A Lazy Take on Naughty PRC Drivers

I've decided not to write about the idiots running our country anymore but I've a very rare request from TT for my opinion about the talk of the town - PRC bus drivers strike. I tried explaining to TT that I don't have any views on this. This has been done to death by Singaporean bloggers all over the internet. Everyone has something to say about it and I don't believe I can offer anything unique about it. In fact, I didn't read a word about this issue in any blogs or any shitty article from the MSM and am at a total loss of the whole affair. The feint idea I've got was some PRC drivers went on strike, some hoo hah caused by a moron minister's comment about whether a strike is legit or not and other what not. 

This is just for you only TT. It is based on my rough feel and understanding of the Singaporean pattern of dealing with these issues. Perhaps I didn't even need to guess the proceedings anymore. Everything moves in one expected direction in Singapore. It's quite easy and I'm sure you're too familiar with it;

Bad things, downplay it. A flood is a pond, a mistake by  any PAP elite is always honest, exorbitant housing is affordable, billions of dollars lost by sovereign fund housewife gambler are long term investments. A triple over-budget can yield great returns. A gambling den is an integrated resort. 

Good things, glorify it. Singapore is the richest country in the world - doesn't really matter if we are collecting tin cans on the streets in our sunset years. Singapore is the most competitive country in the world - working ourselves to death for it and footing the sick bill ourselves. Singapore has the best airport - oh wait, it has been a while since we heard of that. Someone is the father of modern Singapore - and the population is duped into believing so and accepting his godly status.

Bad mouth the others to make yourself look better. Constantly report how dangerous and corrupted Malaysia is. Unsurprisingly, they don't do reports on the dangerous Indonesia is. looking at how many Singaporeans are looking north than south for relocation. Report how bad are public transport in London, Tokyo, Thailand. So the fact that you have to walk long distance by foot in Somalia makes our public transport system a godsend? Report how unattractive Australia is as a destination of relocation with dubious analytical methods. For those who follow this blog would know someone just did not too long ago. 

There are only these 3 rules to play around with. You can apply anything with these golden guidelines in Singapore. Bus drivers strike? No problem. Downplay - It's not a strike. It's a wage dispute. Talk about good things, how to get help from unions and how to do a proper legal strike in Singapore. Bad mouth the others - see how badly the labour strikes affect the economy in other countries? Eeew, it looks unsightly too. We shouldn't be doing that.

How close am I? Did any of these happened? Those who follow this closely will be able to tell me if golden guideline works. It shouldn't be too far off. Don't be too eager to prove me wrong with snide remarks. I'm not a fucking seer. You tell me, TT. Ok. Finally, my comments on this matter. Like I said, I don't have much of an opinion on it. I had to write something so this post doesn't look like an awkward one paragrapher. 

Life isn't fair. Anyone who seeks total fairness in life will die a bitterly disappointed man. But there is a line between unfairness and injustice. That is something we need to think about, whether workers were simply put on an unfair wage scale or being treated with injustice. Perhaps we shouldn't even be bringing up the notion of injustice here. Many of us do not even think the PRCs were treated unfairly. After all, willing buyer, willing seller. No one is cheating them, they know their terms before signing on the contract. Technically, even if SMRT pays them a hundred bucks a month and they agree to it, the company has done nothing wrong. 

There is a lot of things which aren't technically wrong in Singapore. The CPF board can technically increase our minimum sum to $300,000 dollars tomorrow. The government can raise GST to 15%. Let's not be hypocrites here. If you are in the shoes of the PRCs, doing the same job, going on the same working hours as your colleagues, you will expect to be paid almost equally to someone recognised by the company for the same competency in the role. I am not trying to say our PRC friends can perform their roles as well as the Malaysians and Singaporeans. In fact many of them wouldn't be, given their language proficiency. However their pay scale was not tied to their competency but their nationalities. To me, that's nationalitsm, a form of discrimination. 

The irony is that before I left Singapore I distinctively remembered seeing advertisements on the back of our public buses telling everyone Singapore has a fair employment system. So, if we Singaporeans can accept that these PRCs was given their fair go and should just shove this up their asses, then we should accept the fact Singaporean men will be discriminated upon for employment when the interviewer found they have to serve ICTs and Singaporean women will continue to be asked whether they intend to get pregnant within the first two years of employment during interview. We'll also have to accept the fact putting down our races, religions and age in employment forms are mandatory for many companies across all industries, including the government sector, who even take the trouble to ask what your father and mother is doing at the moment. If you can accept all these, I'll give it to you, the PRCs should shut up about being short changed.

Let me ask you a simple question, Singaporeans. Who do you think the employer will hire if these foreigners ask for the same working wage as you did vying for the same job position? We know we are not as bad as the government says. No, we'll get the job for sure - if we don't remove our shoes during the interview and rub our toes or something. Some foreigners are competent, I have to stress, no doubt about it. There are definitely foreign talents in the country. Are they rest really as good as we are? I don't think we need to answer this one, it's pretty clear to see. We are only losing opportunities to many of them because of their much lower wage request. If we can accept that the PRCs are fairly treated with that wage scale SMRT offered, then we are not in a position to lament about opportunities losses due to wage disparity.

Does workplace grievances justify the holding of a labour strike? I don't really want to go into a never-ending debate. We Singaporeans can decide it for ourselves if we kill a tree just because it shed unwanted leaves in autumn. We accepted the ban of chewing gum, the loss of freedom of speech to total mainstream media control in the name of stability, a gag order to openly discuss racial issues in the name of harmony, losing our privacies to surveillance in the name of security etc etc etc. We do not nip things in the bud, we uproot them entirely, taking the good and the bad together. Can we afford losing the positive sides of what we lost in the process? Singaporeans have already decided for themselves in the previous elections. Enough said.


  1. Your summary of three strategies in politics comes across clearly:

    Downplay our bad.

    Glorify our good.

    Badmouth others.

  2. How about your goodself situation in perth are you experiencing double standards over there as an employee in terms of wage rate and treatment?

  3. At the two companies I worked with so far, everyone gets the same rate, how high or low depends on role and experience.

  4. It is really easy to get a job over there if you are willing to take up any job or it is really like we are treated like a bangla foreign worker over there? Coz i'm halfway thru my application and these questions are pondering me at the moment. Tq for your piece of mind.

  5. Finally I see in writing about someone agreeing with me that over here, it's downplay on the good and compare with the lesser fortunate to make ourselves look better. I've stopped reading the local news for a few years because it's always praising how wonderful Singapore is, while talking about corruption, robbery, murder in our neighboring country Malaysia. I am glad social media has advanced to a point where it cannot be totally controlled or regulated by the government (like how the last GE, twitter was the main source of information and was able to churn out info faster and more accurately than the mainstream media and how the PAP was exposed of things they doesn't want the public to know (inflated attendance, etc).