From intolerance to tolerance

I don’t really understand the intention of the author in this article:

http://therealsingapore.com/content/tolerance-intolerance

The author seems to suggest that there are valid reasons to be angry at foreign workers and there are valid reasons to dislike them because they talk too loud, they smell and they crowd the public transport and you have to fight for seats. Also, to vomiting level, the oft repeated “they are taking away our jobs” So if they were to speak softer, smell better and give all Singaporeans (how do you tell?) seats in buses and trains, they can be tolerated? But wait, they are still taking away our jobs! So they cannot be tolerated and its right to heap hatred and anger at them.

Also I notice a lot of times this anger seems to be one directional. Asked if they would agree if citizens of foreign countries treat friends, relatives or Singaporeans who may be staying, working and studying there they way some anti-FTs are doing now, you may even get a blank stare. It may never occur to them that Singaporeans can also be foreign talents in foreign countries, reaping as much money as they can, staying in well-oiled apartments and maybe behaving badly too.

Honestly speaking those traits like talking loudly are also common with Singaporean. Who have not heard the uncle, aunty or even youngster speaking loudly on the phone in the MRT? Try being the last person to start running the marathon and you wouldn’t believe the kind of sensations that reach your nostrils. Fighting for seats? How many Singaporeans even give up their priority seats to the needy? To expect the foreigners to behave in a certain manner when the rest of Singaporeans are as rude and unruly is just failing to see one’s own faults. Furthermore, Singapore doesn’t have a strong culture like Japan or Taiwan where you feel pressurized to conform (like speaking softly in trains and not use mobile phone) or be told off (in case of Taiwan) for not. Even then, youngsters in those countries are starting to buck these cultural traditions, like not giving up seats to the needy.

* SLAP * I said before that I will slap the next person who says foreigners are taking away their jobs and this goes to the author. I wonder if the author is jobless now because of foreigners? Can I ask every who cannot tolerate FTs to give up their maid and send them back to their countries? Oh, btw did you notice that perhaps your favorite actors or actress and TV personalities are foreigners working in Singapore too? Perhaps you can also help to sweep and clean the void deck and clear the rubbish chute, because we have sent them all back. Oh and remember to send your children to train on construction techniques because we will need Singaporeans to build houses and build roads.

Surely some of the jobs went to foreigners because Singaporeans are asking for more, this is the same in any country. I think most of the anger actually started with the expats imports many years ago. Already we have been making jokes that whatever the Westerner suggests its always better. They get to stay in Sixth Avenue or a luxury apartment, drive a boxer and even afford to send their kids to International schools, all expenses paid for. They don’t eat at hawker centers,  don’t visit HDB heartlands and don’t take public transport (other than taxis). As the years goes, we also start to see expats from other countries namely India and China who also form part of this landscape of rich, a little spoilt (or a lot) and very distinct communities with Singapore. Singaporeans, of course, are asking why are those jobs going to foreigners and not locals? Why can’t locals also enjoy those kind of privileges? But is that a fair assessment? Doesn’t Singaporean expats in other countries behave the same, in their own safe enclave?

I have said so myself before, other than a handful of Singaporeans I am happy to work together with, a lot of other Singaporeans whom I may have interviewed before or acquainted by chance, just don’t make an attractive candidate with the required mentality and passion I am looking if I am ever hiring. I find Singaporeans, in general, lacking of passion in their field of work; they also lack a broad perspective and are not engaging in conversations if they even care to speak at all. Of course, that is not to say that there are no bad foreign candidates, but my point here is why I may end up hiring an FT instead, because usually the perform better than Singaporeans. In cases like this, Singaporeans can only blame themselves, our educational system and political landscape. I wouldn’t risk hire a passionless, narrow minded and uncommunicative person to my ranks.

Also, I have known early in my working years never to work under local bosses, so too says some of my friends (Of course, the other is not to work in Japanese companies, but that is another issue with strict heirachy). No, not all of them are bad, but in terms of ratios, I tend to find that local bosses are not as good a manager. Don’t be mistaken, I have had worked under good local bosses before and have no qualms working with them again, those are really exceptional. I have also worked with really bad FT bosses before, so bad that my performance was the worst during my years in the company and it was really demotivating working then. I wouldn’t go near them even in a radioactive suit. However, in general, I find my foreign bosses tend to have a broad perspective on various issues, are open to criticism and changes and have no issues with diversity. Of course, a major failing is still people management due to the kind of work I do. I have also seen FT being promoted when there are obviously better local talents; the issue is a global issues. Group thinking only allows one to recognise certain traits for promotion bypassing even those really good ones, this has been mentioned again and again in management books and is a typical management failure, nothing to do with foreign talent or not. Some will say that I have not met enough local bosses before and I agree, I believe there are such good bosses out there and, like I said before, I am indifferent to who is my boss as long as they are good.

I have said before and I repeat, being angry at foreign talents or even justifying intolerance towards them is the wrong approach. They are here to earn money and a good living for their family, just like any Singaporeans would have done in a foreign country. Use your angry and redirect it to government policies and use it to question their failings and get the opposition to propose a better scenario and support them, if PAP does not hear you, and use your vote to register that unhappiness every four years. This is where real change begins, anger, hatred and intolerance towards another human being and a group of people does nothing but poison the minds and hearts of Singaporeans. They become rude, uncaringly, intolerable, self-serving and worst of all, inwards looking and cannot see their own faults.

So let’s more from intolerance to tolerance and work to how we can help each other live and work better in this cramp and small place. Make your voices heard in your votes instead. Make the politicians work for you for a change.

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2 thoughts on “From intolerance to tolerance

  1. Pingback: Daily SG: 5 Apr 2013 | The Singapore Daily

  2. Dear Kelvin Wong,

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