Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Warrant Officer Gets Retrenched....SAD LETTER...

'Every soldier is precious to us. Every national serviceman, every operationally ready national serviceman, every regular who serves with us is a precious and valuable person.'
- Defense Minister Teo Chee Hean, 2006
"Yes, yes, the govt also increases GST & implement
means testing to help the poor"
-Lucky Tan
I was not treated badly by regulars when I served my NS. Whatever you think of them, they are Singaporeans just like the rest of us.
I find the letter below by WO Hendry Minjoot very sad. Not because he got retrenched after 32 years of service with the SAF and have a family with 2 school going children to feed ....people above 40 getting retrenched in Singapore is now routine. I found the letter sad because Mr. Minjoot actually believed the propaganda he was fed by the organisation he served.
'The SAF is concerned with the well-being of its people and their families, the SAF values its people, looks after them and their families so that they can give wholehearted attention to their assigned duties.' - SAF Management Philosophy.
Technically, his organisation did not lie to him. Since he is retrenched, he is no longer with the SAF so their obligation to him has ended. As I understand he reached 50 yrs of age and the SAF claims that it has difficulty offering "suitable jobs" & there will be long term stagnation. I see the SAF is retrenching him for his own good to prevent him from stagnation 5 years before his retirement age.
A few days ago, our esteemed PAP Minister Lim Boon Heng actually said finding jobs for the elderly is a national priority and here we have the best funded organisation in Singapore retrenching people before their retirement age using a standard excuse that private sector companies use. If SAF doesn't want to keep older workers, why should profit oriented companies in the private sector even bother? A few months ago, PAP MPs & Ministers were in parliament speaking passionately against ageism swearing to go after evil employers who practice ageism....threatening to criminalise ageism.
Singaporeans are lucky to have a govt that constantly reassure them that their future is bright and that the Golden Age is upon us. All of us feel better after listening to their wonderful speeches and fantastic plans for us. We should be happy as we have a caring govt that put our interest above of everything else.
Home > ST Forum > Story
Nov 6, 2007
Warrant officer asked to retire 5 years earlier
I WAS a regular serviceman in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). I served a total of 32 years, comprising full-time national service, reservist and regular service, from 1974-2006.
I was one of more than 200 regular servicemen and women in the Army who were notified in May last year that we would be given Special Early Transition. Some of the reasons cited included difficulty in offering us 'suitable jobs' in the long run, restructuring and possible 'stagnation'. We were given only six months to transit.
Having attained the rank of a warrant officer in 2001, it meant that I was able to serve till the compulsory retirement age (CRA) of 55. I transitted last November after just turning 50, five years short of the CRA.
The Control of Personnel Centre announced that we were not under-performers. I was still PES 'B' and I received my performance bonuses annually without fail. I had also met all other requirements, i.e., Individual Physical Proficiency Tests, Annual Trainfire Programme, Body Mass Index, and Annual Proficiency Knowledge Test.
I also did not have any discipline or medical problems. The latter meant that I was still combat fit and still deployable. There are some who have not conformed to one or more of these requirements and yet are still serving in the organisation.
Till today, I am still somewhat in a state of depression at how the organisation had overlooked all my years of loyal and dedicated service.
The SAF Management Philosophy states:

'The SAF is concerned with the well-being of its people and their families, the SAF values its people, looks after them and their families so that they can give wholehearted attention to their assigned duties.'

The Defence Minister himself said last year:

'Every soldier is precious to us. Every national serviceman, every operationally ready national serviceman, every regular who serves with us is a precious and valuable person.' The organisation failed to honour its word to allow me and many others to serve till the CRA of 55. I have a wife and two young children still attending school.

Second Warrant Officer (Retired) Henry Minjoot


Anonymous said...

Aiyoh, we should know by now how extraordinary and unique our leaders are and should read their thoughts in between the lines. I am very sure that if the regular are scholars, they would be valued very much that every GLC would fight among themselves to hire these extraordinary and unique talents as CEO or offer them a senior executive post after they 'retired' from SAF. The highest flyer scholars might even become one of our 1st world world class minister one day.

For warrant officers or specialist and below, they are still valued. We need more taxi drivers after all.

The Oriental Express said...

sThis is why I became an agent after resigning from teaching when I suffered from constantly losing my voice.

Now at age 53 years 10 months and 23 days old, clients treasure my wisdom, experience and integrity to help them in their investments.

Teachers are in shortage. If not the MOE, might also start to say, "Old teachers at 50 do not have the energy to cope with youngsters - teachers should retire at 50!:

Whoever is retrenched should not be despondent. I started property work at age 42! Am one of my company's top producers! Life begins at 50! If anyone is looking for work, please contact me! We are down, but not out; we are pressured, but not cooked; we are over 40 but not over the hill!!!

Oo la la! C'est la vie!

follower said...

The article you cited mentioned that re-employment of older workers is a national policy.

Lucky, I thought you should be smart enough to understand that in order to be able to re-employ, the older worker has to be retrenched first. It's all according to plan and policy.

James Chia said...

So it's possible to create 1 new job for someone by causing another to lose his job earlier. But for SAF? Hmm..

Anonymous said...

Says a lot about the recent call for employment of older workers. Need we believe in what they say?

Anonymous said...

Dear Follower:

I am assuming that you were trying to be funny when you mentioned "Lucky, I thought you should be smart enough to understand that in order to be able to re-employ, the older worker has to be retrenched first. It's all according to plan and policy."

If you were, then "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA" you are really funny.

If you weren't,
Then following your example, I have thought of a way to increase the national employment rates for every country. Just fire everyone and re-employ them again, all the national employment rates will suddenly double.

See said...

"Retrenchment is good for Singapore. If there is no retrenchments,
then I worry." - SM Goh

Anonymous said...

With this year's SAF budget at S$10.58 billion, I guess that it is still not enough to find suitable jobs for their older Army regulars and prevent them from going to stagnation.

How do the SAF really use this money?

LuckySingaporean said...

anon 12:06,

:::How do the SAF really use this money?:::

I heard they invest in robots.

Anonymous said...

:::How do the SAF really use this money?:::

I heard they invest in robots.

Partly, they are also prepare for the great grand bonus coming next month too !

Robots ? Should this army ppl are robot, only do what Darth Vader tell them do.

Anonymous said...

The first anony is quite right. they are dressing up their SAF overseas scholars with nice bombastic overseas degree, mostly Executive MBAs or US govern administrative degree. The SAF Overseas Scholars are sworn to serve the PAP. Allegiance to $$$$.

Some warrant officers just have to sacrifice their $$$ so that someone else can get his promised EMBA.
This is "sacrificing for the nation" they have sworn to serve, which is actually a company that is mistakenly called a nation.

My Coffee Milk said...

If he is one of those warrant officer who throws his weight around and bully NSFs and NSmen, then I have better place to give my sympathies

Anonymous said...


Get this straight. The govt isnt going to look after you. period. we need to band together and look after one another. the Thais say "thai rak Thai". We need to adopt the attitude of self-help and help each other instead of looking towards the govt. Remember, "me and my brother against my cousin, me and my cousin against the enemy"

Anonymous said...

When it comes to the axe, your vote doesnt count! So wake up civil servants, welcome to the real world. Govt & its establishements are known to be 'pragmatic' so you are the result of your own doing. All this talk about ensuring employment for older workers is hot air until it's being practised. So dont expect any sympathy for this WO. It's sad but if you believed it what you read, then you really need to face it and 'move on'.

Anonymous said...


The Aussies have a buy Aussie mentality and are proud of it. They support and encourage local/fellow Aussies with the aim of keeping jobs and income at Home. We rely too much on foreign talent and must stop believing they are necessary or are superior to us. Believe in yourself and help each other.

Your fellow bruder

peasantsgetowned said...

Regular Scholars are Royals in Singapore. Don't you know that our ex Chief of Army has got a new post in Temasek Holdings created for him a few months after he retired from service?
Peasants are peasants and will be left at that.

Anonymous said...

What to do, s'pore is a confucian state. We are ruled by an emeritus emperor followed by an emperor and his ministers. Our Hanlin academies are the JCs where the elites are groomed for officialdom. The forgotten bottom rung are our Hokkien pengs who do the dirty jobs, slogging day and night just to earn a living. The only way out for us Heartlanders and common people is best framed by the phrase drummed into us by our parents since day 1 - "hao hao du shu" (study hard) so can get into JC, NUS and slog our way up. Then can end up in a cozy position with an unbreakable rice bowl like our elites up there.

Anonymous said...

It is wrong to think that Singaporeans do not practise mutual help.

In fact historically this country is built on such a culture in the form of mutual help association called "Huai Kuan". The former Nanyang University or Nantah was created out of such community contribution.

Even today, many VWOs continue to be sustained by community support.

Recently a volunteer knocked on my door to ask for donation for a VWO. I donated $10 and enquire how was the response from my neighbourhood. He showed me a list of contributions mostly $10 type and a count showed that 70% of residents donated. I was pleasantly surprised.

It showed the generosity of Singaporeans, especially considering that not every family was at home when the volunteer called.

In fact Singaporeans are also very compassionate & generous to neighbouring countries such as shown during the Tsunami disaster in Indonesia.

There is only one party in Singapore that is a scrooge - the PAP which contributes grudgingly very little to the VWOs such that many VWOs do not even get a cent from it.

PAP set up NCSS as non-governmental organisation to oversee VWOs but PAP has no obligation to contribution to the welfare cause.

And when something goes wrong like the old NKF, PAP pushes all the blame on others and claimed ignorance.

Just a few hours back there is news that Ren Ci under probe for financial irregularities. Lets watch another PAP wayang.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes its just bo bian. not that i do not sympathize with the WO. but instead of being upset i wish him all the best and i hope he can stay positive enough and find a new job i know it isnt easy but he has to start somewhere new asap since there is no way SAF wld take him back. after all, almost all Government organization in S'pore have heart as cold as steel. sometimes i feel that singapore government are just pure capitalist. good and bad i suppose.

Anonymous said...

its Army21...a "Thinking Army".

the WO may be disciplined and medically fit, but he may not be a "thinking" soldier? (read: someone with a degree and above?)

The Army tends to give you a skewed view of the real world - thinking that its an iron rice bowl.

We all know that in the private sector, loyalty counts for nothing. One can be fired at an instant. Be a mercenary (pun intended) if you have to. make the most of things before you get thrown out. It makes one stay tiptop and on their toes.

I agree with Oriental Express. you may be down but not out. WO Minjoot should pick himself up, move on, and look to better things in the private sector. with 32 years of service, i'm sure he'll have skills that can be transferred to the private sector.


Reservist said...

The WO would have eaten enough 'salt' by now to be able to quickly re-org and 'charge up civilian hills'. It may be a small consolation, the saf doesn't treat its old soldiers as badly as this report shows, so far...

Alvinology said...

I always think that those who opted to sign up with the army as regulars have the best of it when they are in their youth - the perks are great, hours are regular, work is minimal, yet the salary is much higher than most of their peers with equal qualification. I am sure they knew there MUST be a CATCH somewhere. After all, the “Power that be” in Singapore did mention there’s NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH.

Which is why I find it pretty ironic and comical that a retrenched SAF regular wrote in to the ST Forum to lament about himself being given the golden handshake. No doubt, I do feel sorry for his family, but the man should have known better when he signed up.

The Real Reason said...

Follower said: "Lucky, I thought you should be smart enough to understand that in order to be able to re-employ, the older worker has to be retrenched first. It's all according to plan and policy."

I have to agree completely with Follower - there is a hidden agenda in government organisation retrenching people. Look, the Casinoes are coming up, the new hotels will be facing labour shortage (govt said service sector cannot find enough people and I agree). And with our planned medical hub, we need more para-medical people in health sector and so on.

Where to get these people? One simple cunning !@#$ way is for the largest employer i.e the civil service, stat boards, GLCs etc to retrench people AND then for NTUC to step in and offer these very people retraining so that they can go work in the targeted new economy.

We have a very cunning and scheming govt - this, we must remember.

Anonymous said...

Someone above said: "when it comes to the axe your vote doesn't count"

I like that, so all those civil servants who voted out of fear of losing their jobs, wake up and face reality. If you one of those who voted for them and got the axe, you deserve it.

bhappy said...

My sympathies to 2WO(ret) Minjoot. I have been retrenched before and I can understand the difficulties -- financial, emotional etc -- he must be going through. The only difference is that I am from the private sector and therefore possibly better sensitised to the reality of retrenchment.

That said, I think that he should try to be positive as this episode may turn out to be a blessing.

Because -- job (in)security notwithstanding -- every time I go back for reservist I thank my lucky stars that I have a pte sector job!

Anonymous said...

I dont believe this is happening right before our very eyes! And yet, Singaporeans take this tying down. The govt is really crap sometimes! Not because they do not run our country well, but rather they sometimes show little interest and sympathy for the PEOPLE. They seem to milk the people by paying themselves millions and show more love to foreigners than Singaporeans!

Anonymous said...

I do not know how much a WO is paid but assuming the last drawn salary is $4000 then the retrenchment benefit would be 25 X 4000 = S$100,000.

At least this is much better than in the private sector where companies now have no legal obligation to pay retrenchment benefits to retrenched workers unless provided for in the employment contract or collective agreement.

The vast majority of Singaporean workers do not have such a clause in their employement contract; neither is joining a union an option if you are working for a small SME.

In fact the PAP now even make it that retrenchment benefits stated in collective agreements are further subject to negotiation based on the financial position of the company.

Thus even as we talk about the subject WO, we must remember that countless Sngaporeans are facing worse terms of employment including zero compensation for long overtime work.

Such a practice is rampant and the MOM knows about it. Still it expects exploited workers to file a formal complaint in order for MOM to investigate the matter and charge the boss in the court and to be fined or even sent to jail for that.

Imagine a worker in a small SME doing this and expect the boss-employee relationship to be tolerable.

Singaporeans are not inclined to do this; they just leave if they are not happy but end up sometimes in similar work conditions.

It is the MOM that should set this right nationwide through warnings and checks. Since such exploitation of workers is open secret, what is so difficult for MOM to carry this out?

But I know PAP is not going to do this because PAP believes our labour cost would become uncompetitive vis-a-vis other nations.

So the clever PAP "solution" is continue close turn a blind eye and allow employers to exploit workers, even as other high costs arising out of govt greedy profit-making policy like COE, ERP, rental and utilities are not dealt with, not to mention further hiked up.

Our people are not important to PAP; only money is. This is how the caring PAP regime is treating our people.

The future for the young generation is bleak as I see it. With suppressed wages, they will struggle to even own their own HDB flat, let alone afford other luxuries. And when wages rise due to a boom in some sectors, PAP is quick to bring in "foreign talent" to press it down.

PAP's strategy is to keep Singapore business cost low. This way it needs not be excel in economic planning and yet keep this city looking good outwardly -always humming with business and people.

Blogter said...

The government is not paying me right for my reservist duties either. Only about $10 per day.

Anonymous said...

FREE Scholarships for Foreigners!! No string & bond one!

Operation SINGA!! Con Faked FT come lah.
Singaporean NS get 300SGD a month enough liao!

Anonymous said...

CPL (NS) ORD Anti-Sign on said...

see see.. who ask u sign on... only smart pple like me will and never sign on with the chengwu gahmen... govt only value and validate scholars... who cares abt farmers like u... as the great one who is only a corporal in nsf time but now a director in a sme firm says, 'the grass in the private sector is always greener than the army green.' now the truth be told certifies this statement...

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Anonymous said...

Oh Please, leech chobolan for 32 years, retrenched still kpkb, he really intend to sell his soul to saf till death bed.

It's not call an early retirement, it's call clearing the deadwood. Some of these WOs whole day read papers, find fault with juniors, one month $5k, which other organisation can afford to keep.

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He must have offended someone powerful or simply did not curry favor.