How do so many low-wage workers qualify for work permits?

A recent visit to Chinatown left me stunned as the smells, noises and tastes that I encountered were all alien to me.

People's Park Food Centre now has more stalls selling mala hotpot than local hawker fare - so much for protecting our hawker culture.

People's Park Complex also has many massage parlours and manicure salons.

Most of these workers are low-wage earners and they appear to not have made any effort to learn our language or integrate into our culture and society.

While I have always supported the Government's argument for foreign talents who can bring value and contribute to Singapore, I am curious as to why the Government needs foreign workers to be masseurs, hawkers and stall helpers.

I am curious as to how so many of them qualified for work permits and S Passes to work here.

Patrick Tan Siong Kuan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2018, with the headline 'How do so many low-wage workers qualify for work permits?'. Print Edition | Subscribe