News and views from an unique perspective

Competition with ‘foreign talents’ is inevitable both inside and outside Singapore

Posted by temasektimes on August 28, 2012

Firstly I’d like to say that I agree we all have issues with the increasing competition we feel in the workplace. Some of us feel this competition more keenly than others; As a medical graduate I also find that i’m in a pitched battle with UK/ US and australian grads, malaysians, Indians (from the subcontinent of India), Myanmese and Filipinas for specialisation posts and traineeships ( I still havent gotten mine…). None of us are spared. All of us to some degree feel threatened.

But let’s all first recognise that not all of this increasing competition is due to the influx of foreign talent; some of it is simply because the battles that Singapore is having to fight are simply becoming more complex. We live in a region of the world that is increasingly more modernised, with Myanmar, China, Malaysia and Indonesia all rapidly becoming more modernised. We’re losing core industries to other countries like manufacturing and even shipping. We’ve lost Maersk and Evergreen to PTP, IT assembly lines to China, etc etc the list goes on.

So competition is unavoidable, we simply cant get around it; Either we compete with them IN singapore or we compete with them OUTSIDE of singapore. But just because we cant see it doesnt mean it goes away, the battle has to be fought. Calling them names ( or driving them home) doesnt make it better, it just makes us look bad.

Next, let’s face it, Singapore is a country of immigrants. In 1960s our population was only about 1.7 million or so. In the 1930s it was less than a million, 70 years later its more than 5 times that:

How did our population grow so fast? We’re all imported lah. I dare the people in this forum to count back 3 generations and ask how many of us were singaporeans 3 generations ago. I think very few of us. So how? I’m a second generation singaporean married to a 3rd generation singaporean, My best buddy is a 3rd generation singaporean.(Our PM is a 5th generation Singaporean) Rarely do i find someone who can tell me his grandfather was born in Singapore. If you are, more power to you. So i understand that we’re all fed up of the huge numbers of PRCs. filipinas and Indians coming in, but hey, let’s not be racist, it wasnt so long ago that some of our forefathers came to Singapore trying to make a better future for themselves. Let’s not behave like a bunch of Ang Moh Rednecks saying “chink go home!”. We’re better than that. (yes I agree that all foreigners should be made to do NS. That is something I agree on. But if they’re willing to do NS, pay taxes and and contribute positively to our country, they should be allowed to stay- without racism, without discrimination- remember our pledge? “We the citizens of singapore, pledge ourselves as one united people, regardless of race, language or religion…”

Finally, I’d like to say that slamming the new arrivals doesnt make them more singaporean. That just isolates people. Integration is what makes people more singaporean. So yelling at the PRC on the bus really doesnt make things any better for any of us, it just makes us Singaporeans look stupid and ungracious ( which we ARE NOT!) Let’s not let the western nations make any more fun of us than they do already by picking on our supposed “human rights abuses”. The US would give anything to drive a wedge between the SEA and China/ India if it would take some of the pressure of them ( Especially in a US presidential election year)

So yes, we all have problems with foreigners, but bashing our own prime minister doesnt make it better. ( I’m sure he knew he’d get flamed for saying what he said in the rally speech) BUT the man has the balls to say what needs to be said. Give the man some credit ( or a heineken)


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


39 Responses to “Competition with ‘foreign talents’ is inevitable both inside and outside Singapore”

  1. CKTorres13 said

    Thanks Alexander, you have hit many nails at the correct spots.

  2. mahbok tan THE SINKI. said

    I do AGREE with you wong , with some BUT here and there….can…?

    If our govt do not practised double standard , like the stamford woffles wu’s case….!!!

    Like the sun xu insulting singaporeans….( should have been deported back as a warning to the new immigrants ) where previously we would have been ISD-ed ….!!!

    All those new immigrant who belittled singaporeans should be sent back with out compassion from our govt…!!!

    but alas ….money talk better than words , our govt are throwing a stone and killing 2 birds in the bush. Singapore are their stepping stone to the western world and our govt just pretend to act blur over it… agenda…?????

    Those new immigrant leaving singapore with their capital gain should not be allowed to take out their gains …. how ….they can think over it as they are paid in millions….not me….not you….!!!!

    If cannot then be ready to be cursed by fellow sgporeans …..KNNBCCB…!!!!

  3. Alan Ng said

    This is my first time posting and I will like to comment Alexander Wong on this well thought out and mature piece of article.
    But knowing most of the (xenophobic…) people that comes to this website; it wouldn’t be well received; so I will like to be the first to give you a thumbs up!

  4. King said

    can’t agree more. Most sensible article i’ve ever read on this website.

  5. lyv2dy said

    You are merely taking a sociological view-point of human relationships. You have totally ignored the negative economic/income impact of mass input of cheap labor especially in a constantly rising cost of living environment. No other government in the world adopts such destructive policies to the detriment of its own citizens. It would be instructive of you to go to Youtube and hear the parliamentary address(last year?) of the current British Labour Minister, soon after the Conservatives gained power, arguing why the immigrations laws should be tightened to admit no more than 100,000 pa from the previous 1,000,000 pa under the Labour Govt.

    The SHALLOWNESS in which you have approached this subject is understandably since you are only a newly minted young medical grad. but don’t publicly engage in a subject in which you neither have the academic knowledge nor LIFE’S EXPERIENCES to comment upon yet. Recommend you also read Yeoh Lam Keong, ex GIC Chief Economist’s analysis in 3 Parts on the impact of the reviled pap’s policy on indiscriminate mass import of cheap 3rd world labour in this tiny state. This is available in Yahoo Singapore currently. Don’t read only govt propaganda through the one-sided controlled mass media and ended up being a one-eyed dragon. Get an education, not a qualification.

    • Alexander Wong said

      Dear Sir/ Mdm

      Thanks. I will definitely go and look at some of the resources you’ve suggested. Some I’ve already read. Some you haven’t. Now may i suggest that you dont go about such condescencion with regard to someone that you are totally unfamiliar with? You have no idea of my “education” and what it entails.


      • Alexander Wong said

        Also perhaps you would like to educate us on what your preferred immigration policies are? I would be delighted to hear from your life experience and education. 🙂


  6. Justice Bao said

    .What a load of rubbish.

    How does your mom train you to face competition in life?By throwing you to pack of wolves,unarmed–untrained?

    Does nations send novices to Olympics?

    That is the gist.We all know how fragile Singapore is.We don’t need your or LHL to tell us.

    Singapore as our land of birth and the only country we knew,grew,shared and served NS;should train us and equip us to face competition.Instead,LHL imported foreigners who are 40% of our poulation now ;and threw them right into our homes and offices without a warning.Why not import piranhas and threw them all over our ponds,reservoirs and etc…and tell our local fishes ,survive or perish because that’s competition.

    I am amazed how ignorant our doctors are

  7. CB said

    We get fake FTs who are here simply because they are cheap without quality. We’re asked to train them then we ourselves become retrenched. Good for businesses in reducing costs but bad for country as a whole. We have to do NS, are responsible for producing next generation, finance HDB and even aged parents financial requirements fall on our shoulders. PAP can continue with their pro-business policies but there won’t be a real country with its own identity anymore.

    Why do we behave the way we do? Foreigners are easily given scholarships using our taxpayers money whereas it is almost impossible for locals to get one. The message simply out of PAP is: Foreigners regardless are superior to us. WTF. We’re never good enough for PAP. How would you behave when you’re in such a situation? The playing field isn’t even level in the first place. I’d bash every foreigner who thinks like this pro alien party.

    • Vic said

      Every year, our govt gives out 2000 pre-tertiary and university scholarships to foreign students, each costing us taxpayers about $140K for a 4 years undergraduate course. Apart from tuition fees, the scholarship provides for accommodation and living expenses. Places in our tertiary education institiutions reserved for them. Singaporeans are shut out and excluded from such scholarships. As it turns out, they are no scholars. Their results are mediocres relative to singaporean cohort.

  8. i say what i think only said

    elite at work. medical graduate. yeah i love pap!

    your forefathers come to a slum or a cosmo city and enjoy the perks? see the diff? try going to america and act like columbus, demand this and that. tell them all of them are immigrants too. what about china? their orign is from india, dravidians and mayans. so how? tell them to scram, they do not belong there too?

    so how? we all orign from monkeys, we all belong to the zoo too?

    what shit logic u imposing?

    what balls u saying the PM have? he is paid to talk at the rally. he can choose not to, at least i do not need to spend a few mins looking for channels to watch (none)

    • Alexander Wong said

      Dear Free Trolley and Aloysius, Thanks for responding in a civil and constructive manner. I’ll respond accordingly.

      Free Trolley:
      “First is with the competition with foreign talents. The writer says that we are facing competition from outside of Singapore. That might be correct, but whatever that was left in Singapore is given to foreign workers. For the same amount of pay given to a local, the company can hire 2-3 people and this is largely due to the currency difference.”

      First of all I entirely agree that we have a foreign worker issue, but I’m also stating that it’s a reality that we can’t really avoid, nor is it realistic to expect the government to fix.( as you have so eloquently pointed out- the company can hire 2-3 people due to currency difference) If you were the government how would you tell shell that they must hire 80% locals in the petroleum refining plant? What if they just decide to pack up and take the jobs elsewhere? If you can think of a way that won’t screw us all, by all means please write a letter to the pm now and make life better for us all.

      ” I am sure you will not feel this effect as medical expenses are subsidized by the government.”

      And yes, i do feel this – in fact your government doctors constantly feel this as not only do we ALSO face competition in the medical field ( we are bringing in foreign doctors too- a lot of them!) besides, your hospital doctors are not really paid as well as you think they are. (I’m not going to discuss this here- go ask your doctor how much he’s paid per hour the next time you’re in hospital; Clue:It starts at roughly 9 bucks an hour for an house officer- as calculated AFTER the recent pay rise.)

      “Second is with the claim that we are all imports ourselves. LKY understands this as well and says that it is the identity we formed through the Singapore culture. Hence, we are NOT the same as foreign talents.”

      Ok, I’m not trying to be difficult here, but please define Singapore culture. Yes, we all know what you *mean* by “singapore culture”, but can you define it? If we’re all only 2-4 generations old then how do you tell the difference between old foreign talent and new foreign talent? Yes, i know our most recent arrivals are culturally less homogeneous than the malaysians and the hong kongers, but then shouldn’t our job be to integrate them and not exclude them?

      “Many of the foreigners simply treat Singapore as a stepping stone. As they become more successful, their goal is to return to their home country where they had formed their identity in. Some would even give up their citizenship after receiving their education to skip NS.”

      Actually my experience is that most of them come here hoping to stay. I know this because I work with foreigners everyday. The healthcare industry ( technicians/nursing/ patient care assistants/porters) in general is so unpopular with singaporeans that most of my nurses are foreigners nowadays. Mainly because the pay is bad, no one respects nurses andl they essentially kio sai (pick up shit) for a living . Many of these people would have had a “higher social status” in their home country- I even have foreign doctors working as nurses in singapore because singapore doesnt recognise their degree ( In case you’re wondering, Singapore doesnt recognise A LOT of medical degrees.) A lot of these people on their first one or two years tell me they hope to stay- then after a while they start to get very dejected and feel marginalised. A lot of them go home because they dont see a future career ahead of them (There’s a lot more discrimination against foreigners than you realise- a lot of these guys have an invisible glass ceiling that singaporeans can rise above but foreigners can’t) A lot of them simply stay because its not easy to move again- For those of us who’ve moved house before you know what sort of hell it is trying to pack your whole life into little boxes and ship it to another house. Now imagine shipping it to a different country, with a wife, 2 little kids and no clear future ahead of you. Again, I’m not saying that we should just throw open the gates and let the foreign horde in. I BELIEVE we should have stringet criteria and conditions ( like making them do NS for example) But I think if people demonstrate a willingness to help us build singapore, we should at least try and welcome them. Before deriding someone, let’s try and walk a mile in their shoes… 🙂

      “To conclude, I do not mean to say ALL foreigners have the same altitude nor competition with FT is unhealthy. But this is what I observe for most of the time.”

      And of course you are entitled to believe that- I’m just sharing my personal experience. 🙂

      Aloysius, thanks for your entry:
      “Firstly, I would like to commend “we are imported”. Whether two/three/four generation – yes, our grandparents came here knowing that the going(gone)would not be good – marshy land etc and they will have to etch a living.
      Yhe differenc – today – what our grandparents and parents logged so diligently were for the future generations-period.”

      Actually if you came to singapore within the last 3 generations your ancestors probably didnt come when singapore was still a swamp- Maybe they came when we had very few medical specialists and somewhat poor medical facilities, but I really dont think they came to a swamp- That’s more like 1819 when raffles founded singapore.

      “Today, now, foreigners are flocking here to “escape” developing their homeland and “encroaching” our fathers’ efforts to give some semblance of well-being to their children.”

      Isnt that what our forefathers did? How would you feel if your malay friend told you this? (Yes, the bumiputra *were* here before us…) What if your malay friend told you “Chink go home to china!” What you’re talking about sounds like something that came out of one of our history textbooks… talking about OUR forefathers.

      “What these encroachers are doing is taking these birth rights away and thus say “wow, we never had so good” with the blessing of the authorities for reasons best known to themselves(by opening the flood-gates).”

      I hope you wont mind If I ask you a question that I hope you’ll answer. What *are* your birthrights? I’m not sure what mine are…. except to do NS ><. What would you like your birthrights to be? Free education? Free healthcare? No NS? Confirmed jobs? Pensions? What are these people taking away from you that makes you so angry?

      "For these foreigner, it is a “cultural shock”, cleaner cities with running water/electricity, shelter even to the bus-stops and good housing with toilet facilities – all these services and what-not far superior to theirs. So why stay and struggle when you can have all these without blood, sweat and tears; even to the extent of “fighting” with us for a place in school; in their homeland they would have stuggled miles to get school facilities."

      Actually, If you bothered to ask around, you'll find that with the exception for the manual labourers and domestic help, ( who admittedly are largely from sub urban and rural areas BUT dont do the jobs that singaporeans want anyway) the ones that you dont like and are competing for your jobs, are usually city folk who are eminently familiar with the concepts of running water and electricity as well as primary secondary and yes, tertiary schooling ( or singapore wouldnt let them in anyway). I'm not sure if you've realised how far the rest of the world has advanced… if you haven't been to beijing or shanghai recently, please do, Even some of the rural towns in china have satellite dishes nowadays. Not everyone migrates just because they cant get electricty or running water at home.

      And I'm sorry that I still dont see it as a lie that we're immigrants. If you do, please take a poll of your colleagues ( the ones that you consider bona fide singaporeans) and ask how many of them date back beyond their grandfather's generation. But of course you're entitled to disagree with me. That's the whole point of polite discourse.

      To the Editor:
      I'm pleasantly surprised that TT has not only seen fit to not moderate out my comments but give it a page of its own. Surprised, but pleasantly so. Keep up the good work. Let's keep up the constructive criticism. 🙂

  9. Malcolm said

    Just funny that you keep on ranting but didn’t make any sense other than the fact that we are formerly immigrants. All these complains are not a trend. This reaction nothing more than an end result of mis-management and failure of the government to listen and place true-blue Singaporeans as the first place in their policies.

  10. Free Trolley said

    Mr Wong has made two statements which do not paint the full picture of the current situation.

    First is with the competition with foreign talents. The writer says that we are facing competition from outside of Singapore. That might be correct, but whatever that was left in Singapore is given to foreign workers. For the same amount of pay given to a local, the company can hire 2-3 people and this is largely due to the currency difference. I am sure you will not feel this effect as medical expenses are subsidized by the government.

    Second is with the claim that we are all imports ourselves. LKY understands this as well and says that it is the identity we formed through the Singapore culture. Hence, we are NOT the same as foreign talents. “But if they’re willing to do NS, pay taxes and and contribute positively to our country” is a false statement. Many of the foreigners simply treat Singapore as a stepping stone. As they become more successful, their goal is to return to their home country where they had formed their identity in. Some would even give up their citizenship after receiving their education to skip NS.

    To conclude, I do not mean to say ALL foreigners have the same altitude nor competition with FT is unhealthy. But this is what I observe for most of the time.

  11. aloysius12 said

    Firstly, I would like to commend “we are imported”. Whether two/three/four generation – yes, our grandparents came here knowing that the going(gone)would not be good – marshy land etc and they will have to etch a living.
    Yhe differenc – today – what our grandparents and parents logged so diligently were for the future generations-period.
    Today, now, foreigners are flocking here to “escape” developing their homeland and “encroaching” our fathers’ efforts to give some semblance of well-being to their children. What these encroachers are doing is taking these birth rights away and thus say “wow, we never had so good” with the blessing of the authorities for reasons best known to themselves(by opening the flood-gates).
    For these foreigner, it is a “cultural shock”, cleaner cities with running water/electricity, shelter even to the bus-stops and good housing with toilet facilities – all these services and what-not far superior to theirs. So why stay and struggle when you can have all these without blood, sweat and tears; even to the extent of “fighting” with us for a place in school; in their homeland they would have stuggled miles to get school facilities.
    So, please to use this “lie” that we too are imported. Our fathers came to marsh lands with no running water and made our home in Kampongs.

  12. spotlessleopard said

    I will approve Indian and Blangladeshi and China politicians to compete with our smart Minister….and replace him at 1/100 his cost.

  13. Desiree said

    You think our forefathers had running water at home before coming to Singapore?

  14. a man said

    Sorry, I think you may have missed the mark here. We understand the importance of foreigners, imported or not, to the growth of our economy and nation, and that is inevitable with the world growing smaller. We (or at least I do) also understand that there is no such thing as a true-blue Singaporean, having most of our forefathers being immigrants, and to point our daggers at them and demand them to get lost is akin to being hypocritical and xenophobic. The general consensus is that if they can integrate into our Singaporean way of life, and grow to love Singapore, then I’m sure the locals would gladly accept them.

    However, the most important point you missed -and this is the basic crux of the issue- is how the government has failed constantly to take heed the needs of Singaporeans. Overgrowing the population via mass importation isn’t a good idea, and it would never sustain any long-term organic growth for Singapore; I fail to understand how they do not understand how appalling an idea it is. The idea is in the same vein of the recent GFC conundrum, where banks leverage beyond their means and inevitably, the whole system crashes. Sure, they achieve a high rate of return, and sure, Singapore achieves a high GDP, but this growth is artificial and very short-term, and the warning signs (overload of infrastructure, social distress, loss of identity etc) are very telling. We all know what happens in the end, and no prizes for guessing who bears the brunt of the damage.

    Above all, Singaporeans never feel that they have been respected by their government. We have been treated like a herd of (daft?) goats, whipped into obeying their every command. Unlike Australia, no special employment rights have been accorded to Singaporeans especially with the chilling statistics of approximately 80% of new jobs going to foreigners; very few medical benefits have been accorded to the poor; the growing income inequality threatens to forsake the poor; our social fabric and nationhood threatens to tear itself apart; our ministers still get paid ridiculous amounts of money; our media is controlled. There is also a lack of transparency in the use of our CPF- hell, we don’t even know the amount of losses GIC has chocked up in the wake of StanChart’s share price toppling. The government hardly acts to communicate with the people, and if they do, only serves to humour and indulge them- as in the curious case of constructing the casinos.

    Sincerely, I hope that Singaporeans do start growing a pair and realise that they are amongst the most literate people in the world, and no developed state with such high levels of education still carry on with such a phony government. Further, I hope that our government realizes that this is the 21st century and no amounts of whitewashing or political spin can sugar coat the truths and realities of what is happening and finally decide to put the interests Singaporeans first.

    And no, the man doesn’t have the balls to do what needs to be done; I’m not giving him a heineken, he can go buy his own with his grossly inflated pay cheque.

    • Alexander Wong said

      A man. Thanks for one of the most coherent replies I’ve recieved so far. You’ve hit the head totally on the nail. You are totally correct that Singaporeans feel that they’ve not been taken care of. The true anger that the Singaporean feels is that he feels disenfranchised by his own nation, that somehow we dont seem to be given a “birthright” so to speak. (I feel it all the time for example when I come back from IPPT/RT/ Reservist and look at my team of doctors and realise that I’m 2 years slower than ALL of them in advancement because 3 are girls 1 is a malaysian, 1 is from India and 1 is from the philipines,.. and poor old me had to go do NS… but that’s not the point)

      So I absolutely agree with your viewpoint that immigration brings very real social problems but the way I see it, our main problem is that we’re not just a country, we’re also a city. Every other cosmopolitan city in the world has the same problem.:

      At the year 2000 19.5% of London was born outside the UK, 27.5% of New York was born outside the US, 31.9% of LA was born outside the US and 46% of toronto was born outside Canada. (Numbers courtesy of wikipedia)

      Now wait a moment. This was 12 years ago. Can you imagine what their numbers are like now?

      So I’d be the first to admit that I’m not a population expert so I cant comment on the best way to meet organic manpower demands of our various industries. But if not immigration then what do you propose? Forced child bearing??? I’d say we’ve gotten off fairly lightly. In fact, the way I see it, It can only get worse… Again if you have a solution, I’m all ears.

      I also totally agree that Singaporeans do or dont feel respected by their government. But me put it in more stark, direct terms. It’s not that they feel the GOVERNMENT (ie the stat boards, the ministries, the apparatus) that doesnt respect them. It’s that they feel the PAP and our senior statesman, Mr Lee Kuan Yew doesnt respect them. ( Now I personally think LHL is a different kettle of fish, but that’s up for debate) Now saying that we dont feel respected by LKY seems a bit wierd because here’s our paradox: We value LKY for the same reasons we hate him. Here is a tough minded man ( some would argue an iron handed man). An intelligent driven and dedicated (and somewhat ruthless) man. The man who made us what we are, gave us modern transport, housing, an industry and a legit place on the world stage. Yet we want to feel respected by him. AND at the same time we want to have all of the molly coddling, the planned healthcare, a flawless transport system, a protectionist economy but we also want to be respected? Paradox.

      I cant really reconcile that. I suspect the majority of Singapore cant either and hence part of this vague nebulous feeling of undirectable anger and frustration.

      The other part of the anger I think is that, (and yes you’re right again) that we do have some VERY REAL rising social issues. Not the least of which is a rising gap between the rich and the poor ( with our GINI coefficient rising year by year). Now I’m not sure of the emplyment numbers and how many of these people being employed are doing jobs singaporeans actually WANT TO/CAN do. (take nursing for example) but I’d appreciate some numbers before we all get riled up about “foreigners taking our jobs”

      I disagree entirely on the part about health benefits and I call you out on that one. We have one of the most modernised healthcare systems in the world and it works a helluva lot better than the shambles that is obamacare and the NHS. Take for example a regular singaporean stroke patient- comes to the TTSH ED,- ambulance calls ahead to let ED know its a stroke, ED stands by for stroke activation, pt arrives,ED confirms its a stroke- Instant CT scan and stroke activation- onsite neurologist attends stroke activation and ALMOST always RTPA is given with an hour of arrival time. 24 hour scans available. Compare this to the NHS in UK when Mrs LKY had a stroke? She couldnt EVEN GET A CT SCAN done at night- they wanted to do it the next morning till ( it is rumored LKY called no 10 downing street.) Yes, the difference is THAT VAST. Do you know that the NHS actually has a study that shows that you can cut down the need for medical care services by extending the patient waiting times till they give up and go home?


      So no. I cant agree with you on (acute) healthcare, I’m worried about eldercare and the grey tsunami ( **very worried**) but that’s a different topic for a different day.

      On healthcare finance. Medishield, medi save and medifund are supposed to for a complete safety net for any and all singaporean’s inpatient care; Some people unintentionally slip through the net, but this is usually because someone forgot to send the social worker around or because the patient simply doesnt ask. Outpatient care is a slightly different problem- but Medifund is available for that too, and recently so has a certain portion of medisave. So if you give the options of obama care/ NHS or the singaporean 3 Ms, I’ll take our system anyday. (And by the way, people PLEASE buy some healthcare insurance. Really. REally. PLEASE BUY healthcare insurance!)

      I also dont agree that we DONT know what the GIC is doing. I’ve read K Jeyaratnam’s posts as well as prof balding’s allegations as well as closely followed some threads and replies on the part about the government’s accounting. I’m satisfied ( from my very limited knowledge of accounting) that the numbers look right. If you haven satisfied yourself then i suggest you look too. A lot of the numbers are actually more public than you realise on various government websites and stat boards.

      I think what singaporeans need to do actually, is stop complaining and go out and find these things for themselves. Convince themselves coherently what the problems are and give constructive feedback.

      Saying things like ( i quote)
      “what shit logic u imposing? what balls u saying the PM have? he is paid to talk at the rally. he can choose not to, at least i do not need to spend a few mins looking for channels to watch (none)”

      Doesnt make our government any better. (Yes I would like to see better government too! Maybe you saw my open letter to LHL after the GE- if the ST published it-… I doubt… I dont have any faith in the ST)

      Yes, the PAP is very bad at communicating, but our civil servants, singaporeans like you and me, have done a better job than we give them credit for. Just because the PAP is bad at communicating doesnt mean we have to trash our civil service guys who really do work very hard to make singapore a better place.

      And yes, I maintain that our PM has balls. It takes balls to go through lymphoma, lose your 1st wife, lose your mother in an election year, and then go on to admit that you made a mistake and apologise on national TV in front of the the whole of singapore. Before you diss him, ask yourself if he wouldnt rather be the CEO of singtel like his brother so that he can stop taking shit from NATO people like us.

  15. Aiyo, door open wide-wide like prostitudes open legs big-big and you can talk like that.

  16. Alexander Wong said

    Ps Please please please, the other thing we all desperately need to do is start separating the in our minds what “GAHMAN” is: PAP not equals Singapore not equals Government ( which includes our NMPs and opposition) not equals civil service not equals hospitals not equals police service/ fire service etc etc. If the PAP collapses tomorrow, guess what, the civil service will carry on functioning like it always has, so will our hospitals, our policeman and our firestations.

  17. Overseas Singaporean said

    My ancestor was a war hero who died in WWII for the sake of our nation. Do you mean to tell me that the current FTs will do the same? Hell no. They’re just here to reap the benefits which our ancestors had painstakingly toiled for, despite racial unrest and plenty of other problems which plagued the early beginnings of Singapore. Do you think that the current FTs will stay put and contribute to Singapore selflessly even in times of trouble? How many of them are using Singapore as a stepping stone to their true destination e.g. USA? Do you think they care a damn about what happens to Singapore, as long as their pockets are filled? There would not be fire without any catalyst. If the current FTs had known their roles and shut their mouths, like our ancestors did, there would not be any cause for dissension. Sure, we might still lament that jobs are going to foreigners, but at least we have to respect them for the fact that they respect our culture and laws, and merely wish to sufficiently provide for their family back home. I’m seriously tired of the argument that “our ancestors were also foreigners”. C’mon doctor (who are supposed to be intellectually superior compared to peasants like me), please use your brain a little more.

    • Alexander Wong said

      Dear Sir,

      Thank you for your comments. Again, perhaps you’d like to constructively educate us on what your preferred immigration policies are? I’ve already said that I’m no expert, and definitely NOT intellectually superior to you in this 🙂 Let’s make this a constructive discussion.


      • Overseas Singaporean said

        I’m also no expert but even if we can’t go down to the details, we should be able to discern with mindfulness to grasp the situation at hand. Using the old, shallow and beaten argument that “our ancestors are also foreigners” without further thought causes me to lose faith in my compatriots’ ability to win back Singapore for Singaporeans come 2016. Sorry if I offended you in any way, but I had to say this.

        As for the discussion on immigration policies, firstly, tighten up the immigration process. Make the checks stringent. Assess a foreigner not just for his ability to make money for the state, but also his dedication and devotion to Singapore’s holistic development. Next, level the field. Put in place a minimum wage law to prevent private corporations from exploiting cheap labor at the expense of native Singaporeans. Have the foreigners contribute to CPF as well. I’m currently working in Japan and pension is one of my heaviest monthly tax. But it’s fine since I genuinely love Japan and might become a PR in future (since my dear country has been twisted beyond recognition that no one can love besides the elites). Since the foreigners are working in Singapore, they become a part of our society, so don’t they too have a social responsibility to help out the poor and needy?

        As for foreigners being preferred over Singaporean males because of reservist, I don’t know how to solve that. As much as PAP tries to feed us with propaganda that “NS is to protect our country, family and friends”, it was implemented to protect the PAP regime in the 60’s where the Southeast Asian region was in turmoil. Since then, it has been a vanity, just like how Changi Airport is “No. 1 in the world”, to uphold its global image. A huge chunk of GDP goes to defense which could be put to better use. Keep a self-defense force (again, like Japan) which employs people who actually wants to have a military career, and not forced upon us. NS has to go. NS pay increment for Singaporean males after becoming a working adult is an urban myth, unless you’re in the civil service. Without factoring in workplace discrimination, women has higher earning power than males, yet males are supposed to be breadwinners of their families. See something wrong with that picture? At this rate, more and more families will be forced to be uprooted.

    • Goh Tong Seng said

      How come no one heard of your ancestor? Whats his name?

  18. Get top quality and kind heart PRC to be Minister or MP said

    Get top quality and kind heart PRC to be Minister or MP, as they are “cheaper”, “open minded”

  19. I like to bring up the view on “Competition”.

    First, which are the groups who will gain from competition?

    First on the list will be the employers. It’s a no brainer.
    Labor at it’s lowest cost and….
    Labor exploitation to those FTs from third world countries that you have mentioned above.
    Through these so called “Competition”, wages get suppressed
    and “Overtime Culture” becomes the norm in the name of “Restructuring”.
    How convenient.

    Second, good for the government. Economic growth and an impressive GDP.
    Good report card for the government.

    The government has done well.
    I just think they should have chosen a more socially responsible policy
    rather than choosing an “All Money” policy for us.

  20. @ Alexander Wong at 3.28 pm:: U’re right PAP does not equate the public services which are the biggest employers of sinkies. It puzzles me why most netizens equate them when they’re quite distinctly separate from the PAP. But of course, as executors of public policies, they wld execute them in accordance with what the legislature had decided.
    So it wld be wrong for the opp to alienate the civil servants, the Armed Forces, the public service sectors and so on.
    Hving said this, Alex Wong wld need to grow up some more to better appreciate the social discontent brewing on the ground. And he can be assured it’s not Heineken which is brewing, or boiling up rather.
    Sooner than he can imagine, the unbridled inflow of FTs taking away sinkies’ jobs, pushing home prices way beyond reach of commoners and the next generation, breaking up families as the inevitable outcome, overcrowding in buses and MRT, etc., will bring about more hardships for the rest of us except for the PAPie elites and their cronies who will be specially favoured with irregular and non-transparent practices here, there and everywhere at the ppl’s expense,
    To Alexander, therefore: pl wake up if u’re truly for the ppl and Sinkieland which belongs to the rest of us, and not just the PAPies and their cronies.

    • Alexander Wong said

      Dear Sir/Mdm

      Thanks for acknowledging the important separation between party and state 🙂 You are entirely correct about discontent boiling on the ground. I am not a “fresh medical graduate” as soneone has insinuated, and I assure you that looking after C class patients on the ward for the last 5 years has brought the reality of singaporean poverty home to me in a very personal way. This is one of the (many) reasons why I remain ( at the present moment) with the government, despite the attractiveness of the private sector. I have already stated that there is a widing gap in singapore that needs to be fixed:

      see Gini coefficient:

      “The redistributive effect of government transfers and taxes was similarly seen in the Gini coefficient. In 2010, government transfers and taxes reduced the Gini coefficient among citizen-headed employed households from 0.465 to 0.446 (Chart 5)”

      IE the GINI coefficient is rising and singaporeans are getting less equal.( note that the GINI numbers for 2010 are talking about citizens)
      The question is how to fix? We need proactive constructive dialogue to help our poor.

      However, I also volunteer my services at a low cost construction worker clinic once a month and can also tell you first hand that their plight is terrible as well.

      I’m not saying that we should favour singaporeans over foreigners ( I am singaporean after all), I’m just making the point that putting on the shoes of our immigrants and walking a mile to understand how they think and feel will make us better people, better armed to deal with the rest of the world. ( especially when we wake up and find a youtube video of a PRC lady yelling at some old lady on a bus)


  21. alexa said

    The problem with the foreigners today is they are not here to stay. We Singaporean feel cheated cos they are here to gain profit from our rich country. We the foreigners(SINGAPOREAN) of yesterday is here to stay to build and make our country rich that is why we the Singaporean is not happy especially the lower Singaporean. You cant blame them for all the anger but point the finger to our government policy. If only our government do the foreigners policy slowly phase by phase im sure we Singaporean wont have this kind of problems now and will accept them without much difficulties.

  22. Jessie said

    Fair competition is ok but it is not fair because it is a level playing field. PAP’s pro-alien policcies exempt foreigners from CPF. This makes them 17% cheaper to hire than Singaporeans. Moreover, foreigners also do not have to do NS so no work disruption. As a result, foreigners are taking jobs away from Singaporeans. This is unfair competition. The PAP will pay for this betrayal.

  23. Anon said

    Your analysis is correct, if Singapore is not a country.

    Let me put it this way – you work in a company, say as an accountant. You’re right, whether in that company or in any other company, there will be competition. Supposing your company says, you will lose your job whenever we can find the best person from anywhere in the world. Don’t you think that there will always be someone out there who is better than you? So you “can’t” compete. Or, someone as good as you, or worse – slightly lousier than you, apply but is willing to work 12 hours week, 7 days a week, for half your pay. If you’re the employer, who would you choose – you or that cheaper person? Is it simply a matter of “learning to compete”?

    Put it this way – do you think our ministers will have their jobs, if we remove the “must be Singaporean” requirement? And we say it can be anyone from anywhere in the world. Do you think Tharman is the best finance minister in the world? Or Lui the best transport minister in the world? But those kind of jobs – you’re protected because the requirement is must be Singaporean.

    Every country in the world offers their citizen some kind of protection. You can’t just enter the USA and work just like that – heck, ANY work. Australia, UK, any country.

    If any of these countries were to throw their door wide open THE SAME WAY WE DID IN SINGAPORE, do you think the citizens’ reaction will be as “just a vocal on-line minority” or worse? Put it this way, there’s 300+ million people in the USA. Suppose within 12 months, or 24 months, or even 5 years, 750 million people migrate to work in USA in all sectors. Do you think, within such a relatively short time, the 40% original USA citizens will be a vocal on-line minority? I bet you there will be VIOLENCE.

    This is precisely what Singaporeans are unhappy about. The change is too fast, too much. PM Lee gave a nice and warm chat about the wonderful past during his speech. He forgot, or probably didn’t want to mention, that since the founding of the country, we have had foreigners coming in, working here, taking up citizenship or being PR etc. Up till around 5 years ago, was there a problem? No. No “vocal xenophobic minority”. He didn’t mention that, right? He must have his reasons too, right?

    Look, I know many people feel good after PM Lee’s speech. Its like a doctor who told a very sick patient, “wa zai nia .. wa zai nia ..”. That’s called emphaty, or in political terms, sweet-talk.

    The problem with sweet-talk is this – the next morning, you took the bus or MRT to work – reality dawns. Has he said anything new that you didn’t already know or heard of? Let me go back to the USA example above – even if they were sweet-talked to, do you think 300+ million Americans can, overnight, digest and integrate 750 million new migrants? Especially if the 750 million were brought in here BEFORE ascertaing if they can, or are willing to, integrate.

    I know some Singaporens, after hearing PM’s speech, want to give it a chance. All I say is this – evaluate both with your head and your heart. Put it this way – When he talked about how so-and-so raised kids with a good future, was it because of his policies, or his father’s policies (or, more precisely, Team-1 comprising LKY, GKS, HSS etc policies). In other words, reflected glory from the past, the past which occured >30 years ago. Yes, we’re grateful, and remain grateful, to the founding fathers. But what have you, and your team, done for us lately .. and by lately, I mean last 10 years. I don’t see anything special or new. I see us overshooting the influx of foreigners, because the Govt wanted to over-drive the GDP. I also see major policy mistakes – the next biggest being abandoning the cost plus formula for public housing and switching to market based rate. Because the tail is always chasing the head, we’re in intermediate stages of an inflationary spiral.

    And what’s most frustrating is that instead of tackling the problem head-on, the Govt treats us like kids and give us kid formula. Either we grow at all costs, or be prepared to have your children work as maids overseas. Oh .. Singaporeans are now procreating enough, so we must bring in foreigners very rapidly. To put it in simple terms, we may need to bring in immigrants at say, 5% per annum to ensure population stays level. But they brought it in at say, 30%. Either 30% or please have more kids. Either we stay with our social welfare model, or be prepared to Danish style 50% taxes to go to a welfare state, nothing in between.

    And do you realise that when it comes to prescribing solutions to Singaporeans, it tends to come down hard and harsh? And when it comes to foreign immigrants, its kid gloves. How many times have they said “new citizens must integrate”. Did they ever say, “if you don’t integrate”, what will happen? Did they ever say, we will tighten up our CRITERIA so that the chances are, you will integrate? No, kids glove treatment.

  24. pokemon said

    typically PAP style believe ” last time..” . last time singapore used to open their doors without worrying about being break in. Now leh? last time, most of our ancestor help build this nation where it is now. if we keep importing foreigners, are our economy at the same stage of development , let say 30 years ago? last time we use to have independent unions, now dont have. last time we use to have independent press, now dont have, we have SPH only. last time, world faces communist treat, now, we face disgraceful capitalist threat!. last time.. the list goes on. i would like to quote what our DEAR leader PM lee say the best” let move on” and not dread over the past.

  25. xik fuck said

    competition from inside and outside?

    theres always competition. always.. but which gahmen screwed their own ppl for the sake of singapore inc. we are the only “modern” country that our gahmen can do what they want, when they want.

    if the government wanna compete with the outside pls do but not at the expense of native singaporean, they bend backwards for MNC and business owners to exploit workers with cheap depressive salary due to the FTs ability to work for 50% of the pay, while the rich get richer we die.

    . what abt all the sovereign wealth they plunder? what abt our CPF? those funds can help local singaporeans to compete via business funding, tech funding, R&D, free and better education, etc.. and equipped us with the tools with skillsets that is useful than the WDA marketing course of ORAL 101 in carparks.

    and yeah u wanna start talking abt birthrate. i am a malay native my grandad was here and was serving the british military and was a POW and so did his grandad serving the johore sultanate as a soldier and due to the open door policy now we are the smallest of minority group we are smaller than the pinoy and ah tiong. next t ime u wanna see a singapore malay u need to go to the zoo.

    look at the newbie doctor, MBBS (mouth big brain small) and he talking abt competition. in all my life i never see a poor starving doctor earning 1.2k and has been getting paid that much for 10yrs with no increment and work like a slave cos his FW equivalent is earning 1k and he is scared of getting fired and being replace, what abt a PMET that got retrench and replace by an pinoy or ah tiong with 50% of their salary, u are comparing FT’s with family to come to singapore as economic migrant 90% of the FTs i work with are singles and share a flat with 5 other FTs their cost is so much lower compare to a singaporea with wife, kids and parents to take care + tons of bills.

    and thank got those FTs doctors came here as nurse cos their medical cert is not qualified or else i go hospital i will wanna see their degrees and where they get them b4 even letting them touch my family. if they are so compettive go to europe or USA or something cos i am sure they welcome these doctors with open arms.

  26. bb said

    Mr Wong you are partly right only. Yes we have to compete but the gov should not marginalised sg citizens and at the expense of sg ppl eg jobs, scholarships etc.

    Take my case I could not find any meaningful job in sg so I move to Australia as a PR and with luck I found that my skill is required here. In Australia the jobs are protected in the sense you must have a right to work in Australia ie for PRs and citizens and here I compete with these ppl for jobs not pinoy and PRC where the qualifications are not even recognised here. Who I should grateful with- the Australian govor the singaore gov . So the picture you painted is not exactly true.

  27. sg boy said

    Thumbs up for Alexander.

    As usual the responses here would be filled with haterz and trolls who probably have trouble dealing with the bad experiences life throws, and turn on the government/PAP (since they tend to confuse both) as an easy scapegoat.

    Not everyone who drops by on this website thinks like them though, and its admirable that you’d take the time to give some of the less retarded critics a little response.

    The sad truth though, is that majority of Singaporeans (who surf these pseudo socio-political websites) are very very ignorant. They are not there for dialogue, they are just there to buttress their own conviction and egos that there is some ‘force’ out there that is preventing them from achieving much more than what little they have managed to do.

    Stick to what you believe in.
    It is human and natural to care for those who are unfortunate with their lot in life, though it is ironic that these people include the haters out there who lack the compassion, empathy and critical thinking facilities as you do.
    But don’t let them affect your work in helping the poor, the oppressed and the destitute – it is no irony that these people are the foreign labourers whom our citizens shun and demean.

    I assure you that majority of those who have the will and the intellect to eventually rise to positions of influence are not the people who are blind haters of the incumbent government.

    They are able to critically discern as you are, and that is what gives us the strength to change and mould society for the better.

  28. Interestingly, the mantra that the PAPies ruling clique has coined for its Youth Wing is, “stand up for the Party regardless of the criticisms”. Undoubtedly, this has bn thought out to curb initiative and dissent in the Youth ranks for a monolithic and authoritarian hierarchy to hold sway, and to tighten the grip of the famiLEEs and ther cronies over the party. It’s sad many PAPie youths hv fallen for the ploy, when Nation shd come b4 Party and not the reverse that is being rammed down their throats.
    Wld PAPie Youth b happy with the relentless influx of FTs? Wld they be content with the discriminatory treatment of MIW children doing NS vis-a-vis commoners doing NS at great risk to life and limb? Wld they be happy with their CPF locked up till kingdom come for the ruling elites and their cronies to enjoy astronomical pays, and with no safety security net 4 them in old age or somehow disabled thru accident or sickness or whatever? Wld they want to continue 2 b deprived of basic transport to ferry their school-going children ‘cos of monstrous COEs for m/cars? Shd our elderly hv 2 continue to slog it out despite their frailties cos their CPF monies are kept from them, they’ve got 2 contribute 10% of their gross annual income meagre as it imay be, and no govt help monetarily is available with the onus passed 2 their children who hv 2 pay 4 all sorts of mortgages, from housing to transport (if they hv a car), to household items like a basic fridge, chikdren’s education and so on?
    The list goes on and on.
    Things can only get worse when the govt is elitist and cares only for a small minority of the very well-heeled and their cronies with wayang-kulit and cosmetic changes as their answers to the ppl’s hardships and woes. Clearly, a regime change is the only answer to the ppl’s predicament.

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