mollymeek (mollymeek) wrote,

Singaporean Men: Discriminated Against or Disadvantaged Institutionally?


Molly read a post from Nominated MP Siew Kum Hong to which inspir3d from Intelligent Singaporean linked.

The issue was, as Siew casts it, one of discrimination against Singaporean males, specifically the "discrimination" against them by because they have to serve NS.

As it appears, NMP Siew seems to be speaking up against the discrimination of Singaporean men. But let's just take a step back and ask: what kind of "discrimination" is it and is it really discrimination at all?

For Siew, "an enlightened employer is one who will recognise that NS is an obligation imposed on all Singaporean males, and that an employer located in Singapore should support that. This is especially so when the decision-maker is Singaporean himself."

For Molly, Siew's logic borders on the absurd. Why should an MNC or even a local company support the the obligation imposed on all Singaporean males when it has got nothing to do with them? And why should this support be an indication of their enlightenment?

Why should an employer support the virtual enslavement (as a number of males describe it) of males by the state? Furthermore, business is business, if an employer believes that the company cannot function optimally because its male employees (not just one or two of them) are legally bound to get away from work for a few weeks a year, to be subject to sudden recall, take a fitness test, and to go for months of Remedial Training if they happen to fail their fitness test?

Siew claims that "[i]t is a short-sighted, dollars-and-cents kind of guy who just looks at numbers, who would give a job to a foreigner simply because he does not have NS liability and is cheaper since employers' CPF contribution is not payable."

But may I know how giving the job to a Singaporean male would prove to be very far-sighted if it doesn't even make economic sense?

Guys who are reading this, don't get Molly wrong. Molly does not at all think it's right to discriminate against you. But is it discrimination in the first place? If I'm employing a singer, will you say that I'm discriminating against you if I don't employ you because you are tone-deaf?

The sad thing about the plight of Singaporean males is that employers who choose them over others because of NS might not be guilty of discrimination at all. The contingencies of certain jobs require that a worker cannot be hindered by long-term, frequent obligations that carry the heavy weight of the law and the state. Obligations that last, well, not till retirement age but really till retrenchment age. (Yes, when you are middle-aged, your employer retrenches you, and the state doesn't require your obligatory services anymore. Then you can spend the remaining 40 years of your life working "for as long as you wish" and being grateful for wonderful Budgets that offer your Workfare.)

What is more saddening is the refusal on the part of the powers that be to even acknowledge that they have institutionalized a disadvantage and imposed it on Singaporean males. (But of course, it would be seditious to even think of plucking out a strand of fur from our Holy Cow.) But, in effect, people are crippled by inflexible State policies rather than being discriminated against by potential employers. Molly is of the opinion that they are crushed under the weight of a fat Holy Cow and not by the pragmatic decisions of their potential employers.

Sure, it will be great if all employers are willing to give Singaporean males jobs despite their NS obligations. But don't our great leaders love to remind us about the harsh reality of the world, the realities of globalization, etc? Isn't this one of the realities of the world, one that they have helped to create? Employers can rehash the standard retorts people get when the topic of Welfare is raised: We are not running a charity organization.

If you clip the wings of a bird, then please don't tell the bird to blame someone else for not letting it fly.
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