Dear editor, I hope you can publish my letter.
The recent high profile Amy Cheong incident has provided many a poignant moment for Singaporeans. From emotional howls of expletives to rational arguments, I have read them all. I am writing this because I fear that the younger generation do not understand the severity of the issue and are swayed by populist arguments.
Firstly, the sacking. Is it justified? If it was any other company, I would say perhaps not. But it is NTUC. Some have mistaken NTUC for the civil service. The NTUC is not. It is an amalgamation of unions, some much older than Singapore. Many union leaders have served the movement far and long. And they are from all races. For a staff serving them to have thoughts so blatantly discriminatory, looking down on 1 particular race, how can it be acceptable? If Amy Cheong was not sacked, how can she continue to serve malay union leaders day in day out? Will there still be trust and solidarity? So the NTUC is resolutely correct in what they did.
On the issue of hiring permanent residents for the job. I think the papers reported that a small minority of the NTUC’s workforce are PRs. Personally, I find that odd, given that the union should be staffed by Singaporeans. But then again, her role does not seem to be politically sensitive. So perhaps, at the point of application, she was the most suitable. Some people have asked why not hire a Singaporean? Having done some hiring myself recently, I think people asking this question have made a key assumption – that there is a stream of Singaporeans waiting to join NTUC to do marketing. Is that true? I am myself a marketer and if you ask where I would love to do my work, I would tell you the P&Gs, the Citibanks and such like, not NTUC. Some say – look there are many unemployed Singaporeans out there too.
Why not hire them?
But my question would be – do they meet the application criteria? If I am keen to hire a degree holder, and amongst those that apply, the only one who has a degree is a PR, does that mean I don’t interview her?
All in, I think there are many people trying to turn this into a political game. The problem I have with that is that if this blows up beyond control, Singaporeans will all be affected. So as one of the silent majority, I say to those aiming to milk this to the core – move on, and leave my Singapore alone.