Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Sunday January 21st 2018

Malay jobless lady with degree in film feeling discouraged prior to marriage

Hi Gilbert,

I came across your site from an article that a friend shared through FB. I think the site is a needed avenue for PMET especially who are going through transitional unemployment.

Anyway, my name is Ashish and I myself am in this phase.

Firstly I would like to warn you that this email might be very long but hope that you can find the time to read it and help me ease my mind after.

Thank you in advance.

I graduated from Curtin University of Technology with degree in Film & TV.

Very early on I know that my degree is very specialized and that I have very limited option for employment.

However, I was young and eager with passion in making film and TV. So at that point 8 years ago it didn’t matter much, especially since I was lucky enough to gain employment just 3 months after coming back from Perth.

I was working for an advertising company for 5 months before I got an offer to work for a TV production company. I have been working as a producer for TV production companies for 6 years.

The nature of the industry is as such that many producers prefer to work as freelancer as we get to choose our projects and with good time management can work on a few projects at a time which equals to more pay.

I was one such producer and during my peak I handled 3 projects at a good and I can proudly say that all my projects were successful.

In 2010, I was approach by one of the company that I constantly work freelance for, to join them as full time producer.

As I have enjoyed working with them prior and as the boss promised a better work benefits, I joined the company full time.

Our team was very strong and was the young and upcoming team that our other peers kept watch on, keeping them on their toes. We won numerous nominations and accolades with just our first project.

However, the promised of better work benefits didn’t come through.

Sometimes pay was late and since I have proven capable of handling a few projects, I was constantly overworked, working 24/7 and to a point that office was my home where I even slept there.

During my last year with the company, I was very unhappy with the work situation especially when I was being accused and being used as a cover up for two co-workers who having an affair.

Personal problems a side, I stayed on the job as production has been my passion since I was still in secondary school. However, it came to a point where enough is enough and I left the job. Sadly, I walked out of a project.

It has been close to 10 months now and I’m still unemployed.

I tried applying for jobs within the private and government sector, even applying for jobs that only require diploma or only 2 years of experience, as compare to my degree and 6 years of experience. None was successful.

I thought of a career change and applied to be a teacher with MOE. Both my parents are retired teachers and they have always wanted at least one of their child to follow their footsteps.

But up till now, I still have not received any news from them. It has been 3 months since I applied.

I do not mind a lesser paying job or something totally new that I need to go for training and start from the bottom up again. I even applied for admin assistant jobs. But none was successful.

I am getting married in June and just bought a house with my husband to be. It is supposed to be the highlight for any woman.

However, I feel ashamed as I am not able to decide and pay for the wedding or the renovation of the house.

My parents are paying for the wedding and my partner is paying for the house.

I can’t have it my way as I’m not paying for it. They are willing to make certain adjustment for me but it is still up to them as they are paying for it, which I totally understand.

I am also feeling demoralized every time people asked me if I’m not working.

They give me a certain look that I’m just a rich pampered spoilt brat who is lazy to work and just depending on my family and partner to support me.

Some of my partner’s friend and family thinks that I am heartless to not want to work and let my partner suffer working hard to pay for the house and support me.

They think I’m lazy or choosy with job that is why I’m still not working.

I was working for 6 weeks in November but that was only temporary contract work doing admin support which ended when the contract ended.

I am constantly on my laptop on job portal sites and applying to jobs even on temporary contract basis.

Right now I am lost on how to get job or what types of job I should or want to apply for.

During my previous temporary job, the HR department there told me that it’s difficult for me to land a job is because my degree is overseas degree and government body are reluctant to employ me as they need to priorities the local degree holder, and even with my years of experience they are not willing because they are afraid that I will demand high pay.

I did once apply for a job and just putting my A level as my highest qualification as it is local. However, they wrote back and asked about the missing years prior to my first employment after my A level.

Is it because my resume is not enticing enough therefore I do not get a reply? Are they really afraid that with my degree and years of experience I will demand for high pay? What job is really suitable for me?

I hope that my long email is not a bore for you to read and I really hope that you can help me answer my questions.

Thanks much.


Editor’s Note: Do go to our May 1st labour day facebook event page:  Sequel protest – For A Better Singapore for more updates on the event. See you soon Singapore!

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10 Responses to “Malay jobless lady with degree in film feeling discouraged prior to marriage”

  1. David says:

    1) MOE prefer to employ graduates from local universities. In fact, they are willing to go all the way to counties like India to invite foreign graduates from their home 2nd/3rd tier universities to join MOE as teacher.

    2) The empty period between your GCE A graduation to your 1st job, just tell them a white lie that you backpack in Australia before starting your career.

    3) I am a husband who is unemployed like you & have a working wife but with children.

    We are a family of Singapore born Singaporean which wonder why foreigner can get a job in Singapore but not me as a citizen of Singapore which I worry for myself & my children future.

    I sometime question myself what go wrong with my qualification & experiences which I try to pin point & correct it in my CV but still…UNEMPLOYED!

    I am lost like you but have yet to give up hope. Let us hope that we can get a job soon.

    One thing I hate most is Government. Stop adverting that we are a wealthy first world country when your wealth did not benefits me. Even if I am sick & unemployed as a citizen of Singapore, I still needs to pay upfront in public hospital before I can get a medical consultation. Is this how a first world country treat their citizens?

    I am very mentally sick of you & sometime what I hope my physical body can give you a punch on your face for being hypocrite! Please wake up your idea! Yes, you! You know who you are!

    • nate says:

      Well said. Don’t brag about the GDP or how much per capital income Singapore earns. It is stupid cuz 80% of Singaporean don earn that much. And don brag about ur candidates with whatsoever qualification I wont vote cuz he wont speak up for me.

  2. sal says:

    Hi Aishah, why not trying the Malaysia market. Follow the steps of Adi Putra and Aaron Aziz, you never know the outcome….life is a journey, who knows you will be the top producer in Malaysia. Discuss it with your future husband, with the budget airline …its easy to fly in/out of Spore.

  3. XYZ says:

    You were freelance producer before you became full-time employee. Can’t you go back to freelance producer again? The most important things are industry contacts and work portfolio which you have built up over the past 6 years.

    If you prefer a stable full-time job, then your best chances are working for ITE or the local polytechnics. Either as lecturers in their various interactive media & design courses, or as in-house technical staff. Most of the polys have full-fledged TV production studios and they have in-house video production teams. Go to their individual websites and apply directly.

    With the tons of degree holders currently, civil service now takes mostly degrees with 1st class or 2nd upper honours, especially for jobs which are mostly administrative and/or policy-making in nature. A fresh grad with 1st class NUS arts degree has higher chance than an IT degree with no honours for such jobs.

    As for foreign versus local degrees, civil service nowadays is not so strict. As long from US or a major developed Commonwealth country. However, you must have good honours degree. If your uni is not so famous, you better strive for 1st class honours.

    When civil service advertises for diploma holders, they really look for diploma grads. Private sector may still accept degree holders, but will only take young fresh degree grads.

    Lastly, most people in S’pore will look unkindly and suspiciously on people with higher qualifications applying for lower qualification jobs. People in HR and mgmt all believe that the job market is very good and very tight labour conditions, so why are you downgrading yourself? They will have the old-fashioned thinking that you have psychological problems or attitude problems or lazy and want a less stressful job, or have health problems etc etc.

  4. Aishah says:

    Hi guys,

    Thanks for the comment. Reading articles comments here have lifted my mood a little.

    Sal, during my 6 years as a producer, I did venture into the Malaysian market. Competition there is worst. Even when I had my FINAS pass (All film & TV workers including artists needs to register with the media authority there and gain permit to work in Malaysia), I was very much not welcomed. On set itself, while working, snide remarks were passed.

    Unfortunately as well, my future husband do not like the idea of me working in the film industry again once we are married. & I myself feels that its not something that I would want to continue doing. I love the job, just not the people in it. Not many ladies, after married survive the industry. Not that I’m saying there isn’t. Just not many.

    XYZ, I did apply with poly and ITE as lecturer. But their reply was that I’m not shortlisted. Guess I’m not qualified enough? I don’t know.

    I’m ok with career switch. Not afraid to try something new but just not sure what.

  5. Aishah,

    As a fellow graduate of Australian Universities, I understand the situation pretty well.

    I am 39 and my wife is also working and she with good management skills in operations in the medical line also did not get any good offer too despite her having good contacts all around.

    So it is not just you who is in the rut but the general feeling that we are being given the short end of the deal as a whole. Even those with jobs are worried that their job will be taken away easily through lax foreign talent management. And on top of that, the companies are worried that newly married employees will then lead to long absence of work because they are bearing kids.

    I guess you heard enough of stories that married women are mistreated at work too.

    We, as Singaporeans in a tight fix because the government choose not to persecute companies for questionable HR practices.

    So what to do? I am now doing a lot of freelance work and also start my own business doing photography trips for corporate and the public. I am also doing photography training and exhibition too and build up reputation from there.

    Fact of the matter is this. We KNOW we are not lacking in talent but the environment that we are in right now is not helping. If it is not helping, time to step out and hold your own destiny in your own hands.

    Time to do projects, find your own clients. You know who are the best in lighting, in cinematography, post video editing, sound etc. You can find talents too. I know that you know that you know you can do it. So why are you relying on others (the employers) to say you are good.

    Just say: “By Allah’s will, I am given a talent that no one can take away.” (I am Christian by the way)

    So do what you know you can do. Don’t be moulded into the machine that the Singapore government wants you to be. We are, unfortunately, trained to be employees and I believe that you too, after your education in Australia, understand that we can be better than any employees; better than being controlled by incompetent management.

    Then step out and be yourself. Walk on and do better things with your life rather being a cog or wheel in the organisation (and even country) that treat you lesser than a human being, a citizen.

  6. Anti-Daft says:

    Hey …. Boom Boom Doom … another one bites the dust .. another one bites .. another one bites .. another one bites the dust !!! This reminds me of the popular song by the “Queen”.

    Welcome to club “Aishah”. The “Chronically Unemployed Native Born” club. Membership is free, courtesy of the 60.1% DAFT !!!

    Same as David and Yourself, I’m also member of the club, since 2010. Membership is forever, if you’re not lucky enough. Unless of-course, if you’ve a very strong connections with those idiotic blood suckers elites.

    However, don’t be disheartened and distraught just yet, cus they’re some ways to get out. Many have tried it and successfully managed to drop their membership. Lucky fellas, huh ? Nope, not true. Cus, as all the good jobs taken over by all those foreign aliens and so, they’re left with all the crumbs only. Daging tak ada, tulang saja (no meat, bones only). Here are some of the most popular pathetic bones in the market, for PMETS and above like Yourself, : Cleaners, Parking Wardens, Security Guards, Pest Control, Fast Food Joints, Dispatch Riders, Drivers (all categories), Landscape Technician (its actually gardener). Go to CDC/E2i, these are the jobs they pushed down your throats.

    PS – Anyway Aishah, you’ve my empathy. Vote wisely in the next GE. Wish you all the best and God bless.

  7. sal says:

    Hi Aisha, as a graduate you should have no problem in getting a job in a Government organisations. I know someone with BEng Electronics work as Superintendent Wsrden in Spore prison…Good Luck

  8. Cool says:

    Below posting appeared in Craiglist by an expat in Singapore. A valid perspective worth sharing with the rest

    Re: They took er’ jobs! (Singapore)
    “To be clear…

    LOW LEVEL BLUE-COLLAR JOBS (Construction.).
    - Singaporeans do not want these jobs, we prob. couldn’t even do these jobs ourselves and are more than happy for foreign workers to come and help us. This is hardly unique to Singapore though, in most developed countries the low-level jobs are performed by foreign labour anyway and in a lot of cases illegal immigrants.

    SERVICE INDUSTRY JOBS (Wait staff, beauticians, cashiers..)
    - Singaporeans can and should take on these jobs, however with the the govt’s open labour policy restaurants, retailers and other SMEs would rather just hire cheap foreign labour. These are usually young people who don’t have families of their own to support, live in small rented accommodation (did you read that some even rent apt bomb shelters?!), and send their money back home where it goes much further of course.
    - It is common for working hours to be 12 hour shifts, 6-day work weeks, and yet at low pay. The average Singaporean worker would find it hard to survive living in Singapore at these wages and under these conditions.

    - Apart from the jobs that require specialised skills which we may lack (IT, Nursing..) there is no reason to shun the Singaporean worker in favour of foreign labour for these jobs, other than the cost factor. Companies are all about profit, and if they can get a younger foreign worker to do the job for half the price, of course they would. In many cases older Singaporean workers are being let go and replaced by much younger foreign workers.

    - These are the jobs that Singaporeans want obviously. Hiring at this level involves so many factors it is hard to determine who is the “right” candidate for the job however, with the decision being highly subjective. The hiring decisions is a dark science and not an exact science anyway. Chemistry plays a big part too and foreigners here in hiring positions are more likely to hire people they are comfortable with, people from similar backgrounds as them, so no wonder foreigners usually hire their own kind. I have heard of expat hiring managers hiring their drinking buddies for positions their friends are not even qualified for…

    It is very easy to argue that the Singaporean worker is not “qualified” for these jobs, and that these should go to slicker Caucasian, and increasingly Northern Indian types.

    Most countries have a policy requiring companies to prioritize hiring locals first. The US and other Western countries certainly have this. Singapore is the exception. For some reason the Singapore govt does not think it is the govt’s responsibility to ensure its citizens are gainfully employed, and don’t realize it is even in the nation’s interest for Singaporeans to be employed. No wonder the locals are rebelling.”

  9. Aishah says:

    Wilson, I am blessed and thankful that with my religion I am still positive. I do believe that Allah will bless us all with rizq, & that we have to work for it. I have not stop believing in that and your words of encouragement together with others have made me stronger. We all need an outlet to let out steam sometimes.

    Anti-Daft, yay! thanks for the membership. can I be the secretary of the club?

    Sal,I wish to believe that as a graduate I have no problem getting a job in a govt organization. I’ve applied with Ministry of Education, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Community Development. Youth and Sports, and have been unsuccessful. If these are not govt organization then probably I’ve been applying to the wrong organizations.

    Cool, So either way we are screwed since the gamen don’t want to do anything.
    Bring out the red carpet and welcome the foreigners. Boxed up the locals and ship them out.

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