Tuesday, October 28, 2008

When the 'Flatness' spreads!

I had dinner with my significant other earlier today and was pleasantly surprised to be served by a non-local waiter at the dining place that we patronised. And in fact that was not the first time that I noticed the dining places over here using non-locals as part of their permanent staff. Seriously I got nothing against them, and in fact am lauding the fact that they have found a good place to earn a good decent living over here in Singapore. What does come to my mind however, was the book by Thomas Friedman, 'The World is Flat', in which he highlighted about the pervasiveness of outsourcing practices, especially in the IT sectors, and its related businesses.

What comes to my mind at that moment was not about the usual IT businesses, but more of the the usual practice locally for these food and beverage and retail sectors to be staffed by students, especially during the school holidays. Now it is already serious enough that these industries have a very high turnover rate amongst the locals, but it would be made worse when the students themselves realise that they would NOT be hired at all when their usual jobs are replaced by the more reliable, and I guess more skillful and dedicated non-locals. I guess with all the lecturing and nagging by my colleagues and other teachers on the need for our local students to buck up and meet the challenges of the new economy and the new world order head-on, what would be a lesson that my generation have faced only when we start work are already heading the way of my young charges even earlier in their lives, even before they are ready to contribute to the economy. It is a good lesson for them I think, since lecturing and asking them to read the book in itself would be an almost uphill, if not impossible task. My god, I really do hope that my young charges realise what they are up against, and are really prepared for it. That's my only hope...for now!

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