First World Country: Third World Discrimination

If anyone wants to hire a hardworking and responsible admin staff, feel free to contact me.

Maggie is currently looking for an admin job. When she joined her company initially, pay was obviously not the key factor. Blah blah blah blah blah blah.

Fast forward to present, she went 7 or 8 years in her current job without a pay increment worth mentioning. When I mean worth mentioning, I don't mean that kind of increment some people get. The same people who got a pay cut recently.

Anyway for Maggie, it's time to go and this time pay is a key factor.

Sending plentiful resumes to prospective employers is the rule of the game. Maggie knows that and has been doing that dutifully. Finally she got a call from a job agent who told her she could be having an interview with her client but she would need to send them her photograph first.

For the benefit of smart arses' who crave sources: Here is it. Eat it if you want.

Question: If Maggie sent this picture:

Would she get an interview? Ha! Keep the answer to yourself.

If Maggie sent this picture instead:
She WILL get that damn interview.

It is 2012. People are already talking about the end of the world, yet gross employment discrimination is still transpiring in Singapore.

When I went for the interview of my current job in Perth, I brought along my resume. My personal data on that resume was 1) my name, 2) contact number, 3) address 4) email. That's all.

No gender
No photograph
No age
No nationality
No race
No height
No weight
No boobs size

I could always turn up for an interview and they could very well reject me for the job due to discriminatory items. But at least I have a chance to change their mind if I put up an impressive interview.

How do you impress if you can't even turn up?

No doubt, discrimination can occur in Australia as well but efforts are still being put in to keep this as minimal as possible. Just like the way Australian don't litter, only a very small minority do. It's a culture cultivated (not regulated) from young.

To date, Malay friends in Singapore are still complaining about job advertisement citing 'Chinese only', and that's not referring required language skills. It used to be those in their 50s struggling to find jobs. Perhaps today, job hunters in their 40s may find themselves knocking on locked doors.

These days you get this too:

Nationality discrimination. What next?

Fortunately Maggie has good looks. She got that interview. I'm happy for her but remained dismayed at what she told me.

First World country indeed. Self praise is self disgrace.


  1. On the other side of the coin:

    Fucking 10 year series are killing the islanders.

  2. wow.. can't believe they asked for a photograph! So irrelevant! Sounds like applying to a dating service rather than a job :\ and I'm suprised how they shamelessly mention 'Chinese only' :O

  3. philippines manufacture cars?!?!

  4. like that...if you are fat n ugly do you think u can get a job...especially sales line.... what type of sales ppl you see? Pretty and slim or "____"?

    ah pooh

  5. it's kinda same down under la..
    my brother-in-laws' ex-girfriend's sister(confusing ah??)could not find a job in an aussie owned company when she graduated from uni in sydney. after many tries she gave up and joined a chnese owned company..
    as for singapore, there are currently laws against discrimination when you advertise to hire people. no race, no religion, no gender, no age... however, employers will find ways to indicate their preference, eg female working environment, able to speak Mandarin etc etc...
    sad to say my company does that too, but we have our reasons. not to discriminate, but out of necessity..

  6. @Peck: It's not the same.

    I already mentioned in my post discrimination exists everywhere. If you truly think Australia is as blatant as Singapore in employment discrimination, we have to agree to disagree then.

    1. well, it is not as blatant, but as Anonymous said, "still prevalent"...
      I experienced it when I lived in Sydney 10 years back..
      Having said that, I'm still moving down under ... hahah

  7. Your statements:

    1. Discrimination exists everywhere.

    2. First World country indeed (with reference to Singapore's claim of being First World).

    I don't know but I think you contradict yourself. You somehow imply that First World countries don't have discrimination, and yet you assert that discrimination exists everywhere. By your logic First World countries don't exist.

    Perhaps then you draw a distinction as a matter of degree. You claim that it is more blatant in Singapore and less blatant in Australia. Consider this: whether it is blatant or subtle, does it give a true indication of the level of discrimination? Keep in mind that something can be subtle and yet still prevalent.

    I can tell you that I lived in Melbourne for 8 years and I loved it there. I have never experienced any OVERT racism but I know for a fact that even though it is subtle, it is still prevalent.

  8. @ Anonymous: Are you Singaporean? If not, I don't blame you for not picking up the sarcasm in my mentioning of "First World".

  9. standbybed

    these pinoy recruitment ads must be submitted to MoM

  10. Actually I felt a little discrimination during my house-hunting two days ago. I told agent I want to rent this unit, he said already rented out. Then go online and found out it is still available. Just want to make sure that he doesn't want to rent it to me, I went down to the Open inspection and when the agent saw me, he say "sorry mate, only for locals". I smile and left.

  11. hey man,

    "When I mean worth mentioning, I don't mean that kind of increment some people get. The same people who got a pay cut recently."

    You referring to auditors?


  12. @ Anonymous Jan 12, 2012 11:08 PM : Mee notch fwee summit la

    @Thomas: That's bad. You should not smile and leave. Just say 'i'll report this, mate' to scare scare him also shiok ;)

    @ellis: nah.. not those auditors. i'm referring to those freeloaders . maybe ah veane knows. ask her :)

    1. @asingaporeanson: No lah, not when I'm newbie here, I forgive and forget quite fast :P He don't want my AUD, I just spend it elsewhere.

  13. My experience since arriving in Perth 4 months ago:

    Job hunting is so much less troublesome. No filling in lots of application forms that even ask what your parents and siblings are doing and no submission of copies of certs etc.
    Fill in a simple application form and show eligibility to work in Oz. Interviews are mostly about what you bring to the position.

    Got the CBD office based job after about 1.5 months of hunting.

    Don't expect to encounter discrimination anytime soon. People are friendly and just got on with it.

    House hunting in Perth was stressful with the very tight rental market. Fortunately managed to get one quickly. Agent actually hinted that people like us are sometimes preferred.

    I agree with ASingaporean SG employment process is not as good those in Perth.

  14. @Pat: Cos you're the man. No one will discriminate against you :P

  15. Hope can "tong pang" your blog to ask Pat what is "people like us"?

    and what could possibly be the reason for such "sometimes" preference by the landlords there.

  16. Anon @ 0451PM: I would hazard a guess that 'people like us' meant Asian migrants.

    There are a few reasons: We generally pay rent on time, we generally don't thrash the rental property after a drinking party, we generally don't do drugs or grow pot on the premises.

  17. I didn't want to come across as stereotyping but CK is about spot on. But this is only from one agent :)

    As for job hunting, in Perth and in my office, one can see that, like many other cities, Perth is not isolated from globalisation.

    One just need to be confident of one's skills, apply to jobs you think your skills can be applied and go tell them :)

    I was a bit lucky the mining companies are quite short of skilled people recently.

    Apologies to people who might not be so 'lucky' in their job hunt in other states/trades/industries.

  18. i hope there're still slots for audit positions...

    can't wait to fly over in 2 years' time..

    i remembered there's a saying that if you spend time thinking and hoping for sth, it will come to you. The more you think bout it, the faster it comes to you.

    So I'm gona think of meeting more audit peers from OZ. (Esp in Perth)

    Cuz the more connection the easier things get done =)

    Overseas Sgporeans must stay united k?

  19. @Ellis: you mean self fulfilling prophecy? That's debatable but yes there is such an idea.
    Most people would go Melbourne and Sydney loh, prob have more jobs there.

    I came to Perth because I 'needed only 1 job'

  20. My apologies for intruding and adding on to Pat's comments, over here, there is lack of submission of certificates and tell them what your whole family is doing here for private sectors. In applying for government jobs, there is a need to submit certificates, write a long cover letter to address the selection criteria but definitely less work than applying for Singapore's government jobs.

    I agree that discrimination is less obvious when it comes to employment in Australia, though I heard there are a minority (naturally) who prefers locals and discard resumes with Asian or
    foreign sounding names.. Oh well, that's only a minority.

    1. There will always be good and bad anywhere I suppose. I am not familiar with government jobs here but heard it is more stringent.

      I just found the process here more strightforward.

  21. Oh yes! Good and bad is kinda like give and take I suppose.. Definitely more straightforward process here! I am sure there are some good benefits in public sector.

    Congrats by the way, for getting a job in a short time :)

  22. Hey there,

    Okay, I don't mean to be sarcastic or unpleasant but I thought maybe this can give you a different perspective altogether.

    Since you are already out of Singapore, why bother writing about things like that? Wouldn't it be better to just focus on enjoying your life, concentrate on being happy and think about the good days ahead.

    For those who doesn't seem to like the life in Singapore, they'll figure a way out somehow. However, if they still insist on not making changes despite being really unhappy then they have to live with it. It's all about choices and the amount of sacrifices you are willing make and you have made yours =)

    So, why don't you just sit back and relax and enjoy life? Stop thinking about those negative things. It spoils your mood anyway.

    1. I understand where you are coming from. don't worry about me. You may want to read this, it may give you a different perspective too:

    2. Well, let me put it this way... The idea is to "move on" =) It is totally okay to have your own way of expressing your opinion but you don't need to keep thinking about Singapore right? Australia have a fair share of things for you to explore too (be it culture or politics) and they'll be much helpful to you in your future endeavor with your lovely wife and daughter.

      "Positive thinkers and their hypocrisy." - I understand where you are coming from coz like you, I had my fair share from people who slam the words on me, expecting me to take it coz it's something that the general public will always agree - when they hear the words without knowing enough of the actual situation.

      I don't know much about you nor your situation so you can ignore this if you think it is not applicable. However, it seems that investing your time and effort to explore what is ahead of you seems to generate more ROI and benefits.

      Maybe it is too early to demand you to forget everything about Singapore and jump right straight into your new environment but I hope you do see my point and where I'm coming from.

      Good luck! =)

    3. @X : Dear X, if what i wrote about singapore represents the number of times i think about singapore, you can take a peep at the labels of my blog, what i wrote about Australia is way more than Singapore.

      I cannot disagree with you in terms of ROI. That's why I'm thinking to end this blog anytime now.

    4. Haha, I probably misunderstood you then =)

      Whatever your decision is, in case I never get to see you again - It has been a pleasure knowing you through your blog =)

    5. Where do u live in? If it is Singapore, we go lim teh when i go back for visit

    6. Like yourself, I'm no longer in Singapore. Let's keep this friendship it online =)

    7. no worries. visit the blog whenever u wish friend.

  23. 1) There are security clearances and concerns when it comes to government jobs in Australasia. (not discrimination)

    2) There are laws concerning discrimination even from the get-go: try being the hiring manager one day and you'd be forced to be HR aware of rules you can operate by.

    3) The older you are in Australasia, the more you get paid. The Coles night job mentioned was one such example. In Singapore 40 years and beyond is discriminated upon.

    4) Pregnancy is dicriminated to a larger degree in Singapore. Over here try firing a mother on a 12 (or 14) month maternity leave: heavy corporate fines await.

    5) I dare a Singaporean company try to advertise: "Only eligible to filipinos, hispanics, prc" and get sued to the ground and boycotted to oblivion.

    6) The discrimination in Singapore for work life is simple: the government assures employment exploits by any company in Singapore by totally disowning all protection for local workers: their rates are thus cheapened up to 50% due to extra hours put in. Here if a worker breaches 37.5 hours of work per week the company gets into legal troubles.