Anti-Pinoy Sentiments in Singapore?

Apparently, The Real Singapore doesn’t want a Filipino company to hire Filipino staff for its operations there.

Unlike other multi-national fastfood restaurants like Macdonalds and KFC which hire mainly Singaporeans and even the disabled and elderly, Jollibee Singapore intends to hire their fellow pinoys to fill up jobs in their latest Singapore venture. The Filipinio fastfood chain will be opened in Q1 this year but locations remained unknown.

Singaporeans are encouraged to boycott Jollibee Singapore to send a message that foreign businesses which hire foreigners first are not welcome in Singapore, and, businesses which targeted the Singaporean market share and profit off Singaporeans should prioritize job opportunities for Singaporeans first.

jollibee opens jobs for filipinos in singaporeI wouldn’t say that this is really a sentiment directed against Filipinos or Filipino companies, but rather, it might be based on sentiments of Singaporeans who want to be prioritized for jobs in their home country.

Just why it seems important for Singaporeans to be prioritized for jobs in fast serve food chains is beyond me.  I would imagine that Singaporeans, for the most part, target jobs in either IT Firms, Banks, and Communications companies.  After all, this is why they’ve opened up their job market to thousands or millions of Pinoys — a large number of whom perform jobs the average Singaporean wouldn’t want to do.

Then again, maybe it is the influx of our less intelligent, less cultured, and less well educated countrymen that has got The Real Singapore in a fit.  Or is it?

I think the last sentence gives a clue:

The PAP government has announced that it plans to increase Singapore’s population to 6 million by 2020, it is no surprise why they are now welcoming any unskilled foreigners simply to make up the number. Over the past decade, the PAP government has bent forward pandering to businesses’ appetite for cheap foreign labor. This has in turned resulted in a depression of salaries especially for the bottom 20% income earners who see their salaries stagnated over the past 13 years despite charting record GDP that the Prime Minister is so proud of. Foreign professionals, managers and engineers have also taken up jobs of Singaporeans who are seeing more retrenchment in the guise of restructuring, and salary growth below inflation rate.

I think it’s a better bet to think that Singaporeans are finding it difficult to come to terms with Filipino professionals who are just as good or even better but will work at a fraction of the pay that their Singaporean counterparts receive.

Thing is, the sentiment to keep foreign workers out from higher paying jobs isn’t at all unique to Singpore.  People in the US have similarly raised a howl over the inundation of “migrant workers” from Mexico and everywhere else.

In any case, there seems to be a response from the Singaporean government and that is to somewhat tighten the inflow of foreign workers.  In a press statement, the Ministry of Manpower said Foreign Worker Levy rates (read that as the amount of money paid to hire a foreign worker) would be increased and Dependency Ratio Ceilings (read that as the percentage of foreign vs. Singaporean employees) would be decreased.

I think it might yet be another indication of the OFW Bubble Bursting — if you looked at it together with Saudization and other similar developments.

The OFW Bubble Burst, of course, isn’t going to happen because the demand for cheap labor (which we are at this point) has shrunk or is shrinking to the point of being almost non-existent.  The thing is, it’s still a pretty safe bet that the countries that we’ve been sending OFWs to for decades will definitely continue to need manpower.  However, what is different these days may be that “OFW job sources” may be looking into ways of cutting the already low cost of using foreign workers.

A couple of years back I learned that some OFWs being sent to Saudi were going for as low as $300 a month and a former employee of mine vetted this, saying her husband recently left of a job paying $250 a month!

What the frick? That’s like P10,000 a month, if at all you can send it all home and it’s a pittance, really, for being away from your family!

It is perhaps this situation, Filipinos hiring themselves our for extremely low pay and being seen as a threat to the local job seekers in the countries they are working in, that has had politicians here in the Philippines mouthing “job creation” as the solution.

All in all, what this really spells out is a tougher time for people who seek jobs abroad and as for Filipinos in Singapore, I don’t think it will help much at all if their fellow OFWs there are seen as a nuisance of sorts online.

Take the case of a certain Carlos R Pestano III whose behavior was put on the spotlight in the Singapore Seen Stomp:


Here’s an excerpt from that article:

Seagate Technology has apologised on their facebook page for comments made by one of their engineers who called some Singaporeans ‘rotten’ and ‘bitter’.

In a post on their facebook page, Seagate made it clear that they were aware of the offensive comments and apologised for them. They also promised to look into the matter immediately and take the ‘necessary disciplinary measures where needed’.

More than ten STOMPers had written in over the insensitive comments, which had been posted on his personal facebook page. According to his facebook page, the engineer is a Filipino working in Singapore.

Here are some STOMPers’ comments regarding the incident.

STOMPer Angry bird wrote:

“Look at this proud Pinoy FT working in Seagate calling us locals ‘rotten’.

“Should we send him back to where he belongs?”

Jazz wrote:

“As you can see in the screenshot taken below on his profile page, it shows his comments on Singaporeans on facebook, viewable by everyone.

“He is listed as a member of Seagate, a Process Engineer at Seagate Technology International (W1).”

“He refers to Singaporeans as ‘rotten locals’, calls us ‘bitter’, and says most of us are ‘working under us (Pinoys)’.”

Samm also commented:

“Look at this Filipino’s remarks about Singaporeans.

“I came across a photo on facebook.

“A Filipino working in Seagate, based in Singapore, is making racist remarks about locals.

“I do not condone his language used because they are offensive and mean.

“It will just stir up more angst between the foreign talents and locals here.”

Rinna wrote:

“This is really disturbing.

“This Pinoy guy should get fired by Seagate.”

And there are other Filipinos in Singapore waiting to be reported…


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19 Responses to Anti-Pinoy Sentiments in Singapore?

  1. superluigi says:

    My thing is that Filipinos who work abroad shouldn’t be too anal about these matters. Just because you’re a big shot engineer doesn’t make you elite.

    You’re working outside of your country and you gotta abide by the rules and culture. Quite frankly I believe OFW’s have no right to bitch about Singapore since they probably don’t pay as much tax as an average Singaporean. “oh anti filipino sentiments” bitch, welcome to the real world that happens practically everywhere!

  2. BenK says:

    Jollibee in Singapore is either going to pay through the nose to be able to pursue this hiring plan, or they’re going to be prevented from doing it by the Singaporean government; new protocols will be enforced beginning in July:

  3. Libertas says:

    Whilst i suspect that this issue is somewhat of a mountain out of a molehill, – i would hope jollibee is not that naive or pr insensitive – it signifies the potential pitfalls of companies dominant in a largely non competitive national market moving up a league and into more open business environments with completely different cultures/business practices/customer expectations etc.
    Am sure jollibee, who already operate in other countries, will do well initially, especially situated in lucky plaza – the heartland of filipina maids, and sunday ‘takeaways’!
    The challenge, especially in food conscious singapore will be determined by meeting growth targets and maintaining profitability where labour laws and wages are not as employer biased as in the philippines.
    Good luck to them. The philippines needs more companies to think and act globally, or at least beyond the insularity and ease of running monopolies/dominant companies.
    It also needs those same companies to learn from experience and apply more enlightened labour practices in their home country.

  4. Jetlag807 says:

    I, for one, have no sympathy in this matter. Considering the way in which “foreigners” in the Philippines are treated (insofar as employment is concerned), its poetic justice! Time to wake up an smell the Adobo folks! You can’t have it both ways!

    • Paul Farol says:

      Pinoys in Singapore should be very careful, especially with stuff that they post on their Facebook or Twitter accounts.

      The one cited was just, for the most part, probably an angst laden update.

      What more if it’s really defamatory or libelous.

      Kawawa naman si pinoy computer programmer or engineer na mawawalan ng trabaho dahil sa ganuon.

  5. Libertas says:

    “In an age when grow is the result of free movement of investments
    across borders to areas of greatest efficiency, we have restricted investments. A native oligarchy has used economic nationalism to inhibit trade and prevent investors to come in and compete. The oligarchy, ironically, enjoys ideological support from the political left which is hopelessly trapped in 19th century view of economic
    —First Person, Alex Magno, Philippine Star, March 11, 2010

    The philippines gain would be the oligarchs loss, so they know exactly what they are doing which makes it all the more shameful and treacherous, and why i have no time for hypocrital politicians and puppet presidents.
    Control and the status quo for the ‘elite’, above progress and prosperity for all, even down to ensuring professionals cannot work/practice in the country.
    Insularity meets fear. Oligarchs shun competition.

  6. traffice2000 says:

    Kahit naman sa Middle East bitch din ang mga pinoy knowing na nagkaroon ng Saudization or whatever zation, feeling nila hindi tatakbo ang bansa na wala sila ayan nasampulan. Masyadong assuming at hindi marunong tumapak sa lupa.

  7. ChinoF says:

    It’s happening anywhere the locals are fearing that immigrants are taking their jobs, anyway. Even in the United States. Most countries seem to be getting more and more aware of the issues surrounding immigrant employment.

    • Paul Farol says:

      People are looking at brain-drain, then again, maybe we’re also exporting a fair number of ‘undesireables’ too.

      • ChinoF says:

        Like the maid who wore her employers’ clothes without permission and posted pictures of it on Facebook, and those Pinoys in Hong Kong who likely helped the locals learn about jaywalking.

  8. 17Sphynx17 says:

    I don’t get why this is even an issue for Pinoys.

    It is natural for a country to want to prioritize local hiring over importing it whenever possible so as not to suffer a “brain drain” scenario. But in this case where in it is for fast food service such as waiters and cashier operators, there would be no such thing as what is called “technology transfer” to benefit singapore. Plus it is a minimum wage job which their elderly would gladly take up to work for.

    It is different here but if you have been there you would see that a lot of workers in the “service sector” frontlines like janitors, waiters and even cashier operators are locals who are “of age” or even somewhat physically impaired by a disability. They want to give their own population the opportunity for the job so they can continue with their “standard of living”.

    I think the scenario is even the same in Taiwan, and HK with regards to this. The youth would of course opt for the high paying job, but for the once retired factory worker from that country of origin, the choices aren’t as many when it comes to possible employment and you can’t live with pension alone.

    My two cents.

  9. Trosp says:

    I’ve worked in Singapore for 4 consecutive years. I find them generally polite and accommodating.

    It’s just that IMO, business wise, I would say they would prefer those who would perform the best job for the same salary in hiring workers.

    As for Jollibee in Singapore, IMO, Singaporeans can not be easily persuaded to shift to them if McDonnald’s outlets are full which most of the time they are. I think JB is not a big issue for Singaporeans. I can agree with them that eventually JB will die a natural death there.

    I have this exchange of pleasantries with a Singaporean worker –

    I have noticed this group of Singaporean workers tended to attend to their toilet habit after 1 PM, the noon break. They told me 12 NN to 1 PM is their break time. Toilet habit is exempted. It should be charged to working hours. He was very boastful in explaining that to me.

    Well, I told him Filipinos (there are also lots of Filipinos workers in that firm where I was working) don’t do it that way.

    He told me he was not surprised because Filipinos are dumb.

    I told him Filipinos do their toilet habit during overtime!

    • Paul Farol says:

      Oh well… I didn’t realize that there was a Filipino vs Singaporean thing going on.

      I can only imagine what it would be like working under those circumstances. It must be tough to need to look over your shoulder all the time, wondering where the flak will come from.

  10. says:

    “Dey turk err jurbs!!!” – South Park: Goobacks

    IMO, foreigners taking the “locals’ jobs” will cause tension, racial or otherwise.

    As for Jollibee, I believe this franchise caters to Filipino tastes above everything else. If the Filipino community can keep the store in business for years, good. But I’m not expecting foreigners to suddenly patronize the store.

  11. Libertas says:

    i had filipina maids in cyprus.
    personally no problem but apart from the disgusting attitudes of many cypriot employers – they now have got what they deserve for being lazy stupid and greedy – the filipinas also caused innumerable problems – going illegal ( which meant sex trade), stealing and going illegal, or having multiple boyfriends on sundays ( day off).
    their husbands are unfaithful here but not to the extent of the filipinas, ( thats how remittances are achieved not on the pittance of pay especially after paying the fixer 1-2 years salary, and the maids accounted for 70% off the abortions on the island. staggering. so much for pro-life. so much for everyone turning a blind eye to reality when it suits.
    no different to singapore hong kong or london.
    i now employ vietnamese.

  12. Yup says:

    We should export our Big Business Oligarchs and bring home our Professionals here, that way we could save the Philippines from economic extinction..(I hope)

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