Saturday, 6 April 2013

Singaporeans biggest threat to Singapore's growth

Banking analysts urge government to remove citizens from the island

Two average local people enjoying an afternoon swim at the infinity pool at Marina Bay Sands. Everyone in Singapore lives like that. For sure. Pic stolen from

Singapore's citizens are the biggest threat to national growth, said analysts at Goldman Sachs at an annual wealth conference yesterday, held in Marina Bay Sands.

Speaking at a panel discussion about emerging markets in Asia, the analysts agreed that the increasingly vocal citizenry in the once-orderly island has disrupted economic growth for 2013 and will continue to be a drag on the economy for years to come

"Let's be honest here. Does Singapore need Singaporeans? No. The children are taken care off by foreign domestic helpers, the hawkers are Malaysian (PRC Chinese), the buildings are constructed by Bangladeshis. All Singaporeans are good for are populating the army, which has never gone to war!" said emerging markets specialist, Thomas Money.

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No need for Singaporeans in Singapore 

When I first read the article I was naturally annoyed. How dare these people talked about Singaporeans in these ways and that Singaporeans are really not needed in this country. Oops, I mean city or is it hotel? On reflection, I think they made perfect sense. From the cleaners in the foodcourts to the top leaders, none of them are needed, really.

As for the cleaners, they are old, slow and not cheap. They can be easily replaced by the CBF foreign workers. The construction workers are all foreign workers, and so are the retail and sales staff, and the nurses. The doctors too are increasingly being recruited from overseas.

In the PME categories, banking and finance are now nearly all filled by foreigners from the West and India, or at least in top and middle management. And don’t have to say about the IT industry as probably 90% are from India. They dominance in this industry has made Java and C programming language obsolete. The new language used is Tamil. 

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The Vulnerability of Singapore

What is Singapore’s greatest vulnerability? Is it being surrounded by dangerous nations? Land scarce? No natural resources?

I would argue none of the above. Singapore right now faces a much greater threat. We are in danger of inadvertently becoming dictatorship without realising it.

Why do I say that? How can I know what the future holds? I don’t, I have no idea. And that is part of the problem – no one knows what the future holds for Singapore. Who will be the PM after LHL and how will that person rule – these are huge questions with no obvious answers.

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Headhunters in Singapore have spotted a new trend – the rise of the opportunistic expat. 

The term refers to a foreigner who arrives without a job or a relocation package in the hope of finding work in a booming economy. While there are no hard or fast figures available, recruitment firms across the city have seen a marked increase in opportunistic expats. 

Mark Hall, vice-president of recruiter Kelly Services in Singapore, said: "People want to be in Singapore. They recognise that in a competitive job market, being on the ground will demonstrate their commitment. At the same time, hiring managers are becoming increasingly reluctant to consider candidates who are based outside of Singapore when a diverse and qualified talent pool already exists here.”

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The Single Dude's Guide to Singapore, Part One - The Cons

Singapore, a tiny nation-state at the southern tip of Malaysia, is really on the rise these days. A haven for big banking and other big money businesses it is quickly, along with Hong Kong, turning into the economic powerhouse of Southeast Asia. Shit is happening there, skyscrapers are going up all over the place and people are immigrating from all over the region (and the world) to get in on the party.

With that in mind, I went to Singapore for an extended period this summer and I have a lot to say about it. There’s great party there and an enormous number of hot chicks, but despite those advantages Singapore is absolutely not a recommended single dude travel destination.

The first reason is the cost. Singapore is a super expensive place. The first night I was there I went to the bar and ordered a pint of local brew on draft, Tiger Beer. My cost? $18 SGD ($15 USD). That was at a somewhat fancy place and prices at super high end places can be as high as $25 SGD ($21 USD). Add this to the club entrance fees which can often be $30 SGD and up and you can easily spend a couple hundred bucks going out on a weekend night and not even get drunk. 

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The Single Dude's guide to Singapore, Part Two - The Pros

In my previous article on Singapore, I detailed the numerous drawbacks for the single dude to Singapore. Seen from that perspective, Singapore sounds terrible- high prices, gold diggers, fagbagsters, DAFFs, and retardation do not make a good single dude travel destination. But, in case you find yourself in Singapore for some reason beyond your control, don’t lose heart. You can make it work here if your skills are good and your bankroll is decent.

First of all, understand that a visit to Singapore is, in our opinion, only an acceptable idea if you’re being paid to be there. There are so many better, cheaper places to go on vacation in the region that blow Singapore out of the water, like Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines, to name a few. So these pros only apply if you’re being paid to be in Singapore, and paid well at that.

Singapore is a great place to meet very nice, cool, well connected door openers. There is a lot of money in the town and some of these guys are just unbelievably stinking rich. We find that there’s a lot of cool and friendly locals with with lots of family money and connections that are very nice cool dudes. Being cool, nice and friendly and helping those guys meet a girl or two is a great way to find yourself in VIP sections of the hot clubs, private planes, yachts, islands, and so on. This is one of Boris’ superpowers; where he goes he finds the money people who always seem to really take a shine to him. As I write this we’re sitting in our apartment in Manila with a live in maid that our new friends here lent to us for the next couple weeks. These guys have (as far as we know an incomplete list), a city mansion, a country mansion, a beach house, and an island. Believe us, it’s a good idea to be a cool dude and make friends with everyone you meet, you never know where it will lead you. I’ll make Boris write an article on this concept later. 

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European businessman makes fun of Singaporeans and says they are a retarded bunch

I greatly enjoyed reading the Single Dude’s articles on the pros and cons of Singapore. As a European business person I would like to expand a bit on the “Singaporean retardation” described in the cons article. When I arrived in Singapore I was absolutely shocked at the almost unimaginable retardation of the local Singaporeans. Given that Singapore is one of the wealthiest countries in the world and apparently has the highest number of millionaires per capita, I was expecting to find a mecca of high technology and efficiency but I was sorely disappointed. It’s true the center of the city is full of modern looking buildings and is very clean but aside from that Singapore has much more in common with “third world” countries than it does with it’s very “first world” image.

Let me preface the anecdotes I’m about to tell by stating that the situations I’m about to describe are very much “business as usual” in Singapore and not extraordinary in any way shape or form. These are daily occurrences, not once in a month or once in a year occurrences. Also, please remember that Singapore claims to be an English speaking country, but as you will soon find out, that is a very unsubstantiated claim.

The first thing I would like to discuss is the experience of trying to hiring a Singaporean. On one particular day last year I invited seven people to an interview. These were people that had all previously applied for the job online through a type job site. I gave them all more than 48 hours advance notice. Of the seven: four did not respond at all, one wrote back and said they didn’t like the neighborhood (it’s centrally located serviced by 10 bus routes and one metro line), one didn’t like the time slot I offered and one confirmed by telephone. The one person who confirmed the interview did not show up and did not call or email to cancel. Please remember these are people that are supposedly looking for employment and applied for the job, not people I identified via a CV search and cold called. I can’t imagine not going to a job interview for a job that I applied for! And as I said this is not abnormal, these are very typical examples of what it’s like trying to hire a local in Singapore. 

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singledude - i dun unerstan u lah!:

hardwarezone - An exposé of Singapore and Singaporean retardation

tremeritus - i dun unerstan u lah!

ChannelNewsAsia - Singaporeans biggest threat to Singapore’s growth 

The rise of Xenophobia against Singaporeans in SG!

With the mass importing of foreigners into Singapore, there is a new trend or classification arising where you see xenophobia on the rise amongst foreigners. One clear example is in the workforce, where Singaporeans are not hired for jobs that they are fully capable of managing and delivering.

Instead what you see are pockets of foreigners who hire their own native people to protect and secure their own interests. Such practices are xenophobic and a subset of being Singaporean-phobic.

Just look at your work place. Do you not see the foreigners forming their own clusters, and refusing to blend in like the rest of us Singaporeans did in the old days? 

Rebutting ST article – SGs are generally not xenophobic

Last Saturday’s article (“Zero tolerance for intolerance”) focuses on xenophobia but does not address some of the core issues.

Singaporeans are, by and large, not xenophobic, in the definitive sense of the word (irrational hatred of foreigners).

Preference for things – and people – familiar is prevalent in any country. I have lived and worked overseas for extended periods, and I can attest that in Singapore, there is none of the overt anti-foreigner sentiment that I have encountered overseas. 

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ST reporter defends her article on speaking out against xenophobia

Glad to see that Saturday’s column (‘Zero tolerance for intolerance’) has continued the ongoing discussion on xenophobia, and I thank everyone for giving their two cents’ worth. In response to a few things being circulated online, I thought I should make clear some points:

1. Just because I say that xenophobes like to be known as pro-Singaporeans, it doesn’t mean that all pro-Singaporeans are xenophobes. That’s a very important difference.

2. Some have compared Saturday’s column to an earlier Singapolitics piece I wrote about the online reaction to Amy Cheong. I hope people have taken the time to read the two pieces and not just the headlines. Fundamentally their messages are different, yet linked. Broadly speaking, Saturday’s column argues we should stand up to discrimination, while the Singapolitics piece talks about the way and manner we should go about doing that pushback. 

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From intolerance to tolerance

The author seems to suggest that there are valid reasons to be angry at foreign workers and there are valid reasons to dislike them because they talk too loud, they smell and they crowd the public transport and you have to fight for seats. Also, to vomiting level, the oft repeated “they are taking away our jobs” So if they were to speak softer, smell better and give all Singaporeans (how do you tell?) seats in buses and trains, they can be tolerated? But wait, they are still taking away our jobs! So they cannot be tolerated and its right to heap hatred and anger at them.

Also I notice a lot of times this anger seems to be one directional. Asked if they would agree if citizens of foreign countries treat friends, relatives or Singaporeans who may be staying, working and studying there they way some anti-FTs are doing now, you may even get a blank stare. It may never occur to them that Singaporeans can also be foreign talents in foreign countries, reaping as much money as they can, staying in well-oiled apartments and maybe behaving badly too. 

Honestly speaking those traits like talking loudly are also common with Singaporean. Who have not heard the uncle, aunty or even youngster speaking loudly on the phone in the MRT? Try being the last person to start running the marathon and you wouldn’t believe the kind of sensations that reach your nostrils. Fighting for seats? How many Singaporeans even give up their priority seats to the needy? To expect the foreigners to behave in a certain manner when the rest of Singaporeans are as rude and unruly is just failing to see one’s own faults. Furthermore, Singapore doesn’t have a strong culture like Japan or Taiwan where you feel pressurized to conform (like speaking softly in trains and not use mobile phone) or be told off (in case of Taiwan) for not. Even then, youngsters in those countries are starting to buck these cultural traditions, like not giving up seats to the needy.

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Fight intolerance with tolerance

A racist remark is made, perhaps unwittingly, on social media. A disgusted Facebook friend or follower takes a snapshot. Before long, it’s gone viral and the person is in very hot water.

On Monday, former NTUC employee Amy Cheong followed in the footsteps of Shimun Lai and Jason Neo with a series of racist Facebook updates that attracted swift condemnation online.

Just like those two, Ms Cheong’s Facebook remarks about Malay weddings attracted name-calling and the lodging of a police report. 

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Why Chinese nationals and S'poreans don't always get along

In a recent Lianhe Zaobao article, Dr Ji Yun points out that Singapore continues to be misunderstood by the Chinese from the People’s Republic of China (henceforth ‘Chinese’) in various ways. Specifically, he notes how ordinary Chinese show the tendency to conflate those who are geopolitically Chinese (zhongguo ren) and those who are cultural-ethnically Chinese (hua ren). Unfortunately, he did not elaborate on this point, as his article was focused on other issues.

Drawing on my ongoing doctoral research, I would like to offer a few thoughts and observations on the misunderstandings between Singaporeans (here, I am primarily concerned with those of Chinese ethnicity - henceforth ‘Chinese Singaporeans’) and the Chinese, as well as the implications of such misunderstandings with regard to social cohesion.

As Dr Ji Yun’s article points out, one first and foremost way in which the Chinese misunderstand Singapore, especially in the case of those Chinese immigrants who are relatively new to the city-state, has to do with the discrepancy between the Chinese and Singaporeans’ respective ethno-national imaginations.

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