25 September 2014

To do better, for everyone!

I am sure everyone (or most of you) reading this would have this thought before.

"Omg totally over-spent this month.."

"It's only mid-month but my bank account is almost empty.. T.T"

"I need a pay rise.."

And it's not surprising many people think or feel that way or every now and then, happen to find themselves in situations like that.. Where they have not enough.

Let me break it down for you briefly okay. If you have parents to provide for you, good for you, this may not be relavant to you now but trust me, it will be.. Soon. Haha. But it's no harm reading becox these are what your parents have to worry about now. So you could be a little more considerate and appreciative for their love and care over you.

If you're working already and earning to spend for yourself, then i'm glad for you! Becox at least you are not at the stage where you have to pay for more people than yourself. Some people have to pay for their parents / siblings / kids.

If you're at the stage where you have to pay for more people than yourself.. Then i'm sure you could relate to all the expenses listed below.

In a month we have to cater for a lot of NECESSITIES. You have yours.

For my case, me and Josh have these overheads:

- HDB Repayment Loan

- Studio rental

- Food for us

- Food for doggies

- Utility bills, phone bills, conservancy charges

- Insurance policy

- Transportation

These already adds up to easily more than $6000 =XXX And we are both self-employed so we don't have CPF to ease the HDB repayment. So everything listed above are all outgoing in cash.

I've never shared such personal details about my life but when i went for the sharing session for this blogpost, i actually feel really guilty of myself and for my lifestyle, to a point i feel ashamed of the times i might have thought to myself that i don't have enough.

But i also feel really thankful for all the things i have =') So now i'm sharing with you.. I hope you'd gain some insights on things that are happening around us that are as real as the "problems" we might think we have everyday, if not more.. And about the good people who are working around the clock to help better the situation for everyone who needs their help!

And then there are other things like giving allowance to my dad, bringing my family out for meals, hanging out with friends, all these are leisure. And on top of leisure.. There are other luxuries like.. Shopping, travelling, movies, manicure / pedicure. So i leave it up to you to guess how much i spend a month okay haha. It's quite scary, that's all i can say!

Though i'm really lucky that a lot of things are sponsored, but thinking about it from a normal person's point of view.. If we were to want everything.. I guess nobody would really have enough.

When i say a normal person, i mean someone who earns a decent pay of let's say.. $2000 - $3000 monthly, plus minus.. Someone who earns that much wouldn't have enough to pay for everything she wants that is reasonable and not considered extravagant.

A movie is not extravagant. One mani / pedi session a month is not extravagant. Buying yourself one reasonably priced nice dress a month, is not extravagant. Going on a holiday once or twice a year is not extravagant too. Can we all agree with that? Haha.

But what if you are an elderly.. Who earns $500 - $800 a month?

My dad was for a period, a cleaner at a hawker center. It's one of his many jobs to earn enough money to raise all of us up and to pull us through school. I can tell you it's not easy to have at least 3 kids in school at the same time. Two of my sisters were already working then. Three of us still studying. One in Poly, one in Secondary, one in Primary. All the textbooks and all.

And he was only making $450 a month. Now i feel like crying thinking about how hard he worked for so many years while bringing us up. But last time i was only happy becox erm.. He will always dabao back super nice black carrot cake from the morning market at the hawker center O.O LOL.

I digressed.

Anyway. That was 14 years ago. He was getting that amount of pay, for being a part-time cleaner. So i'm guessing a full time cleaner then, would be getting paid about $800?

So much has changed over 14 years. Our country did better with years.. Mobile phones and computer technology has become more advanced and everything that is good and helps with our lifestyles, has become more and more accessible. And inevitably, with inflation, things have become more costly also. A bowl of noodle that cost $2 would be $3.50 typically or if you're lucky, maybe $3 now.

Transportation cost increased. Food cost increased. Along with many other things lah okay.

But good news is, average wage also got increase lah. So for most of us, we could still pull through.

But what if i tell you, for the longest time.. Over the decades.. There are still people earning the same amount of pay.. And they just don't have the power or knowledge to get out of that situation.

An example.. I learnt.. Just recently.

About an elderly cleaner aunty who shared about working as a cleaner at a food centre. She was earning $800/month for the longest time. And she has to render half of her pay for housing rental.

It is also really challenging to be a low wage worker with poor health. Becox the expenses of going to the doctor would be considered a luxury instead of a necessities given how much she earns. The rest of the $400 after rental, she has to use it for her food, transport, utility bill etc.

So on a positive note, she say she can survive and pull through JUST NICE, IF, and only if she don't fall sick. If she falls sick she'd be in trouble. Not just health crisis, but financial crisis too T.T

This breaks my heart. I'm sure there are much more saddening real life stories happening to people we know or don't know.

But everyone should matter, if they work hard, if they strive hard for themselves, and do honest work.. Why do they still have to go through such hard times?

One good news though.. Is that now she is earning $1,100/month!!! =DDD Thanks to a new wage model that NTUC has championed for, for many years, for the government to finally implement it recently! So thanks to that, this elderly cleaner is earning more now!

This was after Progressive Wage Model (to be referred to as PWM) was implemented by her company. And i'm gonna be sharing more of that with you! Nothing too info-loaded, if you're keen to know more, please visit the website at or watch this video below!

The video makes it really easy to understand how PWM works and how it can help companies and workers in various ways.

Pretty sure some of my readers (especially the younger ones, i assume? Haha!) would be a little shocked to see that i mentioned NTUC earlier. Isn't NTUC the supermarket? O.O

No, no, no hahah! The supermarket chain is Fairprice. While NTUC is actually the Labour Movement of Singapore. The trade and workers’ unions, taxi associations for examples, they represent workers and they have a strong membership base of over 830,000 members =O

I lifted this from the NTUC website:

"The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) is a national confederation of trade unions in the industrial, service and public sectors in Singapore. NTUC's objectives are to help Singapore stay competitive and workers remain employable for life; to enhance the social status and well-being of workers; and to build a strong, responsible and caring labour movement."

And they are the one who pushed for Progressive Wage Model to be implemented! What exactly is PWM? To me, plainly put.. Is overall-good for company AND workers.

Here is a quick model of 3 sub-sectors of the most common types of cleaning jobs with starting basic wage level of at least $1,000/ $1200 with the implementation of PWM.

PWM calls for a specific basic salary for workers in different industries. And through training / courses and upgrading efforts, the worker will be able to receive wage increment ^.^ YAY!


And this does the company good too becox with workers that are more skilled, more knowledgeable and more skillful, productivity will be increased! =D EVERYONE GAINS!

NTUC gives out funding grants and subsidize for companies to send workers for upgrading courses and trainings. I feel so hopeful for all the employees after watching this video.

You see workers without tertiary education, going from technician to engineer!!! =OOO

And a staff goes from a waiter to service director at a premium country club!!! =OOO

All these amazing corporate and personal upgrading achievement will not be possible if not for increased productivity through training for workers. Give you a most direct examples okay!

Who remember seeing HDB cleaners using this massive straw broom sweeping the floor. "SHWAH SHWAH SHWAH!!!" haha. That's part of my memory for going to school at 6am last time when i was in Primary school. Hahah. Nodding head to greet the cleaner good morning and all. That was quite some time back!

Now it's mostly quite sophisticated! You might hear "dih dih dih" and there comes along the cleaner in his sweet ride lol! Machinery has not only speed up the cleaning process, it also help the cleaners work more effectively and efficiently, enabling them to get more of other work done! And with that?
PAY RISE! They are able to climb the wage ladder!

Now workers in the cleaning sector have the chance to LEARN and EARN MORE!

Now every workers will have the chance to climb the wage ladder and companies will have improved overall productivity which helps sustain economic growth for our country =)

With the implementation of PWM by the government, ALL cleaning firms are set to be licensed from 2014. They would be required to meet specific minimum standards such as adopting the PWM and sending staff for mandatory training courses.

So the elderly cleaner that i shared with you guys about? Right, her company has already went with the PWM and raise her basic wage. Also be heartened to know that 3,800 school cleaners will all enjoy pay increases that will bring their pay packets to at least $1,000. This rewarding increment comes to these workers through the tripartite efforts of the Government, the Labour Movement and employers through the Progressive Wage Model.

Like what the Labour Chief, Mr Lim Swee Say said, the licensing part is just the beginning. He said, "For a long time, in the cleaning industry, the cleaners have been looked upon as cheap labour. Today, with licensing, we hope this will change"

He added that NTUC hopes that companies will view cleaners as valuable human resources, and hopes to see companies willing to invest in their career development and upgrading.

Think about it, most of the cleaning job now is all outsourced to cleaning companies.

Another field that has widespread outsourcing is security, security guards. Condo management, office building management also outsource the job to companies. And all of the companies have to bid for the contract (be it cleaning or security line).

When a company gets the contract, they would usually offer for the workers to stay on, but usually at a stagnant salary, take it or leave it =X So what's an unskilled worker who's been doing the same job for a long period of time gonna do? Stay on right? And that's how after maybe even 10 years, their salary could stay the same. Cox if not, they might lose their job.

So this is when i feel businesses should consider about the difference between..


Like security guards and cleaners for example, they work for outsource service providers / contractors, who keep cost low to raise their chances for getting the bid and that is becox companies typically choose the contractor who gives the cheapest quote (cheap-sourcing).

But companies have to consider that with cheap sourcing, contractors have issues raising the wages of their staff, sometimes even reducing the pay (to maintain their business’ bottomline especially after they won the contract based on lowest cost)!

And with limited revenues due to customers’ preference for cheaper bids, contractors would have problems giving their staff better equipment or sending them for training. Thus, what you get in actual fact, would be service and work from workers who are not equipped with training, not skilled, thus decreased productivity. It is also hard to recruit and retain workers in an industry with such poor working conditions. And if it is hard to get and keep good staff, then who’s going to ensure that the workers show up everyday to get the cleaning and security work done and done well?

So, everyone,don’t think this doesn’t affect you, k? Cox it does! If you’re in a position to make decisions or to make a difference, do remember to opt for BEST-SOURCING, NOT CHEAP-SOURCING!

There's an old saying "Cheap no good, good no cheap" hahaha. Or better put in an idiom, "If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys" I can't think of a more appropriate way to use it other than this instance.

But i'm really glad that with Progressive Wage Model, everyone has the chance to be better.. And lead better life =))) And with that i will learn to be much much more appreciative with how good things are here in Singapore..

Everyone, keep learning, keep growing into a better version of you! =D


Hanna Lei said...

You're father is awesome to have worked so hard on so little! It's great that you repay him now. :) -Hanna Lei

Anonymous said...

I appreciate this post for your readers to learn something about life. The cleaners make an honest living and i really don't wish for them to struggle. Lets all do our best to help them.

J said...

This is such a meaningful post!:)
Thank you<3<3<3