by Roy Ngerng
I understand that there are a segment of Singaporeans who have gotten so angry with PAP’s immigration policy that we have decided to hit out at the foreigners.
But are the foreigners the problem? Given a desperate situation, Singaporeans would flock to another country if we can as well.
The problem therefore lies squarely in the PAP government, and the lack of protection for the wages and employment of Singaporean workers, and we need to rightfully direct our anger at the PAP.
But if we feel powerless in our ability to fight against the PAP, and therefore choose to demean a foreign worker, what does that make us? Aren’t we just as cowardly attacking the weak, because we feel weak ourselves?
If we let fear of the PAP get the better of us, and cause us to lose our humanity, what good does that make us?
I understand that as we lose our jobs and our wages, and we start to go into fear, we start to get angry, powerless, it robs us of our sanity and we spiral into unhappiness. It makes it easy for us to throw our anger at other people.
I have been there.
But as this goes on, how will our society evolve? It is precisely because the inequality and depressed wages in Singapore are causing some among us to start to lose patience, and therefore act out because of it. This is normal.
But as time passes, it means the kind and caring Singapore we once know of will slowly be eroded, and is being eroded. And again, this is a normal progression because of how the inequality in Singapore is causing us to no longer possess the space for the development of our society.
It is unfortunate. In a more democratic society which is not underpinned by a neoliberal economic regime, we would be able to exercise our power to remove the government causing the inequality, and replace it with hopefully one that will conduct itself with more equality.
At this moment thus, we need to train our sights on the PAP, to protest, and to remove them from power or to weaken their ability to erode the power of Singapore’s workers. Only this action can ensure that policies that will protect workers can at least be passed.
Greater worker protection will allow our society to go back to equilibrium, as wages and employment are adjusted to protect the jobs of Singaporeans, and allow a balanced number of workers from overseas to support Singapore’s needs.
In the midst of our anger, we cannot allow ourselves to fall for sentiments which drag us into further anger, toward discrimination, toward judgment.
How then while being angry, we try to remain socially aware?
In Taiwan, I am underpaid as well, I earn less than S$2,000, and I can see my humanity eroded as well. But I write about it, I engage in discussion with people. Bit by bit, people use their power to make change.
And this is something Singaporeans need to do. Singapore has reached a threshold where anger has risen to a stage where action can be galvanized. The energy should be channeled against the PAP, and to allow the demonstration of power by the masses to overturn the PAP’s abuse.
Do not let our sense of disempowerment continue to weaken who we are, and the better people we can be. It is time we unite around a common sense of courage and compassion, and to remain upright in our vision, so that we can allow our common goal for a more equal Singapore prevail, and use that as our common force to fight against the abuse of power by the PAP.