Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Tuesday January 22nd 2019

Are our government aid agencies all useless and ineffective?

Dear Gilbert
I have been reading occasionally the posts on Transitioning and I stopped my work midway to write this email.
It saddens me everytime I read articles of individuals being abused in the workplace and with no one to turn to, they actually come to you.
Given that you run Transitioning on a volunteer basis, it is a clear sign of institutional failure that the governmental bodies do not have an effective avenue for the helpless or jobless to turn to.
With the amount of manpower and resources they have, it makes me wonder where did all the tax payers’ money went and what are they doing everyday?
It is also no less deplorable that in most of the articles, the relevant authorities are seen to be referring to some legislation to systematically discharge themselves of any responsibility.
Without you documenting some of these stories, foreigners might really think of Singapore as having world class “Tripartite Relations”.
Hence,  I hope you can document these stories, together with part of their NRIC numbers and contact info to make your cases real enough for more to pay attention to.
And to broaden your network, do consider recruiting and mentoring other social workers who can extend your good work.
You should have the ability to “Scale up your Work” and broaden your outreach in the process.
I strongly believe that the government and affiliated institutions such as PA, E2I and NTUC should be doing what you are doing right now.
Everytime I drive past Havelock road and into the city, I pass by PA and NTUC.
With their posh buildings located in the heart of the city, I wonder if they are really serving the needs of our workforce?
Most ironically, the only time when we see them are when they are plying the streets for new membership card sign-ups that offers mostly retail perks.
These efforts are next to useless for  the desperate and out of job individual.
Could these membership card sign-ups be a desperate means to shore-up their membership figures?
In a society that is increasingly disillusioned by the ignorance and irresponsibility of these high-and-mighty institutions, they will need new creative measures to produce superficial numerical results.
We all know what these memberships are really about. The wayang should stop or rather the real action should start.
It is frightening to think of PA and NTUC in the same league as SMRT where lured by the lucrative retail sector, management failed to address their core business, which is serving the social transport needs of Singapore.
So how then can these institutions become more relevant to society and reclaim their purpose?
While I’m no genius nor a social entrepreneur, perhaps, I feel that the management of these institutions could consider:-
1) Review their purpose – What their real goals should be and to align themselves accordingly.
2) Setting up a compassionate fund – where the out-of-job individual can seek short-term financial help and in the process, gets identified for career coaching, emotional support and professional counselling. Perhaps the President’s charity fund can help out.
3) Setting up of a Hotline Рwhere trained counselors can deliver emotional support for callers who wish to remain anonymous.
4) Unemployment Insurance – Nothing beats a sustainable financial backup plan. Perhaps NTUC Income or even CPF should offer this.
5) Funding for VWOs focusing on the “Unemployed Sector” — for people like Gilbert yourself.
6) Inter-ministerial cooperation Рwhere the unemployed can be accessed collectively by representatives of  HDB, SP Power, IRAS, Town Councils, CDCs, LTA etc to provide temporary financial relief without the need for the individual to approach them one by one.
In Singapore where competition and meritocracy is advocated, it places more importance to uphold Resilience, Perseverance and Social Support to enable our workers to rise up time and again from failure, to survive and thrive.
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Reader Feedback

20 Responses to “Are our government aid agencies all useless and ineffective?”

  1. sgcynic says:

    Agree that we know more on the priviledges of the NTUC link card and the PA PAssion card then our rights and responsibilities as workers and citizens of this country.

  2. David says:

    I strongly agree that our government should do something for the unemployed!

  3. J Y says:

    An insightful article!

    With regards to 3), I think some desperate people will call SOS hotline. Whether it is useful will depend on individuals. Some counsellors answering such calls may just tell you to be positive. They will not take sides without knowing the full picture. They can at most provide you with a listening ear, but after putting down the phone, you are still left to solve the problem yourself. The truth is that many problems have no solution at all. We live in an imperfect world.

    To add to the above list:

    7) Have “penalties” for errant employers/ colleagues. The problem is that it is very hard to prove that they really “bullied or exploited vulnerable employees”. It is also hard to measure “emotional hurt caused as a result of it”. Owed salary, at least can be traced by bank statements.

  4. Anon says:

    Harr?? Now then you know PA, NTUC and all those wayang aid agencies are useless??

    Not just these aid agencies, but also those ministries, stat boards, senior civil servants, and most of all those ministers and PM and president are useless as well.

    That’s why since 10 years ago I structured my income to avoid paying any income tax. Most of my spending is also done in M’sia or Indonesia so as to avoid paying GST. Or buy from & other reputable tried & tested online sites. Pay tax for fuck? So that PAPies and elites can enjoy 12 months bonuses and lifetime million-dollar pensions??

  5. Moon says:

    Government didn’t help us get jobs instantly!

    Hypocrites Show! ŚĀáŚĀáŚĀöšł™ś†∑!

  6. Mac says:

    2,3,5,6 are already done. Just ask people working in the social work line. To moon: no one can help the unemployed instantly, u need to be realistic.

    • David says:

      Ask people to work in the social work line?

      I have sent a volunteer application by postal mail to Corporate Communications Department (Guiding Hands Volunteer Programme) as per instruction on their website ( Link: ) to volunteer my service.

      However it has been months and I have not received any reply from them. It looks like they are not keen to accept volunteer and the website are only for show. I have given up volunteer my service for society though Guiding Hands Volunteer Programme and now I rather spent time with my family who will appreciate me more than Corporate Communications Department.

      So free labor (volunteer like me) in the social related work line already not keen to respond and now we are taking about paid labor in social related work line which surely these employer want unreality employee! Cheap but Better and Faster? How much Gen X will stay on in this job as a career? Get Real & welcome back to Singapore!

  7. sal says:

    Most of them are wayang agencies…

  8. Geo says:

    I have been retrenched twice and now third time I quit my job cos of a pervert boss. I went to CDC,E2i, Caliberlink – all useless. They basically link you back to job agencies who advertise for jobs but no interview, no follow up. Makes you wonder if those agencies are basically collecting CVs only.

    • jj@39 says:

      If we look at caliberlink events calendar, it’s full of courses & workshops. There’s not much events for jobs.

  9. Mac says:

    People need to have the mentality that these agencies have jobs but may not be the jobs higher educated people are looking for. You can’t blame them for not being able to get you your desired job. There are so many agencies looking for volunteers, you can try yellow ribbon project, thye hock guan hospital, awwa, dementia homes, your local fsc. Don’t stop at one. Been volunteering and working in the social work industry for a few years thus would be fit to comment.

  10. Jen says:

    I have SIRD under this two faculty: Private Investigator & In-house Detective but I don’t have any experience thus when I went for an interview, I was not successful.

    I check with Security School & was told to sign up the course but I don’t have $$ to pay the fee which started in Jan 2013.

    I really don’t know, what’s going to happen? I might be staying at ECP since I can’t afford to pay the rental.


    • David says:

      The market in Singapore for Private Investigator & In-house Detective is very small.

      I don’t think it is the problem with experience for most of the Service Providers but salary is since they cannot afford to pay much for these positions.

      Those that can pay your expected salary are those who will look at your experience which most of us have nothing to sell.

  11. Mac says:

    To Jen :Go to your designated CDC, talk to them and check if their WDA department can subsidize the course for you. Your CDC officer or Family Service Counselor maybe able to assist you with financial assistance and emergency housing. (There are such help but whether you meet the critiera is another issue) Do approach them ASAP.

    • David says:

      Most of the Security Courses are sponsor by Security Organization but they needs to bond you for at least 6 months or more & offer you a very low salary for a 12 hours shift work.

      This maybe the reason why Jen rather get herself the Security Officer/Supervisor licence after Security Courses to avoid bond & negotiate for higher salary.

  12. Jen says:

    TQ, Mac.. I have done so, awaiting the outcome but its already 3mths now, that I last hear from CDC.

  13. Jen says:

    Yup, u are right, David.. I want to take the course myself as I don’t want to tied up with their bond.

  14. Jen says:

    Geo, I think they just collect our personal data & sold away, to earn profit & commission.

  15. Jen says:

    I have read, Gilbert problem & how he, share with us. How to make $$ in a short time.

    I also know how, that’s y.. I sell homemade kimchi to earn an extra & then, quickly topup my ezlink & handphone.

    But then, not everyone want to buy.. everyday.

    Why, our Govt treated us like this?

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