Racism or not? Woman at the centre of PA saga should set the record straight

Jun 16, 2021 | 🚀 Fathership

The People's Association (PA) decision to cancel a meeting with a couple whose wedding photo the PA turned into a cut-out standee is a "missed opportunity for constructive dialogue", said Sarah Bagharib, the woman at the centre of the PA saga.

The PA said it had offered the meeting to apologise to the couple in person, and to clarify its position but eventually rescinded on the offer.

PA felt that Sarah's Instagram postings stoke emotions and sentiments by framing the incident as racist - a claim PA rejected - and that the meeting may risk being appropriated as a platform to satiate Sarah's need for a crusade on racial justice.

PA also noted that Sarah did an Instagram Live interview with Assistant Professor Walid Jumblatt Abdullah, from Nanyang Technological University’s Public Policy and Global Affairs programme, on June 7 where she “insinuated that our staff and volunteers did not find anything wrong with the standee as they might be ‘blind to racism'”.

Racism was implied in Sarah's postings

When Fathership viewed both the interview footage and Sarah's instastories, we found that while it was not explicitly stated by Sarah that the PA incident was racist, there were grounds to conclude that racism was implied through the reposting of third-party commentaries by Sarah as well as her interview with Assistant Professor Walid.

Netizens also followed up from Sarah's content to condemn the issue as racist:

Woman declines to set the record straight

When asked by TODAY to respond specifically to PA's assertion that what it did was not racist and also its reference to her interview with Assistant Professor Walid, Sarah Bagharib declined to do so.

Sarah's latest statement in response to PA was considerably more moderate and less strident.

Whether the dialogue with PA is a missed opportunity or not, it would be prudent for Sarah Bagharib to cut through the smokescreen and reassert her position - on whether the PA saga is categorically racist or not.

By doing so, online commentary (and outrage) in the court of public opinion would be more measured and less abstract.

Without clarity, we risk the issue being muddled in a perpetual circle of back and forths without any way to move forward.

Woman's statement in full

Here's Sarah response to PA's statement in full:

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Talent shortage in Singapore with 8 in 10 employers reporting difficulty in filling roles

Jun 15, 2022 | 🚀 Fathership

In ManpowerGroup Singapore's Q2 Employment Outlook Survey, the company revealed positive sentiments regarding pay increments and bonuses. In the latest edition of this report, for Q3, the sentiments have shifted towards hiring between the July to September 2022 period - labelled as "a record high" in the report.

In brief, Singapore’s net employment outlook (NEO) is at +40%, with the previous "record high" being in Q4 2011 at +31%. Further, employers surveyed in all 11 sectors (i.e. communications & media, manufacturing, and construction) anticipate positive headcount growth in Q3, with not-for-profit employers reporting "strongest" hiring intentions at 67%.

Despite the optimistic outlook, Singapore’s talent shortage level has been found to be at "its highest in 16 years", with more than eight in 10 (84%) employers reporting difficulty in filling roles. This statistic represented a 20% increase from 2021. Prior to that, talent shortage levels were quite high in 2018 at 56%, and in 2010 at 53%. According to the findings, the most difficult-to-fill roles are in restaurants & hotels (97%), other services (89%), and construction (88%).

That said, the "most sought-after" professions are: IT & data, operation & logistics, sales & marketing, manufacturing & production, and customer facing & front office. On top of that, employers are also looking at soft skills such as critical thinking & analysis, creativity & originality, resilience & adaptability, leadership & social influence, and reasoning & problem solving.

"The shift from pandemic to endemic has given companies greater clarity on their business outlooks," explained Linda Teo, Country Manager, ManpowerGroup Singapore. "Employers are ramping up their hiring due to a combination of factors like pent-up demand for manpower, employee attrition, and shortage of workers with the right skillsets."

Dissecting the local numbers

Filtering Singapore's NEO figure, analysts discovered that:

  • More than half (52%) of employers plan to hire;
  • More than one in 10 (12%) of employers expect a staffing decrease;
  • Close to four in 10 (35%) of employers plan to keep workforce levels steady, and
  • Less than five in 10 (2%) of employers are undecided about the hiring/talent scene.

In addition to not-for-profit employers having strong hiring intentions, those in other services (professional, scientific & technical, and administrative & support) similarly have positive intentions at 59%. These employers are then followed by those in banking, finance, insurance & real estate (56%), wholesale & retail trade (50%), and restaurants & hotels (46%).

A global perspective

Of the more than 40,000 employers surveyed across the globe, many are likewise expecting to hire more workers in the Q3 2022. According to findings, the global NEO is at +33% - which revealed hiring intentions to "increase year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter" respectively at +18% and +4%. In terms of per country/territory data, Mexico ranks top with a +59% NEO, while India has a +51%; Mainland China +29%, and Hong Kong +11%.

India's NEO is the strongest in the APAC region for the second consecutive quarter, up 13% since Q2. As for Hong Kong's NEO, it improved by 8% compared to Q2 2022, and by 10% compared to the previous year.

Looking at the hiring/talent scene, analysts discovered that digital roles continue to drive "most demand" with employers in IT & technology (+44%). This is followed by those in banking, finance, insurance & real estate (+38%), construction (33%), and manufacturing (33%).