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Jobless bankrupt 42-year-old NUS engineer thrice retrenched wanted to commit suicide

Posted by temasektimes on June 17, 2012

I am a fellow Singaporean, 42 years old, who is out of job for the 3rd time now.  I was retrenched on two occasions and recently I was again asked to leave as I was not able to perform as well as the “FT”s and the younger generation in my company.

I am an engineering graduate from NUS, and I would say my career was smooth sailing since I graduated until about 10 years later.  I was working in MNCs with good perks, and I have never thought about what it’s like being unemployed until the year 2003 when I was retrenched from a company.

At that point in early 2004, I started out in real estate as a property agent as I thought it is good to be self-employed instead of risking being retrenched again.  Besides, I know that this career will pay well if I am able to succeed.  However, I was not very successful after trying out for close to a year although I did sell some properties.

In mid 2005, I re-joined my previous company as they happened to have an opening for a similar position I had before.  I happily started my employment again.  However, this did not last long either as the company re-structured in end 2006 and I was asked to leave.

As this was a second blow to me in my career, I was really, really down at that time.  I started gambling and before long, all my retrenchment benefits went down the drain.  To make things worse, I chalked up a lot of credit card debts as I was starting to use these credit facilities for gambling.  I started finding difficulties in repaying even the minimum payment at one juncture.

At that time, I did not know what I can do except to try something risky in an attempt to recoup my losses.  I started punting in stock markets.  Because I had no capital at that point in time, I was again only doing contra trades and was looking at locking in profits within a few days.

Initially,  I did considerably well and I managed to get about $10k on a monthly basis.  This helped me clear my credit card debts.  However, good things never last long.  I did one very bad trade on one of the occasions  and I lost everything.  I even incurred further debts with the security firms.

I was totally devastated as my total debt at that time amounted to more than $300k.

I did not want to approach my families at that time although I know they can afford to help me.  Main reason was I felt too ashamed to do so.  I opted on the path of personal bankruptcy and allowed the creditors to file bankruptcy suit against me.  By mid 2008, I was made a bankrupt.  This was a time when I lost totally everything… literally everything.

I could not find full time employment then, and I therefore could only try going back to property sales at that time.   I managed to sell some properties but the income was really pathetic and I could not survive well.  At that time, I signed up a full time IT course sponsored by WDA, and I spent the next 11 months studying in NUS.  I did quite well as I managed to become one of the top students, and I graduated with distinction.

After the course, I started full time employment again, with an income that was close to what I was getting when I first graduated.  After 2 months, I realised that the job was getting me nowhere as I was assigned tasks that were totally unrelated to my studies, For example,  I was asked to do presentations internally, review the processes and I was totally unhappy and I knew I had to seek other alternatives.

Before long, I was offered quite a senior position in a recruitment firm and I immediately moved over.  However, I left this company after about 5 months as the management was not pleased with my performance.  Basically, there were lots of FTs there and lots of micro-management, and I was considered not good enough for the role.

After this last job, I have been spending my time searching for a new job.  Although I do get interviews (more than 10 so far), I did not manage to land anything suitable.  Now, I am again at a juncture where I am lost and not sure where else I can go.  I am solely dependent on my wife who is working and my finances are depleted again.

There are often times when I even considered ending my life as I find no meaning in living anymore.

Michael, an NUS Engineering graduate

*The above was first published as an article on, a support site for unemployed Singaporeans


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28 Responses to “Jobless bankrupt 42-year-old NUS engineer thrice retrenched wanted to commit suicide”

  1. Redman said

    There is always a risk in anything you do. Moreover, being an employee, the risk of getting retrenched is much much higher. Simply because you are not the boss. And you simply own nothing. You are in fact being controlled like a robot. I have a suggestion for you sir. Sincerely, I am willing to offer you an oppurtunity. Hope you can PM me and we meet up. The ultimate decision is still yours to make.

    Yours sincerely,

  2. waswer said

    This guy sounds like he’s not content and it’s his own making.

  3. Ron said

    Singapore is a small well with limited opportunities. There are millions of Asians in the Middle-East and there are also demand for engineers in the oil, gas and petrochemical industries in several countries as not everyone wants to work in remote locations.

    Singaporeans should research international websites and give that try. In my extensive travels I meed many foreign workers of different nationalities in so many different jobs. And I wonder why jobless Singaporeans want to hang on in Spore.

    This chap would have been better off driving a taxi while planning for his next move. To gamble in shares and becoming a bankrupt does not speak well of his personal planning and efforts.

  4. Seturmindright said

    Obviously I see from what you have said, you prob will not succeed in any job given to you. It seems you are looking for something in your own comfort zone and not willingly to take up new challenges. How many of fellow sporean are working in the industry that they studied? And do that mean they fail terribly on other field of work? From you first retrenchment to you gambling, it seems you never learn anything from it. You are always looking for short way out instead of looking for a lo g term solution.
    So what you are a local grad or a top student? Many locals will kick your arse even there is no FT.
    You mention of doing presentation and review processes. This are actually mark making opportunities if you know how to use them. Your thinking is ‘it’s isn’t my job’ , ‘waste of my time’, then you are so wrong.
    A good presentation shows directions, goals, plans for execution and your power of selling it to others. Process review are ways to improve job functions, processes that help the company excel by eliminating waste and possible savings. Value add yourself instead of wimping away. You are paid to do your job, only by valueable initiative makes you a more valueable employee but even that doesn’t mean you are indispensable.
    I suggest you do some soul searching first before trying to get others to pity you. If you still live with a block mindset then good luck to you.
    I’ve been thru shyt in life and shyt still happens but that doesn’t stop me from excelling from my career path in a slow but steady pace. Learn to walk then let’s talk about running later.

    • BlamingDoesntWork said

      It may sound hard, but I agree with Seturmindright. Being anxious and trying to ‘recoup’ your losses by trying all sorts of short cuts isn’t going to get you anywhere. I’ve been there before and lost everything I had. There is no foundation for holding your own sense of self worth and thus your wealth. Just like people who win lotteries only to loose all their winnings in a short time. A house is built one brick at a time.
      You got to rebuild yourself inside out. Find your own value in this world. If you don’t know how, go speak to a counselor or a life coach. The worst thing that can happen from there is nothing and the best thing is that you come to a better awareness of yourself which would then set you on a path to recovery.

  5. Sam said

    Go for it, job offers don’t always come by..

  6. Ni Hong said

    I just heard that a father was very upset for his 25 years daughter with degree up till today can find a job. All place taken up by ???????? What do you think?

    • zzzzz said

      it is not the FT fault in my humble opinion but the daughter being picky and choosy. I have being thru such situation and i know very well some jobs are not given to FT as first priority but to us Singaporeans, but that if we are not choosy.

    • Leong Singapore said

      I know so many fresh grads who get jobs within months. If it took years for her to get a job, the problem lies with her. Wrong field of study? Bad attitude or just a lousy resume? Whatever it is, it’s in her own hands.

  7. Koh said


    I am sorry to hear of your plight. If you are still looking for an IT job, please leave your contact and I will get back to you.


  8. Leong Singapore said

    You mark your own future. Go be a taxi driver. It’s job brainless gets you $3-5k per month if you willing to work long hours. Nothing’s for free.

  9. zzzzz said

    Seriously, this guy has no reason to whine when he do not even want to accept his own fate. He is just a bum who wants an easy life and can’t accept current situation is different from 10 years back. I seriously hope he should just leave this world thus allowing his wife to find a much suitable man in the near future. Bum zzz

  10. hoho said

    the idiots in govt invite FT in without them doing any NS while we local males got our brains damage by SAF 2 years of NS and expect to compete on a level playing field . SCREW THE PAP !!!! THe SAF regulars in govt betray all the NS slaves they have exploited in their fast track career to the top. Nothing but total destruction of these parasites will do.

  11. Iai said

    Be sympathetic to him. He has tried hard to feed his family. Singapore is an unforgivable place especially for those who are retrencged, old and locals. The latter is being replaced by FTrash ruled by FTrash HR. what more can we say?

  12. tay said

    sorry man, you have no job and you went into gambling and playing stocks with borrowed money… cannot perform so you left your last job…. its your choices that have led you to where you are.

  13. T said

    be strong and send out resumes, build up network. You will find work soon.

  14. Tony said

    Michael is a victim of PAP’s pro-alien policies. Foreigners brought in by PAP are taking jobs away from Singaporeans and depressing the wages of those who still have jobs (many not be for long though as PAP allow more cheap foreigners to work in Singapore. There is only one solution – throw out the pro-alien PAP in GE2016.

  15. Tony said

    Sad to say but PAP considers Michael dilemma as “acceptable” collateral damage resulting from its fixation with population and GDP growth at all cost. It should be clear that egomaniac LKY is still call the shots.

  16. Yayrhah said

    Quote: “There are often times when I even considered ending my life as I find no meaning in living anymore.”

    Gamble and lose is your own bloody fault!
    anyone have this idiot’s contact? Can ask him to jump from MBS, he will be the 2nd guy to jump from MBS.

  17. SG said

    Micheal , Im sad to here your story . The only way we S’poreans could have our jobs back is when we go into another Great Depression & all the FT’s have no other choice but to leave SG. Or we all have to stand together & vote PAP OUT !!

  18. Realist said

    Any difference between a professional day-trader in stock market versus a professional casino gambler ?
    Basically, there is no difference. Both can make $$ and are thriving.

    Any difference between a professional day-trader and a normal casino gambler ?
    Plenty. The former wins and the latter loses.

    So, how to upgrade from a normal casino gambler to a professional one ?

    I got the secret but ain’t telling.

  19. tammy said

    leave me your details, i can forward to job agencies.

  20. Mylo said

    I read the comments here and find really weird. why would he leave u his contact details in a public forum. his contacts are private…

  21. krisz88 said

    You think too highly of yourself. Even if you are asked to perform a task unrelated to your field, it is not as though it is the end of the world. By asking you to perform unrelated tasks and landing you in an unhappy state, that speaks alot about your character and attitude towards work. Many employers are looking for versatile employees that are willing to step out of their comfort zone and learn new things that can value add their companies. Singapore now is different from Singapore in the past. If you can’t accept this fact, I reckon that this is not a suitable place for you.

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