It is probably a good thing that Singaporeans are some of the biggest critics to roam the modern civilization (I didn’t say ‘complainers’ hor. #justsaying.)
It is because of our critical nature that our political, economic, and social environments have become the envy of other countries. I mean, just look at all the comments that flow endlessly on our local news sites. We probably have more capable politicians squeezing together with us in this island than what the U.S can produce (looking at you, Donald.)
However, we can be a bit too critical about almost EVERYTHING. Sure, we can and should talk about how our ministers are earning millions while most of us have to think twice about paying that extra 20 cents when we want to dabao food. Let’s not even talk about our world class transport system.
But hey, don’t you think that sometimes we go overboard on some things that actually matter? More often than not, the issues that we are unhappy about are the most complex ones. If tampered and not carefully deliberated, the consequences can be far-reaching and detrimental to the very fabric of our society. Take for example, our labour issues and the tripartite system which has been in place for a very long time.
It’s very easy actually. The government, employers, and trade unions sync together to improve worker’s welfare.
Just like how the rice, chicken, and chilli in our chicken rice work together to make us happy and full. That’s all. Fancy name for a fairly simple economic system eh? In Singapore, it has worked pretty well. People have jobs, businesses can keep making profits, our economy remains diverse, and most importantly, no strikes.
But as usual, we have a bone to pick with the system.
“Aiyo, so many problems at my work place why we cannot go on strike one? Die liao lo like that. Suck thumb.”
“Eh walao why other countries so happening one? Their unions so fierce sia!”
As usual, Singaporeans are chief academics; we love to compare and contrast like how our parents used to enjoy comparing us to our (supposedly) more capable siblings or cousins or neighbour or whoever.
You want strikes? You want instability? Have you actually experienced the crippling effect of a transport strike?
Clashes between unions and employers is a zero-sum game that resulted in everybody losing.
And then there’s minimum wage.
Nobody on this planet really understands it, but yet many of the critics are able to link a minimum wage (that the very, very bottom of society earns) like as if it would be a policy that would increase their wages immediately.
No it doesn’t.
Minimum wage policies are tremendously difficult to understand, impossible to withdraw, have caused more job losses than actually rendering help.
As you can see, while it is a very simple economic system in place to maintain the backbone of Singapore’s economy, a deeper look shows that there is a slightly complex and tricky dimension to labour and economics.
Just because we’re at industrial peace and you don’t see how the policies actually work, it doesn’t mean that it’s not.