I am a 50-year-old PME who has been unemployed for a year and 3 months.
I used to word as a manager in an MNC in Singapore. I resigned from my job due to the stress I faced at work which was accumulative and the unfairness I felt as compared to the foreigners my company hired over the years.
Over the years, I had to work OT during the busy period and have to burn my weekend, luckily I am single but still my work has affected my health adversely. I was very tired yet extremely overweight when I was working so I felt that I need to do something if not whatever I earned will be spent on medical fees later on.
At that point of time when I resigned it was very scary especially at my age. I tried to find a job but it was not easy especially at my level.
When they say age does not matter it is not true and you know that is not true, ageism is a big issue especially at the higher management level.
I did not tell any of my friends and only my family members know I am unemployed.
None of them know, I don’t want to set tongues wagging around.
Although my family is very supportive emotionally, they will be concerned whether I have found a job. Luckily religious activities have kept me busy thus far.
Why do I say that I felt that it is unfair for me and the rest of the Singaporeans when it comes to employment.
I know of a Filipino in my company who holds a university degree and she earned around $250 back in the Philippines but she comes here and my company gave her 8 times her pay which is $2000! I was very upset but this is reality in Singapore.
It is very very good for her to hold such a high pay, when she goes back to her country, she can be a queen already!
But to my company, she is cheap labour, she is taking up jobs that most Singaporeans will consider low paying. But you know this is not true due to the high cost of living in Singapore.
Many Singaporeans I know live way below $2000.
She can’t find a job back in the Philippines holding a university degree and she comes here, compete with the rest of the Singaporeans and yet still manage to find a decent income job, don’t you think it is unfair?
Do you think the foreigners come here because they love Singapore?
No! It is precisely the exchange rate.
Why not they go Vietnam, Cambodia? I got very angry when they try to shift the blame to Singaporeans.
I find it ridiculous if you can’t generate jobs for citizens, why hire the foreigners? I wish to emphasize this point.
A lot of Indians tell me that their degrees are not recognised in Singapore as well but well enough to hold our PME jobs?
Singapore’s policies are not enough to protect the welfare of the citizens. You need legislation to protect the older workers.
Framework itself is not enough, there is no power.
You want us to extend the retirement age, you need to set in the proper legislation first if not all the jobs will be taken away by the foreigners before we know it.
We are not like other countries where they have strong unions to protect them.
And the feeling of joblessness is not good at all in Singapore. Men would face more pressure.
Minus the financial part, it is a social stigma to be jobless.
You need to be a breadwinner in terms of working outside of the house to earn money. An unemployed guy tends to be looked down by peers and friends as lazy – it is a self-depreciation kind of feeling.
It is an Asian value and norm, but it is a very painful experience.
What I want to say is that the pressure of unemployment is higher on men than on women.
Most importantly something needs to be done with regard to the foreigners’ influx if not people our age will be at a higher disadvantage in time to come in terms of (un) employment issues.
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