Singaporean youths react to additional COVID-19 support measures
We asked young Singaporeans about their thoughts on tourism credits and wage subsidies for workers.
Singaporeans can look forward to additional COVID-19 support measures such as tourism credits to explore our “culture and heritage, nature, art and architecture”, and wage subsidies to support workers.
These measures are part of the government’s plans to continue supporting workers and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, as announced by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat in his ministerial statement earlier this afternoon.
Here is what five youths felt about these additional measures:
Looking out for other essential workers who also deserve help
“I was really happy to hear that more measures that will be implemented to curb unemployment, such as the COVID-19 Support Grant, to aid individuals who are unemployed or have faced a salary cut due to the pandemic. These measures give Singaporeans hope – no matter how tough the times are, the government will always have our backs and ensure that we do not end up helpless.
“Due to the COVID-19 situation, I became unemployed for approximately two months. I took on part-time jobs as a swabber, and the earnings from that job really helped me get by.
“If none of these new job opportunities were introduced from the healthcare sector, I honestly do not know how I would have been able to survive through that difficult time.
“I personally feel that the sector that needs the most aid and attention are those focusing on cleanliness, such as cleaners. As the measures to curb the COVID-19 pandemic increases, so does their job scope.
“They have to work longer hours and be extra thorough to ensure Singaporeans feel safe in a clean and germ-free society. I have personally interacted with several cleaners who have lamented about how their job responsibilities have gotten tougher and more demanding due to this pandemic.
“More attention needs to be given to them in order to ensure that while they do get their job done well, they are compensated fairly as well.” – Fazilah Muhamad Nazir, 23, Swabber
Excited about rediscovering the local tourism industry
“I’m quite excited about the SingapoRediscovers vouchers because it seems to be the most relevant for me. I must admit that I don’t usually do touristy stuff, but I might be more inclined to go out now.
“I hope that we get more flexibility as to where we are able to visit or use the vouchers.
“Aside from helping industries that are hardest hit, I think it’s nice that the government is offering help specifically for low wage workers because they are one of the most vulnerable groups and it’s nice that the government recognises that.
“It’s good that we are able to create jobs in other industries for people from industries that have suffered financially due to COVID-19 with transferable skills.” – Ng Kang Tze, 24, Undergraduate
Cautiously optimistic about the future of jobs
“I was heartened to hear that more support is coming. I think everyone was quite worried about what’s going to happen once the support schemes announced at the beginning of the year ended, so these new measures are definitely welcome.
“I am also glad to see that there’s more support being channelled towards our mature workers and those who are earning lower wages. More importantly, I am cautiously optimistic that these measures will help companies shift and strengthen their core capabilities, preserving their staff while augmenting their businesses to thrive in the post-COVID world.
“The creation of jobs in sectors like healthcare and tourism is definitely welcome, as the named sectors are hit the hardest. It is a great opportunity for the sector to restructure itself and for people in these sectors to remain gainfully employed.
“As we create more jobs and provide more support, it’s important to ensure that companies are also committed to ensuring that the traineeships and apprenticeships provided are gainful and do not shortchange the trainees.
“I’ve heard of some instances where the learning and growth provided by these traineeships are not as good as expected. I hope that companies and unions will work together with the government to ensure that those who take up these traineeships have a good learning experience.” – Shawn Ten, 24, Undergraduate
Feeling protected during the COVID-19 pandemic
“I feel grateful knowing that the government is going the extra mile to implement measures to support locals whose employment were largely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It proves that Singapore consciously makes an effort to ensure we have a stable back-up plan and are well protected during rainy days like these. I am especially thankful that the creation of new jobs have opened up opportunities for myself and the people close to me, due to the urgency of these jobs in the current situation.
“The promotions and campaigns organised by SingapoRediscovers makes me want to rediscover places in Singapore I have never gone to in the past. It is a great way to promote our cultures to Singaporeans who find themselves out of touch with our country. While I am excited to utilise these vouchers, I will be using them with extra caution by ensuring that I stay safe while having fun.
“However, I feel that those who need help the most are the healthcare workers. I think that more efforts and financial aid can be provided to boost their spirits during these trying times.
“Not to forget, the wonderful food delivery men and women who brave the storms (literally) to send us our food. These people have put in their all for our society and more should be done to appreciate their efforts to keep our country running smoothly.” – Ian Izdeehar, 22, Undergraduate
Relieved for additional measures for family members working in aviation
“I was quite relieved by the extension of the support measures as I felt that Singaporeans would have a hard time recovering from the impact of COVID-19 as this pandemic continues to affect our lives.
“As I have family members working in the aviation sector, the announcement of additional support through scaling up of the redeployment programme is comforting news for me.
“Since I will be graduating soon, it has occured to me that many firms in my area of study have stopped hiring for the time being. Through the creation of new jobs, I have an opportunity to try new jobs outside of my area of study (advertising and public relations) without having to worry.” – Isabel Hong, 19, Polytechnic student
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY WINNY WINT HTAE, ESTHER LAM, ANIS NABILAH