THURSDAY, JULY 23, 2009
Is this the life you want your children to have?
More than a hundred years ago, some of our ancestors were coolies. These peasants had a hard life working for little pay. At the end of each hard day's work, they would go home to their cramp squalid accommodations to rest and prepare for another day of back-breaking labour. Life was hard but they were powerless to do anything to change. No one helped or protected them. They had no labour union to protect them and they lived in constant fear of losing their only means of survival- their jobs.
Now in the 21st century, this coolie mentality is still prevalent in our society. We wake up every morning from our cramp HDB dwelling so that we could squeeze inside a tight MRT train to get to work. Because of the recession, we no longer work from 9 to 5 but 8 to 7. The hours are longer because of the unfortunate souls who got retrenched. But what can we do? If we complain, we could be the next to lose our jobs. Our unions are ,for all intents and purposes, non-existent. Why should our NTUC chief care? He receives a fat pay-check for being a minister and pleasing the government.
But we do nothing because it is in our cultural legacy to suffer. We only know how to endure suffering and not how to enjoy life. We learn it from our parents and they learnt it from their parents all the way back to the coolies. Nothing has changed except that instead of being ruled by an overseas master, our masters are now fellow Singaporeans who are overseas educated.
Yes, for some of us, our lives are miserable and this has to stop. Do you want your children to inherit this cultural legacy of servitude? Do you want them to break free from this cycle of lower wages and endless skills retraining? Do you want them to not go through what you have gone through.
If you want the best future for them, then educate them. Educate them not for the purpose of serving our PAP masters. Educate them to give your children the resources/skills to leave this Island. Imagine how much happier your son (and his sons) would be if he doesn't have to serve NS. Imagine how happy your daughter would be because she wouldn't need to work in a stressed out environment or live in a cramp HDB apartment.
Educate them so that they can leave. Because if they don't leave, some day they may have to explain to their own children why their manager father had to become a taxi driver.
After all, what is the point of your suffering if they have to experience it themselves when they grow up?
Excerpt from The New Paper. July 22 2009
--- quote ---
THE man had a simple question for his MP: I will be a security guard if I must, he said, but how can I encourage my children to do well in school if I can't find a good job despite my (tertiary) education?It was a statement that shook even a battle-hardened MP like Madam Halimah Yacob (Jurong GRC).'When he responded in that manner, I also started thinking,' she said.
Madam Halimah was raising this example with The New Paper last night after a hotly-debated Parliamentary discussion on how to help retrenched Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs).The man, a former manager in his 50s with an engineering diploma, was retrenched late last year. Unable to find a job, he became a taxi driver.
Madam Halimah said she told him to look at the positive side and show his children that despite the setbacks, he is still doing his best.'Look, this is reality. In life, there'll be ups and downs,' she said. 'It is important not to lose hope, to do our best, stay on course, and try to improve ourselves.'
--- quote ---
The Original TNP Article that inspired the above post.
PICKY? GRAD EXPECTATIONS IN DOWNTURN
- We focus on those willing to be helped, says Minister
- PMETs aren't simply being choosy, say MPs. This recession has hit them especially hard
By Ng Tze Yong and Ho Lian-Yi
July 22, 2009
THE man had a simple question for his MP:
I will be a security guard if I must, he said, but how can I encourage my children to do well in school if I can't find a good job despite my (tertiary) education?
It was a statement that shook even a battle-hardened MP like Madam Halimah Yacob (Jurong GRC).
'When he responded in that manner, I also started thinking,' she said.
Madam Halimah was raising this example with The New Paper last night after a hotly-debated Parliamentary discussion on how to help retrenched Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs).
The man, a former manager in his 50s with an engineering diploma, was retrenched late last year. Unable to find a job, he became a taxi driver.
Madam Halimah said she told him to look at the positive side and show his children that despite the setbacks, he is still doing his best.
'Look, this is reality. In life, there'll be ups and downs,' she said. 'It is important not to lose hope, to do our best, stay on course, and try to improve ourselves.'
Is enough being done for PMETs like him? MP Ho Geok Choo (West Coast GRC) told Parliament that she had received feedback that PMETs who do not go to job interviews arranged by career centres are given warnings that they will not be considered for future job vacancies.
'I'm wondering how we can guide the career centres to do a better job,' she said.
Manpower Minister Gan Kim Yong replied: 'There are a lot of workers we need to help, and we need to be focused on workers who are prepared to be helped.'
He told Parliament that the Government has taken effective measures to reduce unemployment.
In just six months since Spur (Skills Programme for Upgrading and Resilience) started, more than 19,000 jobseekers have been placed in jobs, he said.
He said the Spur-Jobs scheme, implemented in May, saw 50 companies committed to hiring 1,200local workers in various industries in just one month.
He pointed out that, as of end-May, the Professional Skills Programme (PSP) had about 36,000 PMETs and fresh graduates trained or committed to training.
But the sense on the ground is that this is an especially tough recession for PMETs.
MP Liang Eng Hwa (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC) noted: 'Whereas in the past, PMETs may be more nimble and adaptable, the same does not hold true this time around.'
He added that nowadays, everything has a shelf life - even a degree.
Madam Ho urged more to be done for PMETs.
For example, she said retrenched PMETs can be teamed up to carry out stock checks and review procedures in companies.
'PMETs have the experience and they can return to the workforce as consultants,' said Madam Ho.
She also feels better training will be useful for staff helping with job-matching at government agencies.
'A bit of psychology training may help them understand how to handle someone who has just lost his or her job,' said Madam Ho.
Asking the right questions
They can also be trained on how to ask the right questions and phrase them the right way, and have the tenacity to follow up on the cases.
'It cannot be just a clerical staff telling people we have a vacancy here and a vacancy there,' she said.
Peter (not his real name), a grassroots leader who works closely with retrenched workers, said that 'people are not being genuinely helped'.
Government agencies like the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) and the Workforce Development Agency (WDA) are 'too focused on the numbers, because numbers equal more funding' from Spur, said Peter.
It has resulted in a lot of frustration on the ground, he said.
Instead, government agencies should be working more closely with employers to find out the nature and number of jobs that are available, to make their training more targeted, suggested Peter.
'After all, WDA and e2i have a lot of resources and a wide network of contacts in various industries,' said Peter.
'But they are not listening. Instead, it is always about training, training and training because that's the easier thing to do. What is the point of training thousands of people without knowing where the jobs are?'
Peter added that there are many organisations, such as the self-help groups, that want to help but are unable to 'because all the training is put under one roof, which is e2i.'
'Is this the many helping hands approach we always talk about?' he asked.
I will have my personal follow up post on this issue.