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Does “cheaper, faster and better” lead to a equitable society?




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The following is an account shared to Mr. Tan Kin Lian, who reproduced it on his Facebook page:

I wish to share a story (from a MediaCorp program which I saw) of a 50-60 year old Malay man who had 10 kids and made only $1000 a month as a rubbish truck collector.

When I was an apprentice in Sydney 40+ years ago, the rubbish collectors were paid well and lived in detached houses. Not only that, they have pride in their vocation.

Lets look at the scene in Singapore over the past 40 years. The rubbish collectors get paid a personal survival only salary. And I am sure they do not have the self esteem that I see in the same class of workers in Australia 40 years ago.

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I then ask a big WHY and ask what can we do to help? I ask why we cannot pay all those who have to cling onto the back end of the rubbish truck and smell the unbearable odour a salary of $2500 for their horrible nature of work.

If we do this, there will be people lining around the block to get into these jobs. We will have rubbish collectors who have high self esteem and who will provide better for their family. We will have helped uplift their impoverished children. Would not this be a right idea? A noble idea?

We will have workers who do not need as much help from the government as they do today on their low income. How many collectors do we need, 1000 to 2000?

If we amortise the increased cost on everyone, it would cost us 1 to 2 dollars more each per month. In public or private tenders, we ask the suppliers to pay their workers such salaries and establish a level starting point for all. We do not have to bring in the foreign workers.

Together we citizens can share the burden to help our fellow citizens and their children, our future citizens.

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