Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Protest in Singapore

April 27, 2009

In Singapore, the country that has not reported any protests in the past 20 years, had a protest outside the Ministry yesterday to complain about unpaid wages and cancellation of their work permits.

8Gen Construction Pte Ltd hires only experienced Singaporean workers, who have been displaced by these lowly paid, unskilled foreign workers. 8Gen Construction believes that exploiting these foreigners is not morally right and as a socially responsible company which uses sustainable materials for construction and renovations, the government should do more to curb the loopholes that allow "manpower" companies to just bring in these foreigners who are mostly "tricked" by unethical agents to come and work in Singapore.

These workers barely have any human rights. Firstly, they are packed into the rear of trucks while being transported around in Singapore. This way of transportation is especially hazardous when the workers are also transported with equipment and tools. Most of these tools are very heavy and edged, and any slight accidents may easily turn fatal if the equipment lands on the workers.

Secondly, the workers live in very poor conditions, sometimes even worse than where they live back in their own countries. These workers are usually packed 4 workers in a room and about 10 workers in an apartment with 1 or 2 toilets. A lot of these workers constantly fight over minor things like the use of toilet and personal space.

Thirdly, the workers are often exploited as the large companies that bring them in applied for their work permits. Often, they salaries are paid late, and sometimes they have to work on Sundays and late nights without overtime pay.

Lastly, when the workers are injured during work, these large companies sometimes cancel their workpermit so that they can employ an extra worker to replace the injured worker. This was due to the fact that Singapore often write laws and guidelines that benefit corporations and companies, and exploit the workers to promote certain industries.

These foreign workers usually have no voice, and when they complain, they usually get turned into "illegal workers" as their work permits are cancelled, and the government ar enot on their side.

The recent protests are about their Chinese "Boss" absconding with their wages and cancelling their work permits without warning. I've heard of a lot of such cases, but no actions have been done. In Singapore, the workers are more likely to be punished that the companies as Singapore tightens the law on outdoor protests as it prepares to host it largest Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders' forum in November.

The laws against outdoor protests can also be applied to deal with any outbreaks of public frustration amid the city-state's worst recession. Together With the highly moderated media, residents in Singapore rarely have a voice against any government policy, even when they feel that it is wrong.

Singapore constantly claims that this is their form of democracy, which is different from other countries' democracy, and this had proved to be a good form of governing the people and allowed Singapore's great growth and development in the past. However, after a sustained growth and amid the worst recession, this form of democracy can be questioned as sometimes the public may feel that the government's policy favors certain groups of people, however the people do not have a voice to point it out.

--Iron Bowl.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Self Reflection...

My life...

So far...

When I was young, I have many aspirations. I wanted to be a doctor, an actor, an athlete and a policeman. I found some of the old diaries I've written, some old toys I cherished. I remembered that I was all along academically challenged when young.

At the age of 5, I was not good looking, and mediocre in school. My sisters were doing very well in school, and I was very competitive and I tried to excel somehow. After learning several musical instruments, playing different sports, I was still not excellent in any of them. At one point, I was very disappointed, angry and depressed. I don't understand why, when I started being a bully, making fun of other kids, people started liking me.

I was making fun of other kids, with nasty words. When I played sports, I mouthed off to others. I was vulgar, and very vocal. Though I was physically small, I somehow got away with it with lots of followers. It seemed strange that being a bad kid with many followers, I started gaining self confidence and I was doing well in sports. I started playing with people's psychology in sports, playing with emotions and I managed to win in both team sports and individual events.

In school, I believe I have many enemies as well. At the age of 8, I was doing very well in some subjects, I constantly scored 100 marks in Maths and Science. I don't understand why some people are sore "losers" and they become envious of me when they see me do well in sports and in class. However, I made fun of them and made them hate me more. I did not care about the "little" people and making fun of them made me more popular.

The worse I was to other people, the more liked I am. I also got better in school and sports. I had several girlfriends, just collecting them and nothing serious. When I started my first job, I was driving a sports car, riding a Harley, and having a lot of "fans" I associated with "rich" people and "powerful" people who are in their early 20s and driving Ferrari(s).

I was reading a lot of business books as well. Did I do it with NLP as they say? I was not sure, but I'm sure that the "success" I have was not due to the books I read. I could relate a lot to the books, associating with positive people, looking down and avoiding people in trouble, being very popular, having the easy life. I seemed to fell unsatisfied. I started showing myself with luxury items, Armani Suits, Rolex watches and other "nice things", but I'm still unhappy.

After moving to Boston, I met several people. They seemed to be mediocre, but still happy. I was puzzled, and confused about such people, why are they contended with what they have. Have they no drive? After several years, some people really affected my thinking. I met Dave Cataldo, a Boston Policeman who seemed to be very focused on helping others, even to the extent that it affected his career and promotions. I felt that such passion and drive in helping others, will gain more respect, rather than personal wealth. I spoke to Al Gore on NPR, Warren Buffet and other well known successful people and I realized that the relentless drive for money, trained by NLP does not bring any satisfaction.

The people I've met who are doing really well in MLM companies, politicians, NLP trainers, felt like empty vessels, in their pursuits of personal riches. Some of these people are not interested in the views of people less successful than them, and fell that poor people are bad people.

I owned several businesses, but it seemed that the more I put ethics in my decisions, the worse my companies perform. I am however not going to doing anything I would regret later, I've already made many wrong decisions in the past, and I hope I do not make more.

My last note, NLP training can help you in your focus and goals setting, but when used wrongly, you become just another selfish, self-centered greedy bastard.

--Iron Bowl