Editor’s Note: Some of you have asked if we should boycott Hans Cafe – what do you think? Please pen your comments below so that we have a sense of how you felt about the whole incident. We also want to assure our foreign workers that we are not against you – you are here simply to make a living. However, we are against our indiscriminating employers exploiting all the work permit passes to bring in more foreigners at the expense of local workers and also mainly our government for allowing so many foreigners to take up jobs here without proper check and balances. Singaporeans, this is the time to stand up for yourselves or else nobody will do it for you!
I chanced upon your article “Why many Singaporeans are irked by LKY’s remarks on foreign talent“.
In your article, you mentioned about the number of foreign workers Han’s cafe hire. Coincidentally, I was working as a supervisor at Han’s cafe but have just quitted from the job yesterday.
Let me explained why.
For starter, let me introduce myself, I’m Fabian and recently graduated from NUS.
I’m not the typical lazy and good-life graduate that many of our leaders and ministers think we are,
I am interested in the F&B industry and decided to give it a shot by working in Hans cafe.
However, upon joining Hans, I realised that I was being marginalised in the company.
Up to 90% of the staff in the kitchen are from other nationalities, be it China, Malaysia,Myanmar or Philippines and even if there are workers from Singapore, they are all aunties who have worked in the company for many years.
Every single day of my job, I was being marginalised and bullied by the workers in the café - they were rude and treated me like an outsider and many inside the cafe were also not happy that I was made a supervisor even though they have worked in the company longer than I am.
I did not make any noise until my last day yesterday when I resigned as I felt I had enough.
The rude Malaysian cooks even challenged me to a fight on my last day.
My manager told me that it was my fault as I did not try to blend in with them!
What a joke – we local workers have to try and blend in with foreign staff?!
I was adamant that it was not my fault. I tried my best to be friendly while at work and didn’t offend or said anything rude to anyone during my time there but the people inside did not bother to warm up to me and were trying all ways to make things difficult for me.
I felt very disappointed that being a Singaporean, I was marginalised and discriminated in my own country.
I started work on the 26 of October and I got my first pay check on the 1st of November.
Gilbert: reader has contacted me later saying that he started the job on 26 Sep and not 26 Oct and apologised for the error.
Since I left on the 4th November under a cloud, the company did not make contact to give me my 3-day pay in lieu.
I was wondering if you Gilbert could help me to write in to the relevant authorities to inform them about my situation and also to make a report against Han’s cafe for making me work overtime without pay as I understand that Singaporeans are protected by a 8-hour workday law.
I also suspected that Han’s Café has not been following the quota on the hiring of foreign workers.
Your article has given me hope that there are many Singaporeans who are willing to stand up against the authorities and fight for injustice for Singaporeans like me who have little say in our own country.
First of all. thanks for writing in and sorry to hear about your work predicament.
I have also received a few more other letters complaining about the same thing as you.
Singaporeans have being marginalised and bullied at the work places as they are the minorities working there.
Frankly speaking, I can only publicised your story on my blog if you are brave enough and cant do much in terms of legalities.
Nevertheless, I have also place James, our volunteer lawyer, on the cc email list, asking if he can assist you by providing you with some legal advice on your case.
You can also bring your case to MOM and they will take it up if you have a viable contract and if it concerns primarily pay issue.
You have stated that they don’t pay you over time for making you work beyond the 8-hour stipulated working day but do you know that if you are an executive you don’t get over time pay?
Lastly, my advice for you personally is to move on after going through all the options of fighting for your rights.
After all, we don’t have proper labour legislation here and our workers are being subjected to improper working conditions.
Let me know if you are keen to allow me post your story on my blog so that Singaporeans will know what kind of employer Hans Cafe is.
I am amazed at the huge number of foreigners they can employ under the S Pass category. 90% is a large percentage of foreign workers on their payroll.
I will be forwarding this article to Hans management for their comment.
If you want to see my volunteer coaches do let me know and I can arrange one for you.
Its free of charge.
Take care and stay strong.
We are here for you and will never let you walk alone.
Thanks & Warmest Regards,
PS: If you face similar marginalisation plight at your work places, do email me your story at firstname.lastname@example.org. All articles can be posted anonymously and Singapore needs to know - Gilbert.