Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hiring Illegals; School branding again

A friend was moving house today. He and his wife had boxes of stuffs and many were heavy, although the honor (of being the heaviest) went to the living room's sofa. We needed additional manpower, so we drove out to this strip mall area where there were many amigos (or 老墨) available for hire. We spoke to two guys and did one of these 'chicken-and-duck-talk' bargaining before agreeing on a price amenable to both sides. All payments were to be in cash.

It was an interesting experience, to say the least. The police knew the place well but no raids (as far as I know) were conducted to round these folks up for deportation. There is a demand for their services. We wouldn't know where to hire help otherwise. This is the kind of jobs that few (if any) Americans are willing to do. Some locals blame them for depressing the wages of American manual laborers. Sounds a lot like the arguments back home in Singapore.

It is a global phenomenon, a product of globalisation.


At the other extreme end of the economic/educational spectrum, there is this. The poster (sakky) has a PhD from MIT.

Prestige, prestige, prestige.


L'oiseau rebelle said...

When I moved we bribed all our friends with pizza in return for moving help. The job was done in under 2 hours.

Tsukasa said...

hey takchek,

i've got a question about PhD programs. maybe you could help me out, thanks.

Of the usual places to do a PhD program, (UK, US, Canada,Australia, Japan), how does the average length of the program compare? I heard USA is the longest. Which takes the shortest?

also, is it typical to get money from the university (ie. stipend?)

takchek said...

I can't comment on Australia and Japan as I am not familiar with their PhD programs.

UK is typically the shortest compared to Canada and the US, at about 3 years on average. The application process for PhD funding is more complicated, and grad students usually have to apply to external agencies for support.

Canada is about the same as the US, with typical time-to-PhD from ~4 to 6 years in the physical sciences. Biological sciences average closer to 6 years. Canadian and US schools typically provide stipends for their grad students in the engineering and sciences, although some US top schools do not do so for the first years (if they do not have an advisor already).

I am not sure for the humanities and social sciences.

Tsukasa said...

okay, even if the process is more complicated, is it realistic to find funding for UK schools?

is biochemistry a physical science or a biological science?

is NUS faster?

takchek said...

It's probably easier to find funding if you did your BSc in a UK university, with contacts already established and you know how the system works.

Biochem is more of a biological than physical science, at least for the two schools I attend(ed).

As for NUS, the time-to-PhD should be similar to US universities, or slightly shorter. Some NUS profs I heard push their students to graduate in 4 years, partly because of the way PhD studies are funded in Sg. See here:

Tsukasa said...


eh, then MSc. in Biochem useful or not??

do u think school brand name matters at all? i heard doesn't really make a difference leh for post grad... only ur undergrad sch matters...

Tsukasa said...

4got to add, Masters got free $$ anot?

paiseh ah, so many questions~

Melvin said...

@ tsukasa

You might wish to consult the following website for funding opportunities:

Generally speaking full support for a UK PhD is more involved, in that it requires one to combine an ORS award:

with funding from the university. I believe that funding for the MS is even more limited, but this is also true for the US as well.