Myopia and its related illnesses

Myopia, as it is defined, afflicts many people.  Those with myopia see nearby objects clearly but distant objects appear blurred. (Wikipedia) Singaporeans are known to have one of the highest rates of myopia in the world. Many blame it on computer games, TV and reading in a poorly-lit room.

It seems myopia has not only overtaken our sensory functions but also our way of thinking.

Our treasured and dearly-loved elites over at Serangoon Gardens most clearly and stunningly exhibited this form of myopia. Not only myopia, might I humbly add, but also xenophobia and sheer racism.

Before I continue, I have a disclaimer. I do not appreciate the massive human jams on the public transport system nor in the shopping district especially on Sundays. While it is easy to blame foreigners, I don’t. I resent that it is crowded environment but I also greatly appreciate that we need these foreigners in our midst. Its the same everywhere else in this world. Fact of life: No one wants to work as a cleaner for $800 a month. Yet in my estate, I see young men and women from China clearing our the rubbish, dilligently, might I add.  (The economic solution to this is to pay higher wages for cleaners, similar to what we give our young educated men and women. In fact, economic theory suggests that we have to pay even more salaries to attract people to work in lousy jobs because they are lousy jobs. The result? We have to pay at least $2,000 to get a local young worker to work as a cleaner. The implications are quite clear, of course.)

The kind folks over at Serangoon Gardens seem to forget that their trash would pile up if not for foreign workers; their roads not smoothened out, their $2m houses not built; gold taps not fixed; their BMW/Mercedes cars not shined. They are actually okay with foreigners, just not stinky, smelly, dirty (might I daresay, black or dark) foreign workers.

No, let me correct that: they are not okay with having to share their living space in suburban heaven with such creatures. As long as they are out of sight, smell and mind, its okay.  Foreign workers are free to mix with the rest of Singapore, since, you know, people with no money don’t really count as thinking, living organisms either.

The government’s solution? Instead of correcting or reprimanding such racism, it went on to suggested that it would set up a segregated ghetto, as it will certainly become. (WTF are going to be cleaners for a compound of cleaners??!)

“Regardless of race, language or religion to build a democratic society…” Obviously, foregn workers not counted.

I weep for Raja’s vision.

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About onedimensionalman

An average 20 something year-old living in Singapore and despairing over the state of my home, where economics, not politics, is top dog. It is, in fact, ultra-capitalist corporation masquerading as a nation where citizens have limited rights and much responsibility. While I support being accountable for one's speech, I prefer to remain anonymous for now. The work that I do makes it very difficult for me to reveal my name. Hopefully this project will continue for years to come, until I have finally changed my job.

Posted on September 8, 2008, in Personal, Singapore and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. pleasze-get-off-yr-high-chair

    what’s wrong with paying $2000 for a local to work as a cleaner??? this is a respectable honest job and all of us need it done.

    because of pple like you who think it is ok to exploit cheap labour from overseas, there will likewise be pple who think that these dark-skinned pple should be set apart from them.

    so please, stop calling the kettle black. it’s a matter of degree of tolerance for pple like you.

  2. onedimensionalman

    Unfortunately, miss/mr get-off-your-high-chair, that is the capitalist system.

    There is nothing wrong with paying $2,000 to hire a local to do cleaning work. If you are a business person and want to do so, go ahead. I am sure many would flock to your firm to get work. But wait, do you see anyone else offering those types of wages here? Maybe that is the problem. Not me.

    That is economics. Not a value judgement.

  3. dear onedimensionalman,

    you’re indeed one dimensional. this is NOT purely economics. this is the result of opening the floodgates to cheap labor from underdeveloped region. if you would allow pure economics to work locally, the wages of these pple would shoot up. that would benefit singaporeans who choose to put in a honest day’s work to clean up your shit.

  4. onedimensionalman

    Hi Pingpong.

    It is purely economics.

    I’m not sure where you get the idea that there is such a thing as allowing “pure economics to work locally.” If so, there would not be Indian software engineers working for US software engineers in Kolkata for 25% of the average US IT worker’s wages; nor Nike opening up sweatshops in China; nor Mexicans working in the American beef industries for half the wages.

    Please enlighten me on how you can make local economics work.

  5. you’re comparing oranges to apples. the examples of globalization you cited are not comparable to that of foreign workers coming to our shores to clean up our shit. it/nike companies are able to outsource partly because these resultant goods/services are transferrable across borders.

    now these cleaning services have to be consumed locally. didn’t your mama ever teach you to clean up your own shit??? there are lots of countries that do not rely on low-cost labour for menial jobs e.g. in construction and hygiene. there are many reasons why they prefer to rely on themselves: i leave it to your onedimensional brain to fathom them.

    good day. it’s been nice debating with you, but no thanks.

  6. New York is as capitalist as they come. and the folks cleaning the sewage there are well-paid yanks.

  7. It is an elitist mindset that holds that manual work deserves to be poorly paid when it should like other forms of work in fact be determined by the economics of demand and supply.

    That’s the reason why in Australia, a gardener, for instance, may very well earn more than say, a uni lecturer. You pay someone to look after your garden if you are unable or unwilling to do it yourself. And you pay him/her according to the ‘relief ‘ provided to you – ie, if you are a banker, the gardener is actually helping you to maintain your garden. He has spared you the time which you are able to put to productive work in your job. Therefore, how would it be fair for you to pay a gardener (any manual service provider)a pittance, when he has spared you the opportunity cost that would be incurred if you were to hoe the garden yourself?

    Like the saying, if you are only prepared to pay peanuts, you deserve to get only monkeys (no intention to be rude or offensive. In fact, I am grateful to cleaners in general for keeping our living environment liveable and in order).- Very often in our case here, old folks who, shame on the govt, has to eke out an existence cleaning public toilets even in their twilight years, are saddled with the job.

  8. Singapore still wants to survive on the low cost model of the past. Shame on the garment’s incompetence.

    As the country develops, it should upgrade all its systems, hardware and software.

    In Australia, older folks still manage to work in menial jobs because most have been made easy by machines and systems.

    And it is true that when we pay everyone a respectable pay, there would be less class discrimination.

    In the long run, serves everyone better.

    Sad to say, the PAP government has proven they can govern a poor country (like in the 60s) but not a developed one.

  1. Pingback: The Singapore Daily » Blog Archive » Daily SG: 9 Sep 2008

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