Thursday, December 10, 2009

Where Are They ?

It is very obvious in recent years that our 'aunties and uncles' are disappearing from the job market. They used to be in cleaning, retail and service jobs at hawker centers, food courts, shopping malls, MacDonald, 7-Eleven ...... Where are they?

Now we see young women and men mostly from our neighboring countries replacing them. They have been forced out of the competitive job market, as it is highly unlikely that there is a mass shift in mentality that they prefer to stay at home to look after their grand children.

For those that are not financially well off, are they on government dole ? It is not easy to apply for it especially if one is uneducated and do not know about help venue nor able to fill up the tons of forms required. Besides, it is hard to survive on the merge sum. There have been reports these needy folks cut back on their electrical bill by living in the 'darkness', survive on 1 meal per day and most of the time, they still need additional help from NGO welfare groups. In fact, it is often NGO welfare group that reached out and help them with government red tape to apply for assistance. Wonder what are our grass root leaders and MPs doing?

So, on one hand the government wants our citizens to work till a ripe old age, but on the other hand they are forcing them out of the job market with the liberal immigration policy. Our government is not a supporter of social welfare. But if they cut off the means of livelihood of these elderly workers, how do you expect them to make a living ?

Seems like not only are the uneducated senior citizens affected, even those who are from the category of PMET are not spared. PMET is another fanciful term coined by our govt, which stands for Professional, Managers, Engineers and Technicians. PMET are encouraged by the government to take up skill retraining and start a 2nd career. But then these folks looking for a job are facing even tougher competition from the high influx of 'foreign talents' who may already have experience, unlike the PMET who have just undergone skill retraining and lack practical experience in the new field.

I heard that part time job with the National Library board which used to be offered to locals are now being taken up by PRs and foreigners. Is it surprising ? Hardly as the competition has penetrated the whole job market be it skill, semi-skill or unskilled.

Is there a glimpse of light in the current darkness for our jobless citizens? Perhaps from socially responsible SMEs such as Old Chang Kee and Ya Kun. These two eateries are still employing our 'aunties and uncles' in their outlets. We certainly hope to see more S'pore SMEs doing similar out of their own initiative.

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