Singapore’s addiction to foreign workers and the Fat cat syndrome

Recently I have been reading articles on large number of younger Singaporeans seeking to move overseas. Anyway, I already did.

So what’s the problem then? Is there an imbalance?

Our government says “We need foreign talents/workers to sustain our economy” blah blah… Then we have many locals say bye bye to Sg or KPKB about the FT influx.

My wise old father once told me “Son, how are you going to get your HDB at 300K – 400K price if no cheap foreign workers are here to build them? If you are the prime minister, are you going to set the minimum wage at $6 per hour for the foreign construction workers? And look at Brisbane, the roads are abit lok kok because its expensive to maintain right?

ME: “Dad, our govt charging high levies for the construction workers leh. Why don’t we stop all the levies policies, pay the workers a little higher, so we don’t get riots, shit HDB flat quality and may be cheaper flats.  Set the quota on foreign workers on different industries and sectors. i.e. Construction sector, more foreign workers, 70-80%,PMET sector, max 40-50% Singaporeans, so you most prob won’t see so many young Singaporeans leave sg. Besides, bosses will cherish and care for their workers more and give them training.”

DAD: “Look, son, you know that’s obviously not my call but you’re probably looking for some reasons why nothing much was done to our employment policies. Our public sector now function as a profit company where profit enhancement and cost reduction are rewarded in their KPIs. Conversely, if you make service, delivery of service and benefits a priority, you would probably experience lots of wastage, exploitation of benefits loopholes, low efficiency, just look at your beloved Australia, are they anywhere as efficient as us? Then again, we can’t compare both systems like an apple to an apple. Look, we Chinese are brought up to be KIASU and KIASI, making us kinda inconsiderate… i.e. If Mac Donald’s giving away free cheese burgers every month to those who can’t afford or poor, I guarantee you that even the rich will act poor to get free stuff. Wouldn’t you go for it too just for the sake of it?”

ME: “Yes I would”

DAD: “So, once the govt declares a minimum salary i.e. $6 per hour on your recommendation, leave out the construction sector, set a quota on hiring, curb levies, form unions, collective bargaining, gear towards the citizens, SOMPAH sure people still complain. Rich bosses will complain, hold govt to ransom, say “I’m relocating overseas” Rich directors with links to the govt or MPs who are also directors of the companies will face lots of problems themselves. Then you have the ungrateful citizens complaining that we should have done that sooner and will still vote them out etc. It will get worse for the ruling party. So moral of the story is don’t change anything and we get our base support there still.”

ME: “Dad, have your salary increased over the last 5-10 years?”

DAD: “A little, but son, I’m still better off than most so I’m not complaining.”

ME: “Dad, you know why we complain so much? Do you know only because of social media, our complaints can be heard? I am sure you know we can’t protest except in Hong Lim Park with a license plus our unions are non existent? Who is representing our voice really? Our MPs at the MPS? Really? We even have propaganda news trying to mislead us every day!”

DAD:“Its a universal problem, son. Democracy isn’t perfect everywhere. But I do agree that our system is alot worse in some respect, i.e. free speech.”

ME: “You know what’s happening to Singapore? WE ARE ADDICTED TO CHEAP FOREIGN WORKERS. Yes, our economy and society is powered by greed and exploitation. If I am a boss, I would find the cheapest alternative. My company is doing well, profits are good, but if you start limiting FTs, make me pay higher for locals, my profits will go down, making me increase prices, uncompetitive blah blah… I am not happy, complain complain complain threaten threaten threaten to relocate etc… WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOM.”

DAD: “The govt is afraid that Singaporeans will loose more jobs than it will create if FWs are curbed. Besides, our govt has many public projects enhancing our infrastructures like hospitals and transport system. Companies may face financial constraints and some projects may be halted or face increase in budget.”

ME: “You are wrong dad, our construction of the MCE kena over budget a few billion despite our liberal FWs policies. Its a FAT CAT addiction problem dad. These fat cats are addicted to money and more money. We citizens pay and pay in taxes, GST, ERP, COE, inflated prices after subsidies for FWs to live here and for the FAT CATS to profiteer.”

DAD: “Son, when are you going to be a FAT CAT? I could use a few dollars for my retirement. If you have a choice between rich and poor, you would choose rich every bloody time right?”

ME:“Yes, that’s why I left Sg to be one. In Sg, no chance!”

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