Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Population Vs Xenophobia

Xenophobic PAP or Citizens?



We all know that PAP’s open, liberal and discriminative policies had resulted in disgruntled citizens’ anger, frustrations and unhappiness at the party and the govt.

LHL who as an elected representative, in his position of authority and as a major decision maker, implement and approved those failed PAP policies that has resulted in majority of citizen’s mistrust, hatred and disappointment towards his leadership, his govt and the party.

Yet ironically instead of attempting to regain public trust and changing their policies etc, PAP and its leadership accused Singaporeans for being noises, hate speeches and xenophobic, shifting the blame and responsibility to our electorate and portraying Singaporeans badly instead of PAP, LHL’s leadership and his failed policies. 

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British vs Singapore Xenophobia



Now such xenophobia in the UK is more like the real thing compared to our barking dog rants online against immigrants in Singapore. Over there and if my memory serves me well in Australia too, Indians had been killed for just being foreigners. Nobody is going to lynch immigrants here. The government is over reacting and the foreign media is picking up the wrong vibes.

The government does not have the courage to conduct a survey to discover how much xenophobia exist here. Anecdotes don't tell the complete story and it is sneaky to take advantage of people who by and large do not think in statistical terms which an issue like this calls for. They want to frame the challenge into a form where as usual we bear the larger burden of carrying the deleterious effects of their policies. It is the familiar Singaporeans are second class citizens until it becomes a vote issue.

Well to their credit they are trying to right that now, but because it is done in a hurry, it is frightening the foreigners. They wonder where and when this would end. Where it matters, the foreigners here are probably more afraid of what the government might do than what they had to bear with online. Government policies discriminating against them have bite. Online insults are only harmless barks and some unhappy people letting off steam. They just need more time to learn that. A government that get nervous so easily is cause for worry.  They don't understand the Internet. President Obama is streets ahead going by how he used social media to raise funds and rode into the White House. 

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On Foreigners, Xenophobia and The Straits Times



In this year’s National Day Rally (NDR), besides announcing new policies, such as the construction of more universities and increase in social security, Prime Minister Lee also brought up the issue of xenophobia and hostility towards foreigners as well as the need for foreigners to integrate.

However, the big picture has been missed once again, by the PAP establishment.

The issue with foreigners, unfortunately for PM Lee is not a simplistic case of a few black sheep in society who are openly hostile and xenophobic. 

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Xenophobia: Singapore trying to stay extraordinary



Link to Yahoo's article.

Xenophobia is a non-issue here. The government is over reacting because our exceptional reputation is at risk. Just imagine and I bet it has happened when foreign leaders meet with our leaders and query our recent anti-foreigner sentiments. Can you imagine visitors asking President Obama about rising high profile gun incidents in America? America is being America but Singapore is turning into something else and these visitors unthinkingly thought that we can have our cake and eat it. You can't.

This government forgets that its policies are causing us to become just like any other global city, albeit trying to the among the best. They forget that you cannot be uniquely Singapore as we have come to be known from how we got here when they execute strategies for us to wear it like London or New York for global citizens work and play here. You must choose. As usual they want to have everything. It is all rhetoric because when life is lived you start trying to have everything but eventually are forced to choose when you have become so exhausted and stressed. There is work-life, lots of it but just ignore the balance and cut out the babies to get more life. 

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Singaporeans either reproduce more or be prepared to get replaced by migrants and work permit holders : Lee Kuan Yew

Yahoo! News Singapore, 12 Aug 2012
Lee acknowledged the pivotal role that work permit holders have played in building Singapore’s infrastructure, and the contribution of permanent residents, without which he said the country’s population would be older, smaller and would lose vitality.

Further, he noted that in the long term, Singapore’s “educated men and women must decide whether to replace themselves in the next generation”. Currently, 31 per cent of women and 41 per cent of men are choosing not to do so, he noted.

“But we’ve got to persuade people to understand that getting married is important, having children is important,” he said. “Do we want to replace ourselves or do we want to shrink and get older and be replaced by migrants and work permit holders? That’s the simple question.” Full story

Related:
S'pore to lose majority to migrants if declining birth rates continue - The Malay Mail
Singapore's former minister mentor concerns about low birth rate - Xinhua

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Dr Tommy Koh reflects on immigration and integration


Dr Tommy Koh: "We are one of the least xenophobic people in the world"

ONE of the major themes of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally speech on Sunday is immigration.

PM Lee explained the imperative for Singapore to welcome immigrants, in order to make up for the deficit resulting from our low fertility and in order to benefit from the brain power and cultural diversity which the highly educated and talented migrants bring with them. The PM called upon Singaporeans to be bighearted in welcoming them. He also called upon the migrants to make greater efforts to integrate into Singapore. I have three reflections on the subject of immigration and integration.

First, I wish to remind ourselves that we are an immigrant nation. With few exceptions, most of us are the descendants of immigrants who have settled here from other parts of Asia and the wider world. My grandfather left his home district of Tong An, in China’s Fujian province, because of anarchy, poverty and the lack of opportunity. My mother was a first-generation immigrant from Shanghai. On my father’s side, I am therefore a third-generation Singaporean. On my mother’s side, I am a second-generation Singaporean. 

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Low birth rate – stop persuading and start addressing existing problems faced by parents



Since the ’80s, the Government has introduced more measures to try and up the birth rate in Singapore – to no avail. (See here.)

Some 94 per cent of those polled in a Channelnesasia survey after PM Lee’s National Day Rally speech said the measures he announced to encourage Singaporeans to have babies will not help raise the birth rate. Some have used this to ridicule the prime minister.

But underlying all these measures is a serious concern, as with any country which is facing the same situation. Their governments too have tried and are trying all kinds of measures to prop up their birth rates too. So, while we may ridicule and laugh at the measures instituted by the Government, we should give some thoughts to this – unless one is convicted that a falling population will not hurt our prosperity or progress. 

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Why are Malays having more babies?

 

The forum letter, as it appeared in The Straits Times on Wednesday. (Yahoo! photo)

When asked about the letter, 26-year-old project manager Nur Anisa told Yahoo! Singapore she agrees with the point Goh made about having a strong network of family caregivers.

"Grandmothers, aunts and even neighbours are willing to take care of the children if the mothers have to work, and we do have a very close-knit community--that really does help," she said, adding that Malays place a great amount of value and emphasis on the family and in having families.

She stressed that Malays do not dismiss the importance of career progression and financial security, but said simply that they typically value their families much more. 

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Mentos National Night


Govt seeks public views on population challenges

For the first time, the National Population and Talent Division has made available a document online at www.population.sg containing facts and figures of the current population and issues that the Singapore society has to grapple with in the coming years.

Among others, the Government is hoping to solicit feedback on topics ranging from encouraging early marriage and children as well as views on the need for foreign workers.

Currently, there are 5.26 million people here, of which, 3.8 million are citizens and permanent residents. Non-residents, which largely consist of work permit holders, stand at 1.46 million.


Luring back the Singapore Stork

 

This is in spite of the generous Baby Bonus scheme, tax rebates for parents, extended maternity leave and various inter-ministerial committees – such as the Tripartite Committee on Work-Life Strategy and The Working Committee on Marriage and Procreation - set up specifically to address this issue. 

So the government continues to crack its brains to devise new ways to urge the island’s married couples to reproduce. It is forming the new Ministry of Social and Family Development in November, which will be headed by current MCYS Minister Chan Chun Sing. Mr Chan said that he will be seeking feedback from various sources over how to tackle this worrying trend. 

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A History of Singapore’s Population Control, 1947 ~ 2001 

According to the government, a significant reason Singapore is opening up to foreign workers and immigrants is because our fertility rate is currently one of the lowest in the world at 1.2 TFR (total fertility rate). 

In this article, we present a visual look at how for more than 30 years since 1947, the Singapore government has introduced birth control measures to bring down the population, and how from 1977 onwards till now, the government has battled Singapore’s ever decreasing birth rate with little success.

Fertility rate comparison between Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Korea, and the world.


From 1947 all the way to the early ’70s, the Singapore government was concerned how given our small land area and (then) small economy, overpopulation will lead to lower a lower quality of life across the board for all Singaporeans – more mouths to compete for scarce resources 

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Mainstream press scuttling Govt's effort

By Andrew Loh 

I was in a discussion with some government officials the night before on the issue of Singapore’s population situation. One of the issues, naturally, which came up in the discussion was the Government’s immigration policy. When the discussion ended, I had a clearer picture of the concerns the Government is trying to address, and various programmes and effort which it is considering.

I felt the Government was sincere in looking into these, and is working to address the concerns which many Singaporeans have expressed, especially about the number of foreigners in our midst. And truth be told, it is a complex matter involving a slew of issues. Implementing whatever solutions the Government comes up with will also take time.
I left the meeting feeling cautiously hopeful.

Imagine my horror when I opened the papers the next morning.

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Singapore vows to create 'social safety nets'

Singapore will create a new culture ministry in a bid to "focus on building a cohesive and vibrant society" amid simmering discontent over immigration and income gaps, the prime minister said Tuesday. Lee Hsien Loong restructured his cabinet and vowed to boost "social safety nets" as he announced in a statement the creation of the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.

One of the new portfolio's tasks will be to promote "harmonious communal relations", said the statement, which comes as tensions mount between native-born Singaporeans and foreigners, mostly mainland Chinese.

More than 37 percent of the 5.2 million people living in Singapore are foreigners, many of whom have taken up citizenship and employment in the city-state in recent years.

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New fault lines between old, new citizens: PM Lee

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has cautioned Singaporeans to pay attention to new fault lines that have appeared between new citizens and native Singaporeans.

Speaking at Teck Ghee Community Club's racial harmony celebrations, Mr Lee said new citizens may be ethnically similar, but fault lines may develop as the new citizens have different norms, habits and attitudes.

So he said Singaporeans must watch out for instances of social friction, especially online. 

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Miscarriage of opinion: Credible feedback process needed on population issues

The call for feedback on Singapore's population issues should be preceeded by a call for feedback on the feedback process itself.

The public relations (PR) exercise tied to the National Population and Talent Division's Issues Paper July 2012, titled "Our Population, Our Future", appears to elicit feedback on a fait accompli.

Even if there is massive objection from citizens to the republic's immigration policy, Singaporeans will have to live with a done deal as the non-resident population has already depressed the number of citizens to 62 out of every 100 souls on this island. You may well understand the scepticism that has greeted the release of this report even if the intent to garner feedback is genuine.

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The making of another tragedy

The govt is going all out to convince the people that bigger and bigger population is good for the country and people, more lively, more alive, richer, vibrant and prosperity for all. And for the sake of this glorious future, Sinkies are encouraged to have babies for all the wrong reasons. The primary reason is economics, to support the ageing population.

When the reasons for having babies do not include whether the parents want the babies, love to have babies, can afford to have babies, it baffles the logic of any reasonable and caring man. How responsible it is to ask people, with no regards to their emotional and psychological needs and financial ability to go and make babies?

Babies that are born not out of parental love and needs but to serve the country and nation are simply the products of a tragedy, a misguided logic for their existence. And this tragedy or pain is hundreds of times more than the two years of NS and 20 years of reservist liabilities. The commitment and responsibilities, including having the money to give these children a decent life, start the day they are conceived and would not end till they are financially independent. What about those who are not gifted to struggle successfully in this highly competitive city? Who’s responsibility to provide for them? 

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The drive for more babies...and the wrongheadedness of the approach

The government is getting there...but still does not quite get it. Or chooses not to get it. Or believes it can have its cake and eat it too. Wishful thinking.

There were 2 articles and an editorial on encouraging Singaporean couples to have more babies. Very briefly, the first article was on NTUC pushing for 6 months paid maternity leave and an option to take a further 6 months unpaid. The second article was on changing employers' mindset to make for a more baby and mother friendly work environment. Finally, the editorial was on how a holistic approach was needed to encourage more babies, ranging from more hands-on fathers, to affordable childcare and preschool.

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. 

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OPINION: Using low fertility rate as an excuse to mass import foreigners


Singaporemind.blogspot.sg, 3 Aug 2012

In the past the govt has put forth many other reasons for the foreign influx - businesses find it hard to get Singapore workers, there are jobs Singaporeans won't take, there are skills we cannot find among Singaporeans. It is problematic to use these reasons justify the large influx and does not explain why foreigners are imported for jobs that Singaporeans also do and no employer is required to show proof that he cannot get a Singaporean to do the job when reasonable wages are paid. Maybe this is why the govt has chosen to use the low fertility rate of Singaporeans as a justification for importing more people

The Singapore govt brought in 5-10 times the people needed to make up for our shortfall in fertility rate. These numbers do not include the non-PRs here on work permits and employment passes. Basically, when you look around and see a lot of foreigners and new citizens, they are here not because our fertility rate is low,

The main reason for the large influx is to generate economic growth by expanding the workforce and to meet the demands of employers who do not want to pay higher wages to hire Singaporeans.Full time

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Singapore and the Strange Tale of Population Control Policies



Truth is stranger than fiction. And weird things happen when governments decide to help you decide how many children you can have

Take Singapore, for instance. The island nation, after gaining its independence from Malaysia in 1965 had a total fertility rate (children born per woman)north of 4.7 (down from 5.41 in 1960). As demographers know, a nation needs a TFR of 2.1 to maintain itself for the long run. The Singapore government was spooked by this high TFR and was determined to remedy the situation

What they wound up doing is pretty clear. They put Singapore on a path to extinction. And as a result, its estimated that Singapore’s TFR hit an all-time low of 1.11 last year, which puts it at the bottom of the heap of all the countries in the world. Here’s the skinny on the Singapore governments population control policies from the Library of Congress Country Studies, current up to 1989. It’s the tale of unfettered, nay,promoted,

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An expat in Singapore: If we pulled out, Singapore will be poor and lonely

Doreen is an British expat working in Singapore for the first time, and she went to the NDP Facebook page to complain about not being able to get NDP tickets due to the balloting

Well and good, since she is entitled to whinge about the scarcity of these NDP tickets. But then somewhere down the thread, she says this:

Doreen Everitt: "I'm not on holiday, I live and work here. And like most overseas people we are here at your request to make sure your country makes money from our expertise." 

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AWARE: Improving fertility requires re-examining all policies that affect quality of life in Singapore



In response to the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD)’s invitation for public feedback on improving Singapore’s birth rate, AWARE has submitted our recommendations for population-related policies that pertain to Singapore’s Total Fertility Rate (TFR) and measures to encourage parenthood.

TFR and parenthood are issues that are inextricably linked to perceptions about the quality of life in Singapore. If citizens do not have a sense of well-being and security, they will not be inclined to take on additional responsibilities of parenting and caregiving. It is therefore necessary to address all policies that affect our citizens’ quality of life, including those on education, health, housing, employment and retirement.

The following are some of the recommendations that we have submitted to the NPTD: 

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Government policies are the root cause, xenophobia is merely the symptom


At a recent forum on xenophobia attended by Zaqy Mohamad, Member of Parliament (MP) for Choa Chu Kang GRC, panelists expressed concern that Singapore might be turning into a xenophobic society.

“To me, I don’t think xenophobia itself is a problem in Singapore; the problem is that we might be heading in that direction,” said one of the panelists, Andrew Loh, editor of publichouse.sg.

Another panelist, Ravi Philemon, former editor of The Online Citizen, said: “My fear is that unless we start talking about these issues and unless we have a real dialogue, there’s a real danger that we may go in that direction.”

Attempts by the forum to define “xenophobia” included descriptions such as an “irrational dislike” or “unreasonable hatred of foreigners”. 


Rethink our immigration policy

The free movement of people is not only a basic human right but also contributes to economic growth Just as the free movement of goods and capital, the movement of people brings in new knowledge and ideas to the labor market and strengthens the country.

However, the need for immigration should not be seen as the main solution to any labor shortage – real or perceived.

Labor shortages are generally cause by either shortages of proficient workers in particular fields. For example, if a school system is geared towards producing only scientists or engineers, there is likely to be a shortage of artists or creative individuals; or alternatively, a snowball effect due to an imbalance between salaries and the cost-of-living.

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Nation, city state, globalized-city : What will our future be?

"You see, people in Singapore, they're pampered. They're not seeing how crowded Tokyo or Hong Kong or London or New York subway is. And therefore, they think it is very crowded. But Singapore has only 5 million. And I think if you plan it properly, I think we can live comfortably with 8 million" - TAN GEK YAP, NUS[Link]

Singapore is different from cities like New York, Tokyo and KL which can be filled by people living else where in the same country....and those who don't like the place can find other parts of the country to go to...for an American there are plenty of options from the east coast to the west coast of this big country. Singaporeans have no other options if they want to stay in their home country. The other difference between us and Tokyo or New York is although our population is still smaller than these cities. New York like most other American cities has a population density that is one quarter that of Singapore's. Because the city is located with a country, the city limits can be shifted as the population grows. Singapore cannot expand its land area except through reclamation i.e. our land area for the city is limited.

In order to grow to 8M, there is only one way - import people and increase the population density.

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Gov’t tackles immigration challenges head-on, seeks public feedback



The Government recognises that Singapore cannot grow its foreigner population indefinitely and is now seeking public views as it sets out to formulate a sustainable population policy.

In a paper released on Thursday, the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) noted that the Government has to calibrate the inflow of foreigners into the workforce to “support a shift to a higher value, more productive economy”.

Several measures already put in place, including higher levies, lower Dependency Ratio Ceilings and higher income and education criteria for the foreign workforce, have been progressively tightened across all skills levels.

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Population feedback: What statistics are missing?

I refer to the Issues Paper, Our Population Our Future, July 2012, published by the National Population and Talent Division of the Prime Minister’s Office, which is seeking feedback from Singaporeans.

In order for Singaporeans to give more meaningful feedback, I would like to suggest that the population statistics be further broken down in the following areas: 

Occupation and salaries
What are the occupations and salaries of the 6, 12 and 46% of S Pass, Employment Pass and Work Permit Holders, respectively, of the total Non-Resident Population?

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Construction workers from mainland China at Renewal Christian Church in Singapore, which offers meals and English lessons to those far from home


Sim Chi Yin for The New York Times

SINGAPORE — It was bad enough that Ma Chi was driving well above the speed limit on a downtown boulevard when he blew through a red light and struck a taxi, killing its two occupants and himself. It didn’t help, either, that he was at the wheel of a $1.4 million Ferrari that early morning in May, or that the woman in the passenger seat was not his wife.

But what really set off a wave of outrage across this normally decorous island-state is the fact that Mr. Ma, a 31-year-old financial investor, carried a Chinese passport, having arrived in Singapore four years earlier.

The accident, captured by the dashboard camera of another taxi, has uncorked long-stewing fury against the surge of new arrivals from China, part of a government-engineered immigration push that has almost doubled Singapore’s population to 5.2 million since 1990. About a million of those newcomers arrived in the past decade, drawn by financial incentives and a liberal visa policy aimed at counteracting Singapore’s famously low birthrate. 

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Anger against open door policy

Rising public quarrels between Singaporeans and foreign immigrants show that the government’s policy of mass importing of foreigners to boost the economy and correct a declining birthrate is going badly.

THE possibility of violent conflicts breaking out between locals and new immigrants is occupying centre-stage in the minds of the government in Singapore.

In recent years, the level of anger has been rising as public quarrels between resentful Singaporeans and provocative foreign immigrants increased in number and intensity.

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Thanks To PAP's Liberal Acceptance of Immigrants, We Are Fooked AfookGAIN!

The tenor of the debate has unnerved some Chinese immigrants, and angered others. Wang Quancheng, the chairman of the Hua Yuan Association, the largest organization representing mainlanders, said the government was not doing enough to help integrate new arrivals, but he also blamed Singaporeans for their intolerance and said many were simply jealous that so many Chinese immigrate here with money in their pockets. 

“Of course, the new arrivals are rich or else the government would have to feed them,” he said. “Some locals are very lazy and live off the government. When new immigrants come, they think it is competition, taking away their rice bowls.” [Link] and [Link]

We were called "dogs" and our PAP leader (Was it a certain Mr Baey???) asked us to look within ourselves and reflect. Now we are deemed to be intolerant, jealous "very lazy and live off the government" and we are supposed to suck it all up for the orgasmic thrill of Wang Quancheng, the chairman of the Hua Yuan Association? 

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Integration, an exercise in futility

What or who are Sinkies supposed to integrate with, the foreign workers, maids, the EP talents, definitely not the real super foreign talents? The latter no need to integrate. Or are the Sinkies supposed to integrate only with the new citizens and PRs or with all of them?

Not only this is a problem, there are many conditions and developments that made integration just that unrealistic. Those who remembered, we used to have Integrated Schools in the 60s and 70s, to integrate our young as people of a nation. That was the right place to start with, the impressionable young.

And from schools to working life, there will be plenty of time to get to know each other even as acquaintance. We have achieved some degree of social cohesion over the years, over many years, not days. And we have a people, though of various races, but already here for generations and quite adapted to the culture and social norms. 

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Singapore: Many new PRs, citizens young, well-qualified

Immigration statistics revealed by the Government for the first time showed that, between 2007 and last year, the majority of those granted citizenship and permanent residence were not economically active - with the number of dependents outstripping working individuals.

During this period, there were 259,040 new permanent residents (PRs) and 92,310 new citizens. Working individuals accounted for 48 per cent of the new PRs and 38 per cent of the new citizens.

On these statistics, population experts noted the increasing number of Singaporeans marrying foreigners and reiterated that their spouse or children should be granted PR or citizenship.

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Singapore population reaches 5.26 million

Out of the 5.26m, 3.27m are Singapore citizen and 0.54m are Permanent Residents. Remaining 1.46m are work permit holder, employment pass holder, foreign domestic workers, students etc etc.


Between 2007 to 2011, a total of 92,310 new Singapore Citizenship were granted. That is quite a huge number. 

See Video: Our Singapore Story


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Singaporean flying China flag outside HDB

From ‘Police investigate woman over China flag hung outside HDB’, 26 July 2012, article in asiaone.com
The news first made headlines when photographs were taken of the flag and posted on citizen journalism website Stomp. They have since gone viral, with several concerned citizens asking if it is allowed. In a statement posted on their Facebook page, the police clarified that the public display of state flags of any nation other than Singapore is “generally disallowed,” unless an exception is catered for.

Flag of our Great Great Grand-fathers
This isn’t the first time, though, that China or other national flags have been making an insurgence into the heartlands. The richest source for such sightings, unfortunately, comes from STOMP, which is of course, a troll haven for anyone with Photoshop skills and a NIMBY agenda.
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'Singapore needs 30,000 immigrants a year for economic growth'

Singapore needs to take in 30,000 immigrants a year to support its economic growth and offset the impact of the slowdown caused by the ageing local population, a study on the city state's demography has said.

The Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) research concluded that Singapore would have to take in 30,000 new citizens or permanent residents every year if the country's total fertility rate remained at 1.24.

The study included those in Singapore on work permits, long-term social visit passes and foreign students. The study said that a higher non-resident population would mean a larger total population of 6.8 million in 2030, if the proportion of foreigners in the population is raised to 33 per cent.

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Chairman of Hua Yuan Association blames Singaporeans for tensions with new arrivals from China

Wang Quancheng, the chairman of the Hua Yuan Association, the largest organization representing mainlanders, said the government was not doing enough to help integrate new arrivals, but he also blamed Singaporeans for their intolerance and said many were simply jealous that so many Chinese immigrate here with money in their pockets. 

“Of course, the new arrivals are rich or else the government would have to feed them,” he said. “Some locals are very lazy and live off the government. When new immigrants come, they think it is competition, taking away their rice bowls.

Yang Mu, a Beijing-born economist who moved here in 1992 and became a citizen three years later, acknowledges a host of superficial differences, saying he finds locals somewhat aloof, more likely to work late and less likely to spend the night commiserating over stiff drinks. Unlike Singaporeans, people from China, he said, would never split a dinner tab.

“I’ve voted in four elections now, and it is great to live in a country where you can trust people and trust the government,” said Mr. Yang, 66, who formed a local charity that teaches English to Chinese migrants. “I still don’t feel Singaporean,” he added. “The truth is, when I retire, I’ll probably move back to China". 

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Just Plain Honesty

An article in the New York Times has got Singaporeans all hot and bothered. The article in question was on Singapore turning into a xenophobic society as more and more local Singaporeans turned against the growing foreign population within the country.

However it wasn’t the article itself that got Singaporeans in a frenzy. The main problem Singaporean has was with Mr Wang Quan Cheng. Mr. Wang is a founding member and a current committee member of the “Loving and Giving Society” in Singapore, a group set up to help newcomers from mainland China adjust to life in Singapore, and he was quoted as saying that local Singaporeans are very lazy and live off the government. He was then quoted as saying he would probably return to China once he’s retired.

The first quote puzzled Singaporeans as the Singapore government has always rejected all forms of welfare but it was the second that really got Singaporeans all hot and bothered. Many Singaporeans are upset by Mr. Wang openly admitting that he is here for his job and he will go back to China once the job is over. Basically, Singaporeans are upset he is here only for the money. 

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Millions Of Immigrants Cause Tension In Singapore

In a bid to avoid an aging society and dearth of workers, Singapore has welcomed roughly two million immigrants in the past two decades. In recent years, the topic of immigration has dominated the political landscape, with urbanites increasingly concerned about competition for jobs, housing and transportation, and voters increasingly questioning the ruling party's immigration policies.

In many countries the presence of foreign migrant workers often becomes an issue in hard economic times. And that's starting to happen in Singapore. Forty percent of the workforce there is imported, a product of Singapore's success.

On a weekend evening, visitors to Singapore's Geylang Road may feel like they've taken a wrong turn and arrived in Mainland China. Chinese migrant construction workers pack sidewalk eateries, chattering over plates of dumplings and noodles. The government allows Singaporean construction companies to import seven foreign workers for every local hire.

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The Xenophobic Discourse of Integration

Singapore is always in a frenzied search for an other in order to maintain an increasingly illusory sense of self. The only disagreements are only about where the other is located.

By all appearances, xenophobia has never been more rife in Singapore, as exemplified by certain netizens who are able to link every problem to the presence of foreigners with the creativity that Singaporeans have long been maligned of lacking. We know very well that xenophobia has surfaced because of the PAP’s policies that have allowed large numbers of foreigners (or people who until quite recently were non-Singaporeans)—there is neither any point in denying this nor any use in harping on it except in a critique of public policy.

The potential for xenophobia, nevertheless, exists even if the PAP had not chanced upon the brilliant idea of bringing in large numbers of foreigners for the creation of addictive economic statistics of such unrivalled pulchritude that benefits the image of Singapore without benefiting the country itself. In other words, it must have been possible for many Singaporeans to manifest xenophobic behavior even before it is manifested. In an alternative reality where the PAP has implemented a closed-door, the same potential for xenophobia is present even if it does not result in any particular behaviors that would prove its presence. 

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Integration is a 2-way street



Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has urged new citizens to do more to integrate into Singapore society and get more involved in the community.

And he sounded yet another call for new and old citizens to work together to maintain social stability as he warned of new fault lines appearing in Singapore society.

On top of race and religion, he highlighted rising tensions between older citizens and new immigrants, a hot-button issue that has dominated political and social debate in recent months. 

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Even new citizens and expats think Singapore is having problems. Are you listening Sir?

The  pro-MIW camp and some Ministers here like to diss and dismiss Singaporeans who air their concerns vocally about socio-political issues as being anti-government and daft idiots who don’t understand what is best for the country.

Well, I wonder what they will call expats and new citizens who do likewise (complain about the same things that is)? In recent months, I have been hearing some of my expat friends complain that there are too many foreigners in Singapore! Yes, it’s ironic isn’t it?

And I have heard many complain about the high cost of living here with some of them even posting pictures on their Facebook of products that cost more here than those back in their home countries. 

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Government policies are the root cause of new fault lines between citizens, foreigners

As at December 2011, Singapore had 3.27 million citizens, 0.54 million Permanent Residents (PRs), and 1.46 million foreign workers, students and foreign domestic workers. The ratio of foreigners and PRs to citizens has exceeded 1:2.

These shocking statistics were recently released by the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) which is currently seeking public feedback on Singapore’s population challenges.

But the paper has already made up its mind on what will happen to Singapore if we don’t continually ramp up our population. As quoted by the media, “the paper spells out the future implications of a shrinking and ageing workforce – fewer working people to support every elderly person; a less vibrant, less innovative economy; and eventually, a hollowing out of the population as young people leave for more exciting cities”


Immigration – A Different Approach

I think it is fair to say that most Singaporeans genuinely want Singapore to prosper and for Singaporeans to have a better life. Similarly, I believe that this is also what the government wants. This is especially so if the rules of democracy apply, for the “better job” a government does, the more likely it will retain power. In light of Singapore’s developing and increasing political awareness,

I have reason to assume that the rules of democracy will continue to get more rigorous. Using this set of assumptions, I surmise that both the government and the people are after the same goal and the differences lie in methodology.

The biggest hotbed for contention is the issue of “foreign talent”. To the average Singaporean, these immigrants are an eyesore. They take up valuable space on public transport and allegedly compete with us for jobs. In short, there are apparently too many of them and in land scarce Singapore, they appear to be even more “in your face”.

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Residents make up bulk of PMETs

Foreigners make up around one in five of Singapore's mid- to higher-skilled workforce, or what is called the professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) group.

Comparatively, residents - Singapore citizens and permanent residents (PRs) - make up the bulk of this segment, where competition from foreigners is often cited as a concern. Residents account for 79 per cent of the PMET workforce.

These estimates were released for the first time yesterday by the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD), as part of an Issues Paper called "Our Population, Our Future".

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NPTD: Our Population, Our Future



Peter Drucker was right that the silver haired are selfish and think little of the next generation except those belonging to their families. This will lead to the unintended Tragedy of the Commons scenario. The younger generation do not know that this may be the only government in the world that think and care more about their future than any in the world.

The more experienced and powerful voice of the old will try even harder to make their final days here more pleasant, but it will often come at the expense of the young. In fact Law and Foreign Affairs minister K. Shanmugam had rued publicly about this.

On this the Chinese concept of filial piety is easily abused. I was fortunate that my late parents always place their grand childrens' welfare ahead of theirs. I know some parents see their children as their pension plan. A very bad idea for the kind of world we live in today.


Govt needs your feedback on population issues



Some interesting highlights of the paper:
• As at Dec 2011:
  • Singaporeans – 3.27 million
  • PRs – 0.54 million
  • Foreigners – 1.46 million
• That means as at Dec 2011:
  • Singaporeans – 3.27 million (62%)
  • Non-Singaporeans – 2.0 million (38%)
  • Total population – 5.27 million
• Of the 1.46 million foreigners (PRs not included):
  • Work Permit Holders – 46%
  • Foreign Domestic Workers – 14%
  • Dependent Pass Holders – 15%
  • Student Pass Holders – 6%
  • Employment Pass Holders – 12%
  • S-Pass Holders – 8%
• Sectors which foreign manpower (PRs not included) work in:
  • Services – 43%
  • Construction – 30%
  • Manufacturing – 27%
  • Others – 0.4%
• 63% of all PRs granted were under 30 years old
• 53% of new citizens were under 30 years old
• 38% of new citizens were granted to working individuals, while 62% were dependents.
NPTD is seeking public feedback on this matter through its newly launched population website at www.population.sg. The public can also send their feedback through email: nptd_contact@nptd.gov.sg . The public consultation process will run till 31 Oct 2012. 

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Chinese Newcomers Find a Hostile Welcome in Singapore

Sim Chi Yin for The New York Times

Mainland Chinese tourists wait for taxis with their bags of luxury shopping in hand after dinner at a seafood restaurant in Geylang.

Sim Chi Yin for The New York Times

On a Sunday night, mainland Chinese eat food from their hometowns and drink beer along a stretch of tables that snake down a main road in Geylang, Singapore’s colorful migrant and red-light district. 

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Gov’t tackles immigration challenges head-on, seeks public feedback

In a paper released on Thursday, the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) noted that the Government has to calibrate the inflow of foreigners into the workforce to “support a shift to a higher value, more productive economy”.

Several measures already put in place, including higher levies, lower Dependency Ratio Ceilings and higher income and education criteria for the foreign workforce, have been progressively tightened across all skills levels.
Some will have to be phased in over time to allow businesses to restructure and adapt.

Some will have to be phased in over time to allow businesses to restructure and adapt


Why S’poreans are pissed with PM Lee’s comment on social integration with immigrants

I was not surprised that netizens took strongly to what our Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsein Loong has  mentioned on the new cracks between newly-converted citizens and native ones.

A check with the Yahoo article saw 1800 comments listed on the page – which should be a new high for the news portal.

Transitioning also did a poll study on the subject  Do you think that the current foreigner-local integration tension will worsen in future? two months ago and a total of 1,111 readers responded of which 93% or 1,033 felt that the foreign-local integration tension will worsen in future. 


Inviting and importing new and complex problems

‘The times are changing, the population is changing, the expectations are changing. Singapore’s society is now more diverse and complex now that new citizens from India hail from many regions of the sub-continent,’ Lee Hsien Loong

Hsien Loong spoke to the Indian community on how to integrate the India Indians from northern India into our society. Their presence, and the presence of China Chinese and others, are making our country more diverse and more complex, and definitely with more complex problems.

Do we need these problems in the first place? Do we need so many foreigners to raise our economic growth data?

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In Singapore, Vitriol Against Chinese Newcomers

In private, they also note that many of the more outlandishly wealthy arrivistes are just as likely to hail from London, Dubai or New Delhi as from China. Among them is Eduardo Saverin, the Brazilian-born co-founder of Facebook whose decision to trade his American passport for Singaporean residency provoked a tempest in Washington this year.

The issue nonetheless looms large on the political landscape, and many analysts say anger over immigration contributed to the governing People’s Action Party’s unexpected losses in last year’s parliamentary elections.

The government has already started to adjust the spigot. The number of new permanent residents has decreased by nearly two-thirds since 2008, when 80,000 applications were accepted, while the number of people granted citizenship has remained level at about 18,500 a year, according to the National Population and Talent Division. Despite the growing animus, Singapore remains the third most desirable immigration destination for affluent Chinese after the United States and Canada, according to a survey by the Bank of China and the Hurun Report, which compiles an annual list of the richest Chinese. 

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Rapid GDP growth thru population growth is cancerous growth

“The times are changing, the population is changing, the expectations are changing. Singapore’s society is now more diverse and complex now that new citizens from India hail from many regions of the sub-continent,” Lee Hsien Loong

Hsien Loong spoke to the Indian community on how to integrate the India Indians from northern India into our society. Their presence, and the presence of China Chinese and others, are making our country more diverse and more complex, and definitely with more complex problems. Do we need these problems in the first place? Do we need so many foreigners to raise our economic growth data?

Economic growth, plus inflation, and higher cost of living, congestion and competition for goods and services if not accompanied by real income growth, is making life more difficult and inconvenient, and costly of course, to many Singaporeans. If the income growth does not exceed all the cost of inflation it is as good as downgrading, taking a pay cut.

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From the Courtesy Campaign to Integration Woes

Here is a video of a current affairs programme during which a caller phoned in and made his views felt (see 30 seconds into the video). He spoke very bluntly but he echoed the sentiment of  so many Singaporeans across the country who feel crowded out and 2nd class in their own country. It is hard not to feel this way when one witnesses so often incidents similar to the one on the bus involving the old lady and the foreigner. On a typical ride on the bus or MRT, more than half the time Singaporeans find they are a minority in MRT carriage or bus they are on.....let me ask you, how else do you expect ordinary Singaporeans to feel?



However, when the PAP wanted more foreigners, they gave them scholarships to study free in Singapore and some of them have such bad English, they can't even speak one proper sentence, yet they were allowed to enter our universities and polytechnics. We see this eagerness of PAP govt to embrace foreigners and a comparative lack of appreciation in the treatment of Singaporeans in the past.


My 1st World Chinkapore?


Just how loud and aggressive can one get? Such noise is most detrimental to the happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation.According to our PM Lee, we are supposed to lookout for these fault-lines and help these loud and aggressive people fit in 

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Singaporean asks PM Lee: Why are you asking us now to solve your problem?



Racial harmony and national loyalty are two very different issues! It showed how inadequate your understanding of the people your government had brought into Singapore! Many New Citizens from PRC got upset when your news media reported negative news about China, its system and people.

When a PRC driver crashed his Ferrari into a taxi, killing a Singaporean driver and a Japanese tourist, a New Citizen from China told me, “At least the China driver did something good just before his death – he killed the taxi driver and his passenger, instead of crippled them. They should thank him!”

Mr. Prime Minister, you got no bloody clue on what is in the mind of these New Citizens or PRs who came from China! They despised nearly everything about Singapore! They came here to study, but they looked down on your education system; hiding in their heart or mind, they regard Singaporean teachers and students very low. They hate Asean leaders talking about disputes on South China Sea – “Who the hell are you to talk about our territorial waters!”, never mind they are holding a pink identity card!

You and your government seemed to have over fantasized New Citizens’ loyalty for Singapore! I know them, you do not! Not even your father!

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Facebook co-founder Saverin debuts on Singapore rich list

(Reuters) - Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, who renounced his U.S. citizenship earlier this year, made his debut on a Singapore rich list published by Forbes Magazine.

Brazilian-born Saverin, 30, is No.8 on the list with an estimated net worth of $2.2 billion.

Saverin has been living in Singapore since 2009 but only gave up his U.S. citizenship ahead of Facebook's initial public offering.

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Singapore's rich grow wealthier, says Forbes Asia

Despite an uncertain global economic outlook, the rich in Singapore have grown wealthier this past year, according to the latest Singapore Rich List published by Forbes Asia.

Singapore's 40 richest are now collectively worth US$59.4 billion (S$74.5 billion), up 9 per cent compared with the previous year.

The top five richest in Singapore has remained largely unchanged in their rankings from last year's list. 

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"Enormous" problems if Singaporeans don't procreate: Lee Kuan Yew 
Former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has expressed concerns over Singapore's low fertility rate.

Singapore should welcome new immigrants: MM Lee
Singapore should welcome new immigrants and help them integrate into Singapore society, said Minister Mentor Lee. 

Lee Kuan Yew calls for understanding
Former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has called for the understanding of Singaporeans towards the government's decision to continue taking in immigrants


AFP: Singapore needs young immigrants
Singapore needs young immigrants to save its economy from long-term decline as a result of a falling birth rate, elder statesman Lee Kuan Yew said

S'pore will lose vitality and drive
Singapore's former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has acknowledged the pressures new immigrants have placed on citizens and home prices in the country

Singapore need young immigrants
Singapore needs young immigrants to save its economy from long-term decline as a result of a falling birth rate, elder statesman Lee Kuan Yew said in

Singapore’s Lee Says Immigration Policy
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who’s seeking to extend his party’s rule in elections next month, defended the government’s immigration

Tackling head on Singaporeans' unhappiness over foreign workers and immigrants, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday outlined several new measures in housing

Singapore gains from inflow of foreigners: PM Lee
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said welcoming foreign talent and new immigrants benefits Singaporeans. But the government understands Singaporeans 

PM Lee’s speech to focus on economy,
The National Day Rally speech of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday will have four main themes — the Singapore economy, education system 

'S'poreans must support balance between growth, foreign labour'
With government advance estimates last week showing that the Republic's economy had contracted in the second quarter of this year, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen yesterday reiterated the need for public support in terms of the trade-offs between economic growth 

Public support needed to balance foreign talent and economic growth: Ng Eng Hen
Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen said Singapore will be able to strike a proper balance between economic growth and foreign talent - with public support. He urged Singaporeans to play their part in helping to achieve such a balance. Dr Ng said it will always be

Foreign inflow pace 'to be adjusted': Chan Chun Sing
Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Chan Chun Sing said Saturday that the pace of the inflow of new immigrants has to be constantly adjusted.

Quality immigrants over quantity
Immigration in Singapore is not just about the numbers, but also about the quality of immigrants, said Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Chan Chun Sing yesterday.
 

Build a sustainable population to keep Singapore vibrant: DPM Teo
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said that Singapore must ensure that it has a sustainable population to face future challenges

Immigration crucial in baby-scarce Singapore: Govt paper
Singapore’s population will start to shrink by 2025 if no new citizenships are granted to immigrants and the fertility rate remains low, a government paper said Tuesday

Government releases 5 future population scenarios
The National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) released five future population scenarios on Tuesday which highlighted Singapore's pressing challenges.

Integrate, not assimilate
Singaporeans should expect immigrants who take up citizenship here to integrate, and not assimilate, into local society, going by the opinions of population and immigration experts.

Respecting other cultures key for foreign integration: Study
What makes one a Singaporean? For the 2,000 citizens surveyed, it is respecting the practices of different races and religions, reported The Straits Times