I can tell you why my family and I are angry:
1. High qualifications and upgrades in qualification are no longer a path to good and secure jobs. For many years, the government has been pushing us to upgrade our qualifications and skills saying that is the best way to ensure our survival since Singapore has no other resources except human resource. They said we should be pushing for an intelligent workforce. Look what happens now? We are told to forget about getting degrees and there aren’t enough jobs in Singapore for graduates.
So our “lack 20/20″ foresight government tells us one thing one day and then something else another day. Do they even know what they are doing?
2. My children, who are average in studies but have a strong command of the English language, are being bypassed for higher education in Singapore! We are an average income family and cannot afford extra tuition or overseas education for our three children. Foreigners with very poor command of English are given scholarships and free extra tuition to help them cope with the free education here. What about our own Singaporean children? If free extra tuition was given to me children in Chinese language, they would score sufficiently well, I’m sure.
3. My retired father is diabetic, vitamin B deficient and has high blood pressure. He spends long hours at the polyclinic once a month to see the doctor. Three quarters of the day is taken up at the clinic waiting to register, then see doctor, then take number, then wait at pharmacy, then queue at payments counter. It leaves him completely exhausted but what to do, there are MANY foreign workers hogging those queues too.
Worse, his medical fees and medication cost almost $200 a month after the so-called government subsidy. As a retiree, it is money he barely has despite being CPF-rich. Being in the sandwiched class, I feel the strain. It’s worse during months when any of my children become sick and needs hospitalisation or A&E service or start of the school year when we have to buy new uniforms, books etc. Already my children miss out on school overseas trips because we cannot afford. I feel bad for my children being excluded in our education system in this way just because we are not rich.
4. Both my husband and I are under-employed. He was retrenched from his job at the bank 8 years ago and put on contract work for the next 5 years before completely losing that as well. Today, in his late 40s, he does odd jobs for a contractor neighbour. Our income is unstable despite both of us being graduates (degrees attained during the time government was calling for us to upgrade).
I worry my own job could go anytime too and have agreed to pay cuts over the years so as not to lose the job. In other first world countries, labour laws protect employees from unreasonable pay cuts. Our labour laws here are made for employers and the big guns. Isn’t it the little people who need the protection?
5. Our pay has been decreasing but essential services like electricity/water bill, transport keep increasing.
We work hard, are not uneducated or fussy but still find ourselves in such stressful circumstances. That’s what I am angry!