Ten reasons why you should attend the ground-up labour day event today organised by workers:-
1. Government-controlled tripartism – in the past, NTUC, the national trade union organised such labour day events, attended by the government, employers and other unions in a air-con-comfort auditorium but their agenda is very much controlled by the authorities. The labour chief is a minister and it is not difficult to understand why the labour day agenda is tied very strongly to the direction of the government.
We felt that any future labour day event should be led and organised by workers ground-up and they should be the ones doing all the talking and protesting.
We are proud to say that today marks the third labour day event we will be organising and we will keep on organising future annual labour day protest from now on.
2. Wage disparity – Singapore remains the country with the highest wage disparity in the world and social mobility is also at its worst as the under-priviledged finds it difficult to climb out of their poverty cycle and remains stucked in their abject situation with no light at the end of the tunnel.
30% of Singaporeans earn less than $2000/month subjecting themselves to all kinds of financial stress as there is no proper social welfare in place.
Many people earn barely enough to live from hand to mouth and there is hardly any savings left for rainy days let alone for retirement.
Financial stress led to all kinds of social problems and we face skyrocketting divorce rates as one out of every 4 marriages on average will result in a divorce.
3. Lack of freedom of speech and human rights – Singapore remains locked in a post-LKY era of total control and dominance.
Activists were sued or banned from speaking out and the government is unconcerned at the plummeting press ratings so long it champions their cause and agenda on the mass media.
Many people have commented that Singapore behaves like a communist country and I agree with them saying that we are actually worst – we profess to be democratic but our practices are totalitarian and barbaric.
Our practices are no different from communist China or the Soviet Union only we tell the whole world that we are democratic.
Its hypocrisy at its worst.
4. Influx of foreigners – the passing of the 6.9 million population white paper two years ago have caused all sorts of problems for Singaporeans.
We face all kinds of unjust competition from the very top of the echelon to the lowest.
Singaporeans consistently find themselves the minority worker in the work place puzzling many to no end how on earth the company can beat the quota system.
The Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) meant to protect Singaporeans for 14 days when employers need to advertise their positions in a government’s job bank is easily circumvent and manipulated.
There is still no openness on the permanent residency procedures and we don’t want to even know how citizenship is offered to foreigners like tiolet paper.
There are close to 500,000 permanent residents in Singapore competing for jobs with our local Singaporeans and out of a 2-over million local workforce, such numbers look ominous and unwelcoming.
They not only compete for jobs with us but also schools, childcare centre and healthcare facilities – they can later quit the country when their sons reach national service age reaping all the benefits of our system at our expense.
We have close to 1.7 million foreigners living and working among us now clogging up facilities and causing our transport services to malfunction frequently.
5. Fake degree saga – fake degree made a roaring comeback recently in the news but more damagingly, we found out that all along the authorities do not check on the educational qualifications of our foreign talents making a mockery of our famed meritocratic system.
Singaporeans study hard and try to enter our prestigious universities in the hope of having a good future but now we have foreigners working among us hail from third world countries in the lower 500 ranking universities – some of them could even be fake talents.
It makes us wonder what is happening in our country?
Have we stoop so low as to welcome any foreigners to enter our workforce by waiving off the credibility of their qualifications and worse not even verifying their certificates – which is a basic requirement of any accepting country?
6. Brain drain – the abject conditions here has caused many educated Singaporeans to leave the country.
The stressful work culture and cramped environmental conditions here have deterred many from making Singapore their long-term home.
Many who are educated abroad also try to get a job overseas so that they can avoid returning home.
Professionals in their 30s are always on the lookout for overseas jobs in the preparation for a long-term move abroad – often with their family.
The meaninglessly-stressful educational system and lack of work stability when they turn older have forced many professionals to consider a move abroad – anywhere except Singapore sounds good!
7. Early general election – the passing of Lee Kuan Yew last month has spooked prediction of a early election this year probably in September.
With that in mind, we saw a spate of arrests and court cases as the authorities try to clamp down on dissent before the big event.
During the past election, we saw how social media played a big part in countering the government-controlled mass media resulting in the lowest majority votes garnered by the ruling party last election and also the first-ever loss of a GRC to Workers’ Party.
In this coming election, many see it to be a water-shed one as more new citizens will be added to the electorate in future diluting the choices of true-blue Singaporeans.
It is foreseeable that the ruling party will garner it’s worst-ever performance in this forthcoming election as many Singaporeans are unhappy with implications of the huge influx of foreigners and will thus swing their votes to the opposition in the hope of forcing the hand of the government to act otherwise.
Many people do not want a change of government but rather a stronger opposition voice to check the regime.
8. Last term as Prime Minister – PM Lee is perceived by many to remain as PM after the next general election and will likely seek out his successor afterwards.
He is unlikely to continue for longer than one more term due to age and health reasons.
Having say that, PM Lee has caused much hardship to Singaporeans with his economics-first policies often reducing citizens to mere digits when he implements his extremist economic policies.
His population white paper has mostly economics in mind and many Singaporeans are sidelined in the process.
Out of the three PMs we have known, many will agree that the current one has caused the most misery and damage to his own people.
9. Under-priviledged Singaporeans – we continue to see many under-priviledged Singaporeans struggling in their everyday livelihood as we went into charity work mid last year.
We delivered groceries to poor families mostly to people who earn less than $2000 and have no means to earn more due to their age or educational qualifications.
Surely a minimum wage will help this group of Singaporeans who are not lazy or incompetent but more let down by improper lack of legislation by the government to protect it’s own people.
We are probably the only country in the developed world to properly protect our own people for fear that the investors will run away and employers to close shop when we raise wages.
Even third world countries like Malaysia and Vietnam have minimum wages for their own people.
Yet, our government continue to pay themselves the maximum wages they could think of. Both our PM and ministers earn the highest wages in the world for any government – unashamedly.
10. Rise of activism – the government has tried to drown out the activist voice by arresting and suing dissidents recently but we will stand tall.
Of course, we will want to avoid confrontation with the government but we must rise out even though we are fearful.
Those who attend today’s labour day protest ought to be appreciated as many have stay away due to fear which is a real psychological thing.
Fear will cause us not to do the right thing so that we can preserve our status quo and in this time and age, courage is necessary and vital for us to propel forward in the quest for change.
Written by: Gilbert GohNumber of View: 1565