The Hero Who Slayed the Hydra (Part II)

In the fantasy world, the heroes gets the adoration, the gold and the babes. For nobody else is brave, able or retarded enough to face the unenviable task of facing king kongs, demon lords, undead kings or fire breathing dragons.

In current reality, the ones doing the unenviable tasks everyday as their day jobs get paid the least. It does not matter how dangerous, uninspiring or difficult your job is. The rules of the world didn't really change. The ones who held power, reign. If you were the hero of fantasy land, you rule. Simply because you possessed the power that no one else could match up in the fantasy world. In our world, the ones in power get the dough, babes and possess law-bending special abilities to see themselves through life. The only difference is that, instead of doing the dirty work like the hero in the virtual world, they outsourced the shit jobs but pay them next to nothing in comparison with their own income.

The income disparity of Singapore is one of the widest in the world but that is nothing to be proud of. A cleaner facing weather elements and risks earns only a fraction of what that comfortable office worker takes home. Ok, if we are to increase the salary of these menial jobs, where does the money comes from? That is a question our Singapore government loves to ask. The money has to come from somewhere right? Wrong. The money is already there. Think back to the hydra slaying story. The reward is still 1000 gold pieces. It is a pity that we have such a huge income disparity in the job market of Singapore. Singapore is a great place to live in. If only a comfortable life is available for the average, the commoners and not just for a minority of elites.

We are talking about a fairer allocation of the reward to the roles. There is quite a huge difference in the wage system between Australia and Singapore where an electrician here earns not much lesser than a mechanical engineer, where a make up artist earns not much lesser than a pharmacist. There are too many jobs in Singapore that pays way below the median wages and too many jobs way above. We must avoid being overly restrictive by defining how much certain kind of job pays.

The co-existence of a polytechnic level, university level and ITE do not make sense, much less classifying them clearly such that a fresh university graduate will have a significantly higher starting pay then the rest in pecking order. The ITE and Polytechnic should merge to be the technical university where students are trained with professional skills. To ensure this is not yet another bullshit Singapore rebranding scheme, graduates from the skills university will have wages on par with graduates from academic universities. The high wage earners will be determined not by the classification by being the cream of the crop of their profession. The best of car mechanics will command a notably higher income than the mid level auditors, for example. A resurgence of SME and entrepreneurship without government interference is possible under this setting.

This setting creates an environment whereby a bigger percentage of people will choose and stay in a vocation that they have passion in. I have met so many people from engineering, hospitality or information technology background switching to the banking industry because 'that's where the money is'. From a broader perspective, there is a huge wastage of resources in such moves. We are very much focussed on thinking how to improve the productivity of the workforce but almost ignoring the fact that a reduction of wastage works as well for the country on the other side. Moreover, having people to stay in the industry that they are passionate about and naturally talented in will see an increase in productivity back to a level it should have been. That cannot be done if we continue to gazette occupations of certain sectors to wages of super level leaving the rest largely unattractive.


  1. 1 of my aussie penpal from hotcopper told me about how a DUMP TRUCK DRIVER in the mines can earn A$150k per annum with half a year as non-working days....

    I'm told that dump truck moves at 30km/h and is automatic.

    How many jobs can get that kind of benefit? And pay?

    Singapore...? Impossible to have such job opportunities...!

  2. > a question our Singapore government loves to ask. The money has to come from somewhere right? Wrong. The money is already there.

    Good point. It is about distribution of the pie, not about the pie being too small to feed all. That's why I prefer the Canadian system.

  3. This is the same reason for low standards in the service industry that the government was at one time concerned about.

    I know people who have a flair for service and love the interaction with customers on a daily basis but couldn't sustain their livelihood because they needed the money to go for university studies and upgrade themselves, another area te government was interested in.

    As such they had to switch to higher paying jobs. The result is the high turnover rate and the constant replacement of skilled service providers with unskilled temp workers in students and time-fillers who needed just a short term job to pass time during holidays or earn a quick buck.

    Also affected then is the perception of the profession because the type of people going through these jobs.

    It's all related.

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