Wednesday, November 10, 2010

MOM's reply about Jourgina Dagoplo's repatriation-Ball was in IBM Singapore's court

Dear Friends,

Ministry of Manpower(MOM) has replied to queries about ex-maid Jourgina's non-renewal of immigration status.

In summary, her employer IBM did not do enough to help her upgrade to an S-Pass eligible status ie pay her salary of $1800/mth or more. She was senior technician.

So ends the fairy tale... or will IBM or other employers take the challenge of employing Ms Dagoplo?

Please refer to my previous post here.


Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan

Why ministry did not renew maid's work permit

WE REFER to the letters last Tuesday by Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan and Mr Kevin Kwek ('Ex-maid's dreams dashed').

We limit the number of years that work permit holders are allowed to work here, to ensure that employers do not become overdependent on low-cost foreign manpower and that lower-skilled foreign workers do not sink roots in Singapore.

Miss Jourgina Dagoplo's work permit was not renewed by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) as she had reached the maximum employment period of 18 years.

For employees who qualify for higher work pass types such as the S Pass or Employment Pass, their employers may apply to upgrade them to such passes, which are not subject to the maximum employment period.

MOM had informed Miss Dagoplo's employer earlier that it could consider upgrading her to an S Pass provided that her salary meets the S Pass criteria. However, the employer had not done so when her work permit expired.

Farah Abdul Rahim (Ms)
Director, Corporate Communications
Ministry of Manpower

Friday, November 05, 2010

Tribute to Mr. Ong Ai Teik

Mr. Ong Ai Teik (1944-2010)

Words cannot express what Mr. Ong meant to the boys of my cohort (Sec 4- 1976).

To those in Boy’s Brigade and Gymnastics, his influence was understandable and obvious as he was the Captain of BB and the teacher who built a very competitive gym team from scratch.

However to the rest of us who were in neither, his stamp of authority is less easily explained.

Perhaps to many of us, he was the father figure that we hoped for, or the older brother we wished we had. Someone who leads from the front but is also waiting at the back to ensure none of us were left behind!

In the mid-70’s, ACS was in apparent decline and had suffered public humiliations when political leaders seemed to stand in line to castigate us and even labeled us as a “Snob” school. The hurt, though deep, was short-lived and Mr. Ong was there to galvanize us to believe in ourselves and to achieve what we did not know was possible.

Not all of us were academically inclined, but that was not important. We were ACSians.

We remember with fondness Mr. Ong’s innovative methods of punishments. I do not think MOE would have approved many of them… but they worked.

Mr. Ong Ai Teik, teacher,mentor,friend. Someone we respect and love.

Till we meet again.

The Best is Yet to Be!

Huang Shoou Chyuan
(on behalf of the 76’ers)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Maid Gina's fairy tale dashed by MOM's rigid bureaucracy

Hi Friends,

The Straits Times published my letter of appeal for Jourgina (Gina) Dagoplo to be allowed to come back to Singapore.

I know the social climate has become increasingly anti-immigration as a reaction to what many perceived as overly porous government policies, but I think Gina's case deserves a relook.

The original story can be found in the link here.

When I "Google(d)" Gina's name, I was surprised that in 2005, she was a "cause celebre"and was sort of a showcase of what a land of opportunity Singapore was and everyone in the official and alternative media was head over heals about her "rags to riches" story then.


Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan

The published letter to the ST Forum (2nd Nov 2010):

I WAS shocked to read about a former maid whose dreams were dashed on the rocks of a rigid bureaucracy ('Ex-maid with new job runs out of time'; last Saturday). It is like a fairy tale with an unhappy ending.

Miss Jourgina Dagoplo arrived on our shores as a maid in 1992. She studied hard on her days off (Sundays) and graduated in 2005 from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) with a certificate in electronics, and that landed her a job at IT giant IBM, where she was promoted to senior technician and earned $1,200 a month when she left.

Five years into her job, she was asked to go home by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), all because of a rule which stipulates that a skilled worker on a work permit pass can work here only for a maximum of 18 years - not a day longer, no matter what. Now she is back in the Philippines working as a maid for $5 a day.

IBM had found her to be a 'good performer' and after failing to renew her work permit, had appealed twice to MOM but to no avail.

The irony is that Miss Dagoplo was already doing a part-time diploma course which would have helped her case for staying on here.

Miss Dagoplo is the type of worker that we need more of in our economy - someone who is hungry, ready to take on challenges and not prepared to accept as fate what life dished out to her.

Instead of asking her to leave, the authorities should have offered her a citizenship to reward her for her tenacity and to signal to others that we are a meritocratic society that looks beyond your background and so long as you can contribute to Singapore, you are in. The authorities should review her case and welcome her back to Singapore.

Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan