It is no secret that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s wife, Ho Ching appears to be a big fan of social media. She actively posts on Facebook, sharing her thoughts, opinions, and gifs. Some of her FB posts such as her recent post on masks offered by Taiwan have even caused problems between some Singaporeans and Taiwanese.
It seems that Ho has now decided to wade into the ongoing “swabber remuneration” saga. For those unaware, the government is currently carrying out a recruitment drive to recruit people (no healthcare experience required) to carry out nasal swabs etc to ramp up COVID-19 testing. Remuneration for successful swabbers is between $3400 to $3800 per month which is higher than what the average professional nurse is paid ($3,000).
This remuneration package has caused concern among some because nursing salaries have long been thought to be chronically low. Indeed, research conducted by the Lien Foundation has showed that nurses in Singapore are paid less than their counterparts in other developed countries in the region.
The issue has never been that “swabbers” do not deserve to get paid well. The issue is that nurses should be paid more fairly and the “swabbing saga” highlights this discrepancy. For those who still refuse to understand, the heart of the issue is that nurses have been underpaid for years and should be paid more pronto. The issue is not and has never been about “swabbers” getting properly remunerated.
It is therefore so strange that a well educated woman who heads Temasek Holdings would appear to have missed the point? In her FB post, she says:
“For anyone who think their pay is unfairly lower than the swabbers, stop whining and go volunteer to be trained to do the swabbing.
Covid volunteers are being trained for all sorts of paid jobs –
from admin to swabbing;
from cleaning to patient service;
from logistics and driving, to frontline support in the red zones.
We don’t take for granted their kindness and public spirit in volunteering –
We pay them properly, and yes, we will pay them higher than for easier and safer jobs.
Yes, we teach them to keep safe,
not just for their own safety, but also for the safety of their team, their families, their patients and potential cases.
No two ways about it.“