Sunday, December 04, 2005

Is your job good enough to enable you to get married?

Masa kecik-kecik mak selalu pesan pada anak lelaki. Belajar rajin-rajin, dah besar boleh dapat kerje yang elok. Senang nak kawin nanti ….

S has just recently came from KL, now working as a GM of a local hypermarket. He shared with us some of his experiences. This being a country with the unemployment rate of 40%, import a lot of foreign labour. S told us that they do have some locals working as shelf stackers. (Which surprised us of course, no self respecting local would do such a menial job often designated to workers from a 3rd world country.) But their turnover is extremely high, and the rate of absentism is just unbelievable. At least two will resign each week, and at least two will call in sick everyday.

Being new to the country and its culture, S tried to find out why this is so. He was told that as a shelf stacker, the local male will have no chance of getting married. No over protective father-in-law will allow his daughter to be married of to a shelf stacker. Plus he wouldn’t be able to afford the dowry and the wedding expenses anyways on that salary. So most of the time, the young local youth would take up the job as a shelf stacker while waiting for a job with the government. As soon, as they think they are getting a better job, they’d quit. Suffice to say that their morale is low at work, and are more interested in the pay cheque than the work.

However, it's different for the post of the cashier. There is more prestige in being a cashier. If the male joins the company at a young age, hopefully by the time he is ready to be married, he would have been promoted to a supervisory position, and thus giving him a respectable job for marriage material.

Now if you think this is a figment of my imagination you’d have to read this piece of news.

Woman Demands Divorce From Chef

Why do you think he was divorced? Because working as a chef, despite its higher salary, is considered demeaning, unlike working as a security officer, that affords the husband a uniform, allows him to show some form of power lording over other people.

Go figure.

I’d have thought that in a country that has a 40% unemployment rate, its citizens would be less fussy in choosing a career. But apparently that’s not quite the case here. I was astounded to find out that there are 1 million F{l|pina workers in the Kingdom either as domestic help, the health industry, the service industry and the restaurants etc.

There are 8.8 million foreigners in the country, the Labour Minister disclosed in May, a figure significantly higher than any that the government has previously reported. With an indigenous population of about 17 million, this means that there is almost one foreign resident for every two citizens.

The largest expatriate communities in the country include one million to 1.5 million people each from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, and another 900,000 each from Egypt, Sudan and the Philippines. There are also 500,000 workers from Indonesia, and another 350,000 from Sri Lanka, the majority of whom are women.


So what sort of jobs do the locals go for? Normally in managerial positions in the private sector, a stable job with the government. preferably in the police or armed force.

The local government recently has imposed some laws not very different from the bumi protection laws in Malaysia. That a certain proportion of the work force must consist of the local labour. Does it work? It does provide income for the locals but whether or not its effective it's something else.

I remember going into a restaurant and there was a local male at the counter. We waited to be greeted but he was silent. So I approached him, saying that we needed a table. He handed a take away menu to us. And then came the waiter who promptly showed us to a table.

So we asked him, what was the local boy in the front supposed to do?

“Oh that’s just decoration,” he said casually.

We had to laugh. Apparently there was a new ruling that each restaurant must employ at least two locals. So what the restaurant did was to employ them and put them in front.

Then again all this could be considered as a blessing in disguise!

Ape taknye pasal depa malas nak buat keje lah kami dapat menumpang mencari periuk nasi di sini. Kalau semua depa rajin dan pandai buat sendiri takdelah peluang untuk rakyat negeri lain datang untuk mencari makan.


dr in the house said...

Do you reckon any other country holding the same statistical ratio between foreign worker to local population?

Trust said...


Sunflora said...

Dr, I was told that this phenomena is common in the middle east. Contohnya di Dubai. Someone mentioned ths stats to me the other day but I tak sempat nak buat my research.

Trust, you're full or hungry?

anasalwa said...

are the foreign workers allowed to get an education while they work?

apples4me said...

hmm very sad..I still can't figure about one wanting a divorce from a husband who's a chef...I'd be so full at the end of the day:)

Sunflora said...

Anasalwa, depends on what you mean by education. 1stly, the cheap labour dont have much right let alone education. 2ndly, places for education are somewhat limited. Some companes do give professional training or seminars to the foreign professionals.

Not sure if I answered your question.


Heheheh I can't tell you that I understand the mentality here anyways.

atiza said...

I heard the same from one of my friends too. There's a new law requiring companies to employ 1 local for every 10 foreigners or some sort. Most of these locals were employed as tukang buat air. They make good mint tea; that's exactly what my friend said

On another note, despite having a less stringent rule on employing women, the companies would have to build a separate room for the women. Hmphhh!