Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Tuesday January 23rd 2018

Why I attended the 1602 protest against 6.9 million population white paper


Transitioning: Thanks for participating in the 1602 protest at Hong Lim Park, can you please describe your occupation, qualifications and age? 

Rahimah: Odd jobs (part-time data entry). Often unemployed. 30 yrs old, BSc in Applied Maths (Merit) from NUS. 

Transitioning: Why did you turn up for the protest event?

Rahimah: Yes. Fed up with overcrowded transport, low wages overall and feeling like a stranger in my own homeland.

Transitioning: What is the main thing you enjoy about the protest event?

Rahimah: All of them. The speeches were good and the songs and pledge were nice touches. 

Transitioning: Many people have commented that they found a solidarity and unity among the protestors, do you feel the same? 

Rahimah: A partial solidarity. People will always have different interests, but we all have the same problems in this case. In that, we are one.

My personal experience was that sometimes people will look at one another and find some solace in that they’re not alone in having a Singaporean’s problem. 

Transitioning: Do you think that the government will listen to us after the massive turn out at the protest? 

Rahimah: At the most basic level, no. They’re too set in their ways. But they will likely at least attempt to make some concessions to placate us for the short term. That’s better than nothing. 

Transitioning: Why do you think people turned up in droves for the protest as all along protests are badly attended at Hong Lim Park? Do you think that the 6.9 million population topic is the push factor? 

i)                    The timing is perfectly aligned in your favor. 6.9 is a high number and seems like a salesman’s dishonest figure. It’s done RIGHT after the by-election.

ii)                  GE2011 gave people confidence to attend such rallies.

iii)                Singaporeans are waking up as a whole.

iv)                The government promised to listen, but the white paper was an unambiguously unilateral decision.

v)                  Rise of social media / yahoo / youtube. More awareness of the protest itself

vi)                The issue is such a fundamental and concrete one that it will affect everyone.

vii)              PAP and the public sector’s top people have been in scandals recently, leading to even more public anger.

viii)            Enough is enough. It’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Transitioning: Many people brought along their children to the protest, do you think that this is advisable given that protest can turn awry? 

Rahimah: Depends on the child’s age. I’d say that it’s inadvisable if he or she is below twelve. While a full on riot is extremely unlikely, the crowded place has seen many fall down. Either due to too many people or the wet conditions. I had to catch a couple of old people to stop them from slipping. 

Transitioning: Many people have also asked for a second protest, is this also your call? 

Rahimah: Yes. 

Transitioning: Moving forward, do you foresee that people will be more vocal in their quest for more say in policy planning now? 

Rahimah: Definitely. 

Transitioning: What do you hope to see in our second protest? 

Rahimah: More structured speeches with less overlap from well-prepared speakers. Quality uploaded you-tube videos of the event. Better sound systems. Less party based appeals and more concentration on the key issue of voting the government out or getting them to listen. Much as I like the SDP, it’s not quite appropriate to promote their own agenda at the last gathering.

End of interview and thanks!

Editor’s note: The opinion shared by the reader is entirely her own and if protestors want to participate in this questionaire, please email me at Note that we will post your return  on this blog but we will check with you first to get your approval.

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7 Responses to “Why I attended the 1602 protest against 6.9 million population white paper”

  1. sal says:

    Hi Rahimah, for a graduate BSC in Applied Maths …you are underemployed. Its a pity that good jobs are given to FTs and Sporeans are underemployed. Something is not right with the policies, as a citizen we should get the good jobs….Uniquely Spore

  2. Anon says:

    The main issue of discontent the interviewee faces is with the lack of a reasonable paying & sustainable job. Without a proper livelihood, you can forget about solidarity or unity.

    If she doesn’t have good friends at senior positions in big companies to pull her in, it will be very tough to get jobs paying sufficient salary commensurate with her qualifications. She’s already 30, close to the peak age for a career, and employers will ask what sort of professional accomplishments has she done? Sorry to say 100% the bigger companies will rather hire a fresh 20-yr old graduate than hire her.

    Her best chance is to apply to MOE as teacher. Even the civil service discriminates against older Singaporeans. 30 yrs old is about near the danger age. The civil service will also view her part-time jobs and odd jobs as simply “bumming around” and “being lazy or uncompetitive”, no matter what the real reasons.

  3. Anon says:

    Even if MOE take her in on fresh starting salary, it will still be tons better than the $7 or $8 per hour rate she’s getting as odd-job worker. Starting teacher salary with basic degree is $3,000/mth. Plus the annual bonuses, 13th month pay, salary increments, medical leave and annual leave — all these she doesn’t get now as odd-job or part-time worker.

    The only thing is that as MOE teacher, it will be very political and pro-PAP and a lot of back-stabbing office politics. When you conduct national education or civics lessons, you are expected to sing the praises of PAP to the children. But for the sake of yourself and your family survival, you sometimes have to sleep with the enemy. At least you can survive till 2016 or 2021 to kick out the PAPies.

  4. J Y says:

    Actually, many jobless people are graduates too. I wonder why the govt increase the tertiary intake year after year when many graduates, esp. those with general degrees, were sidelined by employers. Unless you can do well in sales, chances of getting a well-paying job are low.

    e2i has some place n train programmes for graduates who want to change their career after working for some time. The problem is that there are so much more job seekers than job vacancies. Hence, many of the middle-aged jobless people don’t even have an interview, much less a job offer. Some younger ones may have 1 interview, but no job offer. Usually the success rate is 10 choose 1.

    The employers may not want to embark on this programme due to the ‘high’ salary condition of e2i. e2i has negotiated for a pay on par with a fresh graduate’s pay. But for someone new in the industry, they may not want to pay you so much while you are undergoing training.

    Employers need to change their mindsets about the pay issue. Or else many of our local talents will not have the opportunity to realise our potential to the fullest.

    With regards to being strangers in our homeland, I think many of us are also strangers among our colleagues or even among our siblings/ relatives. Sometimes, siblings don’t even talk to each other even though they are living together. They rather confide in their friends than siblings. Some siblings will bear grudges for life and it is best not to talk to them unless necessary.

  5. sal says:

    Its a pity that Spore become to this graduate is there any chance of working overseas and work there if Spore does not require your service…

  6. Anti-Daft says:

    Warned so many times already by the wise 39.9% Sg’reans. Why are they (the 60.1% daft) so kepala batu (Stubborn) ???. The solution to all this idiotic disasters, lies in the once every 5 years ballot box. So simple and yet still cannot learn. The whole world are LOLROTF, watching all this stupidity by the 60.1% daft.

    The old fooled were right all along. A bunch of daft that got no “Spurs Stuck Into Their Hide !!!”.

    @ Gilbert :

    Why are you wasting your precious time, on those natural born idiots ??? If you think they can change, then I’m sorry to say, you’re so wrong. Mark my words.

    PS – As usual, the once every 5 years sweet dangling carrots/eleventh hour pathetic sorry, will diminish all those angst, frustration, disgruntled and whatever. Then-after, again as usual, they will go back to all the online community platforms/blogs and complaints.

    Actually, I’m so sick and tired of all this idiotic dramas. It kept on replayed non-stop for past 50 over years, until now. Are all this idiots really human ??? Or like the whole world are saying, a bunch of Zombies !!! ???

    Gilbert, you did your part didn’t you ??? You and many other concerned Netizens, Bloggers and Community platforms. Why didn’t they (the 60.1% daft) listen ???

  7. Cool says:

    My fellow netcitizens are you ready to mobilise your connections ? Are you ready to activate every single person you know on this island? Are you ready to party ? This is ain’t Zuok Out but we wanna gather in peace and harmony on 1st May @ Hong Lim Park to show the world that we care and love this country. Bring your grandparents and children, bring your sandwiched…please don’t bring your mats…coz this ain’t no picnic baby. THIS IS GOING TO BE A GATHERING OF 10,000 SINGAPOREANS FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE WITH PHD’S AND ROAD SWEEPERS FROM AH KOW TO RAMASAMY TO SHOW THAT WE WANT OUR LIVES AND JOBS BACK.

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