Tag Archives: workers

this and that

30 Sep

london 12.12pm 17C cloudy monday 2019

i was earlier, around 8.30-9.30am in victoria station, and was able to see what the rush hour crowd is like. a very long queue 3-4 people deep,stretching out of the tube station and into the rail station itself. so many commuters coming in by railway, and heading straight for the tube to continue their journey to their offices or place of work. many might be shop assistants, as i read somewhere they are the largest numbers of workers in london , about 1million of them. next i suppose must be office workers.

there was an announcement over the tannoy that the gatwick train is not running, due to a tree on the line. i was thinking my friend who is visiting me fr usa, will be leaving tomorrow for home at around this time and if he will miss his plane … until i realise he wont be travelling via gatwick, but via heathrow and the tube lines wont have trees falling on them.added. actually he tells me that he is flying from gatwick, a direct flight to tampa. i thought it strange that he can get a direct flight, it is BA, so maybe that is why, as BA would have its home airport in london. he says tampa is getting quite international now, to be able to provide direct flights. 

the newspapers are forecasting floods and storm , either yesterday or tomorrow… or today… my weather website predicts a huge rain tonight. 20mm it seems will fall. will be interesting to see what it is like tonight. yesterday was the matsuri festival , and they were doing it in trafalgar square. lots of queues for the food stalls, selling japanese food, and a stage with drummers, and other shows. when i was there, it was someone doing an exercise class, and trying to get the audience involved.

it was raining slightly, but not enough to cancel it,because it was held on dry land;  unlike the thames river regatta. it was cancelled because of the rainwaters swelling the waters, so that the normal closure of the thames barrier cannot take place. it seems if it was able to close, it would allow a period when the waters will be very calm, with hardly any current in the river, and that would allow anyone to float on the river, with kayaks, or even floating boards and they hope then to hold the regatta, with people doing processions on the river, but all that is made impossible because of the rains, or so they say. forcing them to cancel the regatta. 

Singapore shocked by worst riots in decades, as migrant workers vent anger | World news | theguardian.com

9 Dec

Singapore shocked by worst riots in decades, as migrant workers vent anger | World news | theguardian.com.

quite a landmark event, because riots are unheard of in singapore. this one involves guest workers of indian origin. and it might be worth noting that the bus driver might be a guest worker of mainland chinese origin. two lot of guest workers working for low pay and harbouring their own prejudices and venting their resentment that they are paid less than others.

we allready can see in other parts of the world, the guest workers are rebelling against their low pay and working conditions.( I m thinking of saudi arabia and the arab countries) though i expect the authorities  in every nation affected not just in singapore will be clamping down hard on the unfortunates who are involved in the riots.  they can jail and deport them and forever mark them down. what is the solution? i am afraid i dont have any to offer. this is modern slavery or call it  by its other name, free market forces/capitalism. haha.

even here in uk there are objections by locals to migrant labour from mainly east europeans; though bosses of pizza chains like domino etc say they need these low paid workers to work in jobs that british workers dont want because with the dole, it would not be worth it to work for such low wages.

added.10.12.13 it has occurred to me that these people are just like my ancestors, who came to malaysia from china to work. the only difference nowadays is that countries are now aware of the consequences of allowing unfettered migration and granting of citizenships to these migrant workers. so there is no question of them settling and breeding there. in the past, there were less people. 

Added.14.12.13 this link, bertha harian, gives a good idea of what happened. It seems the guy who died was drunk , he was an indian migrant worker, many of whom,(40,000 of them) were bussed in by private buses from their dorm to weekend in little india. they drink beer and socialise and send money back. there was a suggestion that the riots were beer fueled and involved these migrant workers. so now there is a ban on alcohol in little india. the govt is sensitive about popular opinion and have caused to close down a website breakfastnetwork that publishes contributions from individuals. the govt wants the website to register and hence be subject to controlls by the govt and to prosecution if any of its contributors say things that the govt dont like. so the breakfast network decides to close it down. the govt is afraid of unregulated comments by its citizens. maybe it has a good reason to be worried about unfettered comments. after all, we do know that people making incendiary comments can spark things off. i think most people would recognise that the riots are not a criticism of the govt, but is due to the tensions associated with a large migrant labour force that is paid minimally, if at all, and subjected to a lot of punitive practices to keep costs low. it is a world wide problem.

it seems the breakfast network is a very responsible one, it gives a fair view and here it gives an idea of the working and living (this is the facebook link to the breakfast network, which the govt is also trying to shut down;)conditions of the migrant workers, and it seems most of them like the conditions in singapore. of course it might be a PR exercise , but i doubt it, it sounds authentic. this is not saudi arabia. The govt should let breakfast network continue to publish. it seems to be a responsible network.

the govt’s viewpoint

MDA reiterated that the content of “Breakfast Network” is not the issue. Rather, it is the mode of operation, which could mean a greater possibility for foreign influence.

It said the registration requirement seeks to uphold the principle that politics must remain a matter for Singapore and Singaporeans alone.

The principle is a long-standing one, and there is no departure from its Internet regulatory framework, said MDA. 

added. singaporeans might be resentful of the foreign workers. not so much these labourers, but the skilled foreigners encouraged to come to work. there is no requirement that firms hire singaporeans of similar skills, in fact the opposite in fact, as firms who hire singaporeans have to pay 16%  contribution to the local’s  CPF (Central Provident Fund, a kind of pension for the singaporean worker) not required if they hire a foreigner. this link is about the makeup of workers in employment and unemployed.

even though it said over a million over 15yrs old are neither employed or unemployed, (termed economically inactive)almost all is in training, retired, or ill health, or carers. 2.3% are discouraged or ‘other’ for not working. even if u include those who are ‘resting’, it comes to 5.2%.

Singapore has no social security, so there is no way of finding out who are unemployed except from their own descriptions. some might not want to say they are unemployed because they cannot find work, (they dont want to lose face). those listed as too old, may be those who have been made redundant , though not yet old enough for retirement. it seems a lot of 40yr olds have been made redundant, for being too expensive to hire, or suffering ill health. Even though the article warned that there might be many who may not want to say they are unable to find work, and give other reasons, there may be many wives who chose not to work , as their husbands earn enough and they want to look after their own children rather than work and use up their salary hiring someone else. I know a singapore friend of mine who both his wife and him  trained as dentists, with the wife stop work to look after the kids. 


What is uk’s unemployment rate for 2013? according to google it is 7.6% 2.47million.