Vincent is a final-year student at NUS. He's doing a research project on "socio-political blogging". Sounds like a really fun piece of homework.
Anyway, he recently sent me a long list of interview questions. A few questions related to foreign talent, globalisation and the job market in Singapore. One question he had - how was I personally affected.
Well, the truth is, I haven't been adversely affected. If anything, I have benefited.
My job scope is Asia ex-Japan. I'm physically based in Singapore, but I work on projects and transactions across Asia - for instance, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Hong Kong and Malaysia. Jobs like mine exist because the government has, for a long time, been encouraging big corporations to set up their regional HQs in Singapore.
In a sense, I don't even have to be in Singapore. I could be anywhere. Most of my work is done through emails and conference calls anyway - with people in half a dozen different countries.
Globalisation means that my economic fortunes are not tied exclusively, or even primarily, to the economic fortunes of Singapore. It would be more accurate to say that they are tied to the economic fortunes of Asia as a whole. This diversifies my risks (a good thing). In any given year, Singapore could sink, but I could still have a bumper year if a few big Asian markets like China, India and Korea do well.
The foreign talent policy hasn't hurt me either. I just happen to be working in an area where the relevant skills are scarce worldwide - and not easily replaceable, say, by a large pool of cheap labour from China or India. I do have foreign "competitors" from places like London and Hong Kong, but I think I can hold my own (anyway, they definitely lack the competitive advantage of being cheap).
So the general themes of my blogging don't necessarily reflect my personal life. I am writing for a wider audience, I am concerned about broader issues for Singaporeans. That's what this blog is about, anyway. It's not so much about me.
Every now and then, when I criticise some policy or new development in Singapore, I get some un-intelligent reader commenting, "Oh, if you are so unhappy with Singapore, why don't you emigrate then." How inane. I'm quite happy here, thank you very much. With a little good luck here and there, I've figured out ways to live my life it roughly along the lines of what I'd like it to be.
That doesn't mean that things are perfect for everyone else on this island - far from it. Some people are really hurting. You just have to open your eyes, to see.