There has been a Facebook Page to “Boycott Jollibee Singapore” and posts on TR Emeritus to “Boycott-Pinoy-first business”, gathering lots of comments, many of which are insulting to the Filipinos and other foreign labour in Singapore.
I know this may anger some people, but I find the page, posts and negative comments ridiculous and uncalled for. Reading the comments, we can sense that there are also many who join in ‘the boycott’ without fully understanding the reasons behind it.
Some background: Jollibee is the largest fast food chain in the Philippines, and is set to open its first store in Singapore on March 12 in Lucky Plaza. It is a multinational fast food chain, and has already shops in the USA, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Brunei. They are largely known for their signature fried chicken Chickenjoy, Yumburger and Jollibee Spaghetti.
So why the boycott?
On the February 12, it was posted on TR Emeritus that “Unlike other multi-national fastfood restaurants like McDonald’s and KFC which hire mainly Singaporeans and even the disabled and elderly, Jollibee Singapore intends to hire their fellow pinoys to fill up jobs in their latest Singapore venture.”
Where did all those accusation come from? To be fair, Jollibee Singapore never said that.
Quoting their Facebook page, it says “Dear Jollibee fan, if you are looking for careers at Jollibee Singapore, please send your detailed CV via email…”
This is a clear case that Jollibee’s statement was completely taken out of context, misquoted and misconstrued for some anti-foreign sentiments (again).
In another posting by TR Meritus on 22 February, it acknowledged (but did not apologize) that Jollibee Singapore “did not specifically say they would hire Filipinos only in its Facebook posting”.
However, they went on to comment that since the hiring note was addressed to “Jollibee fans” and “undoubtedly, it would mean largely Filipinos since most Singaporeans have not tasted Jollibee’s food and are not familiar with Jollibee.”
I question the word “undoubtedly”.
And there is the assumption that many Singaporeans are unfamiliar with Jollibee. Well, perhaps. But let us keep in mind that Jollibee is a multinational chain with 39 stores in Vietnam, 13 in Brunei, 12 in the Middle East, 27 in USA and 1 in Hong Kong. The brand “Jollibee” even appeared in Glee before. (I would assume TR authors don’t watch Glee, but many do.)
To add on, in a previous Press Release I received from Jollibee, they included that “Singaporean nationals and permanent residents” can send in their applications. While why they would include recruitment details in a Media Press Release is a big question mark, let us discuss this local vs foreign labour issue with greater sensitivity, understanding, and reasoning. Taking statements out of context is not.
Let us also not forget that the Ministry of Manpower has introduced lower Dependency Ration Ceilings on the hiring of foreign workers. It is really not up to the restaurant to hire whoever they want.
After reading all the comments, I have more concerns that so many people are jumping on that bandwagon to add on insults and name-calling, without actually finding out the reasons. If this were to snowball, what may it lead to? How would creation of this conflict and distance help us Singaporeans in way?
I know many people are unhappy about foreign labour influx and their societal problems they bring upon the country. Everybody living here feels the frustration, me included. But taking it out on a fast-food chain and reinforcing false negative stereotypes is not going to help the situation at all.
On a side note, Yes, I was afraid of my job being replaced by a foreigner as well. My little advice is: Just do your job well, and do it really well.
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Jollibee Singapore (Lucky Plaza)