Tuesday, November 27, 2012

SMRT bus driver strike - 2 years early, but still proven right

Today, local media reported on a strike by SMRT bus drivers hired from mainland China.

Local media called it a "dispute". The headline on asiaone read "SMRT bus drivers refuse to go to work".

What's that called again? Yeah, in other countries, it would be called a "strike", specifically a "wildcat strike" (raise up your hands and do the air quotes, people)

More than 2 years ago, I wrote a post on the unintended consequences of immigration. You can read it here.

I was early by 2 years, but still proven right in the end. Since I was proven right, it's useful to go back to revisit what I wrote because even I can't remember what thoughts were percolating through my mind back then and what *other* predictions I made that may eventually pan out as well.

The pertinent section from my 2-year old post:

We know of wildcat strikes in China at Honda factories. For better or for worse, immigrants to Singapore are generally not as ... tractable ... as native Singaporeans. If a critical part of our infrastructure like the public bus transport network is heavily dependent on foreigners of a particular ethnicity or creed, what happens if they have reason to get organized and demonstrate, protest or go on strike? 

Like the Falun Gong demonstration that happened in Singapore a while back? Or the diplomatic fracas that came in the wake of the Flor Contemplacion incident? There would potentially be a lot more unhappy Filipinos on Singapore soil today should a diplomatic incident like that happen again. And frankly, before 9/11, Singapore was lucky to not have sourced for immigrants from Muslim states that might subsequently have found our staunch relationship with the USA ... objectionable. 

What about our other industries? Electronics, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, construction? Any possibility of some adverse event occurring simply because we are so critically dependent on "hired help" in those industries? Nobody knows, and the MOM a'int talking. Maybe we should start asking. Just sayin'.


Perhaps our numerous generals-turned-cabinet ministers can advise us on what the national security implications are of depending so heavily on foreigners, when fully one third of the warm bodies here are not your typical compliant docile Singaporeans. That should be one area that they can truly claim to have expertise in.

If there has ever been a national policy document that details the risk-adjusted cost-benefit analysis of mass immigration, I'd certainly like to see it.

1 comment:

market2garden said...

Negative unintended consequence.