Saturday, March 19, 2011

Fukushima 50 : Lessons in worker loyalty...

Here is an interesting letter from the ST Forum (see below) discussing what was lost when we switch from a culture in which worker loyalty was highly treasured to a "hire-fire" type corporate culture that puts profits above people.

But it is not just work culture but the way the country is led and run. There was a time when govt had a socialist touch and socialist heart, tapping on capitalism to produce wealth with to goal of sharing to elevate everybody. In 1975, the PAP resigned from the
Socialist International before they were expelled[Link], Gradually this socialist heart disappeared over time and Singapore adopted a form of unbridled capitalism to maximize GDP growth. Independent workers' unions disappeared, income gap ballooned, wealth became more and more concentrated in a small segment of the population. A ideology of free market start to conquered all facets of our life - expansion of for-profit medical care, public housing with prices linked to open markets,. for-profit public transport system ,...even our utilities company was sold off to private hands. It is now an every man for himself system and what you get purely depends on your ability to make money. In the 80s I used to think that Hong Kong was a society where the rule of money was so strong people became obsessed with the pursuit of money over everything else - they could be forgiven because they were technically a colony and not a nation. But today the Hong Kongers fought to put in minimum wage for low wage workers, welfare for the old and unemployed and prevented the govt from imposing GST because it will hurt the poor. They don't even have to pay their leaders less than one-fifth as much as ours to serve.We have strayed so far from the middle, we better find our way back soon. This inequality in our society, the largest among developed nations, is exacerbated by an ideology that results in policies that gives as little to those in need as possible.

"Singapore Inc risks being turned into a mercenary, alien and transient space peopled by workers with little sense of belonging" - Liew Kai Khiun

If nothing changes, this nation risks turning into a hotel where people have no sense of belonging and will only take care of their own interests and leave when they find greener pastures else where. Resilience of a society comes from the bonds between people and that bond is nourished by how much we share with each other and how we care for those in need.

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Fukushima 50 - lessons in worker loyalty

THE extraordinary courage of the Fukushima 50 - the Japanese engineers and technicians battling to contain the nuclear fallout from reactors damaged in the earthquake and tsunami - offers lessons to Singaporeans.

One important factor behind the dedication of these workers is Japan's collectivistic corporate culture that values loyalty and ensures long-term employment security. This is in contrast to the American model, which is characterised by individualism and short-term profitability.

These values are reflected in the salaries of senior executives: CEOs in Japan are rewarded far less than their counterparts in the United States and Europe.

While the Japanese corporate culture has often been criticised for breeding conservatism and inertia, and for rewarding riskaverse senior management, it has also fostered an exceptional sense of team spirit and commitment that transcends short-term gains. This sense of esprit de corps is evident among the Fukushima 50 workers, and it is through them that the best of Japan Inc is being shown in these harrowing times.

Singapore Inc has been moving towards the US model with its emphasis on rewarding 'top talent' generously. Over the years, we have been seeing increasingly disproportionate levels of remuneration for senior executives in contrast to workers down the line who have to face the prospects of redundancy and wage reduction in tough times.

Also, given the ease of replacing local staff with foreign labour, Singapore Inc risks being turned into a mercenary, alien and transient space peopled by workers with little sense of belonging, loyalty and commitment that is found in the Japanese worker.

Liew Kai Khiun

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

The government has ingrained in us a mercenary mindset. No free lunches, no welfare, cheaper better faster. A "show me the money" mantra resonnates down from the highest public office in the country. Therefore, do not expect that citizens will spill blood and guts when put to the test. Try asking the PRs and foreigners, they will bolt out the front door at the slightest bit of trouble.

Anonymous said...

The government has ingrained in us a mercenary mindset. No free lunches, no welfare, cheaper better faster. A "show me the money" mantra resonnates down from the highest public office in the country. Therefore, do not expect me to spill blood and guts when put to the test. I will bolt out the front gates at the slightest bit of trouble.

Anonymous said...

But sometimes in life, you just have to put in your effort in order to get what you deserve to get, that's only fair. Complaining when you fail are just purely the behaviour for losers. You reap what you gain, right? If a minimum wage is imposed, the ingrained mindset would surely be a slacking one. It might be tough to vision it now since it is not imposed but trust me, it is easy to fall into that once you believe you could do that, and it will be as addictive as drugs. Having said that though, im not saying that the concentration of wealth among the top sector of the population is acceptable or even wise and that the gvt shld provide them with some sort of help for them to transit out of poverty easily. However, just throwing aid at them and implementing a minimum wage is deluding them the opportunity to realise their potential and that is a disrespect to their capabilities. Adversity makes people thrive, everybody should be entitled the chance to strike it, with their capabilities - and that's what a meritocratic society aims to achieve, isnt it?
Disclaimer: im not any pap partisan or official. im just a 17 going 18 year old. Hence, no offence for anything ive written, they are quintessentially just my two cents worth.

Anonymous said...

This island has already been turned into an eyesore, a blood-filled gladiator coliseum. No need to ask PRs and foreigners. Even I, as citizen who fulfilled 13 cycles of combat ICTs, will fark the hell out of this place at the slightest hint of trouble. Even if have to swim across to Batam.

Anonymous said...

that's honesty.

what I am interested to hear is..first person talk. leaders should tell us what they would do for the country with their money before they ask what the country will do for their bank accounts.

Anonymous said...

"Adversity makes people thrive, everybody should be entitled the chance to strike it, with their capabilities - and that's what a meritocratic society aims to achieve, isnt it?"

Have you heard of an "imposed adversity" by the rich?
Why don't you put unchallegeble obstacles in your paths in life huh?

Lye Khuen Way said...

Sad isn't it, if we were to compare ourselves to the Japanese ?
But then , as some one or two have already proclaimed : we are but a city-state / a nation in the making.
However, as pointed out, the Hong Kongers, just a decade or two under indirect Mainland China's rule, has a more caring government that ours. Strange social / political development for two former Bristish colonies.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 19/3/11 15:33, it is a common technique for the gahman to bring out the worst in a system that they do not advocate. In their simplistic explanation, there are only two options; their way or the wrong way. The world is never black or white; similarly, theirs is not always right despite what they would like the citizens to think. Just look at how often they have backtracked on their policies starting from two child policy to the opening of casinos. If they are that right, then there is no need to change the original policy....

Roy said...

To Anonymous @ 19/3/11 15:33

A 17 going 18 year old kid that has not gone through NS, finished his/her education or work a for his living expenditure is trying to impart wisdom of life to the rest of the world.

My recommendation is, unless you have experienced the hardship those the poor has, you should not comment and worse still, lecture others how things should be.

Sometimes in life, you should cease to add your 2 cents worth when you are not qualified to.

Would you tell a commando who lost his arm in Afghanistan how he should have tried harder to avoid the injury? If u are a US Ranger, you are qualified, but saying such things still makes you a bigot.

If you are not, do you think you should be dispensing advices? Discussions are fine, but to dispense advice from you is rich? Are you going to teach the Japanese how to cope with a Tsunami next?

Anonymous said...

to anon @15.33pm

let me give you my 2$ worth.
you do come across as someone from the same stock as the unforgettable
wee shu min.

Anonymous said...

the japs are stoic is partly because they have been humbled by world war too(before that, they were ruthless beast).

in contrast, our people kow tow(humbled by) to Meritocratic Mammon system so when calamity strikes, the instinctive reaction is to run better, faster and cheaper. LoL

Anonymous said...

Bring in large number of foreigners to replace Singaporeans in Singapore.
In Singapore, the foreigners enjoy the benefits during prosperous period while Singaporeans are pushed to the side to suffer in silence.

During crisis, foreigners are the first to be at
Changi Airport to take some of the first flights,
Woodland and Tuas Checkpoints to take some of the first vehicles,
Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal to take some of the first ships,
etc.
out of Singapore in the shortest possible time.

The most unfortunate thing is that Singaporeans are expected to stay behind to sacrifice and share the losses during crisis.

Anonymous said...

politicians,oppositions included, will get the best protection(armored vehicle,military planes, fortified head quarters and body guards etc) while they rally the country to sacrifice themselves HAHAHA

Canton banking said...

Ha! you must be joking about loyalty in Singapore. I got homes in Sydney, Melbourne, Shanghai, HK, London and Manchester. I am ready to boot at the slightest of issue. My bigeest loss would be my properties in Singapore. A loss i can afford.

Anybody with some serious cash shuld have 80% of their wealth parked outside their country of citizenship or residence.

It is always the poor that will stay and die and those who dont will help in the rebuilding. when all is well afain, they will be marginalised again. it is how it works. if you are poor, the best time to make it is when there are blood on th streets.

Anonymous said...

u keep masturbating the citizens, u r going o get a bukake in your face.
best to play it straight and go from there.

Anonymous said...

-------------
If a minimum wage is imposed, the ingrained mindset would surely be a slacking one. It might be tough to vision it now since it is not imposed but trust me, it is easy to fall into that once you believe you could do that, and it will be as addictive as drugs.

Anon 19/3/11 15:33
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How do you know? Your General Paper teacher told you so? You read it from the Straits' Times?

Europe has a minimum wage. Europeans are not known as slackers.

Singapore has no minimum wage. And wages sprial downwards to the extent that an honest month's wages for the low-income earner is not enough for basic survival in expensive Singapore.

What do you think 'Workfare' is doing??

Basically, Workfare is using of taxpayers' monies to encourage bosses to pay even less, knowing full well that taxpayers monies will be abused to make up for the pittance paid to the workers.

Lu Long Lah said...

A nation with disunited people is ideal for PAP. When citizens are mostly selfish, their own interests come first and that makes PAP's pork barrel politic works.

It is all in PAP's scheme of thing. Nothing will change as long as they are in power.

Anonymous said...

To Roy:
Why don't u use the time to complain here to do sth useful? Have u heard of 18 is the new 30? I'm not trying to rebut your comments but I'm just disgruntled by the tone you are employing. You are gleeing over the need to be lazy, wake up your idea man seriously.

Anonymous said...

it is easy to love the quiet dignity and the mild mannered japs...especially the older folks.

can't say that about singaporeans.

Anonymous said...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1367684/Nuclear-plant-chief-weeps-Japanese-finally-admit-radiation-leak-kill-people.html

Not only does the Fukushima accident reveals Japanese loyalty, but also the accountabilities of its leaders. Put it in flood/tsunami context, the amount of contrition PAP leaders showed with the screw-up simply has no comparison? Is that a fair comparison GCT?

Anonymous said...

Actually I don't think Singapore will have a crisis like the one at Fukushima.

So whether or not we will have our Singapore 50 when the time comes is a totally hypothetical question.

It can be as silly and nonsensical as asking "When will pigs have wings?"

Rather we should ask when or how soon will our opposition win 86:1 or 87:0 at elections.

This, although still a bit hypothetical , is a far better question than "Will we have the equivalent Singapore 50?"

Anonymous said...

Daer Canton Banking

//
Anybody with some serious cash shuld have 80% of their wealth parked outside their country of citizenship or residence.

It is always the poor that will stay and die and those who dont will help in the rebuilding. when all is well afain, they will be marginalised again. it is how it works. if you are poor, the best time to make it is when there are blood on th streets.
//

Stop embarrassing yourself.
Lucky is RICH.
As in champagne socialist rich.
He talks socialist cos he CAN.
Just like PAP can raise their own pay cos they CAN.

Anonymous said...

To anon 20:09

I didn't see Roy advocating laziness. He's simply pointing out to the 17-turn-18 years old young man who has not even have half of life's experience to lend credence to what's being discussed here. By coming up with a frivolous 30-is the-new-18 is just incredulous. That young kid should go serve the army , start a work life, pay his own rent etc etc - ie. live a little before generalizing that a call for compassionate care of its citizens are losers. Trust me - if anyone who has taken my advise when I was 18, would truly have been losers!

So go live, better yet, suffer a little (without your elitist parents' money) then come back and see if your "vision" will change for the better. For most of us, we reap what we sow. I can only gather that "you reap what you gained" from your advantaged background.

Anonymous said...

I think Singaporeans are on the whole a skeptical and unappreciative lot. If there were 50 SIngporeans who were willing to volunteer, many Singaporeans would ask...What are they trying to get out of it?

I also think the older generation in Singapore are a more tolerant and more hardworking and less whinny lot. I think the younger generation (including me) has had a rather cushy existance and hence we don't know what hard life is all about...especially those who are most privileged. To Anon 15:33, good that you're thinking about big issues at 17 years of age. I don't agree with you, but kudos to you for saying what you think.

Anonymous said...

Yes we will have our Singapore 50.

50:37 GE 2011

Anonymous said...

For some people, issues like these are minor moans, complaints, rants whatever you like to define it. Others are more principled protests that singaporeans have to continually expressed or risk being walked over.

Until PAP realizes that, and start loosening up (just watch and learn from HK) Singaporeans will continue to be champion "complainers" if that's how PAP choose to see it. Personally, they are missing out on all the good opportunities to engage with people (civic or non-civic - everyone needs a channel) at their detriment.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lucky

//
If nothing changes, this nation risks turning into a hotel where people have no sense of belonging and will only take care of their own interests and leave when they find greener pastures else where.
//

What talking you?
At least 40% of SG are foreigners!
We are ALREADY a hotel.
Right now ... maybe 3 or 4 stars.
And if you dun do anything ... we will be HOTEL 81 soon.

oops. Sorry i forgot ... reality has a liberal bias ... the black messiah will save us all ... opposition will magically\scientifically sweep all the seats ... except for those contested by pro-LGBT PAP members ...

Anonymous said...

Look at the quality of comments in forums.

do they sound stoic? loyal?caring?

Please.

A bunch of retards

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Look at the quality of comments in forums.

do they sound stoic? loyal?caring?

Please.

A bunch of retards

19/3/11 23:36

--------------------------
Is that why the retard you is here? Set up your own website and don't be a sourgrape that Lucky has followers.

For those who say there's no minimum wage in Sg, you are very wrong. Our dear PAP government has granted minimum wage to foreigners working here to make sure they maintain a certain standard of living. Singaporeans, the message to you is clear: Be faster, better and CHEAPER than the foreigners! Least your family's ricebowl is empty.

Anonymous said...

followers or flies drawn to shit?lol.

Anonymous said...

I know of colleagues in school who work like the Fukushima 50. They slog long hours, sacrifice family time, their health and mental well-being for the good for the students or job or school.

Yet, when they fall sick or get injured, they are immediately viewed as a liability. All their past contributions are forgotten.

The same happens when there is a change in management. Teachers once viewed as reliable by the former principal may be kicked aside by the new principal.

Message is clear. Anyone who behaves like the Fukushima 50 is clearly stupid.

Anonymous said...

If the same thing happened in sg, no problem lah. Juz make an offer of xxx amount and an indemnity form on hand, you will still make the 50 volunteers all the same.

Money rules! Don't like it? Don't vote PAP.

Anonymous said...

singaporeans are idiots.christians are lagi idiotic.

Anonymous said...

If crisis happens, most likely our Singapore 82 (soon-to-be 87) will be the first to leave..

Kudos to the Fukushima 50!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Comparing Singaporeans to Japanese, It is like comparing aluminium to gold.

The Japanese are renowned for Hara-kiri and Kamekaze, Singaporeans are wellknown for kiasu(cannot afford to lose face) and kiasi(afraid to take risk=die). One is like saliva and another is like shit.

Anonymous said...

Most of us had worked in such hire and fire company that we do not believe there are companies out there who will treasure their employees or stand by them should they encounter some persoanl tragedies. What can you do to talk sense into those thick-headed Chinese helicopters that you have to treat your workers well if you want their loyalties.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I received a call up for ICT when my business was on the verge of collapse. After my biz folded I had to look for a job to pay the bills and debts. I have to compete with 'foreign talents' and settle for less pay and more responsibilties to be 'competitive'. I injured my ankle and paid for my own MRI so that I can be downgraded and exempted from reservist.

Why should I fight for my 'country' or hub or city whatever you call it when you have no money, biz is collapsing you are still somehow called up for ICTs. It is no secret that companies prefer NSmen who have no more ICTs to go.

If Singapore is faced with a crisis, why should I stay and protect the millions and billions of foreigners? I only have a 5-room HDB. Why should I die for your landed properties, condos and BMWs or Lamborghinis?

Is it fair for Singaporeans to face marginalization when going for interviews and expected to protect properties of foreigners? Dream on! Our leaders are right, we are not a country but a hub, a city.

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