Friday, March 02, 2007

NS discriminates SG Males

A while ago I chanced upon this blog. The blogger is a nominated Member of Parliament. He shared with me his brief and generally sitting-on-the-fence views when I posted a few questions about NS and reservist to him.

A fellow male SGian saw his reply and wrote back to him. You can follow this link but I have pasted the reply here.

I disagree with your [i.e. Siew’s] views about NS call-up. I was with IBM (prettyenlighten MNC) some years ago. As consultant, part of our performance indicator was the "Billable hours" we clocked.

120 hrs lost a year (ICT) shows up clearly on graphs & charts, especially when 60% of the group were non-Singaporean. We were band in the lower percentile and not only loose out in increment, bonuses, but also in promotion opportunities.

In order to minimise that, some of us choose to take long overseas projects to stay ahead of competition and avoided ICT (not always successful).

Now that I'm making hiring decision, I realised it's cheaper to hire Indian consultants even when they are asking for the same pay as Singaporeans just because of the employer CPF contribution. I'm referring to pretty entry level job, when a local fresh grad is asking for the same salary as an imported Indians with a 3-4 yrs of experience, a MBA or Master in IT and no ICT liability.

Why should any truly enlighten employer give chance to locals when they can get better employees at the same price? Shouldn't an enlighten individual threat everybody the same and give equal opportunity to the best talents?

Deprived of the experience, the local fresh grads will loose out in the long run (not talking about the top 25% of each class who should not have problem landing on good jobs). When these imported talents decides to return home or find better opportunities in US, the cumulated knowledge goes with them and Singapore loose out. It's a lost-lost to both Singapore companies as well as citizens.

Think about it. Most of our Ministers are too short-term minded. You cannot govern just looking and numbers.

Siew disagrees with the above and responds saying that

"An enlightened employer is one who will recognise that NS is an obligation imposed on all Singaporean males, and that an employer located in Singapore should support that. This is especially so when the decision-maker is Singaporean himself.

It is a short-sighted, dollars-and-cents kind of guy who just looks at numbers, who would give a job to a foreigner simply because he does not have NS liability and is cheaper since employers' CPF contribution is not payable. And what is particularly disappointing is that Kevin, after having been at the receiving end of discrimination due to NS, turns around and discriminates against locals due to CPF."

Actually I dunno what Siew is trying to say. Words like "recognise" and "support NS" are the usual rah rah sounding and politically correct things to say. But they don't address the specifics of the problem at all. Siew says that it is short sighted if an employer just looks at numbers. That may be well and true. But the undeniable fact is that everything being equal, i.e. same asking salary, same qualification, same expertise, a male Sgian having reservist liabilities is straight away crippled compared to a foreigner or PR who does not cause such disruptive problems to his employer. And if it is a foreigner, lagi better bcos for foreigner the employer does not have to contribute to his CPF! Siew says there are other factors to consider. But with due respect to him, there isn't any point going into other blah blah factors when one is already crippled at the start by this basic fundamental disadvantage.

Another blogger Molly Meek wrote a wonderful response to Siew on her blog. Considering Molly is a female and doesn't need to do NS and reservist I would say she sees the whole issue a lot clearer than Siew. 'Institutionalised Disadvantage' is what it is but the gahment in ivory tower just turns a blind eye and does not listen. As much as I love my country, and try very hard to find something likeable about it. I can no longer find any reason to. Is it therefore any wonder that a recent survey finds 37 percent of Singaporean youths say they are not patriotic and more than half want to migrate overseas if given a chance?

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