Friday, December 13, 2013

Foreign Workers

The very idea of a foreign worker comes from the mind of a person who thinks that he (or she) inherits the land that he resides and therefore all else who come into that space is an intruder, and hence foreign to it.

This idea originated from olden gated communities called cities, the residents of the cities being citizens who had the sole right of governing their respective cities. The floating mass of "other" people including slaves and indentured workers and even merchants and traders were left to their own devices, with the right to do anything but any say in the government.This idea continues to today.

The population of the foreigners can swell to a size that makes their presence highly visible. The challenge for the government is to impose strict laws so that order can be firmly established. But visibility gives the so-called foreigners the power to act, so long as they can fight a good reason to do so. A good reason is anything to do with right and justice.

The invitation of a population of foreign workers to any country is initially for the selfish reason of profit - that the foreign workers can be paid cheaper than locals, supplemented by food and accommodation which can be kept cheap with basic staples and temporary shelters. It is only when the foreign workers need to engage in their very human need to socialise that they try to have contact with the local population, and this opens a whole new can of social issues.

At the end of the day, the very problem is the idea that foreigners can be kept temporarily on a sustained basis of servitude to the local gentry and citizenry. It is an extremely primitive and crude view. By the law of dialectics, power becomes to those who work. The master commands the slave to do everything for him, such that in the end, the master depends on the slave for his well-being. So, one really cannot have the cake and eat it.

People from other places are also human beings, and they have come here to work very hard to survive and to built their own future. They are not a transient float. They will be here for years and decades. Their presence must be properly recognised so that proper work of a normal government can be extended to them - health checks and healthcare, sanitation, nutrition, housing, education of their children, social activities and their general well-being so that there will be no tendency to demonstrate loudly and violently their problems; or worse still, their desire to do their "revenge" on the country.

For this, country would need to take an enlightened view on foreign workers to convert them into immigrants and better still citizens who can be encourage to help contribute to the national interest in all ways, including governing the nation. This is a long call, but it sets the direction of where the idea of using foreign workers to enhance the national good will take, if taken to its logical conclusion. The use of foreign workers in many countries now is no more a temporary issue, but a long-term structural problem which can only be resolved with a properly constructed policy of assimilation of people into the local communities. This is what proper policy making is all about - and here we are talking only about foreign workers.


walla said...

In reality the situation could be otherwise for our case.

First, the borders are porous and unmanned twenty-four seven so people can slip in and out.

Second, even when caught they can change their identity kit the next time; same photo different name.

Third, the earnings repatriated or saved from working here can carry much more weight back home so to them this is just a place to earn a living because to stay here must mean they would have to spend more which means less bang for their bucks from the same effort.

Fourth, much of the problem has notably been caused by middlemen who abscond with their pay after a period of deducting wage commissions paid from the original employer who had outsourced the worker employment service and management to the middlemen.

And fifth, the idea of encouraging low-cost labor to migrate and settle here as citizens may lend an altruistic tone but at a disproportionately huge price locally because there is the racial element involved in our society by which such an artificial enlargement of an already moribund majority will only lead to an overload on everything - public services as a matter of right, racialism as a matter of political might, chauvinism as a matter of majority herd instinct and fracture of our socio-economic structure which is already volatile enough since the new kids on the block are exactly hardier competitors where workload and lower pay acceptance are concerned.

Of course, this may all be said to be tinted by some race-based considerations but on the other hand if the federal institution is already the one trying to marginalize the minorities further by fiat of federal power, then the consideration is not without some rationale, especially when most of the progress has been arguably sustained to-date by the same indigent minorities. Since time immemorial to add dramatic effect.

..and that was written with mind already in slumberland.

walla said...

What we need are more creativity and productivity working in concert to improve processes and incubate more growth opportunities that can be distributed to those who can and will according to their learning and working power.

This is important because by the rule of toe, out of every one hundred low-skilled labour, only about twenty will produce results that show they are motivated to improve their lot synchronized to improving the enterprise they are paid to work for. In other words, there is an invisible majority hand of coercive blackmail on operational imperatives since it is very easy for the worker to slow his pace of work knowing it is not so easy to get and train a new replacement without disrupting the tight schedules which make for global competitiveness in the first place.

Now put creativity, productivity and dependable, resilient, market response together and ask what type of worker can deliver them. It cannot be the majority slow performers who drag down the twenty percent willing workers and thus cut productivity potential by eighty percent based on prudent workforce numbers.

So that without enterprise success there can be no altruistic programs to improve anyone's lot; people especially workers don't live on kind words; they live only and only by the size of their pay packets. Which nowadays mean rate of wage which by just the processing of comparing rates can bring an entire industry down very quickly. Since all have hand phones and most come in groups of family members.

Which comes to the basic tenet. Even good deeds and protection of human dignity comes at a price and there is only so much one can do before greed and selfishness turn light to darkness.

The question then is who started it and how does the cat catch its own tail to stop the cycle of tit-for-tat.

...slipping on a plane of incoherence now...

walla said...

It is good but personally draining to be kind. But who cares for quantitative transience while searching for that elusive thing called nobilisation which in reality is equally transient?

It's an old jalopy and the grassy path is bumpy so the heart gets strained inasmuch whatever sinews are left. Coming into an open stretch, you see some simple folks tending to a small plot where it seems they are growing some vegetables. They look up in fright because they are worried you will scold them for trespassing, what more making use of land not theirs. But your first thoughts and therefore your first words are nothing of anger or arrogance or matter of right according to standard commercial practice. To their obvious surprise, you tell them in a kindly tone instead that they must not be at the plot whenever it rains. Because above are power pylons. And then you drive away with only a growing sense of sadness about real human conditions.

And then there's the young couple; they came to work because they were not paid by the middleman for two months. They brought their own tools. Perchance, the main tool when used at the new place dropped and hit a rock, breaking into two. The young man looked forlorn. You say no worries and jauntily go off to buy another one for him. He looks at the price tag with quiet worry. And then lights up when you say it's on you. Thereby absorbing away those lines of worry from someone young about to make a start in life again. With the tool came of course a nice hot meal for them and some sweets for their children. It's all you can afford so one is circumscribed by the same newtonian limits as applies to economics.

Lastly, everyone who wants to really get a hard knock about the human condition should do an estate payroll. Depending on the size and variety of works, it can get very complicated. While the calculations are mundane, their permutations can get hyperbolic. In any case, you calculate everything to precision and have filled in the pay packets with some measure of satisfaction. Alas, somewhere in the supply chain of those polynotes and coins, there was a misstep. Either human or machine, not known. Trust and exhaustion combine to some effect. In any case, one particular pay packet is short by the price of four meals. You rummage your own whatever to make up for the shortfall. More to give is ok; less, never.

It is reliably understood that abstinence is essential for nobilization. Which remains to be seen soon enough.

walla said...

There is a sixth. They are earthy and tribal.

Earthy in the sense their attachment is towards their root places from which they came and to which they remain in constant contact.

Unlike the first immigrants here who seem persistent in believing that any government can see that as natural, good and in fact to be encouraged for the betterment of all members of the common society. What a misplaced belief these days, no?!

And tribal in the sense those foreign societies and countries are anthropologically dissociated. Within say Indonesia there are many tribes and each has different characteristics which may grate one another if put together. And between workers from different countries, you don't put the filipino and the indonesian in the same estate block. They don't like each other.

So...if after half a century of nation-building we as a country have ascended to a federal government with the most internationally admired and aspired achievement of officialized racialism, what other higher grade of nationalism won't the same attempt to achieve with opening the doors to millions more of a certain profile and political suasion who upon settling in will indubitably create a really hot cauldron of internecine tension because like the immigrant religio-racists, they see opportunities to make bogeymen of the original immigrants.

Which if we study the histories of human migration of the region will also include the local majority who continue to think they are the original original's.

Who would believe that the same way they have swept off the indigenous natives to the side in claimage of sovereign legality and thus national authority would not be regurgitated when enlarged with new elements of their own suasion?

And that is why until there is a proper federated system on how to socialize foreign workers in an economic and progressive stance which should have been done from the outset if hindsight had been turned on that would have averted all the malaise issues today, it would be down to individual efforts at being kind and universal in outlook in being inclusive towards them. For that matter, by reflection towards all.

However, as we know, if the prevailing rightwing winds continue to blow until places of heritage that depict the true original roots can be bulldozed off and gender-challenged people are criticized with suggestion for marginalizing extermination, what hope be there that such official actions won't result in the termination with extreme prejudice of what's residual of our humanity?

Things that we hoard don't last. They also lose their sheen, like brass oxidized. But things we do for the greater good like how the Prophets and the Gautama's, Theresa's and Mandela's of the ages have done resonate beyond their epoch until today the reason and meaning of T/their A/actions persist to be relevant.

Because the resonance is with something intrinsically in each of us only not surfacing enough due to pressures from life's daily transmutations.

But then again this is only a belief. Possibly naive to no avail.


walla said...


'Unlike the first immigrants here who seem persistent in believing that any government can see their new loyalty to this land as natural, good and in fact to be encouraged for the betterment of all members of the common society.'

..distracted by early morning thinking where to find money to buy for them some fish besides a bag of rice.

James said...

Walla, with such grey matter and thinking I least doubt you really are were distracted by such need, but then again your fish could be a live blue tuna, and that bag of rice could air flown ounoma rice with a heaping of saffron as your spice.

walla said...

Thank you, James. Glad to see you back. Hope you are keeping well.

With hardly any other people commenting here, this could remain another boutique blog.