By looking at the graphic above, it’s easily more than 50,000 jobs available for locals. I happened to come across that picture last Saturday. Surely, locals are spoilt for choice. There are more than enough jobs for all of us. So it seems that the locals are a pampered lot.
Before I attract any hate comments or public lynching, let me state from the onset, I strongly support “Singaporeans first” policy based on the principle of ceteris paribus.
Let me relate an incident which happened quite some time ago to illustrate my statement that locals are a pampered lot.
It’s my habit to drink a glass of beer after my late night shift before I call it a day. I usually enjoy my chilled beer at one corner of the coffee shop whilst I read or surf the net. Some time ago, I went to West Plaza which is the nearest 24 hr coffee shop to my place.
I was the only customer standing in front of the counter. I waited a while but both pretended they didn’t see see, as if I was transparent. One of them was busy washing glasses. Only few glasses but she took an exaggerated long time to do the washing and then arranging and re-arranging other items.
The other old lady made herself busy by stocking up the drinks in the fridge. After that, she went on to check those pao or buns in the small hot cubicle. She started doing some cleaning here and there oblivious my presence.
I was still standing there observing both of them trying to keep themselves busy inside the counter. Both of them thinking one of them would entertain me but none came forward. I then raised my voice and asked in Mandarin for a beer.
One of them nearest to me reluctantly enquired what beer I would like to buy? The whole conversation in Mandarin went like this.
“What beer do you want? Are you drinking here?”
“I want a Tiger beer. Yes, I’m drinking here pls.”
“Do you want some ice?”
“Yes, I would like to have some ice.”
The glum faced old lady who appeared more fitting to be a dishwater or a cleaner since she didn’t smile, didn’t greet customers and didn’t say thank you when I paid her, started preparing for my beer by getting a glass with some ice thrown in.
Suddenly, she asked me a stupid question. “Do you want to open?” meaning to open the beer bottle cover.
I answered her “if you don’t open the bottle cover, how am I to drink?”
Instead of quietly doing what she was supposed to do by opening the beer bottle cover, she retorted in a loud voice by saying that, “how would I know? Sometimes customers want to bring back the whole bottle home to drink?”
“Well, I told you earlier that I’m drinking the beer here. It’s understood that you need to open the cap for me to drink!”
The old lady, obviously was a local still insisted that she was right by saying that some customers didn’t want to open their beer bottle cover even though they drink in the premises cuz they brought along their can or bottle opener. KNN! That made me more angry.
“Hey you talking nonsense, how many of us go around carrying a bottle opener? You think I’m a beer promoter is it?”
That ignited her CB mouth rattling away like a machine gun non-stop by saying there are all kinds of unreasonable demanding customers thinking that they got some money can abuse people like her, if got standard won’t drink at coffee shop, go to pub or lounge to drink lah yada yada … Really langgar!
“Hey old lady, you just give me that beer with a glass, some ice and open the cap. Dont talk so much ok? Why are you so unhappy? If you are not happy working here, then don’t work here.”
Let me relate another incident. This time is also S11 coffee shop at Jurong East Central. I wonder why only S11 employs inebriated locals in their 60s?
I ordered my food and was carrying my bag. If I didn’t order my food yet or didn’t carry my bag, I would usually go to the counter to order my coffee. Since the counter was quite far away and I didn’t want to leave my food and bag unattended, I had to look for a runner (waiter) for my coffee.
There are usually four runners in this large coffee shop. They wear the same uniform. I noticed three of them sitting together having their meal break taking their own time having a leisurely conversation. One of them finished her food early and started smoking.
The fourth runner was on the hand phone talking non-stop. In the meantime, I started eating my food and keeping a lookout for her to stop talking. About 10 mins later she stopped talking on her handphone. I quickly wave my hand at her. She saw me momentarily but turned around to talk to another person.
I had no choice but walked to that runner whilst keeping an eye on my food and bag. I asked her to get me a coffee and at the same time pointing out my seat to her.
After I’ve finished my food, my coffee still wasn’t here. When I was about to leave, the coffee came. I told her I didn’t want it anymore cuz I got no time. I had to go back to work. That runner – middle aged lady got angry and said that she already paid for my coffee at the counter. If I didn’t want the coffee I ordered earlier, she had to bear the cost.
“Oh earlier you were talking non-stop on the phone. When I waved at you, you pretended not to see me. In fact, I would prefer to go to the counter to get the coffee myself rather than depend on you.”
That lady was quite fierce spoiling for a fight. She challenged me to complain against her when I told her that I snapped a picture of her talking on the phone. She remarked that she could immediately land herself another job if gets an immediate dismissal.
For more than a year, I did not patronize the first coffee shop any more. Sometimes, I just buy a can of beer and sit at the void deck to enjoy my beer. As for the second coffee shop, I now order my coffee at the counter personally. Those counter runners are not relevant to me anymore. It’s a waste of money employing them.
Compared to those Fillipino runners at the air-conditioned food court above Sheng Siong in Elias Mall, their working attitude is second to none. Before I could begin eating, one of the two Fillipino runners would quickly approach me. “Sir, do you want any drink?” Excellent customer service, efficient and courteous. The Filipinos scan around the food court like hawks and swoop down on customers once they settle down to take drink orders. It used to employ Malaysian girls. Not anymore. Go to Elias Mall second level food court to see for yourself.
As a customer and an employer, which type of workers would you prefer? Does it matter whether they are locals or foreigners? The end service delivery is the deciding factor.
Ceteris paribus, employers, customers and even the government would prefer locals for own different reasons. Customers find it easier to communicate with locals, employers need not pay levy or maintain quota if they hire locals and the government is happy that locals are fully employed. Unfortunately, the real situation as in the above cases quoted do not reflect the ideal scenario.
Most of our locals have lost some of our forefathers’ discipline, work ethics and pride in their jobs. They are pampared and spoilt with the abundance of jobs and the tightening of foreigners seeking employment. They do not appreciate or value their jobs like in those days when jobs were scarce and you needed connections to land a full time work. Those foreigners appreciated and valued their jobs here cuz they had no jobs back home even if they were willing to work for less.
Just go to the few coffee shops around Blk 58 New Upper Changi and check for yourself. The runners working inside or outside the counter are all PRCs. The odd ones are due to quota where bosses have no choice but to keep them on their payroll. Those PRCs are working very long hours doing everything including mopping the floor when customers are few. They are young, energetic and efficient.
At any time, tens of hundreds are always waiting outside a factory in China or India ready for any job offer. In such a scenario, will those working inside that factory exhibit similar negative work attitudes in my earlier two quoted cases?
What I am trying to say here is that why should we give the bosses any excuse to get foreigners to replace us? We need to work better than those foreigners since they are also here fighting for jobs on our own turf. Do we need bosses like that “Fool” to go on national TV and declare that $3,000 still can’t get dishwashers?
The above observations are all around us if only you care to look around with eyes wide open. Sometimes, we just can’t accept the truth. Some of us just can’t handle the truth. What do you think? Remember this: Nobody owes you a living. There is no free lunch.