Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What is it like to be 50 years old and jobless?

Yesterday, the government released a White Paper projecting that Singapore's population would be 6.9 million by 2030. I suppose this is a hint that the government is going to open the floodgate to import more foreigners in order to meet the population target. After all, going by our nation's current low birth rate of 1.2%, it is not possible to reach this goal through natural replacement.

The government's rationale for importing immigrants is because Singapore needs foreign talents to support the economy. Our unemployment rate has been consistantly low for the past few years, hovering about 2-3%. Yet many Singaporeans, especially PMETs, have complained that foreigners compete with them for jobs in recent years. This made me wonder aloud whether the influx of immigrant should be calibrated. I mean what kind of foreign workers do we really need to import to sustain our economy? I agree that we need foreign nurses and construction workers because they do jobs which Singaporeans do not want to do. But do we really need additional one million nurses or construction workers? Besides foreign labourers, are we really short of talents in Singapore that we have to resort to mass import of immigrants? During market downturn, what is going to happen to these foreigners or PRs? The market is always cyclical in nature and we shouldn't always base our growth statistics on current rosy scenario. These are concerns which I think the NPTD failed to answer in the White Paper.

How can you say that Singapore workforce would remain the core when half the population would be foreigners in 2030?

As a stakeholder, I am deeply disturbed by this issue. I am in my early thirties and is gainfully employed as a professional. But I shuddered to think the quality of my life in 20 years time. With almost 7 million people in Singapore, I am not sure whether I am still able to be gainfully employed and compete against foreigners for jobs in my homeland. Currently, the playing field is already unlevel, given the low wages earned by many foreigner workers. Many employers typically favor employing foreign workers because they are seen as cheaper and younger and not because they are more competent than us. At 50, I think I would also have lost the energy to fight but then again, I would still need income to support my daughter. Sometimes I feel sorry for myself and fellow Singaporeans. We struggle and work so hard all our lives trying to make an honest living, yet in the end, we are discriminated in our homeland when we are old.

Magically yours

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7 comments:

  1. Aim for early retirement ! we should not be working at that age already.

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  2. I guess that's not the point. A lot of social benefits needs to be in-place to protect the middle class. So called welfare benefits to the middle class else what's the point of achieving better growth with FT imports.

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  3. my friend in Toronto, near 60 of age had his work redesigned by his company so he can cope physically. this is what I wish fellow singaporeans will see value n subscribe to in this way of living. Not what the government is proposing, aggressively bringing more foreign imports and as proven have displaced many Singaporeans. It is frustrating and sad we have such government mind-set treating every Singaporeans as numbers!! Where is the human spirit??

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  4. Reach 55, sell you HDB house, give up citizenship, collect CPF. Settle in Vietnam, Loas or Myanmar

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  5. I welcome FT, subject to them generating the necessary GDP and income that will provide all existing Singaporeans with free healthcare, free public transport, free education, plenty of housing subsidies, etc.. basically with the whole objective of Singapore for Singaporeans. Don't forget, we still have to provide the most important aspect, Defence for the whole nation.

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  6. No. We are not short of PMETs. But many businesses have been taking the easy way out to hire lower-cost alternative, under the blessing of the govt, as a way for them to compete in the marketplace. According to some, they are squeezed on their profits due to rising rental of their space, transportation, and other govt levies on them.

    Of course, some of these alternatives do not work out for them, and they are further deeper in the rut. Now, quite a few of them lose their ability to see beyond and to think out-the-box. This applies to many GLCs and govt agencies too.

    An Observer.

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