Our disdain is such that we would rather be unemployed than do blue-collar work. I remember taking a part-time job as a waiter in a nearby restaurant to supplement my income from freelance consulting. A few of my friends asked me about what I did, and when I told them that I even cleaned the windows, a few of them remarked that it would upset my parents who had spent good money to send me to university for me to be seen doing a menial task.
In another instance, a customer asked me if I was a former offender. When I asked what brought about that question, her reply was that there seemed to be something wrong based on the way I spoke and the fact that I was working in a restaurant.
|Using treated water to water roadside plants and trees|
Working a blue-collar job in my late thirties and early forties taught me to respect and build friendships with our foreign worker population. I learnt that their motivations were the same as mine, they were working hard to make a living and to support their families.
In life under the circuit breaker, the people whom I cannot function without are the cleaners, people stacking supermarket shelves and public transport operators. These are the jobs that have value that we never appreciated.
I hope the authorities will take up Dr Cheng's suggestion and instil the value of all forms of work in our young.