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, ....it 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 ageism.....as they award high paying jobs and generous pension schemes to the elites when they grow old.