Would you support a 100% Singaporean campaign?
Foreign workers is such a sensitive issue in Singapore these days that it doesn’t take much to stir up controversy, as Jollibee Singapore unwittingly found itself caught in. Fortunately for the Filipino fast food chain, that hasn’t prevented long queues on its opening day at Lucky Plaza.
If you have shopped at British supermarkets often enough, you won’t help but notice that many of the food products here carry proud labels and advertisements proclaiming to be 100% British-made or supporting British farmers. Local shoppers do their part as well by making an effort to buy these British products, even if they may be a little more expensive than lower cost imports. After all, if you don’t support your own kind, who’s going to?
While there aren’t many farmers in Singapore to speak of, we do have plenty of workers who are in need of the exact same kind of support from our businesses, by providing employment at a good level of wages. Unfortunately, our businesses have their bottom lines to take care of and are unwilling to pay more for Singaporean workers.
Imagine that there’s such a 100% Singaporean campaign. Restaurants that employ 100% Singaporeans for their service crew can be certified and allowed to promote their good effort in providing employment to Singaporeans. And rather than all the negativity in calling for boycotts on businesses that over-rely on foreign workers, we encourage all Singaporeans to support these pro-Singaporean businesses by patronising them.
First question: Do you consider that a xenophobic, protectionist or anti-competitive campaign? Xenophobia is a heavy word that has been thrown around loosely these days, but don’t forget that this is entirely optional, calling on the goodwill of both businesses and Singaporeans.
Second question: Let’s say the food quality and everything else are comparable, would you pay a certain amount more to patronise a restaurant that employs 100% Singaporeans (assuming higher costs are inevitable but there are proper safeguards against profiteering)? That is, would you put your money where your mouth is?