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MOM says unemployment rate fell but not for elderly workers

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By: Forever Vagabond
MOM reported yesterday that unemployment for Singapore citizens and residents fell in the first quarter ending in March of this year. The unemployment rate fell from 3% last quarter to 2.6% for citizens, and from 2.9% last quarter to 2.7% for residents (SGs and PRs) (http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/manpower/resident-unemployment-falls-but-more-older-workers-jobless-mom-q1-labour-report).
However, the unemployment rate for older workers aged 50 and above was found to be increasing, going up 4 quarters in a row, from 1.8 per cent last year to 2.2 per cent last quarter.
It was also harder for the unemployed to find new jobs. Of the residents who lost their jobs in the fourth quarter last year, 46% found work by this quarter, down from 57% in the same period last year.
Taxi drivers, property and insurance brokers are considered employed
However, the statistics did not measure the quality of employment. For example, it is a known fact that many Singaporean PMETs, especially the older ones, who couldn’t find a suitable job commensurating with their previous work experience, ended up driving taxis or, becoming property or insurance brokers. Many have to take drastic pay cuts affecting their quality of life.
Still, MOM would consider these people as “properly employed”.
James Lim is one example. He was a procurement manager who used to work in Saudi Arabia’s 2nd largest city in the 1990s (https://gintai.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/my-buddy-james-lim-the-cabby-blogger). He later came back to Singapore and was unable to find a suitable job. Eventually, to support his family, he was forced to drive taxis.
He wrote on his blog (http://cabby65.blogspot.sg), “With a family to support, becoming jobless at late fifties is a nightmare in Singapore. Unable to find a suitable job, I became a taxi driver.”
These days, he would blog about his cab driving experience so as to “make a dull job a bit more interesting”. It was reported that in the beginning, he has to struggle driving his taxi because he was not entirely familiar with the local roads. However, it seems he has settled down and got used to a cabby life, based on what he has written on his blog.
But occasionally, on certain matters, he would “flare up” and take issues with the government, like what he wrote in this blog (http://cabby65.blogspot.sg/2014/05/migrate-if-you-can.html):
Excerpts:
• “With unabated hordes of foreigners still coming in to depress their (Singaporeans’) wages or even displace them at the workplace, reduce them to second-class citizens and a minority in their own country, how much loyalty and love can we expect from local-bred Singaporean for this country down the road?”
• “Recently, our Prime Minister loudly proclaimed ‘Singaporean, new arrivals, people who are on permanent residence here, people who are on employment pass here, all participating in one big Singapore family…..this place is special and it  belongs to all of us’. So, he wants the whole world to know that Singapore warmly welcome all ‘foreigners’ to make this small island their home and be part of ‘Singapore family’. As a local bred Singaporean, with parents who have sweated and tolled all their life to build this country to what it is today, Do you feel offended and betrayed by this pathetic leader after reading his proud proclamation?”
• “Look, when a country is overwhelmed and diluted with millions of ‘foreigners’ as new citizens within a short span of time, how can you find a common denominator of patriotism, love and loyalty among the local born and these ‘foreigners’? As it’s already an almost impossible task to forge social solidarity among the many locally bred citizens of Chinese, Malays, Indian and others races, how much more difficult it is to forge the same with these newly minted ‘foreign-citizen’ who don’t share our Singaporean cultures in the first place.”
• “The new Filipinos, PRC, Indian and other foreign nationals are here for better economic opportunities but their hearts always belong back home. No matter how corrupt, chaotic, dysfunctional or dangerous home is, the strong sense of belonging to your birthplace always entice you to return to roots, family and community.”
• “Now, don’t be mislead by the many display of ‘patriotism’ on National Day Celebration. Yes, it does evoke a momentary emotion of ‘nationalistic’ sentiment and that’s all it does. The many flags flying at HDB blocks are the work of RC stooges and the thousands of Singaporeans at MBS are there only to enjoy the show. The moment all these celebration ends, every citizen is to each his/her own. Sad to say, when it comes to an acid test at war, many of them will display the ‘white flag’ and hope for the best with the new master.”
Certainly, for Singaporeans who used to earn a good salary but see their jobs snatched away by foreigners and ended up driving a cab 12 hours a day to make ends meet, who wouldn’t be angry?
And we have a former MP who, without trying to find out why, straight away condemned our cabbies for getting angry with foreigners (https://theindependent.sg.sg/former-mp-irene-ng-condemns-cabby-for-hating-foreigners).
Such is life in Singapore…

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