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WP white paper - Foriegners Issues- Put politics aside, think of us little people

Discussion in 'The Political / Serious Zone [no rep deductions]' started by Huatchye, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. Huatchye

    Huatchye Alfrescian Old Timer

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    Now that we have the white paper and the not so white paper,
    I can say that I am not sure what to say about them. But here is what I feel are down to earth issues that needs to look at and nip it.

    The subject of foreign workers is
    complicated. I am not expert but I think most problems can benefit from the application of some layman commonsense. Maybe if we can de-construct the subject, we can be clearer what it is we want and don’t want.

    Visiting any nursing home today, you will find many foreigners working as attendants and nursing aides. Ask any of the charities running the place and they will tell you that difficult to get Singaporeans to do the job. Likewise when you go to a local restaurant and chat up the boss. I think most of us want those foreigners in the homes. For restaurants, if we are prepared to pay more for our food and services, then salaries can go up and more locals may enter the service industry. Maybe Government should also do something to top up – like workfare for service industry. If they hire locals, they get top-up; if they hire foreigner, they have to pay levy.

    And if you look around you among your own family, you will find a foreign maid. It would seem that we all want our own foreigner but then it would be selfish to expect others to give up theirs.

    If there are more than a million foreigners in Singapore today, the fastest way to cut down the numbers is to give up our maids. At least 200-300,000. We get more space with less one person in the house. We get a situation where parents spend more time doing things with and for their kids personally which will enhance bonding time. Some may argue that both parents need to work, so a maid is necessary. Some may argue that they have frail, aged parents and they need a maid to help them cope daily. Let’s say we allow these groups but all others – those families where only one parent work, be without maids? What will happen will be a howl of protest.

    The largest single group of foreigners are construction workers. The HDB is ramping up its building programme to catch up for the #$%@& job that Mah Bow Tan did pegging direct sale flats to the market and behaving like a private developer. The housing catch-up needs workers even as the productivity measures are kicking in because we can’t afford to disrupt the pace of building if we are to meet the needs of our young couples and families who want to upgrade. Over time, the number of construction workers will fall as our flats and infrastructure projects esp MRT lines are completed. At steady state, the number will fall drastically for this reason as well as because productivity has increased. Again I think Government can do more to get locals into the industry and they should have a special payment for locals in this area of work. Their value is not just to do construction work but in an emergency, they are a vital force. Remember after the New World Hotel collapse, the SCDF actually build a construction brigade to have a ready force to deal with rescue operations.

    So really then, what is the concern about foreign workers in Singapore? That they will dilute the Singaporean core? Yes, but only if we allow easy granting of PR and citizenship. The gate-keepers therefore must be strict and take in numbers of what we need for replacement only, minus the live births of Singaporean couples each way. And the preference must be our own live-births and so the Government needs to see how it can do more to make this happen. Yes, it is difficult because many developed countries in West and in Asia face this problem but it should not stop us from putting effort and emphasis on this as our first priority.

    Perhaps we should make it even stricter for PRs – if their children don’t do NS, let the PR lapse and kick them out. Why should we carry the burden of looking after PRs who choose not to be citizens and whose children avoid NS. So all PRs should be like in Australia and other countries, fixed term for 5 years after which it can be lapsed. PR should not be permanent and become a place for fence-sitters gaming the system for benefits at the expense of Singaporeans.

    Even with control of PR and citizenship numbers, the Singaporean core can be eroded by the quality of the people we accept. Quality not just in terms of economic value and contribution. But quality in terms of integration quotient. I think priority should be given to those who have spent time in Singapore, schooled here and have strong social ties and attachment to the country and for the boys, do NS. For the girls, they should do community work. This includes the spouses of citizens since 4 out of 10 couples each year have a foreigner spouse. If your husband or wife wants to get citizenship, earn it even if for compassionate reasons, priority is given to them. People must earn citizenship not just obtain it by meeting some points criteria based on education and income. I have attended citizenship ceremony where the new citizen take his or her NRIC and then scooted off without staying back to mingle with the local residents. Citizenship should be special not routinely dished out by some bean-counter in the ICA.

    What the White Paper talks about are not nonsense. Those people who have better ideas how to address the problems of aging population should be welcomed by the Government to share them. The civil service do not have a monopoly of ideas. The Government should be humble enough to recognise that and to have enough respect for its citizens, to really consult and not rush through the Paper in 5 days in Parliament. And my contribution above does not deny the facts or the logic, the Government is always asserting but it rejects the mechanical simplistic approach to solutioning which the civil service seems to take. Ask any local businessman whether the Government has been sincere and serious about helping SMEs and it would be a cold day in hell to find one who can honestly give an unqualified yes. The fact is the Government has been half hearted about helping them all these years, focussing instead on the big boys, the MNCs out of sheer convenience to achieving economic outcomes. Likewise we hear anxieties from young Singaporeans about being discriminated in the work-place by foreign managers and businesses who prefer to recruit their own nationalities who of course don’t have to do NS reservist duties. We prosecute people who are racist. That should include the foreigner as much as a local.This is not an imagined thing and before it becomes a pervasive problem, the Government should do something about it. We should never allow a situation where citizens are second-class candidates for jobs in their own country.

    Time to look inwards and listen to the people and find solutions which put real life Singaporeans in the centre – directly. Governing by the abstraction of economic growth believing that somehow the growth will be distributed to address the day to day problems of Singapore citizens is stupid. The market and the profit motive ensures this will not happen. And worse it leads to a blindness and deafness that has made Singaporeans feel that the Government is out of touch, or worse, don’t care. Stop looking out to impress the world; the real people the Government needs to engage and impress are Singaporeans “
     
  2. enterprise2

    enterprise2 Alfrescian Old Timer

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    Best article I have read so far!
     
  3. depeche

    depeche Alfrescian Old Timer

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    It has taken 50 years of governing to reach these stage...the ruling party now has put its own interest first then the little people. In fact, they would now wanted the new people just to stay in power. They don't care about the little people whom now don't vote for them. Very sad tales for the nation.
     
  4. winnipegjets

    winnipegjets Alfrescian (Inf)

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    Pay decent wages for such jobs and only if sinkees don't want the jobs, then open them to foreigners. How much are these jobs paying? The foreigners are willing to take the jobs because they live frugally here and remit their pay back to their home countries.
    Sinkees had better get used to pay more ...they can opt not to eat at restaurants, go to the hawker centres.
    The problem is that the government encourages the use of foreign cheap labour. Shut the pipeline and let the market decide.

    Again, allow the wages of domestic help to rise. People should not be entitled to have domestic help. Wonder why Pinoy domestic help flock to the West after their stint in sinkapore? Because they are paid higher and treated well.

    Construction companies are using the cheapest method - use cheap foreign labourers - to build. More than a decade ago, there was no much publicity about innovation in the construction industries, like using prefab methods. What happened to those methods? The construction firms found no reason to spend on capital equipment or invest in new approaches because the government made it easy for them use cheap foreign labourers.

    Our housing problem can be easily resolved by not letting PRs buy resale flats and the government providing a subsidy to first time buyer to purchase resale flats.

    We don't need 1 million foreigners to help in an emergency!

    The presence of that many foreigners has diluted our society's values and make life more unbearable. We don't need 3.9 million foreigners to boost our population to 6.9 million. We don't need that many people. We need quality people, not quantity. If we earn high incomes, we can buy the services we need. To earn the high incomes, we need to produce high value products or services, not goods and services that fetch poor returns.

    The PAP has manufactured crisis when there isn't one. The first step is to close the gate and start sending foreigners home. SME should be forced to be more innovative and creative in methods and products. If they can't make it, they should die. There will be better ones born. That's creative destruction.
     
  5. Huatchye

    Huatchye Alfrescian Old Timer

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    WOW, I don't think I can agree with your measurements. I am no expert, but what you are suggesting is not what I have in mind. rising pay of domestic help isn't the issue.I have seen some of my friends who squeezed every bit of juice out of the poor maid to make their max their investment on the maid. Can Singaporean replace the job of a maid? Take the pride of telling their neighbors, my mother or father or sister is who and whose maid (in current social balance). Have you considered the social problem of disputes and misunderstanding arising from maid-owner relationships if it get complicated? at least if its a foreigner maid, you can sent them away to avoid a family break down, if its a local, the affected families will not be in peace. Not that I am judgmental, but Can you imagine if your son 16 or your father 70, falls in love (for whatever reason) with the maid clean the house and you can sent her away because MOM employment act.

    I studied oversea and have many friends who really loved Singapore for our character and openness. That I believed has developed a strong international reputation for Singaporean and many of the SMEs and mega businesses to do well. But I think the government should look into taking care of local needs based "what we are" and "who we are".

    Singapore is Uniquely a place of the world. All of our citizens have relatives and friends in Malaysia, Indonesia, China, India and many other states. It is inevitable that we will deal with these related "foreigners". Look at the Chinese clans and the Indian money traders, the international banks and companies that has already rooted themselves in Singapore. Saying that we kick them out is wrong. While I don't necessarily agree with All the PAP white paper, WP is also not sending the write signal. I was confident in of the alternate voice, but how can WP even think that Singaporean can replace all the foreigners and immigrant?
    I really hope for a better proposal that can focus on
    1. How can we have a better home with less traffic problems
    2. How can we assure a fair and better education follow by a decent job for our sons and daughter
    3. How can we be citizen of Singapore and enjoy the pride and honor of being one.
    4. How can we ensure that every person who dare call themselves Singaporean must do NS, rich to help poor, respect your neighbors, share our happy moments together.

    Let the leaders do their job, be it 6m people or 10m people I don't really care, and I am not in the know to care, But a promise is a promise and I hope which every policy is written, bring us there. Let the government do their job and take responsibility to bring us there.
     
  6. Huatchye

    Huatchye Alfrescian Old Timer

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    I agree with you. I think we little people must be heard. Government should put some effort to listen and not just think that they know what we want. Sometimes they are so wrong.

     

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