This is a follow-up from my earlier post (A pink IC does not give you the right to a job).
One of the common retorts to my earlier post was that Singaporeans deserve job priority because they have to dedicate 2 years of their life serving NS. You can see these retorts in the comments section of my earlier post and in selected Facebook pages like this one.
Uh… hello? Even if you serve NS, you still need to demonstrate that you deserve a job.
“Singaporean First” doesn’t mean “NS-men First”
Firstly, if you believe that serving NS entitles you to a job, are you also suggesting that Singaporean men deserve higher job priority than Singaporean women, since almost all women don’t spend 2 years serving NS?
How about Singaporean men who are PES F because of physical or mental disabilities? They don’t serve NS. Do you want to discriminate against them too?
Serving NS teaches us that not all men are good people
Regardless of whether you enjoyed your NS experience or not, there is one thing that those 2 years of service would have definitely taught you. And that is the fact that there are “good” men and “bad” men in this country.
Most of us would associate the good memories of our NSF and reservist life with the brothers and friends that we shared our lives with. They may be people you are willing to die for, brothers who lent a helping hand to each other, or friends whom you can count on to jointly bitch about NS life.
But we will also remember the “bad” guys who make life unnecessarily difficult. It may be the lazy guy who constantly “chao-keng”, the backstabber, the arrogant bastard, the guy who is always late, the under-performer, or the person who just can’t work in a team. Every NS-serving male would have met one of these people in their NS lives.
If you have served NS and you can accept that these “bad” people exist in NS, then you can accept that they exist in the workplace too. They may be your colleague, boss or subordinate. They may be the person applying for a job at your company’s interview. They definitely exist in Singapore.
Companies must have the right to reject sub-par candidates
If you support a blanket Singaporean-first policy, then you must recognise that these sub-par workers will find their way into your workplace (if they haven’t already done so). You and your company will suffer for it.
This statement doesn’t mean that conversely, all foreigners are good workers. There are good quality foreigners, and there are also shitty ones.
I’m not inherently opposed to a “Singaporean First” policy. The concept is noble, but it should not place undue burden on the hiring practices of companies. It should not be easily abused by hirers and applicants. And it must adhere to the principle of meritocracy by allowing companies to retain the right to reject sub-par candidates.