“Singaporeans have very high aspirations and want higher value jobs due to higher education. That explains why there will always be a need for foreign workers to make up for the shortfall.,” ~Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean
If we could put the question in political context, when PAP candidates have very high aspirations and want a million dollar pay package, isn’t there a need for Opposition candidates to make up for the short fall? DPM Teo’s explanation couldn’t be any more simplistic, it is nothing better an excuse to justify low salaries for workers of essential services.
Let me translate the idea you should be getting from hearing DPM Teo Chee Hean’s comment:
Listen up daft Singaporeans: Having high aspirations and wanting high value job is Singaporeans’ fault. It is your fault for wanting a salary that is higher than the current one the China workers are getting, and it is also your fault that a SMRT driver’s salary is not enough for you to even feed yourself. It is your fault too for wanting work-life balance, and if you protest I will throw you in jail. It is your fault you want me to listen to you, so if I need to appease you and increase the drivers’ salaries, you have to pay for it. Don’t threaten to vote the Opposition because most of you never will.
Even though DPM Teo didn’t spell it exactly, the bottomline of his rhetoric is profit margin. Profit built on cheap foreign labor is still profit, never mind the social costs and implications. The nation’s essential services are heavily dependent on cheap foreign labor that the sudden withdrawal of all foreign workers like the case of a war, could easily turn the country into chaos. There isn’t a need for soldiers to go through NS conscription when the economy is at a standstill without the foreign workers, but that is another issue for another day.
When transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew instantaneously connected the rise in drivers’ salaries to a public transport fare hike, it couldn’t be more overt that it is never about Singaporeans having too high an expectation to do any work, it is about the PAP government not wanting to pay for anything. Over here, we could clearly see that there are only 2 entities working against each other, the people versus the PAP government. The relationship is unhealthy as the government voted in do not work in the people’s interest – instead they work against the people and demand that people pay more. In a functioning democracy, the people’s resistance is either to exercise their vote when the time is right, or protest. It is no wonder governments like the Myanmar junta and the Chinese communists are looking to the PAP to find out how to have an election and not be democratic.