Saturday, September 22, 2007

Crusade against AGEISM in Singapore!

For those who are not familiar with the term - it is prejudice against individuals or groups because of their age. It was hotly debated in parliament because employers were practicing ageism in the hiring of workers.

The PAP MPs spoke with alot of emotion against rogue employers who ill treat our beloved senior citizens by practicing ageism. The MPs showed so much love and care for senior citizens ...for once speaking out against the evil ways of employer practicing ageism. The PAP MPs seem to blame the employers for the plight of older workers...I was impressed until one of them suggested that ageism should be made illegal in Singapore.....then I got scared ....I'll get to that later but lets recap how ageism evolved to become such a big problem in Singapore.

Ageism wasn't a big issue in the past because employers were willing to keep and hire older workers because it was consistent with their profit motive. You see our labour market was generally tight except for the occasional recession ......and when businesses expand their capacity they cannot find young workers and have to hire older workers. They were willing to retain these workers because they invested in training and they know it is not so easy to get younger workers. However, all that changed when the floodgates for foreign talents was opened. In the beginning the PAP reassured its citizens that the foreign talent scheme is meant to attract the best global talents that Singapore does not have. For example high skilled managers who will increase the productivity of Singaporeans making them even more valuable to the global economy. The foreign talent scheme was meant to attract 'special people', the type that Singapore cannot produce....special people who will raise our standards...special people like say Jose Mourinho (the special one) since he is now unemployed perhaps Geylang United can hire him and elevate the standard of local soccer.

Along the way, the PAP found that you can simply import workers to expand GDP- the primary KPI by which they measure their accomplishments. Now the tightness in our labor market disappeared and the demographics of our workforce artificially changed. In order not to alarm the citizens, the PAP used this euphemistic term "structural unemployment" to describe groups of people displaced by their policies. Now they blame employers for their evil ways for causing unemployment among our seniors. Yes, these employers and companies are so evil because they care only about making money unlike the PAP govt that cares about its senior citizens and wants to ensure they can lead a useful life of labor for as long as possible.

I have to confess that I got worried when that MP wanted to criminalise ageism. Why? I don't bother to look at resumes of people over 40s for the simple reason that there is a constant pile of resumes of fully qualified 25-30 year olds from all over the world always there for me to choose. ..why take any risks? Above 40s, the average sick days increases, the agility of the mind declines, the person is emotionally harder to remove as they have families to feed, is easier to tell 20 year olds to leave because you know they will be alright. ...younger workers accept weekend duties more readily because they have no family. Companies will discriminate because it makes no economic sense not to. The coffee shop near my work place replaced the older coffeeshop aunties with younger girls from Shanghai...there is no amount of training and retraining that will help those coffeeshop aunties get back their jobs.

Yes, Singapore is full of evil employers & companies who only think about making profits. Contrast that with the generosity, kindness and care the PAP shows to the old in our society. The PAP is so concerned about their longevity, they will be giving us all a chance to show kindness ... to take care of the old through the compulsory annuity scheme. The govt certainly not guilty they award high paying jobs and generous pension schemes to the elites when they grow old.


Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, it is true. Even in the Mindef, those poor slogs have to retire by age 45 - which is clearly the age where their mental faculties start failing. So the government needs extra bonuses to encourage them to join the SAF in the first place, to summarily dismiss them again at age 45. This will ensure that there is fresh talent in the SAF every year. And it is a budget well planned, well spent by our kind government.

Anonymous said...

Bless Lucky for another hard-hitting article.

1)PAP imports foreign labourers. Bangladeshi, Indians, mainland Chinese girls (as Lucky also pointed out), whatever ... heheh there is worker's levy for govt to collect.

2)Older Singaporean workers get displaced or have to settle for low pay to compete with such foreign labour.

3)PAP encourages older workers to keep working with incentives like workfare but if these workers can't find suitable jobs, how to get workfare?

Take any job lah, PAP would say. If you cannot find a job as a coffee hand, don't be choosy, clean the toilet. See how caring PAP is to Singaporeans?

We are living in a third-world country while PAP boasts it is first world.

4)PAP encourages workers to upgrade their skills. But I see Singaporean MBAs in their 40's out of job and having to find employment abroad too!

Still according to PAP they must keep upgrading but where's the guarantee that job market will not be flooded by PAP with foreign talent.

5)PAP minister Lim says "may be" imported labour is hurting older workers. May be only.

The first line employer which is PAP, is all mouth against ageism but all action for it.

Of course we have to understand. LKY boasts in an interview recently that PAP's GENIUS is that it succeeds on pragmatism: Do what works.

And what works for PAP and the overall economy does not have to work for Singaporeans.

After all LKY's used to say nobody owes you a living and in this country it is survival of the fittest.

PAP is indeed very caring to Singaporeans.

Anonymous said...

Of course, we already know PAP is a rattlesnake when off the court. Their split personality always take precedent of their so-called moral authority.

In court, they are Dr. Jekyll and they say whatever wonderful things the public want to hear like:

Once off the court, the PAP will become Mr. Hyde and act this way:

Perhaps Lucky Tan will want to illustrate how gov become 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'
because our gov really really has split personalities !

Anonymous said...

LKY scolded the people for opposing PAP last pay raise : "what the people need is a good dose of incompetent government".

Yah, we already have one Mr Lee. The proof lies in this:

You had some 40 years to find out that the CPF scheme would not serve the people's retirement at 55 needs but you failed to do so.

Only now you are telling us the problem.

Either this or your Temasek and GIC investments are losing big money so that you are having a cash flow problem.

Whatever the case, does it not show that PAP is very incompetent and that we already have more than a good dose of it.

So please Mr Lee keep that qualification of an incompetent govt for your own party.

What we really fear is that there is a big hidden financial bubble waiting to burst upon us thanks to your fine leadership.

Anonymous said...

What Mr Lucky say is so true. The floodgate open to the FT is truely really affecting us so much. My company are choosing to hire Malaysian and Chinese over Singaporeans, even if comparing to young Singaporeans. Reasons very simple:

1. Since these FTs are usually alone in Singapore, they are more willing to work and have no distraction in work, compare to home grown Singaporean.

2. They are hell lots cheaper and probably more productive than we are.

Real Life scenario: My company have to pay a fresh diploma graduate whom just ORD from army $2k. Recently they just hire a Master Degree Chinese graduate from a top China University, and they are paying them 30% lesser. I mean if i am the employer, i will do the same as well.

In the past when we are talking about Foreign Talents, we are talking about Expatriates who are armed with certain knowledge that we Singaporean do not have. Now i think the term FTs is being use so loosely... IT persons from India are consider FT, Engineering persons from China are consider FT etc. So who are we? Seems like Singaporeans with no "special" ability are considered the 2nd grade citizens in Singapore...

Now i really am reconsidering my future in Singapore.

Anonymous said...

The PAP govt publicly declares that there is a minimum wage level of something like around $2500 for foreign professional to work here.

Rubbish. I know of Indian IT professionals that are paid only $2000. Their work contracts were signed (between their recruitment company and their American employer) in the US before they came here.

More disturbing is that I was told by a reliable source that half of the technicians - probably running into thousands - working for Singapore Technologies Aerospace which is doing a roaring business are foreigners, mostly from China working for $650 monthly.

These workers survive by slogging it out with long overtime.

A few years back when SIA which had been making huge profits wanted to raise pay for its local employees, it was stopped once or even twice by LKY from doing so - something well broadcasted on TV - on the argument of keeping business cost down.

Of course, he did dare to tell SIA offices in other countries to follow suit - knowing well their unions there will bring SIA to a halt.

PAP is only good at bullying Singaporeans.

These are the reasons why high economic growth figures are not benefiting ordinary Singaporeans.

What national companies PAP operate are for the benefits of its own circle of supporters.

Some claim that there are 3 such bands making up the PAP's empire.

I understand somewhat how and what they are made up.

But someone else elucidate on this, can we?

Anonymous said...

Jiak Ba Ei Lang Bang Pui