"to rescue truth from beauty and meaning from belief"

Managing Foreign Labour – the Issues, not the periperals.

Leave a comment

I wrote the piece below in quick response to the AFP report on <https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/world/a/23237091/&gt;,
“Singapore plans centres outside city for migrant workers”. It would seem to me that this govt is governing increasingly from pillar-to-post, dealing with the symptoms instead of getting down to the root issue.

Admittedly, what I know about the Belgian approach is only very cursory from what I once read by a commentator apparently from Belgium. But the gist of the Belgian approach makes alot of sense – and appears to meet with most if not all of the interests of the stakeholders.

I’d be happy to stand corrected if someone can provide more relevant info how it’s done in Belgium.


The Belgian Way of managing foreign labour

I’m pretty certain tt the SPF & MOM may already be commending themselves for thinking out of their comfort zone to dream up such a solution. Unfortunately, based on the track record of a leadership shown to be rather distant behind the curve, I’ve to stay skeptical, cynical even that they are still behind the curve.

These measures are no more than managing at the edges – not the real issues themselves. There is a good reason why the workers are called ‘migrant’.

-The issue of fair treatment for foreign workers for all their talk of knowing SGP’s need for their roles and showing appreciation for their contributions under the hot sun.
Hello? These fellow-men born poor or living under ineffectual govts or facing a lack of opportunities are here PRIMARILY to make money in order to first pay their agents and then save enough to give their loved ones a better life than what they have been ‘blessed’ with – recreation in SGP is far from their minds when waving their loved ones goodbye.
If you want me to tell it like it is; these are mostly virile young men prized for their physique. The recreation they may well prefer is sex. Is the SPF & MOM going to bring in enough prostitutes for them and throw in free condoms…whlist turning a blind eye to the activities? Think more Geylang & Desker Road.
Deal with the real issue, not what’s peripheral.

– The issue of greedy businessmen who want everything on the cheap, to gain more for themselves. No wonder their feedback to policy wonks are all couched with the threats of damage to the SGP economy – which the latter are too happy to buy into and pass on as the truth to daft citizens. How many businessmen or senior mgrs have we met in our lives who honestly believe that the macro interests of society precede their own micro ones?
Deal with the real issue, not the decoy.

– The issue of lazy businessmen who prefer cheap labour which is easier than making productivity work. Or, at least in the short term, no need to train or expense on technology/equipment. Cost-wise, nothing beats cheap ones that are easier to use, abuse and refuse
Deal with the real issue, not the vicarious.

For all the enjoyable study trips that ministers and policy wonks have taken at taxpayers’ expense, why is no one considering the Belgian Way of managing foreign labour? My understanding is that, at its most basic, the Belgians pay the going rate of what a local is paid, grant permits that will allow for the guest workers to stay in Belgian, enjoy the amenities and then leave once the contract is over.

The results: Belgians apparently get what they want done, at a competitive price due to the more productive and trained workers who are attracted to the deal that is better than back home (as a skilled labourer). Belgium does not appear to be straddled with such worker welfare problem because their welfare is dealt directly in a focused way. In the process, the ‘secondary profit-driven concerns’ of businessmen are well-served as they earn their dues while remain assured of a steady stream of skilled, highly-productive labourers. Either you are already trained in your home country (more cheaply than what local employers have to pay to do so) or you don’t bother to apply.

Hence, treat and keep the ‘migrant’ workers migrant. Deal with the real issues. THE win-win solutions are all within our reach. What we need is true, honest, competent political leadership on this issue.

Singapore gets less crowded with less rowdy and less migrant workers – and taxpayers are not made to pay indirectly for all these needless bells & whistles that are, in the first place, the employers’ concerns not society’s and with better-paid migrant workers, are there not more opportunities of higher value-added businesses for locals?

And, this has to be said with the evidence before us; no thank you for govt & civil service leaders who create yet more work for themselves (which means more expenses) using taxpayers’ money while paying themselves a huge bundle for being top talents of such bottom-pit non-solutions.

(Someone who knows the Belgian way better, pls enlighten us further. Thanks.)

Change we Must.
End PAP’s dominance or, as you can see in this instance, PAP’s dominance will s-l-o-w-l-y but surely end us with their 3rd-class leadership with their back-to-3rd-world solutions.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s