Tuesday, June 11, 2013

1454. Myanmar stories - The man from Rangoon

Yesterday Jun 11, 2013, I visited Khin Khin. She was subletting half her office at $850 to another person as the employment agency business had gone downhill with the Singapore Government's clamp down on the hiring of foreigners by Singapore employers. During the election, the foreigners were a hot issue, said to deprive Singaporeans of jobs and lowering the salaries. So, nowadays, many applications are rejected as compared to liberal approvals over 2 years ago. Other countries like the UK and USA also have restricted foreigners from gaining employment.

I met a tall slim dark skinned man who had resigned from working in a recycling company after 2 weeks of work. He had this black hair creamed and curved into a wave at the left side, just the style some 50 years ago. He could speak some English and I asked why he resigned.

"Shouting and shouting by the manager," he put his left hand on his heart area. "Every time shout. If I put the wrong item into the container, I have to re-do again. For example, if I put aluminium can into the steel container, I have to start and sort all again. More shouting. I just can't take this anymore."

"Where are you from and how old are you?" I asked.
"I am from Rangoon. I am 38 years old."

I was surprised he said "Rangoon" instead of "Yangon".

His father had passed away and his mother is a retired civil servant who has pensions.
He is a Myanmar graduate in Zoology. I felt sad for him as he must have spent a lot of money coming here and now he is looking for another job.

"I was new to this job," the Rangoon man said. "If they give me 3 months, I will be more experienced. But the manager shouted and shouted at me all the time. I have to work for the forklift driver and the others too. But they all shouted at me."

"What are your working hours?" I asked.
"7.30 am to 6.30 pm and sometimes to 7.30 pm when the delivery truck comes late."
"Do you work on Sundays?" I asked.
"Every Sunday but I get one weekday off a week."

"It is not so easy to find another employer as you have no experience and Singapore employers are not allowed to hire freely as before," I knew of many applications rejected by the MOM although the employer has the required quota. "You may face shouting employers again. Will you then resign again?"

"I will not resign," he said.
I asked him to contact Bernard the agent who got him this job.
He took out his Zit phone which looked like the very ancient Nokia phone without camera and frills and dialled the number. Nobody answered. I dialled the same number on my phone and Bernard said that the S Pass had been cancelled and he had one month to go home or find another employer.
"I thought he said he had given a month's notice," I said.
"No need," Bernard said. "He was on probation and since he resigned, he would not need to give notice."

It is too late. In addition, this man would lose 50% of his agency fee if he loses his job within 6 months, according to the MOM rules and regulations.But he did not get sacked. He resigned and therefore he could lose all. There were 4 other foreign workers in this recycling firm and they were Chinese Nationals. Sometimes, they could be ganging to oust him by scolding a novice and getting him to work faster and be more productive. I don't know.   


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