News and views from an unique perspective

Why must young Singaporeans compete with foreigners in their own country?

Posted by temasektimes on June 5, 2012

My uncle is an engineer too. He graduated from one of the most prestigious universities in the USA. He’s in his late 40s. 4 years ago, he was retrenched by a new boss from India and was replaced by another engineer from India. He said his ex-company is full of Indian Nationals now. He has been actively looking for jobs but still jobless now after 4 years. He currently lives by renting out two rooms in his 3-room HDB for S$500/month each.

I myself have to unwillingly quit Singapore after graduated from NUS and am currently working overseas because I couldn’t find a job in my major due to the intense competition with all other foreign professionals. Clearly, they don’t just come and take space and jobs, they even push Singaporeans out of our own country. Singapore is no longer a country. It is a corporation that only recruits and retains the brightest and/or cheapest, and retrenches all others. If you’re talented (but not talented enough to find a job in the US, Europe or Australia), then welcome to Singapore Inc.

The problem with young Singaporean professionals is that we have to compete intensely with other nationals in our own country. But when we seek opportunities overseas, we’ll find that almost all countries protect their citizens and none opens their job market for us the way we open our job market to others. If you’ve ever been looking for jobs in the US, you’ll see how much their law protects their citizens. Foreign nationals have very little chance. That might slow down their economic growth, but their citizens are very happy and love their country.

If Singapore stops taking FTs, our economy may slow down but I’m sure we’ll be happier. I don’t need a wealthy Singapore, what I need is a happy Singapore.


*The above was first posted as a comment on The Temasek Times.


58 Responses to “Why must young Singaporeans compete with foreigners in their own country?”

  1. Benjamin Cai said

    Some people prefer to work overseas and see it as something that is more prestige. I suppose you don’t see it that way.

  2. Bernard Deng said

    Foreign entities employ foreign professionals/workers. Singaporeans are left to fend for themselves.

  3. spotlessleopard said

    All He has to do is vote the Opposition in the next GE…and the new Govt. must reverse the PAP Policy.

    • Non-xenophobe said

      WP the new government. Singapore the new Bhutan. Welcome foreign tourists. Goodbye foreign workers.

  4. peking Dog xu sunn said

    Pap govt drive many middle sporean to a corner

  5. Jaded said

    “If Singapore stops taking FTs, our economy may slow down but I’m sure we’ll be happier. I don’t need a wealthy Singapore, what I need is a happy Singapore.”

    Triple Liked!

  6. Singaporean said

    It is the chase of greater profits that companies opt for cheaper labour costs, without sparing a thought for socio-economic health. It takes a good management and one loyal Singaporean boss who can think for Singaporeans, and is willing to go for lower profits but to give jobs to Singaporeans.

  7. peking Dog xu sunn said

    Why must we continue to support pap if we lost all our jobs

  8. SgGuy said

    I like the line “That might slow down their economic growth, but their citizens are very happy and love their country.”

    How many Singapore flags do you see hanging out of the flats nowadays during August if not done by RC? This says a lot about how the citizens’ love for the country has lessened. Many of my younger cousins have left Singapore in search for better jobs, instead of being squeezed by low-wage FTs. It is a good thing that GE2011 and the By-Election 2012 has produced such results. It is the pivot point where citizens voiced out “enough is enough”. The next GE will be watershed, but let’s all keep up the pressure to push the current government to take care of its citizens. It is really sad the country is now already a INC and it will take a long time to restore to its previous glory n pride….

    • The day will come said

      I will only hang Singapore flag the day when pap lose 2/3 majority.
      There were many Singapore flags hang by residents during ndp month in 80s, less in 90s and rare in 00s.

  9. i say what i think only... said

    thanks, my thoughts exactly. i need a happy singapore too. grow at all cost, including ours. can’t they see that nobody is benefiting from their big gdp growth, contrary to what they say about it creating jobs? u want to grow the economy FOR citizens, not AT citizen’s expense. please stop hallucinating u know best, u are the best, u do the best and the rest are just noise.

    a murderer gets convicted when he kills 1 person. at a swift of the pen, u do not kill 1, u slowly torture and cause a painful death. lose job, go hungry, live without dignity, sell whatever assets, then go hungry, even lesser dignity. humiliated when ask for assistance, claiming is their own fault. 1 fine day whole family burn charcoal and die at home. newspapers headline? “useless father murder whole family’. does the MP have the cheek to go and bow at the bodies at funeral? who is the real murderer? how many have died directly or indirectly via our beneficial policies? jobless, no money, casino cause debts, empoor whole family, slum-like lives etc.

    I am not blaming gov for every tragedy that happened in singapore, that is not sensible. but thinking it is none of your business or fault, that is the worst and heartless thing to say. 人在做天在看。what must come will come. repent when u still got the chance

  10. stevenado said

    Another sad but true story of a born and bred singaporean.

  11. Blood suckers said

    Tell it to those 60% who screw us all real true blue Singaporeans up.

    I hope you guys repent and regret your votes because your job has already been taken by cheaper foreign trashes.

  12. Singapore Researcher said

    totally agree, we need more happiness, instead of pure numbers

  13. SINYoobi said

    Qualified Singaporeans are jobless because of extreme competition from foreign immigrants. The ruling party is responsible for making our lives miserable.

  14. Daft Peasants said

    Standard one loh……Indian will employ back Indian, PRC will employ back PRC, Pinoy will employ back Pinoy……We $inkies are lazy, expensive and full of complains… nobody wants to employ…..


  15. queenstown said

    well said.

  16. mahbok tan said

    What we need is a Government that take care of its resources with DIGNITY.

    We are do not need a Singapore Inc. !!!!

    Blame ourselves for voting them in especially the 60.1% of the population and now we all are suffering the hardship. If this is what the GOVT of the day would like to teach us or learned the hardway…well we should know by now come GE2016 we will teach them how to REPENT ….coz by then the king will be long gone 6feet underground condominium.

    Good Luck SGporean….!!!

  17. Ron said

    My sympathies. Yes, Spore Inc is run like a big company. Therefore one questions what is the value of a Singapore passport.

    For the FTs who come from poor countries with much lower cost of living, they have little to lose. If jobless, they can go home and live off their Spore earnings for years. Or they settle down in Spore and slowing bring over all their family members.

    While I agree there is a need for foreign talents, it must be reserved for certain catgories and not a free-for-all. The system is not well regulated leading to a massive influx of foreigners (I will not term everyone as a talent) and causing thousands of Singaporeans in their prime working age to be jobless, to be taxi drivers, to be highly frustrated and suffering in the country where they are called to do NS and to be proud of.

    So when 2016 comes around how will the PAP convince the jobless, frustrated Singaporeans and their families / friends to vote for the a better future? This issue has to be addressed urgently.

    For the Singaporeans I urge them to be FTs too but overseas. I know of Malaysians who are working in Lagos, Nigeria for a large oil company but their pay is six times that of Malaysia plus generous travel benefits. There are thousands of jobs in the Middle-East and I have seen other Asians working in hotels, firms etc. If they can survive on tax free salaries, so can you.

  18. angel said

    I am 25 year old, have a business degree with 2nd upper class hons, and more than 3 years of full time working experience.
    I am thinking of moving overseas, because I cannot find a decent job after months of trying and my confidence in myself is falling as time passes….

    • UsedToBePAPSupporter! said

      I am in my forties & have a 1st Class Honours Degree in Business, I too cannot find a job after being displaced by a FT in my last job. Need to train the FT up some more & ended up the FT eventually replaced me & took over my responsibility.

      Been searching relentless for a job for the last 7 months, but so far not a single job & offer received yet due to the intense competition faced from many “qualified” FTs in Singapore market currently and many more jobless PMET Singaporeans.

      I have even tried to apply for junior level & non-managerial jobs but most of the time after I was shortlisted & had attended the respective job interviews (the interviewers themselves are mostly FTs), I was told that I am not suitable for these roles as I was from a more senior capacity previously even though I’m prepared to accept a very much lower salary & pay structure!!!

      This is all thanks to the heartless PAP Pro-Foreign Talent Immigration Policy which had seen more than 1.8 Million of them till date since Yr 2005 flooded our tiny country which further much aggravate the job market & situation here!!!

      Am contemplating now to obtain a TAXI’s License to drive a Taxi for a living instead.

  19. I am currently working overseas. I was retrenched by an Oil Major in Spore in 1996. For ten yrs, have not been able to find a job even though I am wiling to accept lower pay. Several of my colleagues gave up and retired themselves after trying for a few years. We were all at our prime of 40s & 50s, well qualified, experience. But potential employers think that they can pay less than half or 1/3 to get young, energetic(?) FT(?), tie them with contract and get incentives from gahmen for bringing in FT, why pay Sporean so much + CPF ++

    Now, many of us end up working overseas, and I thought this is what our gahmen encourage us to do. But when overseas, we see how other nationals working with us are so well taken care of by their government, we are left to fend ourselves, my heart sank.

    I love my country, that’s where I belong, where I served NS, where my root is, where my family is, Why the same people that voted in to run the country want to push me out of my own country? Aren’t they on our side?

  20. Singaporean said

    Hi Austin,

    Well said – I don’t need s wealthy Singapore, what i need is a happy Singapore!!

    Hi PM Lee,

    Please open your heart and listen to Singaporean voice!

  21. i5htar said

    most 30 to 40 plus singaporeans are competing very hard with FT in their respective industries…NOW!!! you all 20 to 29 singaporeans come “HELP us” to push FT out of our own country then…in our workplace we local singaporeans MUST work hand in hand and prevent we “DON’T” push out by the FT…

    ALSO use your vote “”carefully”” on the GE 2016

  22. Busybody said

    Well said….. We seriously need a government with a heart, not the current one. 2016 will be a turning point for Singapore.

  23. Busybody said

    Well said!!!! We need a caring government w a heart for true blue s’porean. 2016 will be the turning point.

  24. Ben said

    yes, we dont need so much $, all we want is to be happy in our country. the rich are not necessarily happy and the poor are not necessarily sad.

  25. tinydog said

    “He currently lives by renting out two rooms in his 3-room HDB for S$500/month each.” Then he sleeps on the living room sofa? Sounds suspicious.

  26. pirates said

    The irony that you yourself are working overseas. Why be that ‘FT’ yourself in a foreign land that you so do not want to see in Singapore?

    • Living Overseas And I'm Loving It said

      I’m currently working overseas too. The difference been the FTs in SG and me is that I’m just not in for the money. I love the country I’m in right now and trying my best to learn the language and integrate into the local lifestyle. The Singaporean in me died a long time ago when the government decided to destroy what little local culture we had, which we painstakingly developed in the 20th century, hand-in-hand with compatriots regardless of race. Instead of learning and adapting with a positive attitude, the FTs bring their cultures and habits to our soil and inconvenience the people around them. And some people, like Austin Foo, are forced to find a job overseas due to said circumstances. Think a little deeper before you open your gap again.

  27. Howard Wang said

    People that says they want a happy Singapore instead of a wealthier Singapore is obviously has not been through poverty before! Besides… competition is good…. if Singapore does not stay competitive, we will go the way of the dinosaurs. FT are good for Singapore… and shows Singaporean what sort of competition is out there. Wake up dreams… Singapore is a very small country… cannot live on love and happiness alone.

    • UsedToBePAPSupporter! said

      @Howard, yes I totally agreed with you that a certain level of competition is good for Singapore but not extreme, sick & unhealthy level of competition as it will lead to an overkill & displaced many more native singaporeans out of a proper & decent job as we see now, right?

      Import & bring in proper & legitimate FTs not Foreign Trashes & False Talents that comes in with fake & bogus transcripts & higher degree certs in great abundance, okie? Anybody or bodies checking & certifying whether these degree transcipts brought in by FTs are legitimate, genuine types not purchased from some degree mills overseas as well as false work experineces declared on their CVs?

      You have rightly say so that Singapore is only a very small & tiny country with limited infrastruture & scarce resources afterall,
      can we accommodate all FTs from the whole world at large especially during these trying times, given the current global financial crisis & Euro Debt Crisis that the world is facing?

      We now have more than 1.8 Million of these so-called FTs + Foreign Workers in Singapore since Yr 2005 to compete with our
      locals singaporeans for decent jobs…you tell me whether is this overkill or not?

  28. Caleb said

    The singapore government really have to solve this problem man! This is a crucial problem for the years coming ahead of singaporeans… This will get worse if by 2015 when the establishment of ASEAN Common Market and this problem has not been solved… Singaporean might just go jobless…

  29. Crap... said

    PAP sold us out and destroyed our future..

  30. bb said

    One thing I don’t understand is why sg ppl complain so much and yet vote fore pappy gov.

    • sohnawee said

      Hello… people who voted for them will not complain, Especially Openly like this; they’re so SCARE to lose, to this to that!!! DON’T FORGET the 40% whom didn’t vote for them; Complain + NEVER Give them our Votes’ OUR HONOR!!! 😉

  31. Yayrhah said

    Sickapore has a SICK PAP government who created all the employment opportunities to benefit Malaysians, Indians, Pinoys at the expenses of local citizens.At the end of the day,after they have earn enuf, they pack up and enjoy in comfort back in their own country.

    and the locals… they stay in an ever smaller pigeon hole and work till they die!

  32. George said

    Your uncle not the only one. 26 years ago, I graduated with good honours, 2.1, from a PSC recognised U and studied with many scholarship holders at that time faced the same hardship in my country of birth. Two years jobless while my 6 foreign phillipine talents remained working in the same despite flooding with drain/sea water the whole basement after i had left. Also experienced my classmate, a foreign scholar with 2.2 honours worked with PSA, while i worked as contractor senior engineer, yet he being younger and without experiences (no NS plus scholarship w/o having to earn the money to study) and being employed by PSA, advised his host country singaporean classmate to better resign as he already used vulgar dialect to scold my contractor boss! Life, live and die. Leave it to God. Power, money and wealth can be more important than citizen livelihood.

  33. Cancer said

    Fully agreed…. money will not buy us happiness. Is there a way the citizens can submit a petition before 2016 as I cannot imagine the tons of FTs that may have arrived on our shore by then.

  34. goodgirl said

    Serves you right for supporting PAP!

  35. sora said

    so sad.. can someone from our government comment on this particular case?

    • mahbok tan said

      Been there…….so just lets hold our hands n unite to reform our future….we are singaporeans….!!!!

  36. tnhk said

    i was once in many SGs shoe. 15 years ago , i decided to work in HK. i didn’t look back thereafter. Now i owned a two bedrooms condo beside Heng Hua Chuen MTR station. i am a HK PR now after serving more the minimun requrement of 7 years. i am gainfully employed. Now, i am about 38years old, thought of relocating back to SG. However, i need to rethink as Guang Zhou City are offering more pay now. My 30 years old Girl friends are owning a music school there. There’s little incentive to go back to SG, as the stake is high against me.But don’t worried i will vote in HK for Opposition come 2016 to support SG.

  37. humblyseeking said

    i think i can identify with this guy’s uncle. i’m in my 40’s and have been retrenched without notice. in my years in this company i’ve witness the FTs, which includes the local office’s boss, are from India and had disrespected their local Singaporean female managers in front of clients and sometime unknowing use their caste system on me and yet says that they don’t practice caste system at all. even though some of these so call FT aren’t as detail and good as our local talents, the local boss favours hiring FTs from their own motherland and thus quality of work fall short. as to my retrenchment without notice and without compensation, was because i disagreed with their India freelance accounts person, who wants to use unofficial channel for official work, who is indirectly related to the company’s CEO and not a staff of the company. now, i’m facing challenges finding jobs because i’ve notice that most company HR and bosses like to hire younger and cheaper FTs. so how do we take care of our own when our own local bosses are not hiring us?

  38. solaris8899 said

    agree, well said. I do feel the similar in our present work. my immediate boss(work-permit prc) and bosses r all not local. my prc boss likes prc, indian and pinoys. He said they were cheaper than us. They can speak like us and they can do the same jobs as what we do. my boss wants us(local) to share and teach them. Once they know how to do, my prc boss assign all our local jobs to FTs and we become their backup…..these r the FTs pap has imported.

  39. lover said

    fuck all foreigners…kick them out

  40. 龙的传人 said

    Try u best to look 4 a new job ! Cleaner or …….

  41. New Aust PR said

    Thanks for 60.1% and PAP, I went ahead to apply for my Aust PR after GE2011 and fortunately I got my Aust PR at the age of 40. Looking forward to start a new life soon in Aust, I will still come back to vote against PAP in GE2016.

  42. chang said

    i feel sorry for you. All those stupid idiots who voted for PAP will get their comeuppance one day when they are old and retrenched.

  43. local boy said

    I had a slap in face 6 months ago and I woke up.

    I was head-hunted for a senior position in Vietnam, HCM City. The company was a well established overseas consultant firm. The interviewer was a Vietnamese GM who had studied and worked in S’pore for over 20+ years in both the Govt & private sector. Initially I thought I was in good hands, talking to someone familiar to S’pore.

    The interview started pretty well, he started chatting about his familiarity with our S’pore systems and he even boasted writing some key papers which are still in use by our public sector. Obviously he had benefited from the exposure he had in S’pore. He said he was sent to America, Europe & China by our government & the S’pore company, working on multi-billion $ projects, etc… It was in US that he was head-hunted to be the GM of this company’s Asia’s operations.

    Then he started criticizing S’pore.. that our system is too rigid, our economy is not forward thinking, our workforce relay too much on our government to lead the way. He even said our public sector is like in the 1960s, S’pore has yet to break out of the British public sector policy. He want on another 10mins slamming S’pore back to the stone-ages.

    To a local boys & girls, “bitching” about S’pore is a norm. Why? Because S’pore is our home. Is like our spouse, we “bitch”, quarrel and cannot see things eye-to-eye, but we still love each other because our roots are all here.

    But, being “bitched” by a Foreigner who has more than benefited so much from just the exposure S’pore has given him, was another universe altogether.

    After that out-of-body experience, I woke up and ask, how many more Overseas Students who are on S’pore scholarship will become like this VN chap? How many Foreign Talents who are, yes, cheaper, but are gaining precious work experience, who will in time & experience become even better than S’pore worker, bite the very hand that fed it?

    The irony at the very end, is that, this S’pore educated and trained VN GM, has a house in S’pore and prefers to stay in S’pore, why? I asked him … because S’pore is very safe…
    Have we become a somebody’s else safety net? Are we let holding up that net up for them?

    I woke, I can leave or I can love my own land and home however imperfect it is. S’pore was built by my immigrants grandparents who choose to settle down and call this land home. I am not going to give up my land to some rich chaps who can pay their way in or some cheaper labour who can out do me. I decided to do more for less, I can fight back what is mine. I try to convince younger S’poreans not to take the easy road of being a agent but to take a lower paid job and gain work experience.

    And… that position, it went to someone cheaper.

    But I am happy, I started a new consultancy firm and compete against the big firms. I work harder, I charge much lesser fee, My company may not pay well but we try our best to train my young staff. I do not want to react the situation, I want to change it and lastly I do not need some S’pore trained foreigners to “bitch” about my country.

  44. JT said

    S’pore used to be a great country I leave in when I was a child. Now it is stressful for us, parents and our children even th elderly, what has the government does to improve and protect S’poreans that they have a job and a roof over their heads. Why are scholarships given more foreign talents ( who eneded up going back to their own countries when they earn enough) than our own people? Is there commitment in these so called citizens to s’pore? Kindly look into this ! Doesn’t our government want to develop our own people whose “roots” are here?

  45. sohnawee said

    THANK YOU Austin for making me feel Singapore and it’s PEOPLE STILL WORTHY for WHAT HAD HAPPENED IN THIS COUNTRY OF OURS, THE 61% and THE MILLIONS OF FOREIGNERS are causing me BLIND and DISHEARTEN towards EVERYTHING about THIS COUNTRY!!! EVEN to the extend of FEELING DISGRACEFUL being A SINGAPOREAN and was saying thing like “BETTER to wrap our Passport with A Nice Piece Of Wrapper like what we did to our Primary Sch Text Book!” !!! =p REALLY LOVE & RESPECT what you’d written and VERY TOUCH too!!! (^_^)
    THIS (the following copied & pasted) was what I commented below the post of V. Balakrishnan’s Disappointment of us?!!!

    WE DON’T GIVE A DAMN how you people with million $$$ salary actually feel; give us this kind of salary like you with not much of the Contribution to the Nation and we’ll tell you how GREAT NOT DISAPPOINTED we’ll feel !!! ^^ WE ONLY CARE ABOUT THE FUTURE OF OUR COUNTRY, OUR LIFE, OUR LIVING AND OUR NEXT GENERATIONS!!! (>_四<)


  46. Kate said

    Why must young Singaporeans compete with foreigners in their own country?

    Well, because this is a globalized world. There are also thousands of Singaporeans working in the financial hubs in London, New York and Hong Kong. Are they not fighting for jobs with the locals there? If you are against foreigners working in Singapore, then the same must be said about Singaporeans working overseas.

    Anyway, you are wrong about the US protecting locals. Many companies in America hired foreigners over americans due to laws which PROHIBITS a company from having too many Americans (I am talking about big companies here, not a family owned store). This law is too ensure that the workplace is multicultural and multinational. If you can’t get a job there it is clear that you are under qualified.

    Ultimately, if that happens (no foreigners working in Singapore or vice versa) then we will fall back as a country. Which country does not have any foreigners working there?

    The world is evolving either you keep up with the world or you will `be left behind. No one is going to wait for you to catch up.

    • UsedToBePAPSupporter! said

      @Kate, If I am not mistaken, you must be one of those Foreign Trashes & False Talents!!!

    • Sohna Wee said

      I ONLY wanna reply to your very last sentence.of…
      “The world is evolving either you keep up with the world or you will `be left behind. No one is going to wait for you to catch up”…

      So you think “走得快;好世界” (in Cantonese mean to get to A Good If You Run/Act Fast Enough) ?! I’ll say “走得快;死得快“!!! As in IF YOU DRIVE FAST; DIE FAST!!!

      Have you not heard of “WHAT GOES UP MUST COME DOWN” & “WHEN A THING REACHES ITS LIMIT IT TURNS AROUND”?! In Chinese is “物极必反”!!! So… that Simply means you people who Run Ahead will reach the Limit Earlier & Faster than those left behind will Slowly Enjoy your Harvest and still have Plenty Rooms to spare… just like Europe, USA and Japan for these Country were at their PRIME & PEAK long before other Countries; BUT NOW is the 3rd World of China’s turn to OPEN THE GIANT ECONOMIC MARKET & DOMINATE THE WORLD FINANCE!!! Every Country trying to have a piece of the JUICY FRESH MEAT!!! If China were to start off early, it’ll be in the same shoes like Europe, USA & Japan!!! If THIS WORLD/EARTH not gonna be DESTROYED by the GLOBAL WARMING, soon China will be in the SAME FATE as those 1st WORLD!!!!!!!!!

      By then… ONLY those NATIVES which chosen to LIVE A SIMPLE & NATURE LIFE will be LAUGHING & be GLAD that they DIDN’T MOVE FAST & END FAST!!!!!!!!!

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