I just had it with Singaporeans continuing berated about how foreigners are taking away their jobs. Their anger directed at foreigners is not only prejudiced but full of ignorance. The next person who tells me that they don’t like foreigners because they are taking away their job will surely get a slap from me.
Are Singaporeans telling me that they applied to be rubbish cleaners, road sweepers, construction workers, in-house maids, coffee shop assistant and dish cleaners and they got rejected because some foreigners took their job? Come on Singaporean, you are not that stupid right? If any Singaporean truly wants to know what some of our foreign workers are going through just to be working in Singapore, look no further than TWC2 (http://twc2.org.sg/). For a lot of them, it hell to pay to be working in Singapore, do you really think that they are enjoying it? Who is keeping your HDB flats’ common area clean? Your son or daughter? Who is building the HDB flats that you can stay in or maintaining those roads?
Foreigners should not be blamed for our current problems, if you really want to bash, you should bash the government and the companies that hire the foreigners.
Firstly, without the government over liberal policies to allow companies to hire foreigners, with no minimum wage protection and with a Ministry that does a minimum to protect foreign workers instead are very lenient to companies flouting the law blatantly, you will not see such an influx of foreigners. If the government makes it much more expensive to hire foreigners and also ensure that pay scale should not be different from Singaporeans, that may make companies rethink their hiring strategies.
Secondly, if the companies don’t hire the foreigners, how would they have taken “your” job? It is not the foreign worker’s fault, the companies who are doing the hiring should be blamed. If companies only hire Singaporeans, where will we see so many foreigners? Further more companies are every tight on their purse strings and they will save anyway they can. With a liberal hiring policy, they can afford to hire foreigners at a lower pay; a pay which many Singaporeans may find too low. Whose fault is it? With consumers constant pressurizing companies for cheaper and cheaper services and good, low pay is one place to save. Really, blame it on yourself because companies want to offer your cheaper goods and services, but they have to do with with lower paid staff, and who else is more willing to be paid lower? Definitely not most Singaporeans.
Talking about lower pay, I really don’t blame some Singaporeans from not taking some of the jobs. Some jobs really pay peanuts but expects mountains. The only reason why foreigners will take up those jobs is because our dollar exchange rate is stronger and even on a pittance pay scale, after conversion it can still be a lot for the foreign workers. Furthermore, once they earned and saved enough, they can go back to their villages and cash in all those savings. Whereas for Singaporeans, we have to pay for our house, family, parents and all other fees in real Singapore dollars and we have not play else to go. Some of those little pay just will not cover all these expenses. But still it is not the foreigners fault, its the government not having an effect policy to ensure that Singaporeans can also take up those jobs and as such companies can ask for really low pay and yet they complain that no Singaporeans want to take up those jobs!
Surely, some of those anger comes from people who work in companies where foreigners are hired in as managers instead of Singaporeans. They are given an expat package, enjoy a good life in a nice condo or landed property, drives a Boxter, sometimes even criticizing Singapore or Singaporeans and perhaps does a crap job in their work. In some favoritism is the order of the day, where hiring seems to be favor persons of a certain country and ethnic group. But this is not unique to Singapore. In fact, the same can be said about Singaporeans working in a foreign country, getting expat packages, living in a good apartment and drives a swanky new car, whereas the other local fellow staff have to share a room with 4 other persons and commute 1 hour to work because its just too expensive to stay near the office where they work. What say we about the Singaporeans working in foreign countries? Would they deserve the same bashing as we gave to foreign workers here?
One thing Singaporeans don’t seem to be able to notice is their own attitude to work. In my line as a server support person, I have had chances to interview some Singaporeans in the past and they are passionless, have no communications skills and cannot think out of the box. I myself would not want to recommend for hire any Singaporeans like that! Of course, I have worked with Singaporeans whom I have not qualms working with again. But this issue is only a small example from one industry, nothing really statistically significant.
At the end of the day, solving the complex issue of foreign workers, requires a Singapore government who cared enough about Singaporeans and their livelihood to create an effective policy to encourage companies to hire Singaporeans, to enhance the pay and job in the low wage sector so that Singaporeans can and are still willing to work in them. Unless governments makes it expensive to hire foreigners and enhance the incentives to hire Singaporeans, companies will continue to hire foreign worker who can work for much lower pay because it impacts their bottom line and because we demand for cheaper goods and services.
At the end of the day, the root of Singaporean’s anger should be the government and their voting decision, not the foreigners.