Mayday! Mayday!

It’s May Day aka Labour Day and all around the world, we hear stories of people using the call sign, “Mayday! Mayday!”, calling out for assistance with regards to so many issues related to their Labour Market or perhaps other social issues affecting their daily lives.

But let’s focus on Singapore.

Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, have his May Day rally speech to Unionists and corporations encouraging them to do several things. One of which is to encourage re-employment of workers beyond 65 years of age as well as trying to convince Singaporeans that in order for wages to go up, the economy has to go up.

Re-employment of 65 years and above

I have absolutely no issues with this. In fact, why even the need to re-employ in the first place IF the employee:

  • Hasn’t expressed willingness to leave
  • Is happy and competent in performing the job

Any need for re-employment should be looked at the same way when someone is being hired; Job Fit.

I can’t imagine not working beyond 65 years old. I figured that it would be pretty boring. My parents aren’t 65 years old yet but my dad at 60 years old, is now a Property Developer, Construction Worker and Farmer! 

Developing his own property by building rental homes on it and farming on land he purchased.

Okay, he’s not Singaporean. So he’s doing all that overseas and he has been working harder and longer, and losing more weight than when he was a full-time employee.

I’m happy that he’s in his entrepreneurial role. At least, he’d understand where I’m coming from better since he used to complain a lot about me running my own business before he started his own.

Higher Wages = Improved Economy

I’m no Economist so if my beliefs are misguided from the theories, then someone can teach me I suppose?

But I don’t agree with this.

The reason why everyone is asking for Higher Wages is because of Higher Standards of Living (increase in Commodities and pretty much everything basic).

Who’s responsible for these Higher Standards of Living?

Is it the Singaporeans of yesteryears aka our Grandparents or is it the Governments?

I would opine that it has to be the wishes of both because it takes two hands to clap but someone had to play a bigger influence to ensure that the other party will clap and I don’t think I need to clarify who did that job pretty darn well.

Our Standards of Living catapulted from 3rd World to 1st World in like 30 short years or lesser but were the citizens ready for it?

Life was great up till the 90’s because everyone had jobs and a home and everything was much more affordable but the moment we hit 2000, it seemed as if we had entered an era whereby our economy had to undergo several redevelopments and bigger ideas had to be implemented.

It really looked like something bad was happening.

I would describe this as a REJUVENATION process that Singapore had to undergo to ensure that the economy would be able to stay on top and remain competitive with not just the rest of the world but with our neighbours who were taking it slow and easy in it’s development (attributed to their larger size as well).

So, the situation I see now:

  • High Standards of Living vs Lower Wages

Asking for higher wages, whilst possible, will result in a few things:

  • Lower Profits for Local Businesses leading to
  • Slower Expansion in a market that’s competing with
  • Bigger and More Established Players which may eventually result in
  • Closure of Local Businesses because it is unable to perform
  • Research & Development with a lack of monetary resources

Well, at least that’s how I see it from my perspective. 

This has implications, positive and negative.

Positive – Big and Strong players will remain in the market. (Monopoly)

Negative – When monopoly sets in, they control the pricing because there will no longer be any competition. This also means that monopoly markets will in most cases, set higher prices for bigger profit margins.

This also means that whilst previously, you’d be able to afford something for X, you may soon have to pay XXX and if the Standards of Living is very high, trying to afford for XXX means you will be demanding for higher wages, which can’t progress as quickly as you’d wish unless the company is rolling in a healthy amount of profits.

Which is why rather than push for Higher Wages, Standards of Living, at least in Singapore should be lowered so that the current amount of wages received now can meet the demands of living here.

And this can be (could have been) worked out IF TEMASEK HOLDINGS and GIC hadn’t been making bad investments (Temasek Holdings, GIC).

Because if Temasek Holdings had been making good profits, I HOPE the profits earned can be used to:

  • Subsidize Public Housing
  • Subsidize Public Transportation
  • Subsidize Public Education
  • Subsidize Public Energy Facilities

Otherwise, Singaporeans will forever be the Creditors to the Government because our CPFs are held by them for their investments by institutionalized law and for as long as no one is taking it up to the Government to request for the sacking of those responsible for such bad investments, we will forever be at the mercy of the Government’s incompetence (despite boasting of individuals with such superb portfolios) in managing the Singaporean monies. 

Eh, usually if you’re the creditor aka Ah Long, you get to knock on their door to demand for payment. Even banks have Debt Collectors. Singaporeans need to hire someone or perhaps, we can all do that and be debt collectors.

We walk to parliament and knock on the glass panel when they are having their sitting ask for our money. 

What do you think?

One thought on “Mayday! Mayday!

  1. Economy growing for better wages is quite common sense; the more we have, the more we can share. The problem is not about ‘having’; it’s about the ‘sharing[.It is not about the economy growing or standing still; the problem is the distribution of income. We have a growing income gap not because we have no economy or no growth there. Meritocracy is not a wrong principle; but over the years, our system of meritocracy seems to have come apart at the seams very cleverly by the ones in the ‘higher’ income group more than the lower income people. The income gap did not happen over night or fall from the sky. We have the world’s most highly paid people to ensure that this doesn’t happen on their watch, don’t we, or are we mistaken?


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