Pro oppositions will support PAP come 2016. We’ve only just begun!

We’ve only just begun! 

What made you, will eventually break you. If you think we are walking on a bed of roses come 2016, I suggest you test your resolve. Read on!

Money-is-the-Root-of-All-Evil

What are you made of?

“Jobs, your business, home, family, love, happiness, hatred, your ego, faith and wisdom, etc.”

Did I miss out something? Yes, GREED. You have it, I have it, nothing wrong.

Our leadership has driven us far beyond the road to redemption, perhaps. The following scenarios are worst case scenarios, but then again, are you prepared to take it on if it happens? I am writing this so that come 2016, we are aware of our weakness, something can be done to curb the potential disasters.

Your home – The Achilles heel.

If you own a property in Singapore and you’re old and planning to retire elsewhere, come 2016, you find your property price sink… i.e. 100-200K. Perhaps its time to vote PAP and their policies such as the population white paper such that HDB prices go back up again. Why? such that someone will buy your property. Even if the policy flaws are omnipresent, at least you can escape elsewhere for your retirement. Let’s take the alternative, opposition voted in, pro-PAP civil service becomes unstable, jobs becomes hard to come by, will you be safe living among the 5-6 million population congestion? Inflation may spiral out of control with so many people here. Of course very soon, you will see a mass exodus of foreigners and locals after uncertainty wreak havoc in the economy while you find you CPF investments evaporate into thin air. Who knows if they are still around now? We will find out soon if opposition takes control.

If you are a younger person with a mortgaged property Since 2008. You better watch out. The government has introduced measures to curb lending, buying and selling of properties. Personally, I feel good about it. But wait… if prices dip below my mortgage, (due over supply of condominiums and HDBs and lack of demand) what’s gonna happen???

Behold, if your loans are not from HDB, then expect a call from them asking you to top up the difference! “Margin call” i.e. $800,000 outstanding and your property price dips to $700,000. You are expected to pay down your loan by $100,000 immediately. Wait, there is another catch, when economy becomes bad interest rates are likely to spike, i.e. 6-8% Why? look if I am the bank you are the business, the risk of doing business increases, would I be so forthcoming lending you money at generous rates (risk-returns tradeoff concept).

May be there is a way, the newly formed government (PAP ousted) can remove the curbs and allow the rich and foreigners to buy again, thus increasing your property prices again. However, I don’t think its easy because investors will take time trusting the new government again. Uncertainty is still there. Before elections in 2016, PAP could remove the curbs, thus becoming almighty people’s saviour, gaining popularity among those who own properties, a relief for their rental yields and rising sale prices.

Just some time ago, property agents sell properties on the assumption that rental yields are somehow guaranteed with the only basis that today’s rental yields are good. If your investment property aren’t giving you sufficient yields or becomes vacant for more than 6 months, won’t you want more FTs/immigrants into Singapore to sustain your rental yields? So the question is how many Singaporeans own investment properties? how many of them can sustain without yields or when they lose their jobs. Imagine a change of government, PAP is out, uncertainty creeps in, sabotage from pro-PAPs, investments halted, jobs down, food prices up, a perfectly bad situation which is unlikely but possible. Are you afraid? Do you fear the unknown?

I have an idea, you know what? I can shift out of my current house and move back to my parents. Rent out the current house. May be everyone’s doing it, and suddenly, you find rental yields dip or no takers due to massive increase in rental supply. The PWP wouldn’t be such a bad idea isn’t it?

There you go, how many of you are brave enough to withstand economic hardships along with your loved ones?

How many of you don’t want to see your life investments (property) come down like a Miley Cyrus, oops, I mean wreaking ball?

Are you ready to take a leap of faith?

Worry not, We’ve only just begun.

How about those who don’t own anything in Singapore?

Good job! you can start to buy properties come 2016 at a cheaper price. But do you have a well-paid job or any job / money making business at all? Some well get lucky, some won’t.

There is still about 3 years before the next election. Our reserves from taxes are seemingly aplenty, whether its used to fill the hole from GIC and Temasek’s bad investments or kept in MAS, we, the people have no numbers, no answers, no transparency.

Personally, I am certain PAP won’t lose power come 2016, perhaps we will yield to greed (generous give-outs before elections), or perhaps due to fear of uncertainty, nobody wants a disaster. But then again, who says the opposition are incapable? WP looks on course but none of the MPs have ever taken a ministerial position yet. There is also no guarantee that the pro-PAP executives running the ministry will yield to the opposition?

As of now, I am willing to give WP and other capable opposition parties a chance to bring change. I am a firm believer of a multi-party system but our resolve will be tested. But I am only one vote. The wisdom and faith of our fellow Singaporean have to be counted too. Nobody knows exactly come what may in the next 3-5 years. By then, we could have 500,000 new citizens since 2011. Social welfare could have improved by then thus converting to favourable votes.

Don’t be discouraged, We’ve only just begun!

Good luck and all the best to those who are trying hard to make Singapore a better place to Singaporeans. I just hope that our families can grow old and retire happily back at home. I don’t mean to be so negative, I am just pondering the ‘what-ifs’

Last words:

Carpenters

We’ve Only Just Begun Lyrics

We’ve only just begun to live
White lace and promises
A kiss for luck and we’re on our way
We’ve only begun

Before the risin’ sun, we fly
So many roads to choose
We’ll start out walkin’ and learn to run
And yes, we’ve just begun

Sharing horizons that are new to us
Watching the signs along the way
Talkin’ it over, just the two of us
Workin’ together day to day, together

And when the evening comes, we smile

So much of life ahead
We’ll find a place where there’s room to grow
And yes, we’ve just begun

Sharing horizons that are new to us
Watching the signs along the way
Talkin’ it over, just the two of us
Workin’ together day to day, together, together

And when the evening comes, we smile
So much of life ahead
We’ll find a place where there’s room to grow
And yes, we’ve just begun

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Tackling Xenophobia, understanding immigration and discrimination

Recent happenings kind of got me abit confused. We have had 3 anti population white paper (PWP) protest which came off Xenophobic as claimed by some prominent opposition or just prominent figures. I am pondering if my experiences from my attendance in 2 of the 3 protests came out as Xenophobic?

In a large group setting, emotions run high, some key words/slogans resonates in my mind, “Singapore for Singaporeans or Singaporeans for Singapore” Both have different connotations. Some audiences are genuinely filled with hatred and as such you can hear the occasional screams of “Go back to where you came from” and “Fuck off lah” when some sensitive issues are announced by the participants. Most of speech givers are making good pointers and for the hype and funfare, some audiences have taken it to the extremes with the Xenophobic chants. Some sp

eeches are also meant to spur the crowds and rally the audiences. There is no fault in doing so and of course there are some undesirable effects but its necessary for them.

This is frowned upon but how can you fault them? Hong Lim park is the only physical place for people to let off steam! We, the civil and educated people understand why among a large group setting, some people do get too emotional and blurt out hatred! And for just for the fun of it, some of us participated in the chants. This is expected.

You must understand, the PWP protest is one of the first real and large scale protest in Singapore. We aren’t like the South Koreans, Hong Kongers or Australians who may be more organized, effective or advanced in their protests. I have seen on TV, the south Koreans strike the same tune in their protests: http://www.itnsource.com/en/shotlist//RTV/2013/08/19/RTV190813083/

It has been more than 30 or 50 years since the last large scale protest. Don’t expect too much out of it everyone. Of course the PWP could be done better but do you dare organize one, or 3? Gilbert did his part and I appreciate it. Though there may be pros and cons to it, that’s not within control. Occasionally, I’ve heard them reminding the audiences to behave and the importance of being civil! He said,”tackle the policies, not the foreigners.”

In many instances, these foreigners fall victim to unscrupulous exploitation from local SMEs and MNCs. I feel the policies have to change.

In my opinion, foreigners are welcome in Singapore. In fact, I embrace them (married one). Just that they have to also embrace us, our cultures and be one of us. The one thing that irks me and my family is that our tax monies are used for the education and living expenses of foreigners who leave after completion of their studies.

What the organizers did essentially isn’t XENOPHOBIA, we have rational reasons for rejecting mass immigration.

Definition:

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xenophobia

Xenophobia is the irrational or unreasoned fear of that which is perceived to be foreign or strange.

Xenophobia can manifest itself in many ways involving the relations and perceptions of an ingroup towards an outgroup, including a fear of losing identity, suspicion of its activities, aggression, and desire to eliminate its presence to secure a presumed purity. Xenophobia can also be exhibited in the form of an “uncritical exaltation of another culture” in which a culture is ascribed “an unreal, stereotyped and exotic quality”.

Discrimination is the prejudicial and/or distinguishing treatment of an individual based on their actual or perceived membership in a certain group or category, “in a way that is worse than the way people are usually treated.” It involves the group’s initial reaction or interaction, influencing the individual’s actual behavior towards the group or the group leader, restricting members of one group from opportunities or privileges that are available to another group, leading to the exclusion of the individual or entities based on logical or irrational decision making.

Are we discriminative then? Personally, I think the petition to revoke man’s (forgot his name) work pass is unjust. That’s downright discrimination. We should target only on La fondue’s discriminative practices. I’ve asked Gilbert about it and he explained that extreme measures are needed to drive down the message and to warn errant companies the consequences of doing so.

With regards to the RANDSTAD incident, its obvious isn’t it, the statement “This position is open to candidates who are not Singaporean Citizens or PR.” It portrays an obvious preference to foreigners even though some may say its still open to residents and Singaporeans. Load of crap!

Lastly, is limiting mass immigration discriminative or Xenophobic? I am saying MASS immigration. The stupid reason given was to replace the falling birth rates. The root cause is unsolved. You are still going to have low birth rates in the future if current working conditions and rising cost of living are unchanged. So if we perpetually import immigrants to replace the perpetual low birth rates, i guess 100 million population doesn’t solve anything unless the government proclaims that new immigrants are more “productive” and actually increase the bloody birth rate under these conditions.

Anyway, despite these mass protest blah blah, I am still quite certain, that the PWP will prevail and many pro opposition supporters will switch allegiance to PAP come 2016. I will tell you why in my next post shortly.

Last words: We’ve only just begun!

I am not a fucking Quitter!

Gist:

What are your advice for those Singaporean migrants who have newly moved abroad?

We are not quitters. We are simply trying to survive and make a decent living for ourselves. Only once we are economically stable, we can then come back and talk about patriotism and national pride. Do you want to be jobless, poorly paid, full of complains, live a shitty life in Singapore or do you want to expand your horizons first and come back later when the time is right to remake Singapore?

Any last words from you?

If you are a poor or jobless man in Singapore seeking financial assistance, and you talk patriotism or national pride to the government, won’t they ask you go fly kite? The government will think you are a liability who complains too much.

Rest of the interviewed by Gilbert Goh

Describe abit about yourself e.g. personal particulars, educational qualification, work experience.

I was last employed by a Bank in Singapore for more than 3 years. I have had about 4.5 years of banking experience starting from an entry level sales position to a loans manager. Essentially, I am a professional salesman if you take away the finance component.

I left Singapore to pursue my Masters degree in Finance and accounting in the hope of securing better future opportunities. My goal is a CPA and / or CFA. Its like a skill certification. My client living in Melbourne offered me a job and he is willing to wait 2 years for me if I move there.

Before I left, I was unsecure in my job even though I did quite well to earn a decent living. But the cost of it was many stay overs in the office or working till 1-2 am in the morning. I was driven to succeed. However, my wife wasn’t happy. She was also frustrated with life in Singapore. She was a foreigner (Vietnamese) and discriminated at her previous employment, a retail outlet in Causeway point. Most of the employees were Chinese Malaysians who only cared about hitting sales target (better salary) so that they stand better chance for a PR later.

I applied PR for her once and was rejected without reason. So she had the unwanted and unwelcome feeling. I felt worse, as a citizen. I couldn’t secure a permanent stay for my wife. I have seen many of my foreign clients obtaining a PR before her, hair stylist, PRC hawker assistant, and the non-working spouses of the PRs here. The 1 year long term visitor pass for her wasn’t good when securing for a job. Only after the second try, and only on the month that we are leaving Singapore, the PR was approved.

Where are you living now and why do you choose that location?

I am living in Brisbane now as a Permanent Resident.

We visited Brisbane, Australia for holidays early last year and visited my wife’s relatives. We stayed there for 2 weeks as her aunt persuaded us to apply for a PR in Australia and work here. She told us the good, bad and ugly side of Australia but generally as compared to Vietnam, Australia is heaven.

I really enjoyed my stay in Brisbane and seriously considered a move. I rented a car ($30 per day only) and drove everywhere. The weather was perfect, environment beautiful and people were very gracious and friendly. Even on the road they are extremely considerate. The real estate was cheap, many even cheaper than my 3 room HDB! You have big spaces, front and back yard, car ports and plenty of time! The work-life balance is emphasized. Minimum pay less any taxes is 17 per hour. My wife could easily find work here. As I was disillusioned by life on the small and congested island of 5.4million, my heart was set to leave, so I planned cautiously.

We planned our moves like where to stay, what to do during our stay there. I applied for many bank jobs all over Australia but was told that I need a PR before I can be considered. So I got back to Singapore to seek help from a migration agent and apply for a PR. I also discussed with my parents on the move. They were supportive. So the decision was to apply for a masters degree before the PR is approved and gradually assist my brothers study and work here. Surprisingly, it was approved a few months after I arrived in Australia. It was a permanent visa and I am now part of their welfare system.

If things don’t work out in Australia, at least I have a masters degree. That was the plan.

Did you face any adjustment problem initially when you make the move? Any regrets so far?

The Australian accent was a small problem, took my wife longer to understand and communicate with them. There were more things to shop in Singapore, while the shopping centres here close very early.

The Food is expensive (imagine cold storage price x2) so we searched and located a Vietnamese groceries market at Inala. Cheaper prices and still quality food. Asian food in the shopping areas typically sucks. I had to learn how to cook and I did. I miss hokkien mee and dim sum.

I thought clothes, furniture and electrical appliances will be expensive. But the things sold in Kmart are surprisingly cheaper than some things you find in Singapore. Quality isn’t bad at all. But if you talk about branded stuff, handphones and PCs, I guess Singapore is cheaper. Not 100% sure.

The environment was great but the one thing I have to adjust is myself. To restart life from zero is unimaginable. But as I heard from those who had already migrated here, most never look back.

I didn’t miss my friends in Singapore much and I quickly made new friends: mostly Chinese nationals, one Singaporean and some ang mohs. I was surprised that 90% of the students in my course are from China. Many of them age 22 years old. They don’t have NS liabilities like me. My Singaporean friend and I are almost 30. Even some of my lecturers and tutors are from China. Some Ang mohs who don’t know Singapore thought Singapore is a province or city in China.

My only regret is why I didn’t come earlier and I could have moved south to Sydney or Melbourne if not for my wife’s relatives living here.

 

How is the family coping currently? Are they happy or do they want to move back to Singapore?

On the first month since we moved there, her relative found a job for her working for a Vietnamese company. Pay was $9 per hour. In Australian terms, the pay sucked. We thought it was ok because that was the only opportunity then. Then about a month later, a local ang moh retail company called her for an interview, instinctively, we knew if we could secure a job with them, pay would be higher.

Now, she works for them as a retail assistant manager earning more than the minimum pay of $22 per hour. She now pays a reduced tax as a PR, 0% below 18K and 19% for any excess above 18K. She loves her job, as she is being treated like a family member. 8 hours per day is the maximum. Sometimes she works 4hrs or 6 hours per day.  Fellow colleagues are protective of her and taught her customer service the Australian way.

We are planning for baby now, there is time for it. I heard having a baby in public hospitals is free and there are other benefits.

She is very happy now.

My parents back in Singapore are supportive and we frequently meet on Skype.

What precious lessons did you learn from living abroad? Will you do it again if given the choice?

I need to learn how to cook and my wife needs to learn driving. The country is very big and owning a car is very cheap. I am driving a 2006 KIA Cerato purchased at 6490AUD and my friends here say its still expensive.

We also have to learn to live like the Australians, like being environmentally conscious, recycling, being polite, friendly and helpful to even strangers. They donate generously while we don’t. We Singaporeans are already a considerate bunch so we could blend in, just minor adjustments.

There is no doubt I would do it again if given the choice.

Was it difficult to get jobs while staying abroad? Describe your job search experience and how different it is from Singapore.

As I have previously mentioned, not easy for me unless I get a PR here in Australia. Then again, the job prospects may not be ideal for me as a banker. In 1.5 years after my studies, if I can’t get a job then I will either have to depend on my wife’s salary or go to Melbourne or Sydney to get one. I may return to Singapore if there is a higher pay job offer.

I reckon the average time taken to get a desirable job for a professional is 3-6 months. I am impatient; I can’t do nothing at home so most probably, I would do some part time work.

As for my wife, its easier. Then again, when you compare to Singapore, its a completely different story. With a long term visit pass, no one wants to hire her. After getting a PR, immediate $6 per hour positions are available.

Do you want to return to Singapore eventually or prefer to settle down in your new place permanently?

If conditions change for the better, I will come back or if a very good job offer comes along I may come back. But its not likely, I feel discriminated in my own country.

In Australia, I am confident of myself, I am a salesman, acclimatized to work long and hard and I think I can talk my way to a good job offer, but I have to do it on the Australian terms.

Singapore can be a place for a stop over for a shopping holiday and to visit my parents. I wish I could bring them here.

Singapore is also a good place to start a business compared to Australia. If there is an opportunity and I am capable or I have the capital I will come back and try my luck.

We will see how things go here. I am very happy now.

What are your main reasons for wanting to move overseas?

Job, family and education opportunity. Tertiary education is accessible and free for citizens. I am thinking for my child in future. Do I want him (if he is a boy) to serve NS like me? Do I want him to study in the pressure chamber in Singapore?  In Australia, I have a choice.

What are your advice for those Singaporean migrants who have newly moved abroad?

We are not quitters. We are simply trying to survive and make a decent living for ourselves. Only once we are economically stable, we can then come back and talk about patriotism and national pride. Do you want to be jobless, poorly paid, full of complains, live a shitty life in Singapore or do you want to expand your horizons first and come back later when the time is right to remake Singapore?

There are still plenty of opportunities in Singapore perhaps after 2016 or the general elections after.

Think about your parents, brothers and sisters in Singapore. You don’t want them to suffer unless they are very well-off. Persuade them to leave unless conditions have become better.

Any last words from you?

If you are a poor or jobless man in Singapore seeking financial assistance, and you talk patriotism or national pride to the government, won’t they ask you go fly kite? The government will think you are a liability who complains too much.

End of interview and thank you.

More about my work experience:

Any diploma holder can helm the salesman role as long they can hit target but I am a degree graduate. However, my degree from RMIT University (studied at SIM) was not prestigious or recognized by the public sector back in 2008-2009. That did not deter me then.

I nicked my first bank job in a foreign bank on the very first interview because it was a big company and thought it was prestigious. Pay didn’t matter. I was naïve then. It was lots of hard knocks instead of bed of roses then after. I had to sell insurance, credit cards and personal loans to walk-in customers, on the street in roadshows and doing cold-calls every evening to secure appointments. I did not believe in insurance when I sold them, so the conviction wasn’t there. Then selling investment products were added to my role after 6 months. Nobody taught me anything except for product training. Not even how to behave and speak to the customers. Just hit your sales target or resign in 3 months.

My first year sucked and barely made the cut. I read many motivational and self-improvement books as well as attended motivational seminars and joined Toastmasters before I finally learnt something. I met a few mentors and one of them worked in another bank. I guessed he saw something in me and recommended me a position. My job in the foreign was already in jeopardy then due to the mass resignations of my fellow team members.

The next 3.5 years were fantastic, never looked back. I even got married few months after joining. My sales were good and kept improving until beginning of 2013. I was also promoted and took on various responsibilities. I realized that when it comes to sales, its not the product that matters the most. It was me, myself that I have to sell to my customers. When they put their trust in me, I could get them to sign up anything I want them to. My salesmanship improved from the Toastmasters training and countless of self-improvement and mentorship.

However, the signs were there, our government wanted to curb borrowing and set out regulations after regulations. Sales is not going to last forever, when you don’t hit your targets or when the pond dries up (customer base). I was pondering if I should do something else. Just last year, 30 bankers were retrenched and their jobs replaced by computers. That’s when I decided to find alternatives.

 

On Wed, Oct 16, 2013 at 4:02 PM, Goh Gilbert<goh_gilbert@yahoo.com> wrote:

Hi Ben
Sorry for the delay – attached is the questionnaire.
Pls complete and email me back.
Thanks!
We are here for you.
Silence is often the loudest cry.  Pay attention to those you care about.
Thanks & Warmest Regards,
Gilbert Goh
President
http://www.transitioning.org/ – unemployment support services
http://www.steadymarriages.com/ – divorce support services
Tel: 84920525 (hp)
Address: Incubator-Hub@NVPC – 6 Eu Tong Sen Road  04-88 National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre The Central Clarke Quay  Singapore 059817 (nearest MRT Clarke Quay). We are not part of the NVPC group. Please use shopping mall lift up.
NB: We are a registered society with ROS for the past 5 years and is non-profit in nature. We cherish any amount of donation from you and need your funds so that we can help more people in transition.

 

OMG! What have we become??? Where is the national pride? I want them OUT!

I was browsing through a US website and found out that immigrant Americans of different ethnicity and descent proudly promote their native heritage and culture as well as being proud and patriotic being US citizens!

For example, US Citizens with Mexican heritage promote their food and culture in the television networks. Native Costa Ricans, Jamaicans, you name it. They are very well received by the nation.

These people are proud of their adopted country and mostly have no plans to return.

But of course, racism and discrimination still exist but I reckon the level of mutual respect is still there.

So what’s wrong with us, Singaporeans? Can’t we be more tolerant of other nationalities, i.e. the Filipinos, Chinese nationals, Bangladeshis etc and allow them to congregate and practice their own language and culture in our home soil?

Singaporeans’ sense of identity, pride and patriotism have taken a nose dive once that Population White paper took effect. Previously from 2009 – end of 2011, when I see Pinoys congregating at our neighbourhood, I would smile at them and even chat up with some of them. They are a friendly bunch and usually put on a smile. I have no issues with them and even until now I am ok with them. I am still pondering, why did we become Xenophobic? Instinctively, I signed the petition to revoke that Pinoy chef’s work pass and later regretted it. That “La Fondue” incident, I think its blown out of proportion. Imagine you live in UK or Australia and you are an employer, would you prefer to hire your own race or nationality? Think deep into your hearts, yes you would. Its natural isn’t it? Hiring someone you are familiar with. Somehow, I feel he is being victimized. He hasn’t killed anyone or committed any crime which justify his repatriation.

I am sorry for signing that petition. BUT, IT WAS INSTINCTIVE, THE EGO AND PRIDE TAKING OVER. I AM PROTECTIVE OF MY FELLOW SINGAPOREANS AND I FEEL DUTY BOUND TO LET THE POLICY MAKERS KNOW THAT WE MEAN BUSINESS.

Why did my ego and pride sunk so low to take it out on that innocent man? Picking on the foreigners? I am still searching for answers…

Here are some plausible reasons:

Equality

  1.  Income tax, paid thousands per year, ranging from 6% – 20% depending on your salary bracket.  let’s take the minimum 6%
  2. GST amounting to thousands per year, makes sense actually, take your annual salary minus what you saved at the end of the year and multiply by 7%, what do you get?  i.e. $25000 spent per year on daily expenses multiply by 7% = $1750.
  3. And then you have high inflation affecting housing, food and transport prices – 5% (reported) too many people already… you raise prices people also no choice have to buy food and housing. The 5% is not part of the GST.
  4. Real income diminishing due to the CHEAPER BETTER FASTER PRINCIPLE (CBF) by MR LIM SWEE SAY. (Will I get defamation suit if I mention his name?) There is no statistics on real diminishing income so I assume 1% to be fair.
  5. More time wasting on travel, queuing and waiting for stuff… too many people using public transport. Using the time value of money principle, time could be used for more productive purpose. I give it a 1% discount rate opportunity costs.
  6. Fines and other expense increases – paying fines, summons and fees in Singapore is part and parcel of life in Singapore. Some may disagree because they don’t own a car or motorbike. even if you don’t own a car and you regularly take public transport, sometimes you still take a cab when you are in a rush etc. In a way, like what Mr Ngiam said, every child and non workers are taxed. I have to support my wife and kids blah blah. I give it another 5%.
  7. CPF – Assume you are not going to get your money back due to the minimum sum scheme, so the money is not yours, 20% contribution to the fund. So that money is used for your welfare, HDB mortgage, hospitalization and medical bills in future. In other words, call it a welfare tax. And you have opportunity costs as well. With the money I could have bought a house in Vietnam and get 10% rental yield or buy stocks. So let’s say you can earn 5.5% opportunity cost less 2.5% CPF interest. 3%.
  8. All in all,  you add up all the numbers: CPF 20%, CPF opportunity costs 3%, fines and other expenses 5%, waiting opportunity cost 1%, income diminishing 1%, inflation on food and housing 5%, GST 7%, income tax 6% = 48% overall tax!!! Well, it could be lesser depending on individuals but that’s my prediction. So are you satisfied with the welfare and promised opportunities you are getting back? Given that the government has made the country so profitable with their casinos, GIC and Temasek??? FAT HOPE!!

Lifestyle

There are lots of things to forgo living in Singapore, you can’t aspire to own a car, enjoy bigger space housing, lack of outdoors sport amenities I.e. Try go to a public swimming pool any day, no space to swim; pinoys occupying the basketball court refusing to play together with other races etc. The effort to integrate isn’t there as well. In addition, we young people are too busy working, no time to start a family and have kids. Now living in Australia, i really felt a breather.

Parents living in Singapore

i am worried for them, how are they going to retire when their savings and retirement CPF is barely enough to support our university education, future medical bills (keep rising and rising), and the space for them to retire??? I hate it when Khaw Boon Wan talked about JB old folks home. Our elders worked their blood sweat and tears to build Singapore just for the benefit of foreigners and the exclusive rich??? Imagine your dad was one of the construction workers building NUS or NTU many many years back. He could be thinking, “Well my sons and daughters are going to be educated here” FAT HOPE!!!

Oppression

I felt it! Those aged between 20 – 40, are constantly being blamed for the LACK of talent , NOT producing enough, and not doing enough… DUH! We didn’t have the opportunity! You the policy makers set out the stressful conditions for us. And then use us to justify your need for TOO MUCH FOREIGNER INTAKE!

Stress and work

We Singaporeans work the longest and hardest in the world. Now that I am in Australia, I know it’s true.

public transport

you told us to forget about getting a car, and then you screw us up with the public transport. Recently, I thought things have become better because of increased buses… Then I got this, see link below:

http://therealsingapore.com/content/dear-trs-i-waited-14-times-being-able-board-bus-190

its ok that I have left Singapore… But how about my parents and brothers? They are still suffering! I hope govt realize what they have done and change!

Working in Singapore vs Working in Australia, a trying hard to be unbiased comparison.

This is a general personal opinion but I will try to make it as unbiased as possible, so you can judge whether the grass is greener on the other side. I currently live in Australia.

Retail and Customer service

Now to the PMET level:

Frankly, its very hard to compare but I can relate to you what I know.

For locals only:

  • Some PMET jobs are reserved for citizens and PR in Australia. i.e. banking sector.
  • For Singapore, besides the NS, civil service and taxi drivers, I really can’t think of jobs which are reserved solely for locals.

Recruitment:

  • Australia has a job bank and regularly invite those unemployed to be interviewed by various employers and offer them free training to upgrade their skills. Those who get a job are generally well-paid enough to survive. My co-tenant who is a citizen born and bred in Australia, has been out of work for almost 2 years. He was an engineer from the mining industry and he told me he wasn’t hard up for a job. I choose the employer, not they choose me. Those unemployed are usually on benefits, i.e. A$1500 – 2000 per month. This is a social problem for Australia, many people don’t want to work. Some take the benefits for alcohol and cigarettes.
  • In Singapore, locals have to fend for themselves, you cannot be unemployed for long or the cost of living will make you makan (eat) yourself. Thus, the survival mentality is there. I brought the survival mentality to Australia.

Work rate / productivity:

  • In Singapore, higher work rate, expect quantity rather than quality. Generally, work done to reward/compensation ratio is generally low if you compare to 1st world countries. Singaporeans generally work the longest hours in the world. I think its normal to work more than 10-12 hours a day, 60 hours a week. I stayed over at the office a few times to do paper work. I do it because I am also paid a commission. My friend working in A*star research, clocks 55-60 hours per week without incentives. Huh??? no overtime pay? He said as a researcher, you are judged by the number of projects you do, not the hours you work. But he is still pressured to do more because of expectations and competition. Those in the PHD level even worse, 70 hours per week is expected. The PRC researchers really do it because they don’t have anything else to do, no family here unlike him.
  • In Australia, work hard and play hard! Lots of holidays, and quality is more important than quantity. i.e. In Singapore, I can do 3 tasks in one day but in Australia, 1 task per day is enough. 8 – 10 hours per day work is the norm, on Fridays, some workers leave early for the weekend holidays. No work on Saturdays generally.

Job Competition

  • In Australia, its very high because there are not enough PMET jobs to go around. Government has a local first hiring policy. Companies have to provide evidence that they can’t get a local, and govt agencies will get them interviews from those who are currently unemployed for a period of time before they are allowed to hire foreigners. Many foreigners from around the world want to come to Australia to work.
  • I hope Singapore does what the Australians are doing now to protect Singaporeans. Its fair game in Singapore and recently lots of news of employment discrimination of locals especially those with NS liabilities surfacing. You know I visited MOM before and usually there are long queues of people waiting to see the MOM officers. Tan Chuan Jin may be overworked himself but I feel he is trying to do something carefully without jeopardizing the current economic status quo. Then again, he is just an acting minister. The “acting” word is a BAD reference. He should be called Interim minister. I believe we should appreciate what he is doing now, at least there is progress, but more is expected. May be 2 ministers should helm the MOM portfolio? or more budget to carry out pro-Singaporean hiring policies or expand MOM’s manpower or give unions real power to help Singaporeans? I believe something can be done, the job bank for PMET is a good idea but you know what, many employers refuse to pay their workers well.

Growth potential

  • If you are in good stead in Singapore, growth potential is actually higher than Australia. You see there are too many people as well as rich people and their businesses. If you are in sales, that’s good.
  • In Australia, apart from the smaller customer base for companies, I don’t think we Asians rank favorably among the top executives. I could be stereotyping but I have heard stories that locals do tend to promote their own kind first. There are still some form of job discrimination here in Australia but I am unsure the extent of it. You know the number of PRC nationals outnumber all other foreign nationalities (except Vietnamese) by approximately 7:1. So some locals think that all Chinese or those look-alike come from China. One ang moh asked me which part of China is Singapore situated. The question is “will we be second-class citizens in Australia?”

Unions

  • In Singapore, non-existent or not pro-workers. I believe unions in the private sector should become active (with plenty of govt support and funding) to help MOM share the burden. I really have no idea where is NTUC heading.
  • In Australia, workers’ union are active and quite powerful.

Your boss

  • Australia, Bosses and supervisors generally respect their workers and really go out-of-the-way to help them. If you are in a team, you are being treated like a family member and they really work hard and play hard together.
  • Singapore, its quite varied but generally, when bosses organize social activities or team bonding events, some workers feel like it’s still work, for show only, show face just to satisfy the boss. I participated in a company team bonding retreat in Desaru last year, held on a weekend (taking up precious family time). What my ex-colleagues and I did was:
  1. wait and wait and wait, then
  2. See or participate in some sports. Those who kena appointed must play. And if you are chosen, you must come to the venue 3 hours earlier.  There are simply too many employees, so the majority just sit around do nothing.
  3. attend motivational talk so that our future sales / productivity can increase. Many dozed off while some sneak off somewhere.
  4. wait for dinner or prepare for stage performance during dinner
  5. Dinner time: get drunk or socialize abit
  6. prepare to go home or stay in the designated room

My Aussie friends told me their team bonding retreats are usually very fun. In the morning, there is the team bonding event where everybody participates actively. Then, later gather together for lunch catered in the resort. Then after, you can do whatever you want in the resort or even organize among yourselves what games you want to play all paid for, i.e. go kart or just relaxing around the pool / jacuzzi. Or you can choose a spa massage (not free) or go shopping. Family members are allowed but I don’t know if the bosses are generous enough to pay for them… The difference is choice and generosity.

The major difference between Singaporean and Australian employers is cultural. Basically, Australians focus on their workers’ needs more, and workers reciprocate by doing well, producing quality work, being really responsible and proud of their jobs. But there are also those who just ride along and get too comfortable and lazy.

Singaporean employers prefer to focus on the KPI. If KPI good, pay good, enjoy the fruits of labour yourselves. If KPI suck, be prepared to be pressured hard or resign. Its good in a way though.

I dunno how to effectively solve the problem in Singapore but I reckon giving power back to unions can be a start. Unions can take the lead in forming communal spirit and self regulate. Some say its bad and make people lazy blah blah blah… but we live in a first world civilized country, this is a good part of the social fabric taken out.

Cowpeh!