The Problem with the 5 Major Facts Article

If you haven’t already read it, here‘s the article.

1) Population Control A.K.A. “Why are there so many foreigners in Singapore?”

The writer made many valid arguments here, and I agree with the lot of them but there are still some points which I feel are not presented very accurately. It is important to see that not everyone complaining about the number of foreigners dislike foreigners. I think one of the bigger problems is not about having foreigners in Singapore but having too many people in Singapore regardless of the nationality or country of birth. Sure, there are people who have issues with our country having close to half the population foreigners, but there are also a lot of people who oppose the population white paper not because of the impending influx of foreigners but because it is ridiculous to have 6.9 million people on such a small piece of land.

Like the writer mentioned, it is necessary to have foreigners who are willing to take up jobs that locals shy away from. However, I take issue with his following comment:

And yet certain, [sic] bad-mouthing Singaporeans still complain that they get bad service from foreign workers. The notion here is, “If you think you can do a better job than them, go ahead and do it instead of complaining”

I strongly disagree with the above opinion. Just because no one else wants to do the job, doesn’t mean it is alright to do it poorly. If you want to be in the service industry, you should offer good service regardless of your nationality. By accommodating poor service just because the staff is of foreign descent, is discriminating against your own people. Discrimination is not acceptable whether it’s against foreigners or locals. By his argument, you should also not complain if your house collapses on you because “if you think you can do a better job than them, go ahead and do it instead of complaining.”

2) Treating the CPF system like it is a complete scam

As much as this is embarrassing for me, I have to admit that I do not know enough about the CPF system to make comments on it. However, regarding the high income taxes “in other First-World countries,” the writer failed to mention that many of these countries with income tax above 40% have extraordinarily high social security (i.e. free education or medical care or both). If you think about it, our biggest expenses in life are education and medical care. Why else do insurance coverage focus on these?

3) Complaining about Real Estate and Car Prices

The COE system is put in place so that people with higher status, eg. businessmen, professionals, managers, politicians who have a bigger need for cars can afford the $70,000 to travel around.

I’m appalled at the short-sightedness of the above comment. Not everyone who has “a bigger need for cars” are “people with higher status.” My dad is a fishmonger. Without a lorry, he can’t transport his fish from the Senoko fish market to sell at the wet market. He needs it for his livelihood. Last year, he had to scrap his old lorry which was 10 years old and get a new one because of some policy I do not understand. Now, he is in another huge debt from the vehicle loan on top of our housing loan. He is not a “[person] with higher status” but he definitely “[has] a bigger need for cars.”

Japan’s real estate prices is [sic.] almost similar.

I definitely have to debate this point on Japan’s real estate prices being similar.Tokyo’s real estate prices are almost similar. Not Japan. At SGD$200,000 I can get a bungalow and own the land in the countryside areas of Japan.

4) Difficulty of finding employment, even with a degree

Perhaps I have been too disconnected with the local students, but I have never heard a single person say they want to be a manager in reply to “what do you want to be when you graduate?” That would be a surprisingly immature reply.

Working as an employer’s assistance, I have posted out job listings calling for receptionists and customer service executives needed for SMEs. The pay given was $2,200, which includes potential commission if sales deals are closed over the counter. I specifically stated that the education level required was not necessary, as long as the applicant knows how to speak fluent English and their natural mother tongue.

Correct me if I’m wrong but some many years ago, I spoke with some HR personnel who shared with me that in any job opening, if you see that there is no educational requirement, it means that there is not much career growth planned in that position. Besides, if university graduates are to go grab jobs where there is no requirement on educational level, where does that leave those who do not have the privilege to tertiary education? Graduates would be filling up spots that are open to everyone, leaving no one to fill the spots that require graduates, and leaving no jobs for those who do not have a university degree. I think it is only right that graduates go for jobs that look for graduates. This is how society works in mutual collaboration.

* Side note: Singaporeans should stop using the word “executive” for entry-level positions

5) No explanation needed

I fully agree with the writer that we should all appreciate the incredible growth Singapore has shown through the past 40-odd years. I am very thankful to be born in this country and grateful for what our predecessors have done, but again, “it’s time to do some self-reflection of whether you can do a better job in their shoes” is a very weak argument, if it is even considered one.

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