#LaoniangExplain: Why Minimum Wage is not enough if you REALLY want to help people

#LaoniangExplain: Why Minimum Wage is not enough if you REALLY want to help people

Today, someone wrote a sibei lor sor opinion piece on why he or she thinks Minimum Wage is not enough to help those people whom we really want to help.

The person also said that we need to use other different ways to uplift these workers.

In case you think the ang moh is too cheem and too lor sor, lao niang is here to help you simplify what is written in the article.

Basically, what the writer said is,

Once upon a time, before COVID-19 happened, no one really gives a shit about essential workers. They deliver our food to us, they take care of the sick people, they clean up after us, but we treat them maciam invisible even though they are there, doing their work every day.

It is only until COVID-19 then suddenly we all become very WOKE and realise,

“Wah ya leh, essential workers are really important to us! Come, we clap for them

“Nani?! Why their pay so little bit hah? THIS STUPIAK GAHMEN!”


Say is easy. Say this kind of things make you feel good and shiok because you look like superhero.

But the challenge here is, if you suka-suka implement Minimum Wage, the truth is these people who you are trying to help will only fall further behind because they don’t have the skills required to do the job and they still have a lot to catch up with.

Don’t forget a lot of these people are the older generation of Singaporeans, and many of them did not complete Secondary School.

If you suka-suka implement Minimum Wage, means there is a high possibility where the tow kays will jitao pretend they cannot see these old people when they apply for jobs and straight away 淘汰 (eliminated) them – since they got more options and can choose younger and more educated workers.

So hor, to ensure that these older generations of Singaporeans can catch up and don’t fall behind, we will need to combine many, many approaches, and not just a simple minimum wage model alone.

These approaches include:

  • Expanding the Progressive Wage Model or “Mininum Wage-plus”
  • Workfare – to top up their wages. Which is to give them more money apart from what they have been earning lah
  • Other economic strategies to create jobs and ensure Singapore stays competitive

That’s why the Gahmen is using targeted sectoral approach now first to raise their pay and to help them upgrade their skills. This will not only help them earn a Minimum Wage, but also give them maximum employment.

Like that hor, is actually protecting the older people and help them stay in their jobs. If not Singapore will be like other countries with minimum wage, where the old people kena pok from their jobs because tow kays prefer 小鲜肉 (youngsters). Tow kays be like: Since I die die must pay $x, might as well choose the young ones no meh? If really like that hor, then the older people don’t even have a choice! They cannot work even if they want to! Because they don’t even stand a chance to the job.

Like that fair to them meh?

Having said that, the tow kays must also be willing to hire, reskill and upskill these workers lah. Which is why the Gahmen got initiatives such as the Jobs Growth Incentive to co-pay for the tow kays when they hire older workers. This is to encourage the tow kays to hire the older workers lah.

So the long story short is, don’t titi just say Minimum Wage is the only way to go. Open your eyes wide wide go ASK the low wage workers you know, are they REALLY not getting any support?

Prease la, wake up your idea. Minimum wage sounds sexy but is not a magic pill to solve poverty lor. We need to do more to help the vulnerable, but hor don’t end up later do more harm than good to the very people who you are trying to help!

If you’d like to contribute your story to us, drop us an email at [email protected] and we’ll review it. We read each submission that comes to us within two weeks of receiving it.


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