News and views from an unique perspective

Young Singaporean Malay Arts graduate unable to find a job in Singapore

Posted by temasektimes on August 24, 2012

I am a Generation Y Malay, NUS degree holder who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts pass degree.

Recently married last Dec, I have been unemployed since 2009 when I was asked to leave HDB and was not able to find a job since. Previously, I was working with the Central Singapore CDC.

My wife is a teacher in a primary school and she is a diploma holder who is currently doing her part-time degree locally.

As mentioned by a number of contributors to your website, the Malay graduates like myself face a lot of difficulty in getting jobs here and most usually end up as teachers.

In fact, many of my classmates in university became teachers either by choice or by circumstances and many are unhappy due to the high stress, heavy workload nature of the work but are unable to leave as they are unable to find work elsewhere.

As a diploma holder, my wife has been under a lot of stress mentally and emotionally as she is doing roughly or more work compared to her colleagues who are degree holders while earning a fraction of their pay.

As for myself, I have been applying a lot of job openings and been sending resumes over the past 2 years without success.

I have even called up many employment agencies like Adecco, Kelly, etc asking them for job-matching but was unsuccessful.

The reason that they gave was that my degree was too generic and without any skills so it was hard for them to job match. I replied that I am very much willing to learn and start from the bottom and even take up diploma level work at low pay but they said that their clients are afraid of my salary expectations or that I will leave as soon as I get a better offer.

Even temporary jobs like data entry are hard to get.

After discussing with my wife, she encourages me to find work abroad i.e. Australia, New Zealand, Canada etc as it is impossible for me to get work here and with the ever rising cost of living, both of us are living from hand to mouth with her meagre salary as a teacher. We also believe that with our qualifications, we can earn a better living and enjoy a better life elsewhere.

My wife and I plan to go to Australia this coming June to survey the place and hopefully link up with anybody who can help up.

Just to share, my father was an Indonesian migrant who came to Singapore in the early 70s seeking a better life here in Singapore but after 40 years, he is still a foreigner without a PRdespite numerous applications and appeal to the then-PM Goh through the PMO. It sickens me that other migrants without any roots in Singapore can easily obtain PR and citizenship just because of their ‘supposed’ economic worth.

However, he has always told me that if you can’t live in Singapore, then we have to seek a better life elsewhere like what he tried to do 40 years ago. So in way I’m looking to follow his footsteps.



* Letter adapted from, a non-profit society specially set up to cater to the emotional needs of the unemployed Singaporeans.


40 Responses to “Young Singaporean Malay Arts graduate unable to find a job in Singapore”

  1. BA is like a high school diploma. Go get an MBA. Good Luck

  2. Sinkieland belongs to us Sinkies, not FTs or the famiLEEs and their cronies only. This is our country and our first choice of permanent residence. In no way shd sinkies be forced to uproot and migrate cos of FT-favoured PAPie immigration policies.
    PAPie Youth wing and our ppl shd wake up to this realisation to hold the PAPie ruling clique accountable for the current unsatisfactory situation affecting sinkies than to let it slide further to commoners’ distress. And the changeover in immigration policies shd start with immediate effect, not till after next GE for the ppl’s hardship 2 be alleviated. Short-term help measures shd come onstream in the interim.

  3. Hope said

    Grass is always greener on the other side..

  4. Jaswant Singh said

    Singapore envies Kiwi lifestyle
    By Lincoln Tan
    Tuesday Feb 9, 2010

    The bait was better working hours, cheaper cars and housing – and in three weeks thousands from Singapore have registered their interest in living in New Zealand.

    An Immigration New Zealand pilot project aimed at attracting Singaporean migrants has resulted in over 1000 registrations each week since it was launched last month, with 3565 potential immigrants having registered their interest in just three weeks.

    Why not try New Zealand? I heard they are trying to attract Singaporeans to migrate there.

    Singaporeans are industrious and resourceful people and we get on well with everyone.

    I am sure we will be an asset to them.

    • azmi said

      To live and work in NZ, one must have specific skills required by them as stated in the NZ immigration.. Unlike Singapore, NZ only accept migrants who can fill in jobs that are either shun by locals, or those with skills lacking amongst New Zealander. If you think an NUS Arts degree can easily land you a job there, then think again, buddy!

      Not trying flame this dude, and for the record, i am also a Singaporean Malay. Quit being a cry baby and go find a job already! I too was a graduate from Arts and I found a job despite many initial rejections. And tell us, why were you asked to leave HDB in the first place? If you cannot survive in Singapore, what makes you think you can survive in a foreign land? Life is tough… SUCK IT UP!!

  5. Arthur Leng said

    Sinking is a sinking ship. You either get out now or you will be forced to leave anyway.

    • Populist said

      Many of my classmates are doing very well in Singapore. If you are not doing well, why don’t buy a three foot by six foot mirror and look hard at yourselves ?

  6. sporeoboriginal said

    The employment agencies knows this very fact for sure.. “racism exists in singapore”. My good fren dont work but he owns a recruitment/ employment agencies and he himself told me his clients (the employing company) hr would normally tell him “we take in chinese only”. Hahaha..what a joke man. The society dont give opportunity to malays thats why most malays will end up working as dogs for gahmen. U go checkpoint i think 70 percent malay, police signon also alot.. No need mention the adf in army. Lol.. Well majority wins rite? The truth is most chinese are scared of “outsiders” competition. They only prefer competing amongst them. I can tell u is not only on the ground in the society.. Its actually all the way up in the gahmen also. U know who.. This country was built with grudge harbored in the mind. Well.. Most sporeans dont know history.. Ask them have u heard of the Belford agreemnt before also they show u question mark oredy.. Haha.. Life is not always jus about money my frens.. Learn some values.. And let it be not the ones related to money and material acquisition.
    Yes pls keep evaluating my comment before u decide to put them up : )

    • Justice Bao said

      ,Unfortunately ,what you said is the ugly truth.

      10 years ago you won’t find a single Malay/Indian in our local banking sectors.Not even at counter level as tellers.Except POSB and DBS.Because they used to pay huge bonuses–6 months at least.Today almost all the banks here are over run by foreigners.

      All high paying jobs were exclusively Chinese enclaves.PAP even restricted entries for Indians in our Law and Medical faculties.

      Today,foreigners have poached all PMET jobs once done by local Chinese and PRC have poached almost every low level jobs done by Malays.

    • Fake God said

      I agree! I have noticed this since young. And talk abt NS, nobody had given me a better answer on why army majority are chinese and majority of malays ended up as police. But be careful of wad u do or say, the dogs are watching.

      By the way, I am chinese.

    • Rafiet said

      Interesting perspective bro..

  7. globaldruginfo said

    It’s sad to hear your story. But do not lose your hope, surely you will get job in Singapore itself. You can go for direct walk-in interview to companies and try to answer in a unique way in order to get selected. Even i struggled without job for more than 3 years because of low self confidence and scared of interview. Later i overcome all the things by reading books and answering in unique way. All the best!!!!

  8. Abdul said

    Bro, understand the situation you are in, my 2cents worth, e21 do have many courses/seminars/employers. You may approache them to see if it helps. I think you not alone here many have the same problem. FT have taken many jobs in OUR country.Good Luck, have faith in god and move on.

  9. DIY said

    6th Para
    “As a diploma holder, my wife has been under a lot of stress mentally and emotionally as she is doing roughly or more work compared to her colleagues who are degree holders while earning a fraction of their pay.”

    This is reality of life in a ‘Paper Chasing Environment’. You can never get assistance from a degree holder, even as a subordinate. You colleague can easily said ‘How can I teach you, when I have spent time and money to earn a degree.’

    I advise Adil to take a hint from No 7. Globaldruginfo comments.

  10. richard said

    Years ago JC student 80% plan to leave singapore and immigrant to others country if they cannot get into local UNI.Now we see the light.Why our gov still in the dark.

  11. Hang Tuah said

    Adil, why not you apply jobs in GOV sectors or any of its Agencies? I believe with your degree, you able to get decent job in GOV sectors. after all, they won’t turn you down. Why not give it a try.

  12. Johanen Lai said

    Not only Malay graduate can not get Job. My son Chinese too after gruadute for 4 months could not get job.At the end he end up as teacher.

  13. Nur' ain said

    It’s rather sad as I was facing the same issues as Adil. I am a Singaporean Malay, by the way. Even with experiences abroad, it was tough luck for me to find a job back home. If it’s not for my ageing parents – I won’t be setting foot in this city.

    During this tough times, I take up any job offer being offered to be. I don’t even have a secured full-time contract to begin with. Working as a freelancer is not as green as it sounds. Thou, I will make a desperate move to move back to Australia.

    I wish Adil and his family the best of luck in looking out for opportunity either in this sinking city or a greener pastor on another foreign land.

  14. CWS said

    Another local graduate loser

  15. ying said

    well, as a stepping stone, one should just accept any kind of jobs. It doesnt mean if you graduate with a degree u expect a job to land on your lap. One needs to look at the circumstances, did we upgrade ourselves, have we exposed ourselves to the working world? I have worked in may part time jobs..i hv been a cashier..a sales girl ..n well i am a degree holder too. The economy is evolving, we always need to be prepared to upgrade our skill set and not wait for the employer to train us. Train ourselves so that we can be more marketable. There are temporary jobs around, if there is no perm job then work temporary. We shouldnt be talking about race issues,there are also many Chinese working as a teachers cos they cant find a job elsewhere..but also perphaps maybe they are more suited to be a teacher. Each job has its stresses, if one is unhappy, and if one is capable, jobs are there for you to grab.

  16. Pissedoff said

    SAME HERE!!! Hard to find jobs due to the requirements of “must be bilingual in mandarin & english to liaise with the chinese clients & colleagues” Sure, i can’t speak mandarin, but I am able to speak english!!!! Why can’t they speak english instead???

    And most of the interview i went, they will always ask me what race & what religion i am! I FIND THAT ABSOLUTELY ABSURD!!!

  17. numbyy said

    All the best mate!!!! I do feel you mann cause i have also been sending out resume but they only reply saying i do not have enough experience or asking salary of 2.8k too high-_- WTH mann singapore cost of living so high, of course that need to fight for every penny and cents of that miserable allowance. Furthermore, what bloody EXPERIENCE can i have when i need to serve bloody national service for 2 years and all this while the people in white keep introducing FTs to take up places?? Giving out PR status or citizenship like great singapore sales when they dont even know what is “DUTY HONOR and COUNTRY”?? FYI i am a pure breed singaporean with a BEng (HONS) building services engineer from the UK and i know some people out there will say that we degree holders too PROUD and ARROGANT to accept low pay -_- then what for i study so much and then i earn i diploma pay, end up working my guts out to survive the high cost of living while in the future an FT come along with a degree and be my boss LOLOLOL joke?? 🙂


  18. mahbok tan THE SINKI said

    Watever it is bro adil , we decide for our future and take heed from the elders.

    If u decide that u have to go , better go ….. coz not only the malays are facing this problem even the others too are feeling the challenges rite now and the past ten years…its only recently we are hearing it all over SGpore of your problems. To be fair the minorities will have to burden almost 2 or 3 times more than the majority.

    So think for your future and if you have the opportunity to FUCK THEM face to face its pretty good u know….give them some tongue lashing before u GO…..and get all your resources with u….!!!!

    Good luck and bon voyage bro… for me the mahbok sinki…..will sink …..with SGpore….coz me just got PSLE ….!!!

  19. Independent said

    Y were u asked to leave hdb? Did uake a mistake or something?

    Also, while ur wife works equally hard like other teachers with degrees, one has to admit that teachers with degrees have better content knowledge than a diploma holder. Simply just wait for ur wife to complete her degree.

    I think ur problem is not just bcos an arts degree was too general but also that urs is just a pass degree without merit or honours. It also depends on ur major. If u majored in economics, then it’ll be easier to find a job. When u choose ur majors, u should have thought through it carefully abt what u want to do in life after graduation. At that age, u can’t claim ignorance u know?

    If u don’t like teaching, pls dun join teaching like the rest. Think of other jobs like insurance agent, property agent etc where u could use ur sales pitch to earn more $. It’s not the end of the world yet.

  20. Tommy Yeo said

    Wah LAN eh. Pass degree with no honours. How get job in sinkie. U tell me

  21. bb said

    If the gov care they would have contacted by now and offer you a job. BTW why HDB as a employer ask you to leave.

  22. local boy said

    You should really try your luck in Australia. Pick up technical skills as such jobs are a lot more well respected there and pays a lot better in Australia than Singapore. Even cab drivers make a good living down under. Plus the aussie society is a lot more diverse these days and you’ll get a balanced lifestyle that many Singaporeans will envy.

  23. Pass degree is not enough to work in your area of study. A bare minimum of second class upper is needed. However, I do not see any other reason why you should not be given opportunity to work in other areas. Many people did.

  24. indigenous singaporean said

    all the best for your future! if there’s a chance, take it! but on the downside, be prepared, immigrants like us working in other countries would be really treated like 2nd class citizens! unlike here in sg, indigenous singaporeans are treated the other way round! but i’m sure you’ll find acceptance and slowly integrate with them, just dont spit on their citizens like how we are treated from the our FTs, they won’t hate u! all the best!

  25. hmmmmm said

    Why a stat board HDB ask you to leave? Poor performance ‘D’ grading?? I tot HDB dun sack people one??!?!

  26. GeToUt said

    Singapore is too saturated as far as employment is concerned. I’m saying this because as a Malay you are third ranked after the foreigners and local non-Malays. Don’t get too upset though, that’s life. It is painful but you just have to deal with it. I dealt with it and I’m so much better and richer living outside Singapore. You just have to stay positive and tell yourself that if tiny saturated Singapore does not need you, the world needs you. Step outside the confines of Singapore and a new vista awaits. Stay positive, have discipline and patience and you will win the game. Why settle for Singapore – a small playground, a small market – when you can carve a bigger niche on a global stage. Believe me, you are competitive by virtue of the fact that you are a product of the Singapore system, an NUS graduate and tiny Singapore is the second most competitive economy in the world after the US. Statistics alone tell you that you can win this game. So get out!!!

  27. Genghis khan said

    U pig not happy can fuck off from this homeland!blame yourself for begin lazy and love to take Medical leave!if not keep blaming whose father or mother die needed TT attend funeral!i can be frank with u asshole, those good Malays are having better life and good job n good education.those who wrote here about shit n blame the Chinese , then u r those loser which I mentioning .if not happy here please fuck off from this homeland,if not for the Chinese u all just like leaving in Malaysia with all the craps!

  28. Anonymouse said

    “Pass degree” only + FASS?. You only have yourself to blame for your shit results, poor choice of university course and concomitant lack of job prospects.

  29. It is a great investment you can have once you are dealing with business or just
    simply surfing the net for important purposes. If you’ve got one, planning to get one, will get one or think that it’s going to be in that box under your Christmas tree, then you absolutely must know what accessories are perfect to go with it.
    Veteran bookbinders know how to intermingle different raw components including fabrics and hardboards
    into a full form of beautiful shields available in
    attractive designs and colors of red, magenta, green, orange, etc.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: