THE TEMASEK TIMES

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Singaporeans are ‘weak and lazy’, says Fairmont Hotel Director Brian Tan Cheow Eng

Posted by temasektimes on March 24, 2012

A discussion thread on Facebook about a Swiss lawyer’s comments on Singaporeans not being ‘entitled to jobs in their own country’ ended up in a heated exchange between a hotel director and some disgruntled Singaporeans who felt being marginalized by the increasing influx of foreigners.

Director of Quality of Fairmont Hotel and Resorts Brian Tan Cheow Eng argued that it is not the job of the government to protect the jobs of Singaporeans and bemoaned the poor quality of Singapore workers:

“If you do that in the private sector, no company would want to move here just to hire WEAK and LAZY Singaporeans.”

[Source: Facebook]

Mr Tan added that foreigners do a lot of jobs that ‘Singaporeans don’t want to do’ and asked Singaporeans to stop behaving like ‘babies’:

“Foreigners do a lot of jobs that Singaporeans don’t want to do. What’s the harm in that? In fact, some industries will collapse without foreigners….If we Singaporeans think we are so good, then don’t be afraid to compete for jobs with the best talent in the world. Come on, stop behaving like babies waiting to be spoon fed all the time!”

His comments sparked a massive furore among netizens who lampooning him for defending the foreigners, prompting him to issue a ‘clarification’ today stating that his words were ‘taken out of context’.

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32 Responses to “Singaporeans are ‘weak and lazy’, says Fairmont Hotel Director Brian Tan Cheow Eng”

  1. thecakeisalie said

    “Weak and lazy”… so he must be be darn hardworking to be able to call us that.

    • cc chia said

      Using Brian’s argument, then looks like all the weak and lazy people are now in the civil service. In that case, why are we paying the PAP and the Leefamily millions for doing jobs that nobody else wants to do and could be done better by cheap and hard-working foreigners?

      I also wonder whether strong and hard-working Brian is a true Singaporean who has done NS like most of us, and on whose side is he on? Is he on the side of the PAP, the citizens of Singapore or is he a “foreign talent” (perhaps recently converted to Singaporean)?

      Remember that the government which does not look after its citizens and that does not carry out the mandate of its electorate will eventually be voted out of office. It is definitely the job of the government to protect the jobs of locals!! This is because we are paying the salaries of the civil servants (which in the case of Singapore includes the President, PM and all the cabinet ministers), therefore we have every right to tell them how and what to do, including protecting our jobs from cheap foreigners (many of whom are actually less hard-working, not as smart or talented and weaker than us, based on personal experience) who apparently do not do NS, among other things.

      As far as I am aware, the only jobs that Singaporeans do not want to do (mainly because of the low pay but in some cases due to the work environment or job scope) are construction and road labourers, garbage collectors, gardeners, prostitutes and bargirls, waiters, sales assistants, maids and cleaners. I am not against importing foreign workers to do such jobs for us.

      • Uniden said

        You are wrong. It is not just that sector. And I have to say Brian was right about the weak and lazy Singaporeans part ALTHOUGH I do not think it applies to ALL. I do encounter some which are hardworking and talented but it is only just a RARE few.

        Employers only pick the best among the lot that interviewed. You want the job? Convince us WHY you are better than the others. Enough said.

  2. Lee said

    I kinda agree with him. Singaporeans are too spoon fed & waiting for government to do things. Reliant of government..

    • Dave said

      This culture of reliance was cultivated by the laws created by the PAP. We Singaporeans were coerced into being sheep and never the Shepard. The PAP rule made the majority of Singaporeans follow strict laws and taught us not to be different. Given this, it is the PAP’s fault that we are in the current state.

  3. Ron Lim said

    I disagree with such sweeping labels. Singaporeans are not weak and lazy. They have a right to select the jobs they want to do. The issue is not to open up the cozy jobs to foreigners and also to monitor how certain FTs will tend to expand their staff with those from their own ethnic background.

    How FTs are operating hawker stalls or driving taxis or are in the police? So, if Singaporeans are weak and lazy, how come such professions are overwhelmingly Singaporeans?

    The issue is also about pay and that is a sore point. There is a big wage disparity between the top shots and the bottom scrapers. And if the short cut is to hire FTs because they are cheaper, then this wage disparity continues.

  4. bethel said

    he is a disloyal dog tt barks unnecessarily

  5. Alan Chong said

    Actually, I found that his remarks were quite disparaging of Malaysia as well.

    I’m afraid there could be some repercussions for him and the hotel he represents in Malaysia.

  6. spotlessleopard said

    His job should be taken over by a Foreigner at half his current compensation and We will then have another “lazy and spoon fed” Singaporean moaning …….(that is assuming this Guy is a Singaporean.

    He will be singing a different tune when that happens.

  7. ctice said

    Hello TAN whatever yr name….. FT take d jobs coz back in their hometown jobs are scarce , come to Spore company like yr ‘lapped ‘ them up coz $$$ issue ..IPay them peanut but if behave like monkey sent them home no Union to fight for them except MOM.. but local u try yr luck wz them Union and all will come after you .. SO TAN Brian think before u open yr big fat mouth!!!

  8. Bernard Wang said

    21 July 2007
    Straits Times online forum

    S’poreans need to be more historically conscious and reflective in debate on homosexuality

    By decriminalising homosexuality, the Government is in fact promoting it. It is sending out the message that ‘there is nothing wrong with homosexuality and homosexual sex acts’.

    This is a very strong signal that will encourage many more people, especially children and youths, to try out homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle. I shudder to think of the consequences.

    Brian Tan Cheow Eng

    http://www.yawningbread.org/apdx_2007/imp-338.htm

  9. a9fc said

    I’m inclined to agree.

    Instead of taking ownership of our lives, many of us expect the government to do everything for us.

    I’m actually glad that our government in slowly becoming increasingly incompetent…only then will people wake up from their dreams.

  10. Aaron Loy said

    I’m inclined to agree.

    Instead of taking ownership of our lives, many of us expect the government to do everything for us.

    I’m actually glad that our government in slowly becoming increasingly incompetent…only then will people wake up from their dreams.

    And the best part is, when somebody points out that fact, we get all angsty.

    • ZY said

      LIKE!!! Come on people! there’s a reason why there’s a influx of foreigners into Singapore. Go stay in a few other countries and you will realise this is one of the best place to stay in where government really did a lot of things. I agree there should be some protective measures for people who are BORN and BRED in Singapore that maybe separates us from NEW citizens. But otherwise, we should learn to take care of ourselves. Singaporeans are in fact, quite a popular choice for many companies overseas. Our government did make us world-recognised, but are our citizens world class? I say we’re working towards it. but the influx of NEW CITIZENS might hinder. But still, please make me proud that I am born in Singapore which I am still proud of. Being a Singaporean now is more like a membership club, maybe we should consider ‘upgrading’ our member status. =)

  11. dan ng said

    Of course, it is the job of the government to protect citizens jobs or else why should we vote them in and more over they are being paid by the tax payers.

  12. Who is this bladdy Brain Tan Cheow Eng and who is he to critised all Singaporeans. He is using one single pole to hit each and everyone all of the Singapore Citizens. I suggest that he apolozise for his sweeping comments to those that are not the WEAK AND LAZY AND TO THOSE WHO ARE WAITING TO BE SPOON FED AND ARE LIKE BABIES. His comments are serious enough to warrant for a cause to defame many SINGAPOREANS. Anyone to take action against him for defamation.

  13. Sporean said

    Singaporeans are generally speaking a nice lot, I have HKers, Msian Chinese, PRC Chinese, Taiwaese working under me. But sometimes I wish my Sporean surbordinates can be a little more driven and hungry like my other non Sporean surbordinates,

    • Foreign Talent In Global MNC said

      As a foreigner who has many different nationalities working under me, I find Singaporeans the most knowledgeable and capable. Sure they other nationalities can work hard but in the modern world, we don’t need mindless labourers but intelligent workers.

    • cc chia said

      @Sporean, looks like you hired the wrong people to “work under you”. I also have many employees.

      After a rigorous selection process to select the right people for the job, and the appropriate training, performance review/evaluation, motivational factors etc, I do not have any problems with them, and I also do not discriminate by race or nationality as far as their performance or work attitude.

      Perhaps may I suggest a review of how your employees/subordinates are managed, or the way that you set your work or employee goals.

      • Sporean said

        @ cc Chia.

        This is not just my thought. They are thoughts of many people I know from different industries, shipping, finance etc. We can argue about it the whole day long, I have worked in both CHina and HK, Sporean are good workers, perhaps they are “good work-life balance” type, but relatively less driven. In Beijing there are 28 candidates going for every position available. The competition is surely greater than here. Sporean are professional, but professionalism is different from drive. You say I may have hired the wrong guys under me, perhaps I am demanding, but its sad that those “wrong people” happened to be all Sporeans. I am sure there are driven Sporeans, but in general the HKers and Chinese from my interaction and work experience are more willing to go that extra mile.

  14. Eddie Manzano said

    His employer should just terminate his employment or there could be more serious repercussions in the near future.

  15. explorealberta said

    Brian Tan will make an excellent PAP candidate, since he subscribes to Lee’s ethos that “Singaporeans have become “less hard-driving and hard-striving.”. WHY not stand for Hougang by-election?

  16. Prabu said

    Dear fellow Singaporeans for the last 10 years or so we can see how the civil service & policies crafted by the government is favoring foreigners over Singaporeans. There is a sense of double standards as if if you are a foreigner you are automatically a talent, if you are a local Singaporean you are discriminated while jobs, education scholarships etc at our expense is given away to foreigners.

    In recent days the above mentioned just got worst as some foreigners brought crime along to our Singapore. Cases such as the 24 year old PRC who raped a 13 year old girl.

    Now there has been cases of potential kidnap of young children and the police dismissed it by “warning Singaporeans not to spread rumors”

    We need to come together, as many of us in huge numbers, to demand transparency from government, the police, immigration authorities and hold them accountable for the current sad state of events our country is in.

    Come rally with me for “A Rally for Singaporeans”
    Venue: Hong Lim Park
    Date:31st March 2012
    Time: 5pm

    Yours truly,
    Prabu

    PS: If you want to be a speaker or help with this event email me @ fluteprabu@gmail.com or SMS to 92230514

  17. singporean said

    I do think his comments were taken out of context. What he said was true that no companies would want to hire weak and lazy employees, be it singaporeans or foreigners. I don’t think he said all singaporeans are weak and lazy? If we singaporeans are hardworking and good, naturally mncs will be attracted here. For anyone questioning, I’m born n bred in singapore, stay in hdb, served my ns.

    • explorealberta said

      No Jose, its not ‘taken out of context’. Brian Tan meant every word he said.

      Considering that Brian Tan is a Director of Quality, with a Masters from Cornell-Nanyang, surely he could have worded it better by saying “… no company would want to move here to hire weak and lazy individuals”, before hitting the [Enter] button. But NO, Brian chose to use the word ‘Singaporeans’ instead, as he meant to target his fustration towards the whiny Singaporean ‘babies’ that he despise.

      • Singaporean said

        I read it as it implying that if government was to protect private jobs for Singaporeans, companies will be forced to employ Singaporeans, even if they are weak. The sentence wouldn’t make sense if it used individuals because of the context in which this statement is made.

  18. Brian said

    My fellow Singaporeans,

    It is regrettable that the recent postings on the Temasek Review (“TR”) facebook page have given rise to much controversy. I begin by stating that each and every one of those postings represent my personal views and opinions, and do not in any way represent the thoughts, intentions or views of my employer.

    I am a born and bred Singaporean. In the course of my career, I have worked with many capable, strong, hardworking and honest Singaporeans. To my mind, Singaporeans are able to excel in any field they choose and succeed everywhere they go, if they put their minds to it. One of the primary reasons for this is because Singaporeans are naturally competitive and committed to excellence.

    And it is important to me that Singaporeans always remain this way.

    Many economists believe that competition is essential for the progress of society. While protectionistic measures may be attractive in the short term, in the long term, the lack of competition will inevitably lead to progress being stunted. Singapore is successful because its people have always been willing to compete and take on the best in the international arena, on a level playing field.

    That said, I acknowledge the point made that an uncontrolled influx of low wage foreign workers, though helping to drive growth, has led to a suppression of wages for the local work force. This is definitely not desirable, and the government has to play a vital role to reverse this.

    My comments ultimately stem from a desire to ensure that we always remain capable, competitive and committed to success. This was my point in a post that I had made on the TR facebook page on 24 March 2012, prior to the first article posted on the TemasekTimes website. Unfortunately, the article failed to refer to this post.

    I state for the record that I have never made the statement that Singaporeans are weak and lazy. If one reads my posts on the issue, my point was simply that protectionism may give rise to weak and lazy employees. Such attitudes are undesirable, not only to Singapore’s development but also to prospective employers.

    In any case, I would like to offer my sincerest apologies to all who were affected by the comments that I have made, whether because my postings were taken out of context or otherwise.

    Please be assured that I only want the very best for Singapore and for my fellow Singaporeans.

    With this, I hope to bring a close to this chapter.

    Yours sincerely,
    Brian Tan

  19. Brian Tan said

    My fellow Singaporeans,

    It is regrettable that the recent postings on the Temasek Review (“TR”) facebook page have given rise to much controversy. I begin by stating that each and every one of those postings represent my personal views and opinions, and do not in any way represent the thoughts, intentions or views of my employer.

    I am a born and bred Singaporean. In the course of my career, I have worked with many capable, strong, hardworking and honest Singaporeans. To my mind, Singaporeans are able to excel in any field they choose and succeed everywhere they go, if they put their minds to it. One of the primary reasons for this is because Singaporeans are naturally competitive and committed to excellence.

    And it is important to me that Singaporeans always remain this way.

    Many economists believe that competition is essential for the progress of society. While protectionistic measures may be attractive in the short term, in the long term, the lack of competition will inevitably lead to progress being stunted. Singapore is successful because its people have always been willing to compete and take on the best in the international arena, on a level playing field.

    That said, I acknowledge the point made that an uncontrolled influx of low wage foreign workers, though helping to drive growth, has led to a suppression of wages for the local work force. This is definitely not desirable, and the government has to play a vital role to reverse this.

    My comments ultimately stem from a desire to ensure that we always remain capable, competitive and committed to success. This was my point in a post that I had made on the TR facebook page on 24 March 2012, prior to the first article posted on the TemasekTimes website. Unfortunately, the article failed to refer to this post.

    I state for the record that I have never made the statement that Singaporeans are weak and lazy. If one reads my posts on the issue, my point was simply that protectionism may give rise to weak and lazy employees. Such attitudes are undesirable, not only to Singapore’s development but also to prospective employers.

    In any event, I would like to offer my sincerest apologies to all who were affected by the comments that I have made, whether because my postings were taken out of context or otherwise.

    Please be assured that I only want the very best for Singapore and for my fellow Singaporeans.

    With this, I hope to bring a close to this chapter.

    Yours sincerely,
    Brian Tan

  20. […] Mr Brian Tan – Temasek Times Like this:LikeOne blogger likes this. Tags: affirmative action, protectionalistic measures, singapore […]

  21. ZY said

    Oh please people, go travel and live in other countries and you will understand why Brain made that comment. Most Singaporeans don’t take pride in their jobs, we just do things for the sake of it. We work for money, not for passion. Go to western countries and you will see! they might not be rich, but once they commit to their job, they work with passion even when there’s no incentive to do so. They don’t care if a job is ‘low class’ or ‘high class’ like what MOST Singaporeans thinks. Many feels that working in banks or big companies as an ikan bilis is better in ‘STATUS’ than a boss of mini construction company who wear boots and stand under the hot sun to supervise his workers. People say hurtful things like even if I am rich, I will be a different class and will never be in their ‘class’ because of the field I am in. I graduated with a Degree in Finance and am a true blue Singaporean, but why am i being looked down by fellow ‘ikan bilis’ Singaporeans whose salaries are barely a third of my earnings?

    IMHO, Government protective measures should be present but only at a mild level, else we will end up like our neighboring countries or those with oil-resources but have to heavily depends on foreign talents due to incapable citizens (you guys know where).

    • ZY said

      Anyway I am born in Singapore but I never know that class system exist here until now. Oh well. Hard truth but i have to accept it. What about you guys?

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