belongs more to the PAP and the foreigners.

Onlooker said...

Actually, It is not fair that the political scene do not enjoy the same level of competition that was imported.
So for the sake of being fair to PAPer.
Let's vote in Alternate parties :)

Anonymous said...

The way I've always seen Singapore is - it's a gd platform to develop my own career and hopefully this will open doors elsewhere.

The moment disaster strikes Singapore, I'm just going to pack my bags and leave for greener pastures. So much for Majulah Singapura and all that jazz.


Anonymous said...

The pillars of Singapore Inc.
- pragmatism
- utilitarism
- meritocracy

Singapore Inc - 50 mins documentary by VPRO International

Anonymous said...

What then is the solution?

Jack Ryan

Anonymous said...

But the employer might still discriminate you based on your medical condition... arrggh, anyway the singaporean is always f*cked.

Anonymous said...

In other (democratic) countries, voters hold the govt accountable and kick them out.

In Singapore, the govt hold voters accountable, and kick the voters out.

More good years!


The Outer Layer said...

Wang, I am going to link a few things together. Not sure if your readers will get them. No data or statistical support as such data will be locked up by you-know-who, hence they are only propositions, not facts.

1) Main participants in the property (mainly private and retail) market are SAF officers, old timers, with very high pay.

2) Senior Civil servants (mid level scholars included) are also main participants in the property market.

Above 2 propositions comes from observations that most of Singaporeans don't earn as much to buy into private properties, especially landed/upscale ones.

Should the above 2 be true, applying the "all humans are selfish" theorem, then the civil service will now be geared towards supporting or trying to improve the yield of properties in Singapore.

How do you do that? With land being an unportable, non changeable item, the best and probably only way to improve yield/value of the property, is to create more transactions to collect rent.

How do you do that with a limited population? Import foreigners. How do you get foreigners to come? Give them goodies.

Now does paying your civil service more than enough, or way way above enough for them to have too much money and time to play the market without any rules or corporate governance policies in place, esp on insider information/trading good for the nation?

Anonymous said...

Wang, from the littlespeck article "Singaporeans, being descendants of immigrants themselves, have never been antagonistic to the presence of foreigners here – until now."

And just to correct one thing. Some people have been (publicly) saying that Singapore is a migrant society. That our forefathers are themselves immigrants, questioning why we should not be accepting immigrants now.

Wang, this is wrong at best. In fact, this line of thought, this very statement itself is high treason at its very core.

I am not using the word TREASON for effect only. I am serious.

When our forefathers came to town, they were immigrants, yes. But then Wang, there was no nation named Singapore. It was a colony. These people were Chinese, Indian, Malayans, Sumatrans, British subjects. There was no such thing as a Singaporean.

The moment (then) PM Lee KY shed his tears on TV, the moment he declared us independent, the shared pride, fear, joy, anger. That is "one people, one nation, one Singapore".

"Regardless of race, language or religion"

This is Singapore.

To even suggest that we should be again a migrant society, is to suggest that Singapore be disintegrated, be brought back to colony times, when we were a migrant society.

Singapore is a nation. Now. And we will not sacrifice our one-ness, our soverighty, our culture, our Singalish, our identity for a shallow impression, a lie, an act of treason to confuse us into blindly accepting any tom dick or harry who has no loyalty nor intention to join the Singapore family.

Most of these who come later, mots, not all, come to make money, then go back, or elsewhere. They don't care about Singapore. They don't want to stay here. They don't give crap about us.

They are not migrants. They are mercenaries.

The people who started this "migrant society" line should be sacked. They should be charged for treason if we are proud of our own identity. They should be exposed for being shallow, and not deserving of any position they now hold in where-ever they are.

We are Singapore. And we are proud of it.

lobo said...

Whilst it is true that all (at least most of them) have their share of stupid politicians, I must point out that we have the most expensive ones...

Anonymous said...

"Yes, I do think that the PAP govt have repeatedly made some mistakes."
I fully agree..the catch word here is "repeatedly."
Look at HDB, Means Testing, Foreign talents etc.
It's sad to say that despite the high salary,our Govt still has not gotten the right people. Maybe, the right people, people who do not just care for high salaries, do not want to serve with the PAP. And they do not want to join the alternative parties for various reasons. Meantime, while we wait for these right people to step up, we do need an opposition to shake these high earning civil servants/ministers to make them do their best.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

"It's sad to say that despite the high salary,our Govt still has not gotten the right people."

No, it hasn't. Harry Lee himself has often remarked how very difficult it is for him, to recruit talent.

From this, you can already infer that a significant proportion of his PAP MPs and Ministers are not his first-choice candidates. Maybe they are his 2nd choice or even 3rd choice candidates.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

"What then is the solution?"

LOL, this is funny coming from you, Jack Ryan.

Kelvin Tan said...

As long as we are still dependent on FDI and MNCs for growth and employment, we cannot get away from lowering their cost of production.

In the past, we give them tax incentives. Now we have to make wage costs as low as possible, and what easier way than to increase the working population size?

Anonymous said...

we do need an opposition to shake these high earning civil servants/ministers to make them do their best.

What makes you think they are not already? =)

Tan Ah Beng said...

Essential piece of information in a Singaporean job seeker's resume:

For men: Expected number of reservist recall per year. Try to make it sound as little as possible. Talk to an experienced auditor or accountant for advise in playing with numbers.

For women: If married, write "no plan in giving birth in short term". If single, write "no intention of getting married in short term".

Anonymous said...

it is important for Singaporeans not to get cynical. Use your votes and be counted.

The government will have to change their policies if majority of citizens demand so. Democracy is the tyranny of the majority, use it well.

porcorosso said...

Glad to see you are updating your resume, Mr Wang! You and I got our jobs in part because we are cheaper than the "foreign talent" competition, don't you think? By the same token we could do our jobs from Hong Kong and Tokyo or even Mumbai, no reason to be here from a professional perspective, but then we are the lucky ones!

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang,here is my personal perspective,being a true-blue S'porean for the past 30 years,this island that i call home is now a place of transient destination...

I strongly feel all the nationhood building for the past 44years has gone to naught!Now we have four official languages,the Pinoys want Tagalog to be a fifth official language,the Indian expats are demanding Hindi be made compulsory too,imagine others like Burmese,Viets,PRCs' demand their way out to speak their mother tongues,we are all DOOMED!

I'm currently making plans to migrate with the next 3-5 years either to US,Canada or Europe,doing soul-searching for now to see where i really want to find a place i can call home,i have no sense of belonging here despite the fact our "beloved" PAPpies can't understand how the local populace feel,i'm sick & tired of whining & complaining on the Net,local blogs & other miscellaneous internet forums...i want to step up & renounce my citizenship once i get a better place out there,the grass is greener,the pastures are brighter,my future is salvaged

PS : To quote John Connor from Terminator - Salvation,"There is no fate but what we make!"

James Michael Parthi

Anonymous said...

Why would that be funny coming from me?

Maybe I can elaborate.

How did Singapore arrive at such a situation? What were the underlying issues that were driving this?

What was the strategy adopted that resulted in this situation?

If not the solution adopted by the government, what then is the alternative solution?

Jack Ryan

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Hello Porco:

Well, you might already know this (perhaps your employer is even one of the recruiters) ....

There are some international banks now looking for lawyers (of the HK / Singapore / London variety) who are willing to relocate to Mumbai. Basically the strategy is to have these lawyers bring their international experience onshore to Mumbai and train up the guys onshore.

Of course the problem is that Mumbai is not exactly a great place to live (in terms of infrastructure, facilities etc).

The Outer Layer said...

Wang, the problem is with "Globalisation". The word itself is good and supposed to bring good things to all.

BUT the costs structure of all countries are too huge and wide. You cannot expect an trash collector American to survive in America on a Mumbai Lawyer's pay.

If all countries attempt to normalise costs, first world countries will face financial systems, investment, pension fund systems collapse.

So glbalisation while good, is not feasible unless the costs systems are not too wide.

Businesses however, are not interested in that. They want cheaper everything, so the CEOs and their team don't have to work any harder to up revenue. Just keep going to the cheaper place, cut costs. This will automatically increase profit even at constant revenue. And these CEOs can up their pay.

I used to support full scale globalisation. Now, I support countries erecting quotas, tax laws, etc to even out the costs structures. Otherwise, we are going to see a lot of first world countries who worked so hard at building themselves up, going down like flies. Just because the rich want to get richer, the easy way out.

Anonymous said...

I think we should still go back to principal of GDP growth to analyse the problem.

PAP under PM Lee has consistenly concentrated on only labour input,capital input,but totally neglect productivity growth which is most difficult but most substantial and long lasting,this is a known fact.

I was surprised when Microsoft CEO,MP Ms Jessica Tan pointed out that massive input of foreign workers could be an important factor in making Singapore the only 1st would country which witnessed productivity loss,and asked for review.This came not long after she made a passionate standard PAP speech that "pl dont scare off our foreigners.etc"

But she was rebutted by two ministers,and I hear no more.

ACS said...

For those who want to skip NSMen training, get a job overseas... e.g. HK is great...

I think the Government may have run out of solutions to the declining population...Having said that, we are a transient place like HK but of course, the men have to serve NS.

If you go to the expatsingapore forum, you will realize many Indian immigrants are not assimilating... Their language is not Tamil and they are lobbying to set up their own Club, just like The Amercans Club...

Its between a stone and a cold hard place.... What I could see is those having tertiary education having higher and higher pay while the rest have to have lower pay... Check out the latest Population Trends 2009 and Key Household income trends 2008 from the Department of Statistics.

There were 23% of households having monthly household income of more than S$10,000 in 2008 versus 19% in 2007. However, those having less than S$4,000 have also risen from 36% to 40%...

Many are indeed getting less household income....

If this continues, it will hit them at the next election... and there is very little the ruling party could defend this... everyone could see and feel it...

Of course, we may all get a windfall before the election but when sentiments are high, it would just be too overwhelming....

Kelvin Tan said...

Jack Ryan raised some interesting points. Let me try to give a good answer.

Due to our growth strategy that relies primarily on MNCs and their FDI.

Our strategy is simple: Get MNCs to come and remain here as long as possible. Set up GLCs fronted by the smartest Singaporeans around, aka Ho Ching and the scholars, to make sure there is technology transfer.

To make them come and remain here, we lower their costs. We started off with tax free status, now we are lowering labor cost by flooding Singapore with so many people.

There is no alternative solution if we continue to rely on MNCs. The other solution, to strengthen SMEs, brings too much political risk because it means the PAP might have to share power.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kelvin Tan,

That is an interesting perspective.

This is from Today's Business Times:-

...Mr Lee, who is in Japan on a four-day working visit, said Japanese businessmen had asked him which industries the Singapore government was keen to promote. 'My answer is, we can't tell for sure,' he said. 'We make some broad bets like biotechnology, IT and digital media, but what we need to do is to have an overall low-tax environment, and high-skilled people who are working hard.'

...He added that the Japanese businessmen appreciated Singapore's business- friendly environment. 'Some of them explicitly told me that 'your corporate tax is 18 per cent, and that is a big reason why we are happy to be in Singapore'.'

Japan invested US$3.2 billion in Singapore in 2007 and 2008, according to data from the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro). Singapore invested some US$4 billion in Japan in those two years.

'The restructuring of the economy has to be allowed to take place,' Mr Lee said. 'They see in Singapore a pro-business, friendly environment - one where it's easy for them to start up and where they can get the resources they need, and one where they can get the contacts to do business all over Asia.

'They are well disposed towards our policies and we will take care to look after them so that they will continue to invest and create jobs.

'(Pro-business measures) may appear abstract to Singaporeans, but to business people it means dollars and cents and the ability to get work done, and therefore to come and employ Singaporeans,' Mr Lee said.

A few interesting points to note:-

1) Keeping costs low for companies in Singapore is important

2) Singapore invested more in Japan than Japan invested in Singapore.

2) PM Lee mentioned restructuring the economy... and I believe it has to deal with many older workers who were less educated and who used to work in factories - less pay and do something else

Anonymous said...


on a macro/national level, an individual may not be able to do much to change things.

On an individual level, it is important to find your own niche market or a market that allows close to perfect competition, for the skills that you are good in.

No point competing with others in a triathlon, if you can't swim to save your own life. If you can't do long distance running, don't try a marathon, you'll get slaughtered. Do a 100m sprint.

I'm working in a field where there's almost perfect competition. I may lose out a bit compared to my female counterparts, because most customers are male. However, I don't really need to care which country my competitors come from :)

Anonymous said...

Dear James Michael Parthi,

Very interesting point you make in your post, how the United States, Canada, or the whole of Europe should welcome you with open arms while you refuse the same to others who wish to make a honest living in Singapore.

Very interesting quote you append at the end of your post. Terminator, too. You should use that in your application for PR or citizenship in the United States, Canada, or any of the European countries: very classy, and may I say, cultured.

Good luck, son.

Anonymous said...

ACS: "Many are indeed getting less household income....
If this continues, it will hit them at the next election... and there is very little the ruling party could defend this... everyone could see and feel it..."

So what. The ruling party does not need to defend because this is a dictatorship. And dictatorships are never voted out. This is why the ruling party will continue to do as it pleases for a long time to come.

The Outer Layer said...

2) PM Lee mentioned restructuring the economy... and I believe it has to deal with many older workers who were less educated and who used to work in factories - less pay and do something else

I believe this is on the contrary. Many old people with O levels or lower qualifications, and too comfortable in their current positions, in Unions are exactly what is creating a bad income situation in Singapore.

Think of those employed in Ministries, GLCs, TLCs. Many of them are drawing SGD7,000 onwards for being a clerk. Or promoted to Head etc positions for staying too long.

These people are entrenched, refuse to change and are loud. They are the baby boomers.

With this group of lower productivity people drawing a significant chunk of your HR budget, how much do you think you can give to your young executives fresh from University or having a few years experience and looking to move upwards to positions held tight by these unwiling to retire people?

Costly bet for PAP either way. Baby boomers were their backbone. The disgrunted young are the new majority.

The Lone Gunman said...

You know what?

Singaporeans deserve the government we get.

We can bitch about the PAP in the coffeeshops, we can bitch about the PAP in the forums, we can bitch about the PAPs in rallys..

But You will still vote them in. For so many years, I have heard cogent arguments why we should have an opposition. For so many years, I have heard cogent arguments from the opposition (btw, I dont believe the PAP spiel that there is no credible opposition at all).

But when the test comes to crunch, you still VOTE THEM In. Why?
- because "I am afraid that the voting slips are not anonymous. Why is there a mysterious number? I swear there is a number"
- because they can identify my precinct and I will be denied of upgrading.
- because they gave some rebates and "now I can go buy a motorbike" (This came from a real interview on tv from a Mat)

You have the choice. You blew it.

Uh... but that's not fair, I hear you say. I never voted cos of the gerrymandering with electoral boundaries... Yes, but the sample of GRCs and constituencies which were in fact contested is representative of the population. A rational opposition party will contest a ward where they think they have at least an average/above average chance. And they still lost.

In short, you can be bribed, you can sell out, you can be intimidated by nothing more than money in a world where people in other places have sacrificed far more for their beliefs.

Going back to my starting thesis, Singaporeans deserve the government we get. We are all whiners, wankers (I hope Wang will allow this just as he condones "fuck" in poetry) and sellouts. Yes, "we" means you the forumer, you the bitching cab driver, you the whining kopitiam patron but.. not me.. I have always voted opposition for an institutional check whenever I have the chance and been disappointed repeatedly... by the whiners, wankers and you.

ACS said...

Hi "The Outer Layer",

Where did you get your facts that the clerks in Government Agencies are paid S$7,000?

In the first place, do you know how many civil servants are there in Singapore?

I think you just pick this up from the air.

Based on what I know, they are not paid this much..., except if you are the top ones in Admin Service.

You can go to our National Budget website and download the financials of each ministry. The pay of the Ministers (Including for State, 2nd Minister, etc. are lumped together) and Permanenet Secretary are in it. You take the rest of HR costs and then divide by the number of civil servants in each ministry.

Its a lot lesser than you think!

One hypothesis I have of the problem here is inflation moves much faster than pay, and Government and Private Sector are slow to increase pay for the majority of the employees.

For example, property prices are rising faster than your income growth so it becomes less affordable for housing and many things else.

It becomes worse when foreigners come in to compete at lower pay because they are hungry and could take lesser quality of life (e.g. housing, food, lifestyle, etc.). Once they are in the equation, we get affected because now the price equilibrium of labour has come down.

However, when times are tough, pay is cut very quickly but slow to reinstate (One example is CPF cuts, which may use to pay for their house. A lower CPF means you have to fork out the rest from your pay).

For the older citizens above 50, go check it out how many per cent has even '0' levels. The number is so low that it will shock you.

Do some homework before posting... otherwise it is just negative emotions, making things up and churning more negative emotions and we never learn anything more from each other.

I don't take what anyone (Government, Ruling Party, Alternative Party and anyone who is sharing here) say as truth. I always make an attempt to check.

ACS said...

Here is a report on wages on MOM for anyone who is interested:-


From the report, you could see that our productivity had fallen below wages (both real total and real basic wages).

Average and mean wage for clerks is about S$2,000.

In case you say Government got a different pay scale, please also allow me to illustrate using the Ministry of National Development example. The numbers were extracted from MOF website for 2008budget expenditure (amount would include bonus payout):

Political Appointments pay is $3.2m and there are 4... so on average, including Minister Mah, the average wage for each is S$800,000. I belive Minister Mah shuold have been paid over S$1m, while the rest would be lower.

I also got into the Government Directory for MND and there are about 76 key appointments (from Deputy Directors to executive positions) from various departments. So let's assume conversatively that each need 2 support each (e.g. secretaries, admin support).That would be 228 employees, still a very conservative guesstimate. We all know that MND has at least more than a thousand employees.

Total HR costs for permanenet staff is S$16m. Assume that the top 20% in senior positions are paid top salary and they contribute to 20% if total HR Costs - S$3.2m divided by (20% of 76 employees = 15) = Average of S$213,333 p.a. for each senior employee.

I then divide the remainig S$12.8m amongst remaining 213 (228 less 15) employees, which equates to average of S$60,000 per annum or S$5,000p.a. And we all know that MND hires a lot more staff than 228employees.

So, how on earth could clerks in civil service paid S$7,000 per month?

Please also note that the HR costs in the budget would include welfare and medical lumped in. Therefore, the actual salary would have been much lower.

"The Outer Layer", I am sorry but you are cannot be believed until you quote your source.

Anonymous said...

Dear ACS

I believe Mr The Outer Layer is referring to the few expensive long service deadwood("clerks" being an insult?) who had, by virtue of their long service and connections, been promoted to way beyond *apparently* their level of competence.

To be fair, I think there has been a lot of grade\paper inflation in recent years.

Anonymous said...

"Think of those employed in Ministries, GLCs, TLCs. Many of them are drawing SGD7,000 onwards for being a clerk. Or promoted to Head etc positions for staying too long."

Maybe "clerk" refer to a general term, but it is true a lot of civil servants get that kind of salary doing not much, no risk, just because their pay auto increase year by year, plus don't screw up big time, you are assured of that kind of pay by the time you reach your 40s. And some even more, no kidding, just deadwood waiting for another 10 years for retirement. Cannot go outside because zero marketability all their life in cushy government job.

Anonymous said...

Read George Orwell's ANIMAL FARM and you will see many similarities there and what is happening to Singaporeans in Singapore.
The moment they coined Singapore as Singapore Inc. you know where their priorities lies.

ACS said...

Hi Anonymous,

Thanks for sharing your comments.

Its better to be clear what 'clerk' is, isn't it?

However, I think we should refrain from judging if we don't know much about how the system (including their appraisal) works.

For those on the fast track, I think its a lot more competitive than that.

From anecdotal evidence, there are many scholars who are under tremendous pressure to do well and 'score points'. If you get sidelined, then career of going up is over, you stopped at that floor.

However, I can't really comment much because I do not know how their appraisal system works.

In any case, from what I heard from foreign talent in my company, they feel our civil service is great relative to theirs.

I am struggling more to understand why we have so many political appointments in one ministry drawing an average of about S$800,000 p.a., and is that inclusive or exclusive of their MP remuneration?

Anonymous said...

the Lone Gunman... you're spot on... most of us deserved this current crop of ministars... we only know how to bitch...when push come to shove... we r afraid to take the risks.... i remember exactly the day i was at the polling station... all along wanted to vote for the opposition... but when i arrived.. the fear is unexplainable... my family... what will happen? unanswered questions started to pop in my head... will i be in trouble... will i? i look at my wife.. she smiled... i persevered and voted for the opposition... you know what... i don't think they care... a small fry like me... but i do understand this fear governed the majority of singaporean... they need to think hard... who will care?

Anonymous said...

Reading this, it is amusing to see how almost every commentary eventually turns into ranting about Singapore Ministerial pay but I digress...

However, some comments are spot on.

We are where we are because of our economic strategy.

Our economic strategy has enabled the country to transform itself from rags to riches in a single generation.

However, that economic strategy also means that as the rest of the world develops, we need to run faster... and faster... and faster... outpacing our competition to justify our higher costs and existence.

Some have lamented the MNC strategy, others cited the neglect of our local SMEs, and of course others digress into ministerial pay scales... with little relevance to the question at hand.

Others advocate competing in niches, specialisation in very narrow fields or even just acceptance of lower growth for a slower pace.

Ultimately, we need to recognize that the current economic strategy is still the most effective way to bring about continued prosperity and the means to achieve our social goals.

Foreign labor are here in Singapore to sustain our economy and GDP growth whilst at the same time suppressing wages and costs for businesses.

Niche strategies would not work. It is hard enough to pick a winning stock 1 year in advance... think how hard it is to pick success industries or niches 10-20 years in advance in time for our children to be educated and equipped with those niche skills. Moreover, in specialised field, 1 or 2 of 10 may be able to make it successfully but what about the other 8 or 9 of our fellow Singaporeans? We have to recognise that a significant proportion of our workforce will be able to work in jobs which demand only broad based skillsets.

Can we then opt for the slower lane and let faster cars past us by? Can we, as a nation which believes it's running ahead of the pack, bear and live with that? Without this GDP growth and aging population, will there be sufficient revenues and taxes to spend and take care of our own people? What about that expensive 3G SAF to deter the bad guys?

A wholesale repudiation of the strategy (eg. protectionism, restricting foreign labor supply completely will not work). I spent considerable time in consulting and have an insight into how businesses work, how they decide where to locate their operations.

There are so many in Singapore that gripe about their maids, their holidays, bad bosses, uninteresting jobs, low pay, poor benefits... blissfully ignorant. If only they know how many hungry people there are all around the world, running faster and faster, trying to catch up with us. And there are shockingly a lot of them, hungry and waiting to take away your meal. Just as we are not satisfied with our lot in life, our neighbors are not too. We cannot blame them.

My fellow Singaporeans, the only way is to keep running.

Tighten our belts and keep running faster and faster than the competition.

Endure the pain and only slow down when the competition gives up and stops running after us...

Our saving grace is that we have a strong head start and everything considered, we are still better than others in so many aspects. If others are able to catch up with us, it would have been because we have slowed or stopped running and it will be our fault to have allowed it.

Our 'father' had been strict, tough and at times unreasonable but at the very least, he had our longer term interests at heart and trained and equipped us well.

One day (unfortunately unlikely in my lifetime), when the promise of free and bountiful energy can be harnessed and mankind has reached a stage of enlightenment that we not longer engage in tribes and when everyone works for the common good of all (not communism... think Star Trek), we can then all perhaps stop running after each other and instead, run together as one.

Jack Ryan

Anonymous said...

If Singaporean is willing enough to take up jobs, I dont think Singaporean will be jobless. The problem of Singaporean is picky.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous October 10, 2009 9:33 AM

suggests that Singaporeans who has a family in Singapore to feed must accept a salary which a foreigner received.

Hence, if a foreigner is happy to receive $500 as a salary which he can happily feed his family living in China, Malaysia or Thailand which the cost of living is cheaper than Singapore, Singaporean must also accept this salary and do not complain (because you are Singaporeans and must sacrifice while foreigners enjoy) . This is implied to be fair. Is it really fair?

This is because we Singaporean and need to serve National Service deserve “equal” treatment as to a foreigner. Singaporeans need to sacrifice to benefit the government as well as the foreigner. Is this what you mean?

Please define the word “picky”. Picky in what sense, mr anon?

Anonymous said...

well said, Jack Ryan...

Localized said...

Anonymous said...
If Singaporean is willing enough to take up jobs, I dont think Singaporean will be jobless. The problem of Singaporean is picky.
October 10, 2009 9:33 AM

If Singaporean is willing enough to take up jobs, I don't think Singaporean will be jobless.

Painting Singaporeans in bad light again?
Fact: Singaporeans are more welcome as migrant workers in other countries including the ones where most of the refugees came from.

The problem is Singaporean Employers are picky.They want the protection provided by the National service but they do not want to pay the soldiers to protect their assets

Anonymous said...

Jack Ryan: "A wholesale repudiation of the strategy (eg. protectionism, restricting foreign labor supply completely will not work). I spent considerable time in consulting and have an insight into how businesses work, how they decide where to locate their operations."

Who is asking for "completely"? Therein lies the failure of the argument, a typical PAP logic always using extremes to justify their own position.

Anonymous said...

"Applicants should have a diploma or a relevant trade certificate, with 3-5 years’ work experience, and “preferably non-Singaporean (PR welcome),” it added."

Preferably, this ELECTRONICS firm should be asked not to operate in Singapore - so that it can have its requirements better fulfilled.

Anonymous said...

i don't understand this.. is there a lack in getting suitable singaporean for the position of an admin?

Anonymous said...

Why all this noise and complaints? Nothing will change. Once you can do it, just leave this country for somewhere better like Australia and your life and your families' life will improve tremendously.

Anonymous said...

You can complain till the cows come home but your next generation of sons & daughters will still have the same persistent economic & social problems if you do not opt for political change.

I sometimes wonder whether my fellow Sporeans are scared of their own shadows or images in the mirrors. To borrow Nike's motto, "Just do It", cast in that vote that opts for alternative parties becos you disapprove of the current policies.

What is there to be afraid of? 30% of the voters have done that time & time again but they are getting tired of being the ones who have to speak out for the rest who keep grumbling on new media: blogs, forums etc. Complain & complain.

Do yourself a favor, not happy? being disadvantaged at work? being priced out of property? disillusioned with the heaps of PRs thrown in your face? Then do the right thing & make the 30% of voters who vote for alternative parties grow much larger.

This is your challenge not mine.

Anonymous said...

Jack Ryan,

The Economoic strategy is perfectly fine. However, the problem lies in its HR policy: the workers(citzens) are not enriched with the share of accumulated wealth. Profts just went into reserves,turned into failed investments, without providing the basic benefits like housing, medical, etc.

Brunei has accumulated wealth from her resources and she shared the wealth, even though disproportioned.

Best regards.

Anonymous said...

By Hardwarezone forumer Ixnay

You voted for PAP, and you get to pay 7% GST instead of 5%.
You voted for PAP, and they peg power to the price of oil even when 80% of Singapore’s power comes from natural gas.
You voted for PAP and your CPF money gets lock up for another 3 years more than the original.
You voted for PAP, and your ministers demanded a 85% pay raises.
You voted for PAP, and your job went to a foreigner.
You voted for PAP, and your neighbors become foreigners.
You voted for PAP, and your elderly gets to enjoy the dignity of employment by cleaning toilets, scavenging trash bins for aluminum cans and selling tissue papers.
You voted for PAP, and your minsters tell you it is your fault that Mas Selemat escaped.
You voted for PAP, and your government would rather lose millions at sinking foreign banks rather than to save you from starvation.
You voted for PAP, and not only do your ministers literally spit on you, but their scions tell you to “get out of their elite uncaring faces”.
You voted for PAP, and you are amply rewarded with ERPs at your doorstep.
You voted for PAP, and Lee Hsien Loong pledged to fix the oppositions.
You voted for PAP, and you got a Division 3 Prime Minister who needs 2 mentors to hold his hand.
You voted for PAP, and you got a large serving of Mee Siam Mai Hum, at your own expense.
You voted for PAP, and your salary stayed stagnant for more than a decade while the cost of living shoot sky high.
You voted for PAP, and you see the foreign kids get a place in school while you child get zilch.
You voted for PAP, and you find that your public transport is no longer “public”.
You voted for PAP, and your ministers want to house 1,500 foreign workers right smacked in the middle of a peaceful neighborhood without any concerns for you.
You voted for PAP, and the government readily reward your men with more hookers than they can ever poked in Geylang.
You voted for PAP, and your government happily demands $5000 ang pao from you when your maid runaway or get pregnant even though you had nothing to do with it.
You voted for PAP, and your government glorify themselves with Olympic sized banners of their ghastly faces to scare away ghosts during the Chinese 7th month, courtesy of your S&C contribution to your town councils which is suppose to go toward making life in your neighborhood better.
You voted for PAP, and they protect the interests of the petrol companies by making you pump 3/4 tank before you cross the causeway.
You voted for PAP, and they see nothing wrong with fining you for driving a foreign registered car into Singapore.
You voted for PAP, and you discover that world-class super talented multi-million dollar minister with all the state resources and manpowers cannot even catch a limping man in this tiny island state after more than half a year.
You voted for PAP, and you realise that your MP’s job is not to speak out for you in parliament, but to tell you to tighten the belt, bite the bullet, eat lesser and work longer.
You voted for PAP, and your kids have to stay with you till 40 years old, as they cannot afford the cheapest “public” housing.
You voted for PAP, and your government tells you that their interpretation of subsidies is the profit that they forgo making, instead of actually paying part of the cost.
You voted for PAP, and everyone in Singapore suddenly got elevated to Swiss standard of living, except you, and everyone around you.
You voted for PAP, and your neighbors can sell your home for you (en-block), whether you like it or not.
You voted for PAP, and your organs automatically belongs to the government (HOTA).
You voted for PAP, and you have to pay administration fee to use your own money when you are sick (Medisave).

Anonymous said...

By Hardwarezone forumer Ixnay (cont)

You voted for PAP, and your sons get to spend 2 or more years as free labour in National Service and 13 more years as reservists, so that the foreigners can have a safe country to work in.
You voted for PAP, and you found out that each of your son is worth $30k, because that is what you are going to get if your son die while serving the foreigners.
You voted for PAP, and you get a grand party every year on 9th August celebrating more salaries for PAP.Not everyone is invited though, you will still have to ballot for it.
You voted for PAP, and they tell you that there is a corner called Hong Lim Park where you can go to talk all you want, other than that, shut up unless you have something nice to say.
You voted for PAP, and you get a world-bottom “nation-building” press serving you the latest propagandas, regardless of truth.
You voted for PAP, and in order to buy a car, you have to first pay for a piece of paper that cost more than the car itself.
You voted for PAP, and you must vote for PAP! You cannot even think about not voting for PAP. Because a certain inaccurate old man said that he will call in the army if you don’t.
So vote for PAP. Read the list above again, and vote for PAP. Go ahead, vote for PAP. More good years eh? Vote for PAP. For Swiss standard of living. Vote for PAP. Mee Siam Mai Hum ok?

lee sg said...

Dear Mr Wang

Have u considered updating your resume in following way:

1. willing to work on saturday and sunday
2. to accept the 7 days leave recommended by the employment act and not the 14++ days given by your current employer
3. promise not to surf the internet or by involved in blogging whuch can take up a lot of time.

U will then be more competitive than many foreigners inspite of your reservist liability!!

The Outer Layer said...

Dear ACS, you are doing the simple average. If you note, I am refering to those who create a disbalance in the average.

You do not believe the older generation non-officer level in civil service are drawing more than a fresh graduate? Check out your nearest condo launch.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jack Ryan, please explain Sychelles, Maldives. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting point you make in your post, how the United States, Canada, or the whole of Europe should welcome you with open arms while you refuse the same to others who wish to make a honest living in Singapore.

And say that to foreigners asking for more privileges in Singapore, but asking their own government to give less to freigners (including Singaporeans) in their countries. Kudos to our overseas scholars justifying being good to foreigners even if they don't stay because "they will leave with goodwill to Singapore". I see they can really feel it in their own bones.

Good luck son.

Anonymous said...

isn't this company breaking the law by so openly discriminating against Singaporeans? if so, shouldn't the authorities do something about it? can any of us report them to MOM? would any actions be taken against the company if we do?

Anonymous said...

I can say for sure, if you check with our universities, the lab technicians. Those who stay already for more than 10 to 20 years and reach grade 1 for staying long enough, got $7000 a month. And protected by union. They do about same thing every year. And if nobody book the lab, actually got nothing to do.

And ya, many of them O level about there only. Because they the generation if have O level is very big already.

Good job.

ACS said...

Hi Jack Ryan,

I completely agree with you. Well said, indeed.

Dear Outer Layer,

I have been checking out condo launches for a while now and I still do not know by going there and observing, you could tell a civil servant from one who work in the private sector, or own a business...

Please share with me how do you determine.

Even if what you say is true, how could you be certain that some of them do not have side income?

Please be mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive when you think of your hypotheses and be prepared to defend it with facts and not hearsay.

Anonymous said...

From ACS: Average and mean wage for clerks is about S$2,000.

Dear ACS, the clerks in one school who has been working for more than 20 years is getting more than $5,000 per month.

ACS said...

Hi Anonymous,

"the clerks in one school who has been working for more than 20 years is getting more than $5,000 per month."

For working 20 years, you are getting paid S$5,000 per month. Is this a good thing or bad thing?

Does it mean he/ she at least have some middle-income living standards, which what a lot of us who participate in this blog have been hoping for. (e.g. many compare Australia where a the man who clears the rubbish has a middle income income and lifestyle)

So for those looking for clerical jobs, shouldn't they go for clerical jobs in Government and not the private sector.

Eventually, when the private sector needs clerks, they would have to hire at a higher salary.

Shouldn't then economics takes care of this?

If you discount on a increment of 3% to 5% per annum, his/ her starting pay would be about between S$1,800 to S$2,800pm 20 years ago.

I don't know if S$5,000 per month as a clerk in school is believable.

Regardless, it is still almost 30% lesser than the S$7,000 claimed by "The Outer Layer."

BTW, if anyone would read today's news, UK Government is planning to sell their national assets in view of their rising Government Debt. Is this a good or bad thing compared to Singapore?

For Australia, I am not sure the Government got any national assets to sell. Most of them are already in private hands.

As I have said in previous posts, the way Western and Japanese Government spend on welfare is not sustainable. I am very certain we will see them changing in our life time.

In any case, what I feel to be a big room for improvement of this Government is the National Service. I don't really mind it but I believed we are not fairly compensated and treated as a citizen for the risk and time that we have to take. (One example is NSF/ NSMen were paid so much lesser than a regular and both takes the same risk and expected to perform on par).

A friend of mine became a handicap after an in-camp training accident years ago... Sole bread winner... and the state has never really taken much care of him nor his family.

I don't mind having foreign talent and in fact I welcome them, but if you put NS into the equation for jobs and equal chance of entry into primary schools, it becomes an issue.

ACS said...

Dear Anonymous,

"From ACS: Average and mean wage for clerks is about S$2,000."

BTW, in no where in my comments did I mention that clerks mean wage is about S$2,000...

Where did you get this from?

ACS said...

To add, as I have mentioned in my previous comments in other posts, the current way we manage National Service is also a big obstable for many PRs considering citizenship.

Something needs to be done... Make it shorter, pay a chunk of the tertiary education for those who could make it to local tertiary education (which may spur some young men to study harder).

Have better group general insurance cover for NSF and NSmen in case of accidents.

Look at the processes in the armed forces in order to improve/ streamline so we do not have to wait to rush and rush to wait... maybe that could cut NS stint by a few months.

NSmen overseas training adminstration & logistics could be done by others so NSmen could focus solely on training and not deal with so much logistics, that itself could cut incamp training by few days and they could save this money (salary to those reporting for incamp) for other purpose.

2 years NS and on average 13 years in-camp training is too long and risky. This is excluding RT for those who fail IPPT.

Having said that, keeping fit is everyone's responsibility, whether we have NS or not.

The Outer Layer said...

Dear ACS, you still don't understand my point. Why don't you, while having some time to check out all the condo launches, also ask PSA, HDB about their reasons for expensive layoff-rehire hiatus?

Anonymous said...

Does it mean he/ she at least have some middle-income living standards, which what a lot of us who participate in this blog have been hoping for.

ACS you are against the gahmen! gahmen want people to progress in productivity. That is why they got say pay is now no more senority base but performance base. What you suggest is seniority base!

You anti-gahmen helicopter vision!

ACS said...

Hi Outer Layer,

What has PSA and HDB rehire hiatus got to do with the property market now? Your initial point was prices in property are going up because of participation by civil servants.... You did not say how many, so I assume this is your hypothesis or is it based on anecdotal evidence?

Here are some facts (for those whom have bought private property, please correct me if I am wrong).

To be able to be eligible for a housing loan, one can only borrow up to 5X annual household income and that person should have at least 20 more years of employment.

For those clerks who are making
S$7,000 pm, they have already been working for 20 years... so they are about 45 years old.... so would the bank lend them $420,0000 for the next 20 to 25 years? We could argue that their spouse make the same, so they could garner a total of S$840,000 of loan... So in essence, you could be right.

However, I don't think there are so many civil servants with this sort of pay that is enough to tip the price of the market. And the latest statistics on pay does not jive with your argument. The number of high income (15,000K and above) and lower income (below S$4K) has gone up but those in the middle stayed almost the same.

The fact is the demand for property has gone up so much (because of influx of foreigners and our population went up to close to 5m now compared to 3.8m just a few years ago) but building housing are slower (the supply) to meet demand. And to make matter worse, HDB has embarked on building based on demand and to market price... so with prices so close to private 99-year executive condos, many opted for these instead of HDB, further driving up prices.

My view is prices will come down soon because pay cannot catch up with rising prices.

If you notice from previous booms and bust in property (check URA for property index), when the mass market moved, the property market would correct soon after. Typically, the trigger would come from some external economic factor because most developers could hold the stock.

Have u been checking at the launches? The onus is on you to provide evidence to counter my point. So you should "ask PSA, HDB about their reasons for expensive layoff-rehire hiatus", which happen a very long time ago....

I am not against you or anyone else. Its just that if its based on hearsay and I know its not true, I will respond based on what facts that I know.

That is how we could benefit from participating and reading in this blog - pushing the thinking and not rumour mongering.

ACS said...

The property market correction may have started...

Business Times - 15 Oct 2009

Developers' home sales down in Sept


SINGAPORE - Developers sold a total 1,143 private homes (excluding executive condos) in September, down 36.6 per cent from the 1,804 units they sold in August. The figures were released on Thursday by Urban Redevelopment Authority.

Copyright © 2007 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.

Anonymous said...

"Can we then opt for the slower lane and let faster cars past us by? Can we, as a nation which believes it's running ahead of the pack, bear and live with that? Without this GDP growth and aging population, will there be sufficient revenues and taxes to spend and take care of our own people? What about that expensive 3G SAF to deter the bad guys?"

Fast lane over slow lane within one's country ?
Fast pack over slower pack within one's country ??
GDP growth ? Population ? Expensive 3G SAF ?

The cracks are showing, my friend.

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