Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Saturday June 24th 2017

Nicholas: “The truth behind my Han’s Cafe dismissal”

Transitioning: Thanks for allowing us Nicholas to interview you with regard to your work place dispute  at Han’s Café. How has the dispute panned out between you and the employer?

Nicholas: With regard to the dispute, Hans café has sent a letter to me informing me that I have been dismissed for inciting a fight among my colleagues and they would credit my remaining salary to my account. They sent me the dismissal letter despite the fact that I was the one who resigned on my last day there.

Transitioning: Your work place incident  article has drawn massive interest from Singaporeans – to date it has crossed the 10, 000-view mark, are you surprised to see such immense support from the netizens here and why?

Nicholas: It was not my intention to gain attention or support from anyone. It started with my email to Gilbert Goh relaying my story asking for help on how to resolve the issue and soon after the article was posted up and some of my friends posted in on other sites like The Online Citizen and that was when it went viral. I am not surprised by the amount of interest it has generated as all along local vs foreign talent issues have been very prevalent in recent years. The social media is a platform for many to express their views on matters that irked the public but as I said it was not my intention to gain attention hence I did not read about the comments or bothered to even reply to any as you can see.

Transitioning: In the article, you have mentioned that there was a confrontation between you and the Malaysian cooks before you threw in the towel, what actually happened there?

Nicholas: It was actually my last day of work at Hans Café (Upper Thomson) as I have submitted my resignation letter earlier.

I have to serve the one-day notice and  decided to put on a positive attitude and end my work there without any trouble. However it seems the workers there are not willing to let me go that easily. The first incident happened when one of the customers ordered noodles without pork, after the food was  done, I was supposed to serve the dish but wasn’t sure whether there is pork in it.

So I asked the Malaysian cook  nicely whether  that is the dish and he replied rudely: “See for yourself lah, cannot see is it!”

I decided to keep quiet about the incident so as not to create a scene on my last day of work.

I was already very upset and angry when   the Hans bosses came to buy a chicken pie from me and insisted on paying for it. I collected the money courteously from him and he took the pie away.

Just then, a PRC manager beside me came up  and said: “ You know who he is? He is the boss! Why didn’t you give him a discount?” in a curt tone.

That was when I blew my top and went to the back alley where I ran into this Malaysian cook again who was smoking there and he said that I was inefficient in my work.

During that heated moment, I almost came to blow with him but  were pulled back by other colleagues.

Honestly, I have no issues against foreign workers –  it just happens that the cooks there are Malaysians. Even if they are Singaporeans, I would have confronted them the same way I did as they were tactless and do not take others’ feelings into consideration.

I would say it was more of the experienced vs the inexperienced and the experienced workers will tend to form a clique and make things difficult for the newer ones especially so as I am a new supervisor and they are unhappy about me being ahead of them.

Transitioning: Many comments have also complained that you have quitted too soon from your job  – do you think that they are right to say so?

Nicholas: They do not have the right to say so as I felt that the job has no meaning for me anymore as there wasn’t much for me to learn. I felt that I have quitted at the right time.

Transitioning: Comments have also came in saying that generally Singaporeans graduates are soft and prefer cushy jobs, what is your view on this?

I mentioned in my earlier article that I was a NUS graduate but did not explain why I took on the job. I took on the job because I was genuinely interested in the food business. I could have took on other high paying jobs like my friends. During my time at Hans, I did not ask for the supervisor post neither did I mentioned to anyone that I was a graduate except for the person who interviewed me.

Somehow word spread  that I was a graduate and I knew it would be detrimental to me as the workers would look down on me and tried all ways to make me quit.

Promises by my manager that I would learn to cook were also not kept and all I did there was handling customer complaints, cashiering and washing dishes.

I quitted as I felt there was nothing more I can learn from the job and decided to move on.

My mum could cook better anyway and I was better learning off from her and we are going to rent our own stall selling our own dishes in the near future.

Comment about me being soft was ridiculous as I would not take on this job in the first place if I know I cannot take hardship. It was not the hard work that made me quit, it was the  workplace politics  which I could not  tolerate.

Transitioning: What future issues do you foresee if the government do not close down on our floodgate of hiring more foreigners in the work place?

Nicholas: As I mentioned earlier, I did not have a problem with foreigners and it just happened that the ones who got into trouble with me are foreign workers. As a matter of fact, I got along well with most of them except for a few troublemakers. Of course, the work place would be better for me if the workers are all locals as we would have common topics to talk about and same shared culture making it easier for assimilation but unfortunately in the F&B line, no locals would take the job as the pay is too low and working hours are too long which is perfectly normal.

Who would want to take a 1k pay job and work for 10 hours everyday? It not a matter of “cannot take hardship” or “soft”, it is practical reasoning that nobody inSingaporewould do such job.

Transitioning: What do you think that the government can do to encourage employers to hire more locals to work in shunned industry like the F & B sector?

Nicholas: Working hours are long and pay is low in the F&B line and it makes perfect sense why no locals would do the job and it is definitely not because we cannot take hardship, no work is easy in this world  even if you are in the finance industry or other big earning jobs.

The government seem to do nothing about the situation and continue to hire cheap foreign workers to fill our places. They could have done something about it, like implementing the minimum wage system. In countries likeAustralia, for example, even their cleaners can earn $3000 a month and that is after tax!

The government can give all kind of excuses like minimum wage will scare investors away and the economy will eventually  collapse. I don’t see countries likeAustraliaor other countries with minimum wage law collapsing.  I don’t see what our government is paranoid about, all they want is for their investors to make big money, contributing to our GDP and hence expanding their own pockets, they have no interest of the people at heart.

So many families are earning barely enough to survive and nothing is being done to help them and they blame us for not having enough children when cost of living keeps increasing while our wages remain stagnant!

Transitioning: You mention that you have nowhere to turn to for arbitration when there is a work place dispute, what do you want to see improved here? Will having more unions supporting workers’ rights help?

Nicholas: Our unions are useless, they are all controlled by the government and workers’ union are not controlled by workers nor do they have workers interest at heart. There is no point approaching any unions about it. It is not like in other countries whereby every dispute can lead to protest and unions will then come out with better policies for the workers. InSingapore, there is no place to voice out unhappiness, we just go about doing our jobs blindly without asking questions.

Transitioning: What is your plan for yourself after quitting Han’s – do you also foresee that you will return to the F & B industry in the near future when the dust has settled? Will you now work for the government sector as encouraged by many who commented on your article?

Nicholas: As I mentioned earlier,  I would be operating my own food stall as I love cooking. Working for the government has never been my option as suggested by many commenting on the article.

Transitioning: Lastly, as a local graduate, are you optimistic about your future inSingaporeand the opportunities that our country has provided?

Nicholas: I do not believe in what the government is telling us. They are telling us every few months that  20,000 jobs are being  created.

But what kind of jobs are these?

They didn’t mention.

I have many friends who are graduates and they are still jobless, sitting  at home and rejected in many job interviews.

Our government lies, our jobs are given to foreigners and unemployment figures are manipulated.

I doubt our unemployment rate is that low and I have no confidence in our government to make things better for local Singaporeans. Nothing irks me more than the pro-foreigner policy that our government adopts.

Money earns by the government is not reinvested into the country but  instead they are used to attract foreigners, even those with dubious qualifications, toSingapore.

Locals students have to take large bank loans to finance their education while scholarships are given out to foreign students using taxpayers money and all they have to do is work 3 years in Singapore. Is this the Singaporean Dream that we talk about a lot in the past?

It is the only country in the world that I know whereby the  foreigners benefit more than locals in many ways.

This is disappointing and I am disappointed with the government.

End of interview and thank you.

Number of View: 8308

Reader Feedback

25 Responses to “Nicholas: “The truth behind my Han’s Cafe dismissal””

  1. James says:

    Hey just FYI – the past tense of quit is not quitted.
    It’s quit.

  2. abc says:

    Pick up as much cooking skills as you can from your parents, and relatives too. Most of the new generation now cannot cook to save their ass. Start small and watch your costs. Later, you may even try to scout out and get contacts from the scene in Oz, Canada and other places with high concentration of Asians (if you’re specialising in Asian food). Who knows … those overseas countries may offer better opportunities for you and family in the future — especially for your children if you intend to have.

  3. Can empathize with you says:

    I can empathize with your plight. Many local graduates past and present find it tough to get that first job. I think many employers also discriminate against inexperience people. Newcomers also tend to be bullied by their seniors as they tend to gang up against you.

    Education qualifications seem not to matter anymore once you start working in society. It seems that people who are lucky to be liked and cherished by their bosses are very rare nowadays. With the maddening pace that our society is going, we are actually a society of walking corpses. We seem to go through life’s motions just for the sake of 3 meals a day. I was surprised that even the most loyal employees in a company would tell me that they got nowhere to go given their age, thus they are stuck there for the sake of their children’s future.

    Many jobs are monotonous year in year out. Many employees are doing the same boring job daily unless one can afford to retire comfortably. We are like robots taking commands from the superiors. Nobody would really care about your feelings. You just have to tolerate and don’t quarrel with your colleagues even if they wronged you. If you pick a fight with your enemy, you have to go to jail, not him.

    You have to put a brave front even when serving notice. I just did what I need to do while serving notice after resigning. It was a struggle to resign even if the salary was low given the high living costs and competition from FTs.

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  5. What Cant You Just Put Up With It Since Its Your Last Day There? says:

    Hi Fabian,

    Your case is a just a tip of the iceberg. And i can tell the manner you handled the situation was a little immature. You seem to have very poor anger management skills.

    The fact that you only need to serve a one day’s notice is already a very fortunate thing. Do you know that most workers in your situation will need to serve at least a month in advance? Imagine already detesting the job and still have to continue to tolerate the agony for a full month before they can leave?

    Furthermore that was already your last day, I dont understand why you couldnt just take things lying down for just a few more hours and leave Hans on an amicable note. The reason you flared up and almost came to blows with your colleagues was very much uncalled for as well. Just because someone told you off why did you take money from the boss, you have to flare up because of that? Why cant you simply explain that the boss insisted to pay for the chicken pie? If you have done that, then problem solved !!

    If you were smart, you can come back to the same place as a customer’s terms and make living hell for your ex-colleagues. Theres no point stooping down to their level and quarell with those foreigner boors. Its not worth it. They have nothing to lose .. but you do !!

  6. Fab says:

    sorry im not as smart as you

  7. What Cant You Just Put Up With It Since Its Your Last Day There? says:

    That I definitely concur. You lack a lot of street smart.

    Look at the ruckus you created that allowed Hans to reverse the arrow in your direction. They can claim you were terminated because of inappropriate conduct. Yes, terminated.

    Even though you have resigned and that was your last day, you were still under Hans employment and they could still terminate you on the spot. Thats pretty dumb on your part.

    • admin says:

      Hi

      I guess thats a very acidic comment but I will leave it as it is.

      Its always easier to sit on the fence and criticise Fabian who was on the firing line on that day.

      Will you do better under the circumstances?

      You won’t know unless you are in the sme shoe fighting the same battle as him.

      By the way, just out of curioisty, are you a foreigner or local?

      I won’t tolerate any foolish comment from you anymore though – two is enough.

      Gilbert Goh

  8. BeaTle says:

    I find it a very curious coincidence that both the interviewer and interviewee got the past tense of ‘quit’ wrong.

    I also find the xenophobic overtones of this website very strong and the interviewer further eggs the interviewees on to express such sentiments.

    As for Fabian, from his two interviews thus far, he sounds like a hot-headed brat with low EQ, overbearing in nature and behaves as if others need to accommodate him or that the world owes him a living.

    Reading the lines, I can see that his storyline is pretty slanted and he has left out much details not to his advantage. I challenge transition.org to interview his ex-colleagues to obtain a balanced picture.

    Otherwise, this is nothing but a brat’s tale. Nothing more.

    • admin says:

      Hi BeaTle,

      Thanks for pointing out the error to us – I appreciate it and its my oversight.

      Transitioning.org is a site set up mainly for Singaporeans to voice out their frustration amidst a government’s system that continues to churn out policies that favour our foreign talents at the expense of our own local epople.

      Can I also ask if you can state your nationality for my knowledge so that I know where you are coming from?

      Thanks for visiting our site.

      Gilbert Goh

  9. Stop Being Biased says:

    Gilbert,

    What cant you and Beatle did not make any mistakes with their comment. And there is certainly a little more over-siding towards Fabian on your part.

    You said: “Will you do better under the circumstances?

    You won’t know unless you are in the sme shoe fighting the same battle as him.”

    However, based on the scenario as described, Fabian flared up when he got blamed for not taking money from the Hans boss. Though this will feel bad and sour for everybody else, there just isnt enough provocation for a rational person just to blow their top like that and almost get into a fight with his colleagues. Nothing justifies violence. Unless you want to dispute otherwise.

    It is apparent that Fabian had a short fuse to begin with. “What cant you” cannot be more correct that Fabian doesnt know how to manage his temper. Especially since if that would be his last day, most likely a person on his last day at his workplace would feel very relaxed and carefree. Yet Fabian is on exact opposite of the highway.

    Why blow over your top over such a small issue when you are about to leave in just a few hours? Whats the point and the worth getting into a fight with your colleagues when it is already your last day there? What do you prove by doing so? I REST MY CASE !!

    And i think its wrong for you to ask pple what nationalities are they. Are you implying so long a person is not Singaporean, they are offering biased comments here? Now isnt this already a little discriminative on your part?

    I personally believe so long as something is right and logical, everybody is entitled to provide any unbiased comment and whether anybody wants to disclose their nationality or remain anonymous is completely up to them.

    Please be just and treat everybody fair with the respect that you wanna be treated also.

    Thank you.

    • admin says:

      Hi Stop Being Biased

      Thanks for your comment.

      Like it or not, Singaporeans are getting edgy because of the huge influx of foreigners on our shore.

      We are now left to compete for jobs with foreigners on our own as our government has done little to take care of its’ own citizens. Employers have all kinds of easy-to-get work permits so that they can hire foreign workers on the cheap.

      Many also pay CPF contribution to local phantom workers so that they can have the quota to increase their headcount for foreign workers.

      Singaporeans are by nature peace loving and gentle – we don’t go to the streets to protest and smash stuff when we are unhappy with certain polices here.

      How would you feel if your own country (I presume that you are a foreigner working here) is invaded by foreigners on a open-door policy competing with you for all kinds of jobs possible?

      We don’t need our government to protect jobs for our own people but we need them to have a better check system so that the proper real foreign talents are working alongside us.

      Fabian is just someone who chose to work in the tough F & B industry and he is brave enough to let us post his story here – using his REAL name.

      You can’t even provide us with your nationality – I dont even want to ask for your real name here.

      We are not against foreigners but we want you guys to respect us for who we are and that you should be thankful the current regime is so lax in allowing foreigners to work here.

      Come and make money on our soil but do not criticise us anyhow.

      Jobs are given to foreigners on a platter now.

      It will not be the case in five years’ time…

      Gilbert Goh

      • Stop Being Biased says:

        Gilbert,

        Nobody is disputing the issue about the lax policy on foreigners.

        But you constantly fail to get the big picture that the case here. You fail to understand the crux of this issue is about Fabian’s inability to cope with work politics. He himself mentioned, and I quote:

        “As I mentioned earlier, I did not have a problem with foreigners and it just happened that the ones who got into trouble with me are foreign workers”

        Also, he said:

        “It was not the hard work that made me quit, it was the workplace politics which I could not tolerate.”

        • Stop Being Biased says:

          So, this is purely a workplace politics issue.

          I think it isnt fair for you to bring the influx of foreigners argument in here when obviously it does not apply for this instance.

          What you provided were very biased comments and putting all the blame to foreigners. Please retract some of your statements made.

          I said it is wrong for you to keep challenging people who do not agree with you to identify what nationality are they. Well I am a Singaporean.

          But that doesnt mean I would blindly defend my countrymen. I am offended by your taunting because it seems that you are implying those who do not agree with you simply are not Singaporeans.

  10. Your Opinion doesnt Matter says:

    Hi Gilbert,

    these 2 trolls must be Hans staff..dont bother about their childish comments

  11. I believe you, fabian says:

    Dear Fabian,
    I totally empathise with you. I have several malaysian colleagues. They are not really interested in contributing but more interested in learning as much as possible so that they are well prepared for their next job. To make it worse some of them were on scholarships. I had also thought of throwing in the towel many times but I tolerated. They are new so I had to teach them the simplest things. Just because they are cheaper it doesn’t mean they are value for money. The issue is when are the employers and the govt going to wake up? Surely the situation is like a pressure cooker and one day it will explode?

  12. So What is the Point? says:

    Haha, the thread topic “Supervisor at Hans Cafe resigned due to marginalisation by foreign staff ” was wrong in the start.

    Was Fabian discriminated in anyway? Nope.

    Did the Govt not do their part in ensuring Sporeans get F&B jobs? Nope.

    Dear Fab resigned because he cannot take the work politics inside. PERIOD.

    Its not due to prejudice or discrimination / favoritism to Singaporeans / Foreigners. Work politics will happen regardless where-ever you work at !!

    He join in despite knowing it’ll be tough in there, So he did.

    He wanted to resign from his post, and he did.

    He wanted to get his pay 3 days in lieu, which he did !!

    He got all that he wanted and after that he is still complaining !!

    If that does not make him a spoilt brat, i duno what does.

    Does anybody here owe this fella a living and need to spoon feed him?

    • Cherie says:

      Speaking up against social issues does not make anyone a spoilt brat. Are we to simply keep quiet about these prevalent issues that we cannot see in Singapore? How will we progress as a nation if these issues are not addressed and brought up?

      No one has to be a victim workforce bullying (without including other factors such as local/foreign workers), which is what Fabian had gone through. Being quiet and ‘sucking it up’ doesn’t make him brave and smart—there is simply nothing to gain for him, or anyone, regardless of background, education level and so on. It isn’t complaining, its speaking up for yourself and standing up for your own rights. Treating these valid issues as though they do not exist does nothing, except for making you sleep a little better at night by pretending they are not there.

      Just because he got a little of what he rightfully deserved as an employee of Han’s such as immediate resignation and etc., does not make him a spoilt brat. Those are his rights, and he should not be denied it. Just because he had his rights does not downplay what he has suffered or had gone through.

      We do not have to be denied of all our rights to make us a victim.

      Not to mention that, Han’s company motto is centered on a Caring culture. The company itself employs persons with disabilities, mature workers, ex-offenders from yellow ribbon and also employs people from over 10 countries. The workforce make up of persons with disabilities itself already adds up to 10% of their workforce as of 2012.

      I believe that Han’s steep decline in service and products did not go unnoticed by its consumers. With a workplace environment like this, I can barely imagine what other less fortunate and less privileged workers are in fact suffering through—in silence, because they do not have a choice. If they quit, they may lose their job forever and their only livelihood.

      If a company is no longer loyal to itself, I don’t think that speaking up against that is wrong, or makes anyone a spoilt child who wants to be spoonfed, or in fact, any issues that underscore the make up of our society.

      Yes, Fabian may have failed as a supervisor, but he was never there to be a supervisor in the first place. He could have quit right away since that was not what he signed up for, but he stayed in the hopes that the company would keep its word, even though he wasn’t learning anything he wanted to learn, and he didn’t want to be there at all.

      Perhaps the article may have been blowing up the foreign vs local issue a little, but this problem does in fact exist in Singapore.

      If you do not wish to speak up for your rights, feel free not to. That is your choice. But that does not make you a hero, or a good worker. That makes you a stupid citizen who so easily forgo your own rights in lieu of conflict. But that is your choice. Do not actively deny other people’s rights in speaking up for themselves, or by demeaning them and their value as a human, and a citizen of this country.

      There is much that Singapore has to do to better prepare herself for the future.

      Our responsibilities as citizens aren’t to simply sit back and to pretend that nothing is going on and ignoring the elephant in the room. That is complacency and ignorance.

      Maybe Fabian isn’t completely in the right. But neither are the foreign workers employed. Instead of having an argument and picking whose side to choose and fighting about whether or not Fabian was really marginalized, why can’t we all be more subjective to view the bigger issue here?

  13. the point is... says:

    Bloody malaysian are talking thrash even on websites for Singaporeans. Fabian is a Singaporean and does not need to be marginalise like chinese in mudland.

  14. Hum Yee says:

    This a such garbage. If that young man can’t compete against a low educated FT, and that’s the FT’s fault.

    Why? Malaysian can’t come to this website?

    F*&k you sinkies.

  15. Ah B says:

    I worked with Malaysian Chinese before and they are very sneaky people. Well, that is their way of surviving. We Singaporeans are simple too kind

  16. Cheapskates says:

    Worked with some of foreigners. Normally quite lazy. This don’t know, that cannot do. Like to create politics. Certs from unrecognised universities. ie not commonwealth unis.

    Boss still prefer them becos they are cheap. If boss can make you work for free, they will call you a genius! The one I chatted with walks home after work to save on transport. So the pay must be quite low. Cheapskates.

  17. Just Sayin' says:

    I find it hard to believe that you are a graduate from NUS. You sound so incredibly self-centered and immature

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