Hello, my name is Ah Seng, and I’m an ex-Grabfood PMD rider

By November 13, 2019Current

TL;DR – Now overnight, my PMD is illegal and I cannot use it for daily work.

Let me share two stories today. Let’s hear from Ah Beng and Ah Seng.

First, Ah Beng.

Beng: I am a university graduate who previously worked in marketing job at a furniture manufacturing company in Singapore, it paid me $7,000 every month, got 13th month, got bonus, got 21 days’ leave.

But commercial and industrial space is very expensive in Singapore; manpower also expensive. So the company had to close its factory here and moved to Malaysia because rental and manpower costs were much cheaper. It also closed all the retail shops since retail space was expensive, retail staff was hard to get, and Singaporeans were cheapskate and buying from Tabao.

So almost overnight, I lost my job. I tried to interview for many marketing positions, but it was hard. Because in my 17 years with the furniture company, I was doing only traditional marketing and I did not know anything about online marketing nor social media marketing. Basically I only knew how to use Facebook, period. 

With my previous $7,000 salary, life was not bad. I even started a family and it was no problem to provide for my family of two young children. Combined with my wife’s $2,500 salary, we bought a $400,000 BTO in a Queenstown.

My income had suddenly become zero. But I have a toddler and a baby at home. The childcare fees, the diapers, milk powder and infant care, etc etc etc were all mounting pressure each day I remained unemployed. Now my children childcare fee how? Now their daily expense how? Overnight my salary cut to zero, how can I be a good father to raise my children responsibly?

I started to get a little desperate and started to look for less junior jobs. I accepted the fact that it would be very hard to find a marketing similar to my last one and one that would pay me $7,000. 

You have no idea how much I regretted not keeping up with the shifts and trends of marketing. Every marketing job I had interviewed for asked about digital marketing and online retailing, and nobody wanted to know about TV commercials or print ads.

So what do I do? Do i mop around the house everyday and earn zero income every month, or do I accept a job that pays $3,500?

$0 or $3,500?

The answer was very clear to me. So I accepted the $3,500 job. To supplement my income, I also did food delivery on bicycles in the evening and part of the weekends and that brought in an extra thousand every month. My total income became $4,500 versus the $7,000 I used to make. It’s significantly less, but it’s enough.

I want to be good citizen and help the country by being employed and by having children. The country helped me when I went to Workforce Singapore for one of the Adapt-and-Grow employment initiatives.

I want to help my country, and my country is helping me with childcare subsidies because my wife is a working mother, helping me with GST vouchers and U-Save vouchers, but now my country don’t want to help me.

I can face my wife now as we go through this difficult period together, and while we need to cut down on fine dining and frequent holidays, we can still have family fun through weekend family excursions locally.

Happy to be a loyal Singaporean. I want to be loyal, and I am happy to see that there is help and I am also able to help myself. 

In the meantime, I have plans to go for digital marketing plans and one day soon, I hope to go back to marketing work. And this time, I’d be a more holistic marketing practitioner.

Written by:  Ah Beng, Traditional-Marketer-Turned-Senior-Purchasing-Executive and Part-time Grabfood bicycle rider

Next we have Ah Seng’s story.

I am an ITE graduate who previously work in office job, it paid me $2,200 every month, no 13th month, no bonus, 3 days MC.

Since Grabfood come along, with my trusty PMD, I earn $3,500 every month.

Now overnight, my PMD is illegal and I cannot use it for daily work.

With my $3,500 salary, I thought it was good time to start family, I can provide for my baby. Combine with my wife $2000 salary, we buy $250,000 BTO in CCK.

Now my income suddenly become zero, if I go back old job, it drop by $1,300 every month, I have baby that need diaper, need milk powder, need infant care, now my expense is more than my income.

Govt ask me to buy certified UL2272 PMD, I support and follow.

Govt ask me be careful while riding on the footpath, I careful. Never hit anyone or get into argument before in my 2 year as PMD rider.

Govt tell me to register PMD, I register.

Govt ask me to have stable proper job, I found one.

Govt ask me to have children, I agree and have kid.

I do everything you ask me to, but you still ban me from doing my job, a good job that pay me well. Now my children childcare fee how? Now their daily expense how? Overnight my salary cut by 30%, how can I be a good father to raise my children responsibly?

I want to be good citizen and help the country by being employ and by having children.

I want to help my country, but now my country don’t want to help me.

Tell me what I should do now? With one speech now my income drop so much, if I am irresponsible rider, u penalty me I nothing to say. I am safe delivery rider but I pay price for those YP black sheep.

How I face my wife now, how I tell my children I cannot bring them go out enjoy some family excursion?

Sad to be a loyal Singaporean. I want to be loyal but there is no care for me.

Written by: Ah Seng, Grabfood PMD rider since 2018

Have you realised now that Ah Seng’s story is actually a Facebook post that has gone quite viral over the last week?

It’s actually M Siva’s story.

Now I have no idea if this is a real person, or if it’s his real name, or even if it’s a real story. After all, there are some many fake social media accounts these days, and one cannot totally trust such almost-anonymous and impossible-to-trace-source ‘confessions’.

But let’s assume this is a real story. As I was reading it, I have so many thoughts and so many questions.

  • Life is a bitch and things are forever changing. We don’t know when the rug will be pulled out from underbeneath us and we need to be prepared for changes and we need to adapt to changes.
  • In this digital age, a lot of industries are seeing changes. Many see changes overnight and the work rug can be pulled out from underneath us. In some cases, we can see it coming, and in other cases, changes can come overnight.
  • We need to throw out the idea of lifelong jobs. it no longer exists. We need to always stay alert, acquire new skills to stay relevant. So that when the work rug is pulled out, we can quickly grab another rug.

Back to M. Siva.

Yes, I’m sympathetic that the announcement was so hastily announced and that livelihoods are lost. But what’s the point of ranting? Yes, the PMD riders can organise themselves to go to MPS to make their voices heard, and to see if something can be worked out.

But the riders should also be cooking up Plan B by now.

In M. Siva’s case, he had gone from a $2,200 job to a $3,500 job. I note that there is a loss of $1,300. So he has to weigh if the $1,300 is critical to his family’s survival. If it is, then go find a sideline or weekend job to hustle for the $1,300.

If it’s not critical, then make some adjustments to the family’s spending and start to do some financial planning.

But what would be really good is to take the good advice of The Woke Salaryman.

Good advice from The Woke Salaryman after the ban of PMDs on footpaths (via)

Good advice from The Woke Salaryman after the ban of PMDs on footpaths (via)

Check out their full Facebook post here.

(Featured image via)


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Jake Koh

Author Jake Koh

Recovering sushi addict, I'm a man of mystery and power, whose power is exceeded only by his mystery.

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