World War II poster

National Service under the microscope

Back in the days when I did my 2 years 4 months of National Service, it never crossed my mind whether the system was fair or unfair to us guys with regard to the opposite sex or to foreigners. That is not to say that I enjoyed NS. In fact, like many others, I think of it as the biggest waste of time in my life. I hated it, from all the regimental restrictions to the stupid wayangs to an unmeritocratic system where a veteran warrant officer has to address a commissioned officer fresh out of OCS as “Sir”. The…

Irrelevant picture but that's what papers put when they talk about jobs

Fair Consideration Framework: Good for now

The Fair Consideration Framework is a good new development, even if it’s another example of the government playing catch-up on a problem Singaporeans have been facing for years. While it is true that errant companies can still get around the rules quite easily, it is still better than nothing. We will see how it goes. Anyway, more stringent checks can always be added later if necessary. In case you haven’t realised, this government doesn’t do major revamps. It prefers timid little steps because everything is about not upsetting investor confidence. Just look at how many rounds of property cooling measures…

UK marks 15 years of minimum wage

Yesterday, the UK marked 15 years of its national minimum wage, a policy that has not only won over all doubters across the political spectrum in this country but was also voted by experts as the most successful policy in the last thirty years. From The Financial Times (do check out the Resolution Foundation report as well): Happy birthday, national minimum wage By John McDermott A few months into Tony Blair’s government, The Economist argued that “coming up with a minimum wage that will not seriously harm the economy, and destroy jobs, will require the wisdom of Solomon – or extraordinary…

Why do we attract hedge funds to Singapore?

Why do we attract hedge funds to Singapore?

Besides the reader who contacted me with his thoughts on my post “Why a front office Singaporean core is important”, fellow London-based blogger Limpeh Is Foreign Talent has also responded with a post suggesting it’s not all the bad for Singapore’s financial services sector. I will comment further on what he wrote on. First of all, I believe the point Limpeh is trying to make is that Singapore is still doing okay as a financial centre because top banking talent from around the world are still heading to the country. But he points out that this is more because our government…

Front office Singaporean core: Response to a reader

Front office Singaporean core: Response to a reader

Hi Void Decker! I refer to your latest article “Why a front office Singaporean core is important” ( I assume that you’re not working in the financial sector. Please forgive me if I’m wrong). I would define myself as a determined individual with a strong passion for finance. I graduated with a diploma in banking and financial services and I intend to pursue a related degree at LSE. I would never claim to be an expert on the financial sector (after all I’m just a student), however I just want to share with you my experience based on my dealings…

Why a front office Singaporean core is important

Why a front office Singaporean core is important

At a recent discussion, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam reiterated the importance of banks in Singapore, particularly the foreign ones, to develop a “Singaporean core”. Besides having Singaporeans adequately represented in these banks, “it is also important that they take on a good spread of positions, including the best jobs in front office for treasury and trading”. We only need to look at what’s happening in cities like London to know why this last bit about taking up “the best jobs in front office for treasury and trading” is so important. This is not simply about appeasing Singaporeans with fancy…

Sayang

Intern abuse: Was exposure the only recourse?

This incident of intern abuse is as strange as it gets and it will be interesting to read a full account from the 29 year-old victim himself. Never mind that he has been providing underpaid labour at $500 a month, supposedly working over 12 hours a day without benefits and leave under the guise of an internship for a lengthy three years, he also put up with physical and emotional abuse with nary a whimper. We are left shaking our heads at his misplaced loyalty for not quitting earlier — why? Because he felt that there was work still to…

Job application forms aid in discriminatory hiring

Job application forms aid in discriminatory hiring

There must be quite a few red faces at the government agencies when The Straits Times went to dig out tender advertisements these agencies had put up in recent months. The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, a junior college and a primary school were all found to have breached anti-discrimination hiring guidelines by specifying age ceilings in requirements for security guards. Amongst other excuses, both the ministries blamed it on an “oversight” from reusing old contract documents, meaning that it used to be standard practice. So it…