Calling for More Responsible Employers

I refer to an article to the TODAYonline titled:

Longer leave results in 'loss of productivity'

Employers' federation opposes longer maternity leave while proposing more incentives be provided for employers [link]

Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) opposed to National Trades Union Congress's call for having two day's mandatory paternity leave. They cited this proposal 'creates an entitlement mentality which is an unhealthy work value'. If NTUC, our only labour movement representative in Singapore let this go, we are creating a socially irresponsible mentality which reflects the lack of ethical values among our employers.

Every working adult spends at least a third of his life with an employer. While an employee is fairly remunerated as a compensation of his labour, an employer must be aware that his subjects is not an economic number. It may be a tad far-fetch for a non-welfare country to expect its employers to treat  employees as part of their family. Having said that, employers should hold the responsibility of taking care of his worker's safety and well being, both physically and mentally. How could allowing grateful parents time off to give care to their children creates an entitlement mentality? In the first place, what right does an employer has to reduce an employee's sense of entitlement as much as they can? We have to get this clear. Are we talking about employees or conscripts here?

Our country needs more young. It is undeniable and we are running out of time. It is hard to refute additional paternity leave could do a bit more to encourage married adults to have more children. Being socially responsible employers, they have to do their part to aid their country's ailing attempts to reverse the plunging birth rates. But here, we are talking about productivity, profits and nothing else. Where is the patriotism here SNEF? If there are anything a citizen could do more for his country, an employer could do much more and this - isn't one of them.

Instead of supporting the labour movement's cause, SNEF has the cheek to ask for "Baby Bonus for the Bosses" - for employers when employees go on maternity leave, with savings going to help employers create a more work-life friendly workplace. For one, how can we trust employers to use the funds properly? The same employers who cited entitlement mentality among employees being an unhealthy work value. How do we measure a more work-life friendly workplace? How do we ensure employers didn't use this money to purchase the latest OSIM massage chair in this office instead? I sincerely urge NTUC not to give the green light to this bullshit.

Among other suggestions, the NTUC reportedly proposed extending maternity leave from the current four months to six months. The SNEF argued it would be a challenge for companies - especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs) - to find and train replacements, as well as to get employees to share workloads.

In Australia, we have a very healthy casual employment market where employers could hire staff easily for any flexible working arrangement. A working mother for example, are commonly encouraged to take up jobs which require them to turn up only on alternate days, or everyday but 3-4 hours a day. Work arrangement is flexible, a compromise between an employer and employee. It is also cheaper for an employer to hire temporary staff this way. Without a contract, additional staff is asked to go when workload stablise or when the permanent staff is back from long leave. It is mutually understood between the employer and casual worker.

An environment like this can only be possible if SNEF is willing to take the first move. It is hard to get good casual workers because there isn't a market of trained effective employees. A market could only be created if there is acceptance from employers to give this initiative a trial. Singapore employers should sit down and have a hard look at themselves and start contributing towards a first world employment model rather than rejecting all ideas proposed by the union and full stop. We badly need to improve on this.


  1. In Sg, the union is so meek that those employers climb up the head of workers to shit! Try that in the West. They strike against them. Too bad Sg got no strike. It's illegal. Workers got no rights here. WTF! KNN!

    1. Ya... agree... unlike countries where the unions are independent and strong to organize strikes to fight for the rights and benefits of workers, workers can't go on strikes here in Sillypore.

      Imagine if the workers in the cleaning, service and transport industries were to go on strike. The whole island will be filled with garbage (stinks!), on one could take public transport to work, the retail shops, F&B stalls, etc. are all closed, etc. Only then will the employers and govt seriously take the rights and benefits of the workers seriously, e.g. minimum wage, etc.

    2. The employers keep complaining that they can't hire locals to work in industries such as services (e.g. retail), F&B (e.g. cooks), transport (e.g. delivery drivers), etc.

      But have they thought how much are they paying the workers in these industries, even their long working hours, gotta work weekends, long standing time, etc.? Most are paid only S$1000++.

      For the standard of living in Singapore, a decent pay should be at least S$3-4k/month. If not, the problem will continue to persist, no much how much bullshit WDA or upgrading training they attended.

      If a part-time vocation requiring only a few hours a week (MPs) are paid more than S$15k/month, then why is a full-time job being paid only S$1k++/month??? Where's the logic???

  2. Hi asingaporeanson,

    Just to share, what you've observed about job-sharing in the Australian job market is also similar for the Canadian job market. Here new mothers who leave their jobs are supported by Employment Insurance (EI) so that they won't have to worry about a serious drop in their standard of living while caring for their newborn.

    By the mid-2000's, I realized that our MOM (Ministry of Manpower) and NTUC (union) are really paper tigers. They did nothing to protect workers' interest in the slew of retrenchment and outsourcing. Housing prices were escalating, whereas changes in workers' wages were lagging way behind. It was also when the low-wage workers (e.g. cleaners) were being squeezed by the flood of cheap and unskilled foreign labour.

    IMHO, I doubt Singapore will progress towards a first world labour market under the PAP-dominated government. One cannot blame the SNEF for being unpatriotic for it is an association of biz-owners, of course their biz interests come first. Instead look at some other factors below:
    1. unlimited supply of foreign workers,
    2. government dipping its hands into so many pies (i.e. the government-linked companies are big employers) thus ensuring an internal conflict of interest if they were to act pro-labour rather than pro-biz,
    3. as mentioned above, paper tiger MOM and NTUC/unions,
    4. laws restricting freedom, especially those against the right to assembly (i.e. strikes are illegal), and
    5. Singaporeans are too kiasi (e.g. foreign labourers were willing to sit outside MOM, creating a din, bringing media attention to their plight).

    In conclusion, aren't you glad that you and I are no longer in the 3rd-world labour market?

    Cheers, WD.

    1. Ya... Sinkapore is a so-called "first-world country" with a 3rd-world labour market, except the Pappies themselves who are paid way above any first-world govt. KNN...

  3. This is not new lah.

    In the 90's I used to work for Seagate. Then they were the biggest private sector employer. (At on time, they employed more 'slaves' than SIA)

    The NTUC even then was very supportive of the retrench at front door and re-hire at back door practice.

    During that period, many technology companies, including Compaq were not paying any taxes due to the OHQ and Pioneer schemes. Right after the tax breaks expired, all de-camped to Thailand and China.

    And what did our esteemed union do? They became property developers? (EC's through NTUC Homes, One Marina in 2000's)

  4. Nix,

    I would very much like to invite you to be a business owner in Singapore. Run a business, go through it and let us know your experience of how to implement the 6 months paid leave and 6 months unpaid leave for maternity.

    It is difficult to compare conditions in Australia and S'pore. In the 90s, we distribute an equipment made in UK and charge $1500 for annual testing and certification which hospitals were already complaining considering the equipment cost $20k. The Australian distributor to our surprise charged A$4000 for the same service.

    I am no PAP supporter but sometimes, it is easy to comment when you are not struggling to keep your business afloat and worry about your employees salary due at the end of every month. The workers only have to worry about their own salary. If the business fails, the business owner may go bankrupt if he cannot pay the personal guarantees he has signed for loans from the banks. Believe me, I have countless personal guarantees even for a loan for our warehouse for which we only borrow 50% of the valuation. So don’t envy the business owner, they have their own headaches.

    SME owner

    1. Hi SME owner,

      Running a business is never easy. It is common knowledge and that is why there are way more employees than employers in any countries.

      Just take away my Australia comparison for a moment. So be it if employers feel that they could not cope with 2 extra days of paternity leave but I question SNEF's asking for a "Baby Bonus for the Bosses". Enlighten me as a SME owner, how can this make an employee better off to the original proposal?

      Don't get me wrong. I am not against SMEs getting more assistance from the government. In fact, I'm for SMEs, just look at the right bar of my blog. I'll be adding more to the list in time to come.

      To ask for tax breaks, rental subsidies and other forms of assistance from the government is fine. However, riding on the coat tails on the employee's newborn to get funding is, may I say, shameless.

  5. Nix,

    SNEF only speak for the big boys. SMEs are normally left to swim or sink on our own. I have no problem with paternity leave of even one week. I don't know what the heck baby bonus for bosses they are talking about. I am referring more to the 6 months paid and 6 months unpaid maternity leave. Most SMEs have one or maybe two persons doing accounts and admin. If one goes on leave for one year, imagine how chaotic it would be for the other staff. Temps come and go as they like. Some can suka-suka don't turn up. If we don't survive, there is no worker to talk about is there ?

    SME owner

    1. Let me just add that if they pass the maternity entitlement law, I will only be looking to hire aunties.

      SME Owner

    2. Hi SME Owner,

      I have a question. What is stopping you from only hiring aunties now?

      Benefits of hiring aunties:
      1. Lower change of having to deal with marriage/maternity leave.
      2. Aunties know that they are past the Singapore employees' sell-by date by the time they reach 40, so they are going to treasure their job more. Therefore, easier to motivate staff.
      3. By the same token, lower chance of aunties job hopping. Therefore increase stability (lower staff turnover) at your SME and save recruitment costs.

      I would like to hear your perspective as an SME owner.

    3. syt vs milf how to compare

    4. Winking Doll,

      You should be a business owner. You have grasp the problem we owners face. What you have written is already well known. It is not that we do not want to hire all aunties if we can. The problem is that there aren’t enough aunties with the relevant job experience for us to hire.

      What Nix has written is oversimplified. The SMEs already give many benefits the big boys do not give. Many young graduates look at SMEs with disdain. They do not think we can give them the prestige and career path the MNCs can. It is difficult for us to attract the more capable ones. Those who join us have to be nurtured even more carefully if they are good for they can easily walk out and get another job.

      If a female staff with children come to me and said she has to take leave because her child is sick, what do you think will happen if I said no ? She may have to quit because we are not sympathetic to her and obviously, her family is more important to her. Invariably, the reliable ones will get more benefits than what is official simply because we are at a disadvantage when hiring staff.

      I am not against the 3 months maternity leave per se but as a business owner, it disrupts our operations and cost us much more to hire a temp, ($12/hr minimum). We encourage young mothers to take the 3 months, come back to work and take the other month whenever they want.

      If conditions get tougher, which I expect it to get, I may just have to apologise to my 30 odd staff and tell them their boss is not good enough to survive the competition after 20 odd years.

      SME Owner

    5. Dear SME Owner,

      After reading your response to me and Winking Doll, I reckon, you do not find it meaningful to have a discussion with me because I did not have the experience running a business like you did.

      There is always another side of the coin to look at. I was with a local SME before I left Perth. My bosses were Singaporeans. Though I was not a fresh graduate, I considered myself young enough at 30. No, I did not look at an SME with disdain and I intended to stay with my company as long as I could.

      I worked an average of 12 hours a day. On a particular project, I slept 3-5 hours a day, working overnight almost everyday for a few months. During that period, I worked 16 hours a day and even had to answer calls during my bath and meals. I came back during public holiday and was promised to get day offs when the project ended. It didn't happen. I work 6 days a week and came back on Sundays often, without compensation. I was paid $2,300 a month. I am a graduate. I hope this isn't your idea of giving benefits to employees like the big boys. I trust you are not, I believe I was unlucky.

      FYI, I ran a food stall with my mother for 8 years. We started off knowing nothing about the business. I was heavily involved in every single detail from product, purchasing, work process, inventory, marketing, hiring. We had only 3 staff all these 8 years. I am not sure such a profile is qualified to comment. It is better than being just an employee who can only see the employee's side of story I hope.

      As a business owner, the welfare of staff is part of the problem. We can always choose the easy way out hiring foreigners and adopting the "If you are not happy, you can leave. I will get someone else to do the job" attitude. That is technically not wrong, our labour laws allow it. In Singapore, nobody will raise an eyebrow to a boss who practice this.

      What I was trying to express was not into technicalities, thus perhaps over-simplified, but to urge everyone to re-examine the role of an employer outside being a paymaster and a taxpayer. I had read every single word you wrote a few times to make sure I did not misunderstand where you are coming from. Sure there are problems and it isn't easy as a business owner. The government is not helping by creating a non-competitive market by being too involved in every niche.
      This is national level problem. If the government and SNEF do not make a first step, the viscous cycle will worsen.

      You may hire aunties today. Who will you hire tomorrow?
      I'm reachable at for any further discussion because I prefer not to comment in my own blog as much as I can help it.

    6. Nix,

      Thank you for reading through my reply. Your answer shows that I have achieved my objective of showing the employer’s side of the story though not all employers are like that. The auntie statement is more of a joke then a serious attempt at solving our staff problem. We don’t have the luxury of picking and choosing our staff as not many respond to our advertisements if at all. There lies the crux of our staffing problem. If they do respond, most of the time, we are interview by them on the remuneration package, working hours and leave entitlements.

      You were indeed unlucky to be paid $2.3k. My subcontractor is currently paying fresh Civil engineering graduates from Malaysia, whose degrees are not recognised by PSC, $3k. He could not recruit any sinkie because none applied. He was willing to pay locals more than FTs and he is an FT himself !

      Not all employers are tyrants, though from your experience, I would not blame you if you did not believe me. I worked for some of them in my younger days and I strive very hard not to follow their footsteps. My Civil engineering peers were paid $600 during the 1985 recession building the MRT lines so my cohort can more than appreciate the tough working conditions for engineers.

      Thankfully, I am getting out of the rat race next year because I am sick and tired of the construction industry in Singapore. Levies for foreign labour keeps going up. Safety requirements keep getting more complicated. The foreign workers need a few certificates before they can work on site. It is a never ending challenge to keep up with the regulations. Meanwhile, the price for our contracts keep dropping. Owners keep demanding shorter completion periods at cheaper cost and push more responsibilities to us. So you see, the owners have lots of headache trying to keep the business afloat. I have no confidence that the powers that be can solve the current problem. There is no will to do so and we the business owners are squeezed in between. Something will give way one of these days and it will not be pretty.

      Thank you for indulging in my rants. We don’t get heard often. Many apologies for taking up so much space.

      SME Owner

    7. Hi SME Owner,

      My 2 years with the previous employer left me with a bitter taste to the extent I am not even willing to give the construction industry a chance here in Perth. I had purposely avoided looking for jobs in the industry because I didn't want to relive that feeling of being unappreciated and exploited.

      My ex employers promised me the world before I agreed to join them. They told me 2,300 was low but they were prepare to give me a 500 increment or even more as long as I perform. After 1.5 years, the bosses told me they were very happy with my improvement and performance in my yearly appraisal. At the end of 2nd year, I saw that they gave me $100 increment. A $100 increment for 2 years of service. I'll accept it if I suck. But I was told I was good! Tell me, as an SME Owner in the same industry, if you have an explanation for what happened to me.

      It is not true that Singapore guys were too soft to cut it in this industry. I spent time in the sun and even got my hands dirty by getting involved in simple work on site when we were in a big rush because I had inadequate workers allocated to my project. I didn't care what they call me, project engineer, project manager or bangalah worker. AFter CPF takes a cut, I couldn't start a family with that was left. I'm not even the spending type and trust me on that. My sister called me Uncle Giam since I was a young boy.

      I'm happy for you that you can afford to get out of the rat race. The industry is tough, even for bosses. My bosses told us we didn't perform as well as they prefer but they could upgrade their Merc each year I was there. One of them even upgraded to a Maserati.

      Standing on the employee's viewpoint, I can't speak for the rest of Singaporeans but for me I will really slog out for an employer if I'm truly treated as part of his family. I mean not the lip service kind.

      The situation you mentioned in the last reply is real and true. MOM wants a cut from you in levies, the whole safety crap rotten from inside. I've seen safety staff making things difficult for contractors just to get some cash or free drinks and women. Same goes for some consultants. Owners'are demanding more and refusing to pay. Quality of work is so bad because of the short completion time. On top of that, we have finished our major projects at MBS and Gardens. The stadium is one of the last few big project left. We may have one or two mega developments like that left but after that, our construction industry will go down like the late 90s. Something will give way for sure, I agree with that.

      Wish you a happy retirement SME owner, if you ever visit Perth, give me a ring

    8. Nix,

      You had bosses that suck. I am surprised you waited 2 years for the $100 increment. I would have showed them the middle finger and left after one year. In my first job, my boss expected me to be back in office when we officially work 5 days. He calls for meetings at 6 pm until 11pm and I will drive him back home in his car and then drive myself back. Early the next morning, I will drive his car to his house to pick him up and go together to office all for $1400 per month.

      I just finished a meeting with my partner and all my staff are getting a 5% increment next week and between 3 and 6 months bonus. Partners do not get any increments. They also get one month in Jan. for CNY or earlier for Hari Raya. The bonus figures have been the same in the last 10 years. I have staff who followed me to my current company in 2000 who are still with me. But I am getting tired of the state of the industry and feel jaded.

      I am sure there are many good sinkie employees around. I have a few of them but somehow we are not that lucky in the last few years. Part of my plan was to train someone to take over my position before I slow down but it has been a tough search. In fact, I should have left this year but my partners held me back for another year. Somehow, our paths were not meant to cross when you were in Sg.

      The “cheaper, better and faster” mentality will be the death of the construction industry. Low project price cause lower qualified workers to be employed. Long working hours, up to 12 hours everyday, 7 days a week is the main cause of work site accidents. No amount of safety rules and regulations will cut down accident if the worker are tired. Sorry for being so cynical but I don’t want to be involved anymore with an industry that is deteriorating by the day.

      Thank you for the invitation. I did a self-drive with my wife about 8 years ago from Perth, doing a clock wise direction to Albany and up through Margaret River back to Perth over 12 days. May do that again but I am eyeing the Retiree Program in Australia but it is still early days although I already qualify to apply if I want to.

      It has been great exchanging experiences but I am sorry if I have taken too much of your time or dominated this thread. So glad you decided to continue writing.

      SME Owner

    9. Hi asingaporeanson and SME Owner,

      Just to add my 2 cents.

      Although I was/am not in the construction industry, asingaporeanson and myself share similar unlucky experience in that we had ever worked for ugly Singapore citizens. In my case, my bosses were not even SME Owners, they were merely managers in a vendor firm doing software projects for a GLC client. But they certainly abused their "manager powers". Btw, I had a below-inflationary salary adjustment (and I don't remember any bonus) despite receiving good feedback from clients and working like a slave (14-16 hours weekdays, working overnight on some Saturdays into Sundays because we had no access to the client's office on Sundays). Looking on the bright side though, working almost 2 years under such ugly Singapore citizens finally pushed me to emigrate. See the "Ugly Singaporean bosses" section under the following blog entry.

      I have a cousin in the construction industry. I think he was involved in the MBS project too. Anyway, I have heard from him and others about the "cash or free drinks and women" deals that plague the construction industry in general, as mentioned by asingaporeanson. I had also heard stories from my late uncle (who used to have a construction firm) about "business owners are squeezed in between" as mentioned by SME Owner.

      As a student nurse, I happened to witness how a construction firm owner kept his construction site's safety KPIs high by admitting an injured worker to a private hospital for surgery, and then demanding that the nurses discharge the patient immediately post-op, even before the patient was fully alert! Going by the responses from the nurses, it was not the first time something like that had happened, and the reason for it was simple -- there is no police presence in private hospitals to ensure that such worksite injuries are reported. Even this safeguard for construction labourers in restructured hospitals is now gone with the removal of police posts in those hospitals.

      These stuff that happen will come back to bite Singaporeans badly someday. E.g. structures that collapse despite being "certified". IMHO, it is better to get out while we can.

      Just to share with SME Owner. I do not know what the situation is for the "Retiree Program in Australia", but you may take want to take the events happening on the Canadian immigration scene into consideration. With the lackluster global economy, many first-world countries are tightening their immigration rules. In fact, Canada has just suspended its Skilled Worker and Immigrant Investor Programs to do a thorough review. It is expected that the criteria to obtain a visa will only be tightened further after the review. It is beyond my scope to advise you, but in timing your "Retiree Program in Australia" application, you may want to consider the possibility of a similar scenario happening on the Australian immigration scene.

      Cheers, WD.

    10. WD,

      Thanks for your concern on the Retiree Program but no worries. All retiree Programs only want you to deposit money with them and you are self sufficient, money wise. In Australia's case, put in A$500k and proof that you have A$60k income per year and they give you a 4 year visa. You cover your own health insurance and must not have dependants. Pau jiak one for them.

      I bet many sinkie baby boomer retirees will be headed that way in the next 10 years after selling their million dollar apartments. It is much cheaper in Bolehland if all else fails, their Silver Hair Program that is.

      SME Owner

    11. WD,

      Let me relate 2 incidents that happened to us.

      Five years ago, I had a subcontractor doing cleaning for us. He hired daily rated locals to do work for him. One of them, man in his forties, cut his foot when he stepped on a sharp object. He continue working, went back home, took a shower and then went to a restructured hospital for treatment. The doctor warded him for one day and gave him 14 days MC. For industrial accidents, there is no subsidy even if you are a sinkie. The subcontractor had to guarantee payment which he did because the daily rated worker is a friend. The total cost for the treatment came to more than $1,200. When the worker went back for a review, he was given another 14 days MC for a total of one month MC. It was meaningless to the daily rated worker as if he doesn’t work, he doesn’t get paid. But from our Safety regulations, we have to report to MOM if more than 3 days MC is given. What amazed us was that the worker was not incapacitated and could walk about from the day he cut his foot. I discussed the situation with the subcontractor and we compensated the worker for about a week’s wages and paid for all his medical bills. Contractually, it is the subcontractor’s responsibility, not ours but being long term sub-contractors, we helped him out.

      The second incident has not ended and is still ongoing. We have a worker from the sub-continent who started work for us last Jun. In Aug, he claimed to have back pain and we send him to a restructured hospital for a check-up. They did the works, including Xrays and such. The result was that there was nothing wrong. It cost us more than $400. On and off, he would claim MC and go to clinics for consultation. The next thing we know in Nov, he disappeared from the hostel and we reported to the police. Out of the blue, we received a letter of demand from a lawyer claiming that he is acting on behalf of our worker and that he injured his back while working for us will claim Workman Compensation insurance from our company. We refuse outright because we knew it was fake. Meanwhile, we have to pay his Workers Levy, hostel fees and give him a daily meal allowance even though he is not working. MOM call for a meeting between us, our insurance company the workers lawyer in Dec. MOM says if you want to settle this quickly, just let him claim Workman Compensation and the case is settled. But then, we may open ourselves to a civil suit from the worker later. We refused and MOM asked the worker to substantiate his claims since the medical report we submitted for the restructured hospital cannot find anything wrong with the worker. It is still dinging and donging without any solution in sight. Off the record, the authorities told us they know what is going on and that we are genuine and the worker is faking but they still have to go through the process because of the worker’s lawyer. We were allowed to cancel the workers permit and saved on his Levy but we still have to pay for his hostel and meal allowance. It is costing us about $500 a month without the Levy to let the worker sit around while waiting for the authorities to decide.

      These are actual cases that I am involved in and not from some other sources. How does this compare to the horror stories you have heard or know about ill treatment of foreign workers ?

      SME Owner

    12. Hi SME Owner,

      As per your examples, there are good Singaporean bosses and bad Singaporean bosses, just as there are good employees and bad employees. IMHO, the unfortunate situation in Singapore is that the good Singaporean bosses are undercut by the bad Singaporean bosses -- who cut corners by stinging on their employees pay/welfare and play the "cash or free drinks and women" games with the relevant parties. Singapore laws are far behind other first world countries (e.g. Canada) when it comes to protecting labour. Add to that, the minimal safeguards present are badly implemented and/or ineffectively enforced. The bad Singaporean bosses make use of the situation and the imbalance in power to make his riches through exploiting the labourers and pushing the risks to them. As a result, the good Singaporean bosses, who provide decent labour conditions, find it hard compete against the bad bosses and to remain in business. This results in fewer and fewer decent companies to work for. The way I see it, the only way this will change is when PAP is no longer dominating the government, because the government under PAP has its fingers on too many pies -- thereby creating conflicts of interest when it comes to improving/enforcing decent work conditions.

      As for supporting a worker while there is a dispute between labourer and employer, I often wonder how MOM can collect so much money in foreign labour levy but provides so little in return for the funds collected. After all, the foreign levy is actually money made off the backs of these foreign labourers, so IMHO, labour protection/support in cases of dispute should first be covered by MOM funding. E.g. MOM could cover the costs of maintaining these foreign labour until the dispute is solved, and perhaps if the contractor was in the wrong the judge can/should allocate the costs to the contractor firm. MOM does not have to personally fork out these funds. E.g. MOM could take a small portion of the levy collected to buy insurance against labour dispute from actuary firms (i.e. insurance companies). MOM have the statistics of labour dispute (number of cases, length of time to resolution, compensation awarded, etc) with which these insurance firms can decide the risks and costs of providing such a service.

      As for the case I personally witness, I can assure you that the PRC labourer wasn't up to fishy business. He was sent for surgery (initially the construction firm owner even objected to the need for surgery!) because he had 2 fingers detached due to an industrial accident. I attended to the patient post-op. There are things that a person cannot fake, e.g. vital signs such as blood pressure and heart rate. His skin pallor indicated that he probably lost significant amount of blood. I cannot believe how heartless his Singaporean boss was (I could tell based on his accent that he was a Singaporean).

      As for the Retiree Program, good that you've got your analysis done. I thought of that risk because a PRC investor immigrant to Canada remarked to me that she was glad that her family applied years ago, because she believed that the investment deposit amount would be increased significantly after the review.

      Thanks for sharing your stories and good luck to your retirement plans.

      Cheers, WD.

    13. Just to highlight a clarification to my comment (by Winking Doll) dated 27 July 2012 16:15 above.

      > (and I don't remember any bonus)

      I re-read my blog entry "Wind and clouds 风云" and realized that I did receive "a token bonus of several hundred dollars each year". I just no longer remember it when I wrote the comment above on July 2012.

      My apologies. No misrepresentation intended. It is just my flaky memory at fault.

  6. I worked in a medium size local company during the bad times in early 2004.
    After working at least 12 hrs a day from Mon to Sat and alternate Sun as well as PH, all of us according to my manager then, got a 5% paycut on my 10th mth of working in the company but despite putting in much effort and extra working time, I was "rewarded" with 7% paycut, I did mention to my manager but he didn't do anything to help me.
    I bite the bullet as year end was just around the corner. The last straw came when my year end "bonus" was 0.5 mth, not even a min 13th mth.
    My boss then could even change his Lexus SUV to a two-door Porsche after our paycut and before my 0.5 mth "bonus".
    I left the company after 15 mths of working.

  7. dear sme owner,

    do check the new guidelines. I am pretty sure 500k isn't the amount we are talking about anymore

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