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  • Writer's picturechiusk

Singapore's Front Liners

HPB swabber swabbing foreign dormitory workers

Front liners who stepped forth when the covid-19 virus landed on our shores and sacrificed their time and effort by forgoing weekends and public holidays, being on standby 24/7 always ready to hit the road to swab any persons who are suspected of being in close contact with covid cases as they believe that it is important to weed out these infected ones to stop the spread and to prevent further infections. They have been doing this since May 2020 and many did not take any annual leave as they knew that if they did then there would not be enough manpower to fight this virus.

However, recently on the 9th of October 2021, Lee Hsien Loong announced that the country would be 'living with covid 19', in an instant, most of the front liners fates were sealed. They were immediately consigned to menial tasks like Patient Service Associates or Nursing Support Staff which required either long working hours or low pay (more than 50% pay cut) in a program aptly termed 'work trial'.

Alas, there are some front liners who are having a longer end of the bargain. These are mainly from the airline industry who are parachuted in by the permanent staff of HPB who assumed that these pilots, air stewards/ stewardesses are highly capable and will bring in much valued expertise to help in the fight against covid. These bunch promote their own kind, take up high paying posts and stamp on the capable and sincere people, leaving them to grapple with the crumbs that are left.

Of course, not all of them are that valuable, but they are apt in closing the gap and excluding people with more experience and better resumes than them from high paying positions so that their jobs are secure. Don't the HPB staff know that many in the airlines like to throw their weight around, bully juniors, form cliques that sing the same tune?

In the end, an uncontrollable monster was created by putting the people who were not serving from their hearts but from their purse strings. Now those who serve from their hearts are the first to be axed as they are in the low runks of the organisation.

How fast the fate of these heroic front liners turn! From being ST Singaporean of the Year 2020 and having as many people in the country clap to cheer their spirts up to an instant they are cast aside as lowly paid health care workers and thrown under the bus to fend for themselves as their pay is drastically cut or even worse made redundant.

Is this how we as a country treat this group of people who so selflessly and fearlessly stepped up to help clear a scourge? If this is how things end, i think many others will learn quickly from this episode and no one will step up to help in the future pandemics or calamities. How will our country be united and progress and be an ideal place for our future generations to thrive in?

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