Oct 3, 2007

Why We Should Be Foreigners

ST Sep 28, 2007
Needless expenditure on English courses

I AM writing with regard to GeBIZ (http://www.gebiz.gov.sg/), which is the Singapore Government's one-stop e-procurement portal.

All the public sector's invitations for quotations and tenders are posted on GeBIZ. Suppliers can search for government procurement opportunities, download tender documents, and submit their bids online.

While surfing the website, I came upon a government school seeking private-sector companies to conduct English courses for its PRC scholars, paying at least $35,000 for 300 hours of instruction.

I was amazed at the huge expenditure. Aren't schools supposed to be educating our young? Aren't our teachers qualified to teach English?

If it were courses in leadership skills or public speaking, I would understand the need for external vendors to come into the picture as such courses require special knowledge and skill sets.

The Government should think twice before spending taxpayers' money unnecessarily.

Fok Kah Hon

This Fok Kah Hon person is not very clever. Doesn’t he know? This is Singapore. We must give foreigners more advantages than citizens.

Singaporeans can pay for their own private tuition lessons. And if they fail their O-level English exams, well, that is just too bad.

But as for the PRC students - ahh, we can't allow that to happen. We must make the taxpayers pay for their extra English lessons!

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

I had a friend in university who gave tuition to 4-5 sec school children every weekend just to make ends meet while scholarship is given generously to students from China & India.

This is singapore. You just have to accept it.

Sg Punk said...

that's because those chinese and indians are foreign talents, who will, along with our capable government, contribute to our growing economy. In the long run, they will create lots of jobs for us, and will also pay more taxes(because they have lots and lots of money, they will buy lots of things, therefore paying more 7% GST). Also, they will buy multiple cars and pay more COE and road tax. So they deserve the scholarship they get!

And we must support them all the way!!! Go go Foreign Talent!!

Aiya, complain so much for what, government already give us two years of assured employment leh, got about $400 per month, you know? so much money loh.

Anonymous said...

This is singapore. You just have to accept it.

Why?

at82 said...

I thought they are supposed to be SCHOLARS, why is our govt giving them scholarship when they can't learn English themselves?!

Mee Siam Mai Hum said...

WOW! Truth be told, no amount of tuition can help the PRC's, because most of them like to stick together and chat only in Mandarin, anywhere in the world.

I do know that there are many NSF's who have to scrimp and lead a frugal 2 years of Slavery giving tuition on (rare) weekends to save up for tuition fees at Poly/Uni.

Can channel some of this 35K or more to these Singaporeans?

Oh, of course, we know the answer already.

Terence said...

Hmm.. can the same be said for Singaporean students given scholarships to study abroad?

Anonymous said...

Take a walk in NUS and sit in the bus provided. People with different skin colours are sitting inside traveling from one corner of NUS to another.
Take a walk in the Open University, you will not be surprise to see many locals walking from places to places.
Compare!!
Simple things such as not granting full time student a bus concession card or open government bursary to the full time students of the Open University will already tell you how much our elites hate "stupid" students.
Compare again!
The facilities between universities, OH MY GOD!!!
Forget it, the government loves foreigners more then the local.
I know, tax payer's money should be spend wisely. Instead of spending money on those stupid local students, why not spend it on the foreigners? They bring in cash, spend money here, and study here and later work here. One stone kills many birds... We must spend taxpayer's money wisely.
What is the opportunity cost to all these pro-foreigner policies?
Sometime I do wonder why these elites keep on making noises when Singaporeans who have shown splendid performance in a foreigner university refused to fly back to Singapore to work. Hey man, thinking of getting the best of the both world, fat hope!!! I think they should be able to think better.
Never mind, I can "ren". I do take students. This is to cover all the crazy increment of the cost of living granted to me by my beloved government.
I have given up!!!

Anonymous said...

Actually, it's not quite clear who exactly is paying for the tuition courses. It could still be that the 'PRC scholars' are paying out of their own pocket, whereas the school is only submitting the tender for the project on their behalf. I don't see how a single student or group of students could otherwise use that particular forum to publicise their need for a tuition course in English.

superman said...

I thought it should all be clear by now. Our Gahmen help those who doesn't need to be helped and ignore those that really need help.

1) providing PRC scholars with English tuition is one example.
2) we raise our Ministers' salaries because we are worried of their huge income gap with the private sector
3) we have tough banking secrecy act to protect the rich and mighty who put their money in Singapore
4) we give foreigners the same benefits as Singaporeans with the exception that they can take out their CPF contribution and they don't need to serve NS and reservists.

and for Singaporeans well..

1) we cannot give them welfare as that will develop a crutch mentality.
2) we quibble over whether to increase the allowances for the poor by S$100.
3) we use CPF money from those singaporeans that die early to fund those that outlive beyond 85.
4) we call singaporeans who migrated overseas as quitters but welcome overseas quitters from their homeland, only to see most foreigners quit Singapore to go back after making enough money. Still we continue to court foreign talents instead of communicating with overseas Singaporeans.
I thought it is very clear by now. why all the confusion? :-)

Anonymous said...

And the sad thing is that after spending so much of Singaporeans' money on these so called foreign talents, we are merely being made use of as a stepping stone to something better! Don't they know that all these PRC and Indians would feel claustrophobic to live on this island for more than the time they take to get their PR and citizenship. Once it's in hand, they can't wait to leave!Why are we being so naive and stupid?

Anonymous said...

10 years ago, holding on to the pink IC, I felt a sense of superiority. Now, I strongly feel that the pink IC that I hold has become so cheap.

Anonymous said...

Yup, that pink IC is cheap. But at this moment, the red passport is useful for overseas traveling/working----a fact used by those in power to entice foreigners from third world, e.g., china, india, to convert to your 'privileged' pink IC status.

Those 'converted' ones who are a bit smarter will of course not sink their bloody roots in a hot humid island, but use the SG passport mainly for their convenience in overseas working/traveling matters.

These smart ones (I have seen a few, all in Ivy Leagues on SG scholarships :), do you think they look for spouse & settle down in SG? They stick to their own kind.

Well, those not so smart ones, take SG sponsored English classes lah. Bo Bian, later then jump ship.

globberygeek logic said...

To anonymous @October 4, 2007 2:11 PM and 5:06 PM,

15 years ago, I count myself lucky to be born a Singaporean and proud to hold a Singaporean passport. Now, I join the FTs to use Singapore as a stepping stone to better shores. Afterall, since the PAP government treats foreigners better, we can alway come back as foreigners later.

kitsura said...

Ok, first things first, for a language course it's way too expensive. Furthermore this is English we are talking about here not some obscure Middle-Eastern or African language.

I'm currently studying Japanese (using my own money) and I'm paying somewhere around $1,000 for 110 hours of instruction. So how can anyone justify close to $40k for 300 hours of English which is such a common language?

jingliang said...

We shouldn't be too critical of our country's seemingly skewed policy of giving too much to the foreigners.

First, we know that Singapore does not have a threshold population to enjoy economic success with stability in the long term. That is, we do not have a population large enough to circulate money in, and bring about economic progress, unlike many other developed countries and even our neighbours. Even after numerous pro-babies incentives, many Singaporeans, with the typical modernised and individualised mindset, are not doing much to increase Singapore's population. In a certain way, we have no choice but to welcome the foreigners actively.

Second, being an extremely small country, Singapore's economic circumstances are intricately tied to global forces and relations. Whether or not a 'foreign talent' remains in Singapore for long, he or she will definitely hold a certain bond with our country and this enhances our country's network in a systematic manner that will prove to be beneficial. Networking, from the perspective of a nation, for Singapore, is of utmost importance.

Third, do not forget that most of us are descendants of migrants too. From China and India too. Why then rage against scholars who worked hard in their own country so that they can have a better life?

In addition, if the comments here are representative of our nation, I foresee an obstruction in Singapore's progress, especially in comparison with the 'Singapore of Middle East', Dubai. They are progressing extremely well with no lesser than 80% of their residents being foreigners. They are extremely open to 'foreign talents' .

Unless our government actively formulate outward-looking policy instead of inward-looking ones, securing foreign talent for long term benefits rather than establishing a welfare state for short term goals, we may soon be known as the 'Dubai of South-east Asia'.

at82 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Summary: Opening the floodgates to foreigners dilute nationhood and sense of belonging. Foreigner numbers must be kept in check and in small numbers.

MM Lee gave a talk at NTU and only one Sporean student asked question during the Q&A and MM Lee wondered why. The rest of the questions were asked by foreigners.

My guess and answer to Lee: Sporean students no longer feel a sense of belonging. Now why is that?

at82 said...

Hi jingliang

"First, we know that Singapore does not have a threshold population to enjoy economic success with stability in the long term. That is, we do not have a population large enough to circulate money in, and bring about economic progress, unlike many other developed countries and even our neighbours. Even after numerous pro-babies incentives, many Singaporeans, with the typical modernised and individualised mindset, are not doing much to increase Singapore's population. In a certain way, we have no choice but to welcome the foreigners actively."

I agree, but welcome doesn't mean throwing $ at them. There is a difference.

"Second, being an extremely small country, Singapore's economic circumstances are intricately tied to global forces and relations. Whether or not a 'foreign talent' remains in Singapore for long, he or she will definitely hold a certain bond with our country and this enhances our country's network in a systematic manner that will prove to be beneficial. Networking, from the perspective of a nation, for Singapore, is of utmost importance."

Agreed, but how about improving our networking by funding more S'poreans for overseas studies instead? They can be made to sign a bond to make sure they come back to work in S'pore.

"Third, do not forget that most of us are descendants of migrants too. From China and India too. Why then rage against scholars who worked hard in their own country so that they can have a better life?"

Agreed, in fact my dad is a migrant too. But even he can't stand the way our govt is throwing $ and giving jobs to the newcomers. If can he succeed without taking a single cent from the govt, why can't the newcomers do the same?

"In addition, if the comments here are representative of our nation, I foresee an obstruction in Singapore's progress, especially in comparison with the 'Singapore of Middle East', Dubai. They are progressing extremely well with no lesser than 80% of their residents being foreigners. They are extremely open to 'foreign talents' .

Unless our government actively formulate outward-looking policy instead of inward-looking ones, securing foreign talent for long term benefits rather than establishing a welfare state for short term goals, we may soon be known as the 'Dubai of South-east Asia'."

Ha. Do you even know what kind of state UAE is?

Do you know why its people are so receptive to the so-called FTs?

Hell, if I was given the same treatment as a UEA citizen, I don’t give a damn how many FTs come to Singapore.

Please read this article before you show your ignorance here.

Jimmy said...

In the past, you are condemned if you are from a Chinese school. More recently, if you are a Singaporean, you are deemed "stupid" if you scored badly for your english at "O" levels or "A". It is also better for you to study overseas and never come back, we don't need non-talents like you "who cannot make it."

However, if you are a foreigner, we will find ways to accommodate your lack of english language skills. Please stay, you must be a talent, just that we need more time to find what you are talented in.

Piper said...

In my experience, external instructors often charge per hour and they usually refuse to take on more than 20 students at a time. So if you have a full class of 40, then two instructors are needed.

When I tendered for our CCA instructor, we were quoted between $125 - $200 per hour per 20-25 students. So I suppose depending on the type of instruction and how specialised it is, about $116/hr could well be the market rate. Also, as someone mentioned, although the tender was on GeBiz, it may not necessarily be paid by the taxpayers. Often, money is collected from the students for extras like this.

As for why PRC students get external help, my experience with them is that they often are horrendously weak in English and the English teachers are not trained to teach ESL or EFL in Singapore, which can be quite different from teaching a first language.

Anonymous said...

Check this one out:
http://singaporerebel.blogspot.com/2007/10/one-country-two-systems.html

jingliang said...

Hi at82,

I would like to clarify that I do not agree completely with Singapore's policy towards foreigners.

I was trying to state certain constant circumstances that Singapore faces. As I felt that many Singaporeans, in their outrage against the government, tend to disregard those circumstances.

I'm glad that you agreed with most of my points and with your rebuttals as well. I shall try to address them.

"I agree, but welcome doesn't mean throwing $ at them. There is a difference."

I'm really not sure what is the perfect and exact incentives that should be given to the FT and am not sure if anyone can be ever sure of such things. However, I maintain that some form of incentive must certainly be provided. Excessive or not, I truly hold no opinions.

Just a thought, the benefits of 'throwing $ at them' in the long run and collectively may far outweigh those money thrown. Making decisions with far-sight and considering macro effects are what the government officials should do. Like us, they are only men and can only plan for the long run, execute in the short run. The results, only time will tell.

"Agreed, but how about improving our networking by funding more S'poreans for overseas studies instead? They can be made to sign a bond to make sure they come back to work in S'pore."

I agree that with the idea of funding more Singaporean overseas to for studies. I myself wanted to study overseas if not for financial concerns. However, I believe that a truly effective network must have Singaporeans going out and coming back and foreigners coming in and going back. Hence, I still support the idea of getting FT here. I know you do as well. I believe funding locals to go overseas and providing incentives for FT to come here are complementary.

"Agreed, in fact my dad is a migrant too. But even he can't stand the way our govt is throwing $ and giving jobs to the newcomers. If can he succeed without taking a single cent from the govt, why can't the newcomers do the same?"

I believe times are different now. Terms like 'brain drain' and 'foreign talent' are commonplace now. Talents are more mobile than ever before, and the competition to secure talent is becoming increasingly intense. Hence, the benefits given to them.

Since our government made the offers, the FT are just making use of the opportunities. My point is: if anyone feels that those handouts to them are unfair and biased, the government should be blamed. Not the FT.

"Ha. Do you even know what kind of state UAE is?

Do you know why its people are so receptive to the so-called FTs?

Hell, if I was given the same treatment as a UEA citizen, I don’t give a damn how many FTs come to Singapore.

Please read this article before you show your ignorance here."

I concede that I'm not aware of the welfare state in UAE. Thank you for referring the article.

Reading the article, I certainly do not want to be in their state. I want my country to provide me with an environment to develop myself, not excessive welfare that will cause me to degenerate.

Also, I feel that attracting FT is a must.

Hence, I'm not complaining, at least for now.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing wrong with allowing foreigners to come work/ study/live here (including folks from China and India), but it seems that the PAP government is welcoming them with open arms and open legs. Overdoing it to the extreme.

Just take a walk around town, take a walk around the suburbs. Malls, neighbourhood shops, coffeeshops, educational institutions, your workplace. This place is overrun with foreigners.

In particular the China folks. They are an abundant source of cheap labour. Also, PAP needs more influx of ethnic Chinese to counterbalance the high Malay birth rates vis-a-vis dwindling Chinese birth rates.

This is racial politics - hard to accept for the politically correct, but nevertheless the truth. To deny this is to be in denial. The PAP would like to have you believe 'we are Singaporeans regardless of race... blah blah'. I call bullshit. Remember HDB ethnic quotas? No access to certain sensitive military installations for Malays? CIMO representation for GRCs to make up the numbers? Community help groups (CDAC, Mendaki etc)?

PAP has always played the racial politics card, but turns around and slam those who attempt to do likewise.

Hypocrites.

James Chia said...

My uni classmate who is a PRC did not need to pay anything for his studies and had a huge allowance which I had to take up few tuition assignments to earn my pocket money. That's unfair. Maybe I should blame myself for striving hard to become scholar myself.

at82 said...

Hi jingliang,

Sorry if I appeared to rude earlier.

Anyway here is my reply.

"I'm really not sure what is the perfect and exact incentives that should be given to the FT and am not sure if anyone can be ever sure of such things. However, I maintain that some form of incentive must certainly be provided. Excessive or not, I truly hold no opinions.

Just a thought, the benefits of 'throwing $ at them' in the long run and collectively may far outweigh those money thrown. Making decisions with far-sight and considering macro effects are what the government officials should do. Like us, they are only men and can only plan for the long run, execute in the short run. The results, only time will tell."

The best incentive Singapore can give to attract FTs and for its own citizens is to have a booming economy. I do not believe there is a need to throw $ at them to attract them here if their lives will be better here than their homeland.

In my opinion it is the best if Singapore adopt the Australian model whereby the University charge foreign students full fees for their degrees. I dun mind if the govt tweak the model by giving them foreign students scholarship LOANS that must be repaid 100% after they completed their studies though.

"I agree that with the idea of funding more Singaporean overseas to for studies. I myself wanted to study overseas if not for financial concerns. However, I believe that a truly effective network must have Singaporeans going out and coming back and foreigners coming in and going back. Hence, I still support the idea of getting FT here. I know you do as well. I believe funding locals to go overseas and providing incentives for FT to come here are complementary."

Agreed, but like I had said there is no need for us to throw $ at them. We can provide scholarship loans to these students instead. The money can be better spent on the local instead. Anyway there is some move towards the direction I had mention in the form of overseas attachment or exchange programs and I applaud that.

However I fail to understand why we have to take loans to go for these programs while the govt PAY foreign students in form of scholarships and living expenses to study in S'pore.

"I believe times are different now. Terms like 'brain drain' and 'foreign talent' are commonplace now. Talents are more mobile than ever before, and the competition to secure talent is becoming increasingly intense. Hence, the benefits given to them."

I believe that it is more important to make our own ppl talented instead of courting these foreigners by throwing $ at them.

I have no problem with a open door immigration policy IF the citizens are being given priority. However, sadly, that is not the case here, UNLESS you count the 2 years of guaranteed employment in the SAF as a form of benefit.

"Since our government made the offers, the FT are just making use of the opportunities. My point is: if anyone feels that those handouts to them are unfair and biased, the government should be blamed. Not the FT."

This got to be the statement which I am in total agreement. S'poreans often misguidedly attack the FTs when our own govt is the source of the problem.

You won't believe how many people I know blamed the FTs instead of the govt for what is happening. There is just too many times I had to tell them that the govt is to blame for whoring S'pore and not the FTs.

Please tell your friends who hate the FTs that they should hate the PAP govt for whoring S'pore instead.

"I concede that I'm not aware of the welfare state in UAE. Thank you for referring the article.

Reading the article, I certainly do not want to be in their state. I want my country to provide me with an environment to develop myself, not excessive welfare that will cause me to degenerate.

Also, I feel that attracting FT is a must.

Hence, I'm not complaining, at least for now."

I don't know about, but in my opinion Singapore is becoming like Dubai WITHOUT the welfare state.

That means the economy is ran by foreigners while Singaporeans are confined to the lower end jobs (not construction workers, but lower end jobs at the various MNC in S'pore) or increasingly being excluded from certain sectors like IT.

I can't think of anything worse than that other than eventually being retrenched at 45 and forced to become taxi driver.

Anonymous said...

外国的月亮比较园.This is the mentality taken by our representative now.Foreign talent? Local talents?Who cares if You need to earn your money to study by teaching tuitions ,taking 2 odd jobs or even distributing leaflets to pay that fees. India talents, china talents. Who cares as we have chosen our leaders.They can use our income taxes to get people to study here free and with disregards to us. Why ? Majority conservative votes, maybe?

Anonymous said...

globberygeek logic said...
--------------------------
" ... Afterall, since the PAP government treats foreigners better, we can alway come back as foreigners later."

---------------------------

Seriously now, why would you want to come back to this shithole? None of the people I know overseas want to come back. Those in US are going to get green cards. Those in China are settling down with PRC darlings. Those in Aussieland bought and OWNED REAL HOMES(i.e you own it 100%, size does not induce claustrophobia, no bullshit such as 99 year lease, 'subsidised and affordable' or 'govt forces you to upgrade PUBLIC HOUSING but you shall pay for it from your own pockets'.

Don't be the proverbial dog that returns to its own vomit. Don't even let your children do it.

Once overseas, the only things 'uniquely Singaporean' that remain should be:

1) Singlish + its accent (can be unlearnt)

2) Your BCG mark upon your left arm (only for the not-so-young folks, and there's nothing plastic surgery can't take care of.)

3) A load of bittersweet and/or unpleasant memories. They will fade with time.

Daylight robbery by the CPF changes. An expected 2mil increase in population on the same small island(and it's not due to a baby boom). Excessive and intrusive conscription for the males.

Be wise, don't come back once you get out.

jingliang said...

Hi at82,

Thanks for the reply. Don’t worry, you were not rude.

"The best incentive Singapore can give to attract FTs and for its own citizens is to have a booming economy. I do not believe there is a need to throw $ at them to attract them here if their lives will be better here than their homeland."

I find it weird to think of booming economy as an incentive, as a booming economy is the goal of many incentives (at least in Singapore, I feel, for instance micro loans enabled by SPRING for SMEs, baby bonuses etc.) Giving monetary incentives to FT is aimed at achieving a booming economy.

In addition, with the astronomical growth that India and China are experiencing, it's getting harder to ensure that their lives here will definitely be better than their homeland in a few years time.

“In my opinion it is the best if Singapore adopt the Australian model whereby the University charge foreign students full fees for their degrees. I dun mind if the govt tweak the model by giving them foreign students scholarship LOANS that must be repaid 100% after they completed their studies though.”

Though I hold no fixated opinion on the amount and type of incentives to be given, I think there is a critical difference between Singapore and Australia in this aspect, at least for now. Australia is a major player in the world education industry. They are an education hub and do not view all foreign students as FT, but instead as customers to which they are merely delivering a service. Hence, I feel that Singapore’s objectives (to attract and retain FT) are different from Australia’s and may not necessarily adopt their policy.

“Agreed, but like I had said there is no need for us to throw $ at them. We can provide scholarship loans to these students instead. The money can be better spent on the local instead. Anyway there is some move towards the direction I had mention in the form of overseas attachment or exchange programs and I applaud that.

However I fail to understand why we have to take loans to go for these programs while the govt PAY foreign students in form of scholarships and living expenses to study in S'pore.”

Think of it this way, if other countries are also offering a similar deal to foreigners (which of course includes us), will Singaporeans still complain? I feel that a lot of resentment comes from the lack of equity between other countries’ policy towards foreigners and Singapore’s policy.

But if that is the only reason for your complaints, then I do not think much of it. A policy must not be evaluated based on individualistic ideas. For instance, one factor of Singapore’s economic success is that we invited and welcomed foreign companies to set up and develop themselves with various incentives, and hence creating jobs for numerous citizens. (I am referring to back then when our country was still young.) Many citizens were very resentful as they view it as allowing foreigner corporations to exploit us as cheap labour. Many countries in a similar predicament were reluctant to welcome foreign companies due to this resentment. Our government had the foresight to proceed with such a policy and that is surely a major contributor to our current achievements. In fact, many countries are now painfully aware of the benefits of similar policies, but have already lagged behind Singapore by a great deal.

Sorry for the long discourse. My point is that a policy cannot be evaluated based on individualistic resentment, but on its overall long term effects on a country’s development and progress.

“I believe that it is more important to make our own ppl talented instead of courting these foreigners by throwing $ at them.”

Simply as a matter of fact, we cannot make every Singaporean talented. We can only help everyone realise their fullest potential. But even after doing so, not everyone will become a talent. As a result, we may still have insufficient talents. Hence, we need to court foreign talents. (I need to clarify: Everyone can be a talent in their own way. The talents I’m referring to in this paragraph are the specific capabilities that can help advance a country significantly.)

“I have no problem with a open door immigration policy IF the citizens are being given priority. However, sadly, that is not the case here, UNLESS you count the 2 years of guaranteed employment in the SAF as a form of benefit.”

Sorry, I don’t get this part. Priority in what?

“This got to be the statement which I am in total agreement. S'poreans often misguidedly attack the FTs when our own govt is the source of the problem.

You won't believe how many people I know blamed the FTs instead of the govt for what is happening. There is just too many times I had to tell them that the govt is to blame for whoring S'pore and not the FTs.

Please tell your friends who hate the FTs that they should hate the PAP govt for whoring S'pore instead.”

I’ll do just that.

(Just my personal thoughts, “whoring” seems to be too strong a word here. I’m not trying to be politically correct or to avoid troubles with the government. But in a discussion, we should show respect to all parties, individuals and organisations alike.)

“I don't know about, but in my opinion Singapore is becoming like Dubai WITHOUT the welfare state.

That means the economy is ran by foreigners while Singaporeans are confined to the lower end jobs (not construction workers, but lower end jobs at the various MNC in S'pore) or increasingly being excluded from certain sectors like IT.

I can't think of anything worse than that other than eventually being retrenched at 45 and forced to become taxi driver.”

Just using the IT sector as an example, without a doubt, Chinese and Indian nationals are increasingly getting jobs in that sector, especially the Indians. MNCs are not TLC (GLC). They will leave if they do not get the skilled manpower they need. (In double quick time)

You can treat them as people competing for your jobs. (Which is definitely true to an extent.) Or you can get them to leave. MNCs will leave together. And we cannot even be a lowly clerk in an MNC. Not to mention that numerous spin-off industries may also fail.

I would still prefer the current situation to receiving indiscriminate and ridiculous handouts from the government.

Anonymous said...

jingliang,

I find your long comments ridiculously similar to the kind of junk one gets from Straits Times. In fact, if you publish in ST column letters consistently enough, you might get to be the Editor in Chief.

Get this right:
Singaporeans do not receive indiscriminate and ridiculous handouts from the government.
That has always been the wishful one-sided thinking of the PAP government when they dished out half-baked policies to the public.

jingliang said...

Dear Anonymous who said

"I find your long comments ridiculously similar to the kind of junk one gets from Straits Times. In fact, if you publish in ST column letters consistently enough, you might get to be the Editor in Chief.

Get this right:
Singaporeans do not receive indiscriminate and ridiculous handouts from the government.
That has always been the wishful one-sided thinking of the PAP government when they dished out half-baked policies to the public."

Please read the post properly in the correct context. I was referring to the handouts given by UAE to their citizens, according to the
article
at82 kindly referred me to. Of course not those given to us by our government.

I normally do not respond to Anonymous participants. This is just to set the record right.

at82 said...

Hi Jingliang,

“I find it weird to think of booming economy as an incentive, as a booming economy is the goal of many incentives (at least in Singapore, "I feel, for instance micro loans enabled by SPRING for SMEs, baby bonuses etc.) Giving monetary incentives to FT is aimed at achieving a booming economy.”

I beg to differ. In my opinion, talents go to where money can be made. The FTs can come here to make $ if they wanted to, however if we have to subsidies them to come here how sustainable is it in the long run?

If the govt can reduce subsidies for its own people (Uni fees just increase not long ago), why should any foreign students continue to get such good subsidies from our govt?

“In addition, with the astronomical growth that India and China are experiencing, it's getting harder to ensure that their lives here will definitely be better than their homeland in a few years time."

That is true, but I do not believe the whole of China or India can catch up with Singapore in 10-20years. The govt can go to the 2nd and 3rd tier cities to offer their student scholarship loans if it wanted to. Moreover, a lot of rich Chinese citizens are trying means and ways help their children migrate. I am currently overseas; you won’t believe how rich some of these people are. These Chinese nationals doesn’t need any $ from the govt. If I am the Singapore govt, I will try means and ways to attract such people to Singapore instead.

”Though I hold no fixated opinion on the amount and type of incentives to be given, I think there is a critical difference between Singapore and Australia in this aspect, at least for now. Australia is a major player in the world education industry. They are an education hub and do not view all foreign students as FT, but instead as customers to which they are merely delivering a service. Hence, I feel that Singapore’s objectives (to attract and retain FT) are different from Australia’s and may not necessarily adopt their policy.”

I would prefer the Aussie policy anytime, given the fact that we import all sorts of foreigners talented or not. Why don’t we squeeze some $ from them 1st from these people, moreover at least you will know just where these people stand on the talent scale when they graduate.

However for this policy to work there must be a much stricter Foreign labour policy. Only when foreign students who studied in S’pore have a distinct advantage in the labour market and PR eligibility over foreigners who didn’t then can the Australian model work.

“Think of it this way, if other countries are also offering a similar deal to foreigners (which of course includes us), will Singaporeans still complain? I feel that a lot of resentment comes from the lack of equity between other countries’ policy towards foreigners and Singapore’s policy.

But if that is the only reason for your complaints, then I do not think much of it. A policy must not be evaluated based on individualistic ideas. For instance, one factor of Singapore’s economic success is that we invited and welcomed foreign companies to set up and develop themselves with various incentives, and hence creating jobs for numerous citizens. (I am referring to back then when our country was still young.) Many citizens were very resentful as they view it as allowing foreigner corporations to exploit us as cheap labour. Many countries in a similar predicament were reluctant to welcome foreign companies due to this resentment. Our government had the foresight to proceed with such a policy and that is surely a major contributor to our current achievements. In fact, many countries are now painfully aware of the benefits of similar policies, but have already lagged behind Singapore by a great deal.

Sorry for the long discourse. My point is that a policy cannot be evaluated based on individualistic resentment, but on its overall long term effects on a country’s development and progress.”

The long term progress and development of a country’s is measured by how well its people do. Tell me just how does it benefit the country when the wages and employment opportunity of the locals are depressed by the uncontrolled import of foreigners?

“Simply as a matter of fact, we cannot make every Singaporean talented. We can only help everyone realise their fullest potential. But even after doing so, not everyone will become a talent. As a result, we may still have insufficient talents. Hence, we need to court foreign talents. (I need to clarify: Everyone can be a talent in their own way. The talents I’m referring to in this paragraph are the specific capabilities that can help advance a country significantly.)”

Nowhere did I say we should bar foreigners from coming to S’pore. But I maintain that we should not throw $ at them just to make them come here. I am sure there are plenty court FTs to Singapore without giving them excessive benefits over Singaporeans.

“Sorry, I don’t get this part. Priority in what?”

Priority in EVERYTHING? Something like a Singaporean 1st policy. eg Companies must employ Singaporean citizens 1st if the person meets the stated requirement of the job?

I won’t care how many FTs come to Singapore if there is such a policy in place.

“I’ll do just that.

(Just my personal thoughts, “whoring” seems to be too strong a word here. I’m not trying to be politically correct or to avoid troubles with the government. But in a discussion, we should show respect to all parties, individuals and organisations alike.)”

Ok, I apologise for my words.

“Just using the IT sector as an example, without a doubt, Chinese and Indian nationals are increasingly getting jobs in that sector, especially the Indians. MNCs are not TLC (GLC). They will leave if they do not get the skilled manpower they need. (In double quick time)

You can treat them as people competing for your jobs. (Which is definitely true to an extent.) Or you can get them to leave. MNCs will leave together. And we cannot even be a lowly clerk in an MNC. Not to mention that numerous spin-off industries may also fail.”

Nobody is saying that we should bar these people from Singapore.

I am saying that if a Singaporean citizen meets the requirement for the job then the local should be hired. However this is obviously not what is happening! There are so many horror stories that Singaporeans males are being discriminated because of their reservist duties. This really makes me wonder why should I do NS, while FTs are snatching our rice bowls!

”I would still prefer the current situation to receiving indiscriminate and ridiculous handouts from the government.”

I don’t want any handout. I wan a decent, levelled playing field, maybe some privilege, for Singaporeans CITIZENS. Unfortunately this is not happening.

You might want to read this.
http://www.littlespeck.com/content/people/CTrendsPeople-071006.htm

lau min-tsek said...

A bit late in this debate.......

...... but noticed from the comments that no one made the most obvious observation:

Don't our students from our education system need to past GP to get into local uni?

PRC scholars apparantly do not.

If this comment was made before, my apologies for being a broken record.

melbournite said...

To whoever who said the below statement:

"Seriously now, why would you want to come back to this shithole?"

I pose you the simple question, have you really seen the down and uglies of the so-called greener pastures of another land?

Have you seen the drug-induced psychosis of people you love around you? Have you walked past people shooting up in broad daylight in the city circumfrence? (I'm talking lovely Melbourne here) Have you had a lowlife refer to your privates and your Asianess in a lewd, suggestive manner, with no sense of respect? Have you ever heard you white friends (who may love you) but still treat Asians who weren't born in their country as FOBS (Fresh Off the Boat)

Personally, I love Australia and its people. I have my PR status, my Lovely sunny apartment that's not claustrophobic, my life there. But I've recently moved back to Singapore and though there are many things I don't like about it, in comparison to a 'better land', Singapore is and always will be home. In all honesty, after being there for so many years, and seeing people from ALL walks of life (oh trust me, you see the unimaginable there.) I can say that Singaporeans are one spoilt bunch.

Our favorite pastime shouldn't be eating or shopping but complaining. About the government, about the taxes, about everything. I can't understand why people can't show a bit of appreciation for the safety, the economic properity, the SPOONFEEDING we seem to get ALL the time from our government. I'm not pro-government, neither am I against it. However, critisms should be founded on reason that has been clearly thought out. And ignorant comparisons to the Western world is plain. Stupid.

Go get your Green card and live in a world where your children will have to attend school guarded by police. Where the streets don't sleep and people carry guns. Sure, the grass always seems greener on the other side, but sometimes it's better not to add your two cents worth when you haven't had the experience before and your arguments are simply based on hearsay.

jingliang said...

Hi melbournite,

I agree whole-heartedly with you.

Though I've not lived in many different countries , not as much exposure as many people. But I do really appreciate what I have in Singapore.

Complaints about the government are necessary to urge improvement. Rebuttals of these complaints are also necessary to weed out useless and unnecessary noises.

hi at82,

I want a level field for us too. Of course with certain privileges for Singaporean citizens. We definitely converge on that point, though to different degrees perhaps.

Personally, I do not want to carry on the discussion. Seems like both of us are beginning to reiterate our arguments. Though I do not agree on some points, but I do respect your views.

Thank you for the referred article.

at82 said...

Hi Melbournite,

"I pose you the simple question, have you really seen the down and uglies of the so-called greener pastures of another land?

Have you seen the drug-induced psychosis of people you love around you? Have you walked past people shooting up in broad daylight in the city circumfrence? (I'm talking lovely Melbourne here) Have you had a lowlife refer to your privates and your Asianess in a lewd, suggestive manner, with no sense of respect? Have you ever heard you white friends (who may love you) but still treat Asians who weren't born in their country as FOBS (Fresh Off the Boat)"

You mean there is no one taking drugs in S'pore?

You there are no shootout in S'pore (Still remember one eye dragon)?

You mean there is no racism in S'pore (Foreign Indians nationals look down on local Indians when they bring their caste sys over)?

You mean there is no discrimination in S'pore (worse in S'pore, some FTs are laughing at how stupid our govt when they took advantage of its hospitality)?

"Personally, I love Australia and its people. I have my PR status, my Lovely sunny apartment that's not claustrophobic, my life there. But I've recently moved back to Singapore and though there are many things I don't like about it, in comparison to a 'better land', Singapore is and always will be home. In all honesty, after being there for so many years, and seeing people from ALL walks of life (oh trust me, you see the unimaginable there.) I can say that Singaporeans are one spoilt bunch."

Are you sure we are spoiled compared to the Aussies? T

he Aussie govt provided their citizens with welfare (funded by higher tax, of course), priority in jobs for PR and citizens, better working conditions in form of shorter hours, stricter labour laws, more leaves (hell they even PAY you to take leaves)!

Now who is more spoiled...


"Our favorite pastime shouldn't be eating or shopping but complaining. About the government, about the taxes, about everything. I can't understand why people can't show a bit of appreciation for the safety, the economic properity, the SPOONFEEDING we seem to get ALL the time from our government. I'm not pro-government, neither am I against it. However, critisms should be founded on reason that has been clearly thought out. And ignorant comparisons to the Western world is plain. Stupid."

Walau, if our lack of welfare and competitive work environment are called being spoonfed, then I wonder should we call the Aussie and European sys. I hoped I am not being labeled stupid now~

"Go get your Green card and live in a world where your children will have to attend school guarded by police. Where the streets don't sleep and people carry guns. Sure, the grass always seems greener on the other side, but sometimes it's better not to add your two cents worth when you haven't had the experience before and your arguments are simply based on hearsay."

Having guns doesn't means high crime rate, Canadians have more guns per capita than the Americans but I don't see their murder rate topping USA.

Anyway I am also not sure that Melbourne's crime rate is significantly higher than that of S'pore. Maybe you should show us some statistics to back your claim that S'pore is much safer than Melbourne.

yuq said...

hi, i understand ur frustration as a foreigner learning english in singapore, esp when english is not ur first language and it's the main medium of teaching here.


however, there are local students in the middle and low income groups who face both the problems of unable to pick up the language properly and at the same time unable to pay private tutors to up their standards. from the excerpt in ur entry, i guess the main grouse of fok kah hon is that the govt should look after her citizens first, and foreign scholars later. his/her comment is valid, because elsewhere in the world, countries have programmes that aim to look after their citizens first, and there is also a moral obligation to do so.

Past generations of citizens have contributed to the economic growth as well as social stability of this country, and on a more capitalistic ground, we pay taxes. Hence, isnt it justified for the govt to look after us? sure, there are long term benefits with more foreigners in singapore, but surely we should also look after the employability and education of locals, aint it?

you may have your own reasons, which arent clearly stated here in this entry, for stating "But as for the PRC students - ahh, we can't allow that to happen. We must make the taxpayers pay for their extra English lessons!" but think again, what if your home country gives priority to a foreigner?

yuq said...

alright, i assumed ure a foreigner writing about singapore issues =\

Anonymous said...

Cottoned on to sarcasm eh, yuk?

Guess the greener grass theory applies to the government as well. Anybody who hails from foreign lands is automatically seen as superior to an indigene.

Fox said...

According to LKY in this interview :

We give a lot of scholarships to Chinese and Indians. If one quarter stay on here in Singapore, we're winners, especially with the Chinese. They come in here, they get an English education, they get our credentials and they're off to America because they know that the grass is greener there.