Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Thursday January 17th 2019

Online interview with a Malay graduate struggling with unemployment and under-employment

1. First of all, thanks for allowing us to interview you online and can you provide us with some background information about yourself? 

Siti: Thanks for interviewing me too. Some background about myself is as follows:

Typical Malay family background. Received primary and secondary education at Private institution (madrasah). After GCE O level, went to local Polytechnic and later local university (graduated end 2009). Was working with a particular stat board before leaving in 2011. After that unemployment sets in the whole year of 2012. Thankfully it ended and I am in workforce since January 2013. However, I believe I am underemployed as the position I’ve undertaken welcomes those without a certificate.

2. What was  your last occupation and you have told me that you were unemployed for a few months, can you tell us more about this and  also  your job search experience?

Siti: Before I was unemployed, I was working with one of the stat board for a one-year contract. When the contract ends, I left and started looking for other opportunities. Thereafter, unemployment sets in and it lasts for a whole period of twelve months. Honestly I was surprised it was that long. Searching for job was unbelievably difficult especially if ¬†you’re currently unemployed.

3. You have told me that you are currently jobless for more than six months, what did you do in order to survive? Did you also approach the CDC for assistance?

Siti: Thankfully I had a part-time job to support my daily needs. However I was living with my parents and I didn’t manage to pay my loan during the unemployment period. I got to know regarding CDC from your website and I scheduled for an appointment. They could only provide with some information (resume, job vacancies etc) and also the officer I talked to gave me priority application at Jobstreet for six months (paid by them).

4. Did you attend any interviews  during the past few  months  and why do you think you are unsuccessful so far? 

Siti: During my unemployed-days, I got an average of three interviews per month and all were unsuccessful. I believe it’s got to do with me currently being unemployed. It’s different when you are searching for a job while having a job. Another reason will be the minimum salary. In all interviews, they often ask what is your minimum expectation. Perhaps this signals they prefer to hire the cheapest.

5. Tell us abit more about what you have learnt from your jobless experience and how it has impacted your family.

Siti: Being unemployed is a nightmare. Many people will not disagree with this. This is because the uncertainty drove my morale lower and lower on a daily basis. As a Singaporean, the dream is to have a good education, good job with a good pay. And to have that just as “dream” kills the relationship between family members.¬† It was during this difficult period you will see true colors of those who supported you and those who aren’t. I would say unemployment tested the relationship with families and those who persevere will end in victory.

6. What do you think you could have done to shorten the unemployment period?

Siti: There is nothing to shorten unemployment period because its not within our control. All we can do us try to find a suitable job whatever means possible. For most Singaporeans who needs to put food on the table, they will settle for odd-paying jobs though pay is low and non-flexible working hours.

7. Do you think that Singapore is now a more difficult place to make a living?

Siti: Singapore is never a difficult place to live if we never cease to put effort and trying our best. However, trying to achieve the Singapore dream is no longer feasible as our government is still living in 1970s and they don’t seem to want to face current reality. That reality is to acknowledge the economic model used by the government in 1970s to 1980s has significantly changed and cannot be accommodated in this current decade. Instead of embracing changes, they chose to sit and react after changes happened.

8. What do you think the government can do to alleviate the current employment situation?

Siti: The current government can perhaps consider putting themselves in the shoes of Lee Kuan Yew, Dr Goh Keng swee and Dr Toh Chin Chye. Not by copying what they have achieved but their inspiration to foresee a nation’s need to succeed.

9. Many people have blame foreigners for competing jobs with us, what is your view on this?

Siti: Foreigners come from different backgrounds. I have worked with very talented foreigners who shared their knowledge and experiences. I have also worked with those who are more lazy than Singaporeans. Bottom line, if company want to hire cheap labour, they also end up with low-quality ‘products’, whether its Singaporean or otherwise. In addition, MOM has failed tremendously as MOM because they choose to ignore the current manpower screw-up and not trying to improve Singapore’s manpower condition. If they continue with this attitude, sooner their existence ¬†will be redundant.

10. Lastly, whats your advice for those who are still jobless and feeling down?

Siti: For those who are still job-less, tomorrow is another day to celebrate. Nobody promise life is easy. Life is a package of good and bad components which will teach life lessons and shape our worldview. Perhaps being jobless is not the worst thing that can happen. At least our country is not at war. Be thankful for the little things in life and you’ll see the world beyond this little Singapore. Good luck and think positive!

End of interview – thank you!

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Reader Feedback

3 Responses to “Online interview with a Malay graduate struggling with unemployment and under-employment”

  1. Lenny says:

    Well said

  2. LimTan says:

    Why your interview never asked what kind of diploma she has?

    She is doing Nursing I don’t think she will be out of job.

  3. Tan KengSooi says:

    Low level jobs like security guards etc and are they available?

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