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The Straits Times

This category contains 257 posts

But What About The Views Of Private Security Officers?

The stiffer penalty regime for private security officers, who can now “be punished by a fine not exceeding $2,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months” (ST, Jan. 18) if caught slacking, sleeping on the job, or breaking the rules , is ostensibly important for security or defence reasons, but the first-hand views of the officers – especially in a collective, systematic manner – are rarely featured, and comparatively little attention is paid to their work conditions and benefits. Furthermore, the onus to improve productivity appears to be shouldered disproportionately by the officers expected to fulfil training requirements, yet little is also said about what their employers ought to do, in terms of technological advancements or improvements to the well-being of the officers. Continue reading

Beyond The Templatised, Individualised Singaporean Notions Of Success

What stood out in the summarised experiences of more than 300 business undergraduates at the Singapore Management University – published in two volumes and which highlight many of their anxieties over success and failure (ST, Jan. 9) – are the templatised, individualised Singaporean notions of success, and the extent to which those who chose different pathways are held up as exceptions. Templatised, and arguably as an extension of our education system, because there are implicit expectations for students to adhere to predetermined pathways leading to stable lives and careers, upon which there are checklists to follow. And individualised, because besides the references to their parents or immediate family relationships, there was little to no mention of how they position themselves in their communities (and even in the country or the world), and how they may contribute to improve the lives of others beyond their personal circles. Continue reading

Social Workers Complement – Not Replace – Support Networks For The Less-Privileged

The argument that less-privileged or disadvantaged Singaporeans should be respected as individuals with agency who are capable of making decisions for their households, rather than as people with problems, is incontrovertible. The same can be said of Mr. Gerard Ee’s related argument that the design of Singapore’s social service ecosystem can be improved by creating an environment of mutual help (ST, Jan. 3). Yet it is not necessarily true that programmes and services offered by the social and community service sector – and by extension, the work of social workers – replace “natural support networks” or “the notion of a caring community”. Instead, three other things seem to be missing: First, an understanding of how social workers should position themselves and their programmes and services; second, research studying the context and conditions of Singaporeans at the margin; as well as third, the involvement of the broader public, beyond those who work within the social service sector. Continue reading

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