Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Friday January 25th 2019

26-year-old Jobless Malay PMET Fighting On


Believe it or not Gilbert,  I have being jobless for the past 18 months and did odd jobs here and there just to survive.

Abit more about my background here.

I am a Malay Singaporean and grew up in  a divorced family setting since the age of 13.

I feel for those youth who hailed from dysfunctional families as it is not easy living in one.

You hardly receive the warmth of a proper familial environment and you grew up feeling insecure and aimless.

It does affect your world view about society in general and you question whether you have a good future for yourself.

Academically, I did very very well in my secondary school  but my other three younger siblings fared badly.

I remembered all of us had to go to school without any pocket money and we struggled daily to stay on top of the situation.

I dropped out of Singapore Polytechnic midway as I could not afford the cost of transportation and food.

Since then, I felt lost and started to drift away.

There was no proper paternal guidance and all my siblings joined unsavoury gangs, sniffed glue and got themselves in lock up for some time.

I am fortunate not to have taken the similar path as them. There must be an angel guiding me from up above.

I worked as a cleaner, dishwasher, waiter just to feed my siblings. Maybe being the eldest brother, I felt responsible for taking care of them.

Employers who hired me empathsized that such a bright young boy who has potential is doing dishes and all the dirty job just to survive.

I was later called to serve my national duty and I cried as I am unsure how my siblings would survive without me.

I accumulated most of my NS pay so that I can pursue a further education in psychology. I also felt strongly that I can contribute back to society given my adverse family situation.

I did some ad hoc work over the next two years as a canteen vendor to support my private degree education. It was tough but I enjoyed the pursuit of a worthy goal and it drove me on.

Now, I am the only family member who has attained a degree – my mom cried at the graduation ceremony and was proud of me. It felt good and my self esteem lifted.

The current unemployment situation, nevertheless, has robbed away some of the regained confidence. Is it so difficult to get a job these days?

However, I felt that because of my background and unemployment situation, I can be of assistance to your organisation. Let me explain.

I am going to organise an event for the community either towards the last quarter of this year or early next year especially targeting those who are jobless and needing assistance.

I would also like you to be the guest of honour for the event.

I also like to use your website link ( or logos, if you have any) as my event sponsor in flyers, invitations and links for email marketing.

Do let me know how you feel about this venture.

Thanking you in advance.


Hussein (name changed)


Hi Hussein,

Thanks for your mail.

I empathsize with your current situation and understand the pain of unemployment having been there myself before.

However, after reading your mail, I felt that you are a survivor and will come out of your current situation a much stronger person.

Remember that there is always light at the end of the tunnel and never give up on yourself.

I can try to assist you here by emailing a few contacts since you have the psychology degree from Edith Cowan University. Thanks for emailing me a copy of your certificate. Well done!

Are you comfortable with a career in the social work setting? I will forward to some people that I know who are working in the volunteer welfare organisations. I will let you know once they have got back to me.

I thank you for the honour of being appointed as guest of honour in your mentioned event.

Do let me know how I can help you to forward your cause better.

Lastly, can I ask for your permission to post this mail on my site?

Take care and never give up. We are here for you.


Gilbert Goh

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7 Responses to “26-year-old Jobless Malay PMET Fighting On”

  1. sharky says:

    I hope the info. from helps, if you are interested in social work.

    It just unfortunate, short-sighted organisations in Singapore give low weightage to degrees earned on a part-time basis.

    Without knowing your true life-goals it would be harder for you to pin down the kind of career that you really want. For a start it is best to understand yourself first before you can start planning on the kind of career you wish to have. Or you will continue to be aimless in your career search.

  2. DanK says:

    Dear Hussein…

    You can make it with your positive thinking and character.

    Always remember…”There’s Always A Ray Of Light At The End Of The Long Dark Tunnel.”

  3. Denial Tan says:


    Sad to hear you story and you are not alone in this kind of situation.

    I was born in the 60′s and grew up in a dysfunctional family. I have 2 elder sisters and a younger brother. My father is a good for nothing drinker, gambler, womanizer who depends on his family to feed his vices.

    My mother is a selfish, cruel and stupid women who borrowed from loan sharks to feed his vices. Since young, we were haunted regularly by loan sharks and looked down by relatives, friends and neighbors.

    While my mum worked, we had to fend for ourselves at home most of the time in hunger. There was once when my father came home and saw that there was no food in the house and we the children were starving. He gave my eldest sister some money to buy a packet of chicken rice as his dinner only for himself. While he eats, we were watching in a corner with empty stomachs. I was about 4-5 yrs old that time. By the time I was 7 yrs old, I can cook, wash the clothes and do any house chores. This is not something that children nowadays would even had imagine.

    Very often, my father would come home late at night asking money from my mother and when money is very short she would vent her frustration on us and start to curse and beat us violently, I myself had been beaten till 14 yrs old until I fought back. To my mum, we are not her children but her slave for her to release her frustration at the slightest displeasure and to ‘repay’ her by working our guts out.

    Worst of all is our callous neighbors or my mum’s psychopathic friends, who like to complain to my mum for no reason and my mum will pull us out to be severely ‘punished’ to show these psychopaths that she knows how to discipline her children. She cannot lose ‘face’ and so she will hit harder in front of them. She would try to cane us on the back of the thigh and calves so the canning marks which sometime bleed is highly visible in shorts or skirts. She want us to be embarrassed when we goes to school. This started as far as I can remember and maybe as young as 4-5 years old. One of my sister was even made to kneel on cockerel shells as punishment when she ‘defy’ my mum. She was only about 5-6 years old that time.

    My eldest sister quit school during secondary 3 and my 2nd elder sister after PSLE to work to make money for the family as my mother’s loan shark debts were getting heavilier and heavilier by the years due to interests and my father never ending gambling habits. Anyway, my parents had always considered education wasteful and useless.

    My mum had even considered to forcing my sisters to work as dance hostess during their teens(which is as good as prostitutes) with the cruel suggestions from her shameless friends. Why she finally did not do so was maybe god’s pity on my sisters, but that was also the begining of years of slave driving for unlimited supply of money to satisfy her spendthrift habits. She had keep mentioning about her ‘kindness’ for not pushing my sisters into prostitution and so my sisters are forever ‘indebted’ to repay her. My sisters had to hold 2 to 3 jobs to finance her and my father debts.

    For me, slavery starts at about 16. I was fortunate to be able to continue school but had to work part-time to supplement the family. The worst was when I was about 17 years old. I had to wake up morning 6am to get ready to go to school. After school at about 3pm, I had to rush to Shangri-la hotel to work part-time till 11.30pm. After packing up I will take company transport and reaches home 2am. I would then continue my homework and wash my uniform. I still have to withstand vulgar verbal abuse from my mum during that time. So sleep at about 3 to 3.30am and start the next day cycle again. Weekends are working full day in the hotel and almost never had the chance to go anywhere. I had to pay for all my food and other expenses, school tuition fees and contribute all balance money(about $150-200/per month in the 80′s) to my mum.

    My younger brother is the most fortunate who had almost never experience what we had gone through and he is the only child that my mum truly loves.

    Throughout the years, my parents had squandered hundreds of thousands of our hard earned money. My father had his gambling habits while my mother had her ‘free loan giving’ habits to her unscrupulous, shameless, butt sucking friends. Easily 2 – 3 hundreds of thousand had been freely given to these scums.

    My self esteem was low when young and due to the physical abuse(till 14 years old) and later more severe psychological and verbal abuse from my mum, I had a mental break down when I was 27 years old. I left home and stayed away for more than 10 years.

    I had only started to recover when I was about late thirties and my confidence started to return about early forties. I even start to wondered now if I had any confidences in the early part of my life.

    I had considered myself lucky that I did not become a delinquent and even had the chance to slowly recover from my mental illness.

    Throughout my childhood and some part of my adulthood, I have live constantly in fear, shame and low esteem and everyday to me is like survival in the jungle all alone.

    After all these years I have never understand what it feels like to be happy and in love. These are strange words to me and even now, I had never been sleeping soundly. During my national service days, when my C.O. said that it is our duty to fight for our country and family, I honestly felt I had nothing worth fighting for. There is no place or anybody for me to return to if I goes to war.

    This is the first time I had written the account of my life and I must admit that I would not have done so if I am not behind a pseudo. I am even doubtful if anybody believe this story, but I am sure that such is a common story in many parts of Asia.

    I must thank Hussein who had inspired me to finally mustered enough courage to write this.

  4. [...] If you're new here, you may want to sign my online petition Employ Singaporeans First!. Thanks for visiting!Denial Tan Submitted on 2010/06/22 at 5:50am (comment) [...]

  5. NS for Singaporeans, Jobs for Foreigners! says:

    Hey Hussein,

    Don’t worry too much, you still young la.

    A friend of mind also graduated from an Aussie Uni with a degree in psychology.

    When he came back to Singapore, he started out with one of the Self-Help groups. He was Indian so he got a counselling job at SINDA.

    I suggest you try MENDAKI and see if they have any positions available. It will be a good start. According to my friend, there are loads of counselling cases done by self-help groups in Singapore.

  6. Fadil says:


    Keep up the good work bro! It must have been a nightmare having to live in a broken home. I must congratulate you on overcoming the odds and gain recognition as a graduate, part time or not.

  7. DC says:

    Hi Hussein,

    Nice to know someone like you in my similar case but mine is not the case with divorced parent but parent are intact.
    Is a long story and i managed to keep out of it and by the way, i am not academically attain as you imagined, i am just an ordinary guy but left Singapore long time ago and did something different for myself as a going say,”A problem is a chance for you to do your best”

    Too bad i read your article only now and i want to see how can i help to forward your cause better like what Gilbert said.


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