Frustrations should be directed at policies and twisted mentalities instead
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In the morning when I walk to work, I see migrant workers cycling beside the road or walking in groups to the bus stop. When I get off work in the evening and on my way to school or some other places, I see more migrant workers or foreign students on public transport, usually on their way home or to hang out in town.
Yes, their numbers have increased very significantly and a single ride on the MRT sometimes makes me feel like a minority in my own country. However they will definitely not stop coming because our leaders (no, I did not vote for them) believe in the exploitation of cheap labour, helping companies to sustain as they believe that Singaporeans are not willing to serve food, clean sick patients up, clean public places, or be employed in construction work under low wages. Now, why should these jobs be considered not worth higher wages anyway?
There is also a belief by a certain old man that our local population of about 3 million is not enough to produce enough talent. So why doesn’t the country look into ways to cultivate more local talents or appreciating the ones who do exist?
In addition, there is a fraction of Singaporean men who think that Singaporean women are not good enough to become obedient wives who can clean up after them, be their sex slaves or produce enough babies to keep their ‘old naggy parents’ happy so they go to a shop, and they buy a foreign bride. (Note: I have no problems with love marriages between foreigners and locals, but I do have a problem with people buying brides.)
Inevitably, these foreigners bring with them their habits, customs and languages which may sometimes be negatively seen as crude, rude or uncivilised. Due to these habits that are often publicly displayed, they are being ridiculed both online and offline. Just look at Stomp! for example. It has pictures of all sorts of ‘unsightly’ behaviour of foreigners taken and submitted by Singaporeans for all to ridicule and criticise. I have also came across some blog posts and Facebook statuses containing a high level of xenophobia, written with a malicious tone most of the time.
The presence of xenophobia certainly disturbs me.
First of all, it does not solve the issue on hand. Secondly, while most of us are asking our families, friends and the society to recognise us as individuals with our personal preferences, ideologies and way of life, we are discriminating others for who they are just because we do not like the idea that they are here to replace local workers in some sectors or the fact that we do not agree with their behaviour.
In a way, we cannot blame migrant workers for leaving their homelands with the hope of earning more to improve the conditions of their families back home. We cannot blame them or mock them for being themselves or for being different from us. We can only blame the policies made by the government of the day, the prejudices and flawed believe that our ministers and owners of businesses have of Singaporeans, as well as certain groups of people who feel the need to have obedient partners (slaves). Because of all of them, the influx of foreigners will never stop.
Personally, I believe in enforcing minimum wage to make wages equal for both Singaporeans and foreigners. With a minimum wage policy being enforced across the board, companies will have to employ foreigners at the same wage as Singaporeans. In my opinion as a layman (yes I don’t major in economics), this will perhaps help companies to simply employ locals due to convenience and lesser paperwork. This will also result in companies employing on skills and qualifications more than looking into how expensive an employee a candidate may be.
Remember, the migrant workers who are here do not have it going well too. For most of them, their living conditions, wages and rights are rather appalling. They are being exploited for the capitalistic ambitions of companies and corporations here, with the blessings or ‘blissful ignorance’ of the relevant policy makers. They have no intentions of making our lives hard, because they do not know that they are being employed in replacement of some of us.
Although human beings do have the right of preferences, it is strange to hear individuals who do not see the need to conform to the society at large (being submissive and passive citizens) spitting malicious criticisms at these foreigners, asking why they cannot conform to our local standards of civility. It is also very contradicting to hear from some members of the minority groups who have vehemently declared that they have been discriminated and are now discriminating the foreigners for choosing to be themselves.
We should all live and respect each other as human beings and channel that frustration that we have towards specific policies and policy makers and to involve ourselves in making changes possible instead. Most of all, we should look within ourselves and ponder upon whether we will feel good if we are discriminated for being who we are. If the answer is no, then I think we should be more accepting of the habits of others, if their habits do not cause us any harm. Don’t you think so?
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