Monday, 16 December 2013

Singapore to become hub for Indian diaspora

ESM Goh calls on Indian PM Singh

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, who is on a visit to India from December 3 to 6, called on Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi. (Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

ESM Goh Chok Tong, who is on a visit to India from December 3 to 6, called on Indian PM Manmohan Singh in New Delhi today (4 Dec).

Both ESM Goh and PM Singh reaffirmed the excellent relations between Singapore and India.

They also noted that Singapore and India will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations in 2015, and looked forward to the reciprocal state visits by the presidents of both countries that year.

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‘Indian fever’ architect ESM Goh meets PM Singh in India

Since last year, when Singapore started to make a number of changes to the criteria that qualified foreigners for a work pass, India got increasingly unhappy with Singapore as the changes to Singapore’s labour law did not give India the preferential treatment accorded by CECA.

Things came to a head this year when the Indian government cried foul over Singapore’s attempts to impose restrictions on the entry of foreign workers, which affected Indian nationals already working or seeking to work in Singapore [Link]

According to Indian officials, this was a violation of the services trade agreement under CECA. The Indian officials said that the restrictions would adversely affect Indian nationals, especially middle level workers.

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Singapore to become hub for Indian diaspora: ex-president

Singapore's former president SR Nathan has said the city state is set to become a hub for the Indian diaspora

"Singapore is set to be a hub for the Indian diaspora. It is a springboard for these businessmen to venture into the region," he said on Tuesday night at the curtain raiser to the Global Business Leaders Conference of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) to be held here next month.

"We have benefited from them," said Nathan, referring to the IIM Alumni working around the world and contributing to the global economy.

Over 4,500 Indian-owned companies operate out of Singapore, making them the largest business community here. Some 100 major Indian corporations have set up their Asian headquarters in the city state.

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Govt decries CECA violation by Singapore

Those of you planning to make it big in S'pore might be in for a setback. S'pore recently made certain changes to its Employment Pass Framework law to reduce inflow of foreign workers significantly to create more job opportunities for local professionals. The move is expected to impact even those Indians working there at present across various sectors.

The amendments, made on a proposal by its Ministry of Manpower, has armed the S'pore government to bring down the foreign share of the total workforce to around one-third while encouraging employers to invest in productivity in return for incentives in the form of tax breaks.

The move came as a recent Singapore's policy paper predicted that its population would grow by 30 per cent to 6.9 million by 2030, with immigrants making up nearly half that figure. The paper led to demonstrations in S'pore yesterday, a rare happening in the country, in protest against rise in immigrants

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India fails to make much headway for its banks, professionals in Singapore

The problem is deeper concerning Indian banks operating there – ICICI & SBI. According to S'pore government officials, it has to maintain rigid banking standards and norms in order to maintain its status of a financial hub.

Indian banks operating there are required to meet very high qualifying standards in order to do business there. The qualifying standard in the form of Asset Management Ratio (AMR) is higher for Indian banks compared to other international banks operating there such as BNP Paribas or Standard Chartered, a senior official told Business Standard.

In view of the high AMR, ICICI & SBI end up making losses in their domestic banking unit (DBU) book and whatever profits are made are purely on the Asian Currency Unit (ACU) books. DBUs are referred to those banking units that offer a range of products and services from current accounts for customers to credit facilities for commercial ventures, while ACU is an accounting unit used for all sorts of foreign currency transactions.

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New Singapore story: First came the Chinese wave, now it is the Indian diaspora

This trading port seems to be reliving its migrant past with the arrival in recent times of large numbers of traders, workers and students from China and India, both of which are linked historically with the island state since the days of Sir Stamford Raffles.

In a way that is reminiscent of China’s earlier influx, Singapore is turning in a big way towards India to help pull itself out of its current economic rut.

The ties go beyond immigrants and trade and investment, touching on a host of matters ranging from films and music to scholars, from politics and military cooperation to technology.

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From Swiss Standard to Indian Dream

Our relations with India cannot be better. Thanks to Chok Tong for spear heading this drive into India and the signing of CECA. There are so many Indian businesses operating here, the biggest among the foreign countries. And they are 200,000 India professionals working here, helping to shore up the property prices. And there must be at least half a million Indian workers helping up in the construction industry and building HDB flats for Sinkies and keeping the construction cost low. This must be a win win formula for both countries

Chok Tong is there in India again probably discussing for more social and economic cooperation. There will be a one year long celebration in both countries in 2015 to commemorate the growing relations and cooperation between the two countries. This social economic and political copulation could lead to more big things to come. GIC and Temasek would now be able to invest more of their treasure chests in India. Many Sinkies can also look forward to working in India. Our jobless PMEs can discard their taxis and security guard uniforms and move to India for more lucrative jobs as professions and managers once again

India is a big country and full of opportunities. Sinkies must not always think of working here. Think overseas, and India is where they could find their fortunes in rupees. The next super power will have more than a billion people and a subcontinent to offer. Look at the opportunities and possibilities to help rebuild India.

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Indian expat families seeking to recruit unemployed educated Singaporeans as domestic maids for $600-$800, 27 Nov 2013

We have clients from the Indian expat community in Singapore looking for local female domestic helpers.

Our clients prefer applicants who have high school equivalent education or higher, English-speaking and must know how to cook and clean, take care of children/elderly, and handle pets. Applicants must be mature, patient, honest, and hardworking.

Salary is between $600-$800 monthly depending on education and qualification. Working time is from 8am to 7pm, Monday to Saturday. Live-in is not required. Only Singaporeans and PRs need apply. Those interested pls send your application to



I come across this advertisement on gumtree where a Indian expat family is looking to hire educated Singaporean to be their domestic maids for $600-$800

I find this advertisement shocking as I have never seen or met a Singaporean working as a filipino maid.

The ad state that salary varies from $600-$800 depending on our education and qualifications. I am a unemployed degree graduate but am I so cheap?

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6,000 Indian companies operating in Sin

It is reported that there are 6,000 Indian companies operating here, the largest group of foreign companies, outdoing our traditional partners like the US, Malaysia, Japan and China. This explains why the whole of Changi Business Park is probably filled by Indian companies.

How do these companies contribute to Singapore and its economies and what is the balance sheet in favour of Singapore? For sure, they will have to pay for the rentals in the park and the utilities and corporate taxes. The staff will also add up to the demands for housing, sales and rentals, and consumption of goods and services.

What about FDI? What percentage of FDI is contributed by this huge presence relative to other foreign companies? How many good jobs are created for Sinkies? What kind of goods and services are these companies providing with their huge presence? What is the value add from these companies to the economy in skills and technology transfer to Sin?

Idol stolen from Tamil Nadu surfaces in Singapore
A photo of the 1,000-year-old bronze sculpture of Uma Parmeshvari stolen from a temple in Tamil Nadu and sold to the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore, as posted on Photo:
A photo of the 1,000-year-old bronze sculpture of Uma Parmeshvari stolen from a temple in Tamil Nadu and sold to the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore for $650,000

A criminal complaint filed by the Manhattan District Attorney in the Supreme Court of New York has put to rest doubts, if any, about the illicit trade of antiquities stolen from Tamil Nadu.

It confirms the hitherto reported cases and brings to light a new one.

The document filed in the court said Subhash Chandra Kapoor, U.S.-based antiquities dealer extradited to India and now lodged in a Chennai prison, sold stolen bronze sculptures not only to a museum in Australia but also in Singapore.

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Singapore becomes one of Indian gold smugglers' favourite hotspots to sneak gold into India, 4 Dec 2014
Indian gold smugglers are adopting the methods of drug couriers to sidestep a government crackdown on imports of the precious metal, stashing gold in imported vehicles and even using mules who swallow nuggets to try to get them past airport security.

Stung by rules imposed this year to cut a high trade deficit and a record duty on imports, dealers and individual customers are fanning out across Asia to buy gold and sneak it back into the country.

Sri Lanka, Thailand and Singapore are the latest hotspots as authorities crack down on travellers from Dubai, the traditional source of smuggled gold.

The Chettiars of Market Street

As a boy, Lakshmanan Subbiah recalls walking down a street in the heart of the city, a stroll that began by a riverside mosque, where the regular cry of the muezzin would herald a throng of men in sarongs and skullcaps rushing to prayer. Across the road, entrenched in the corner of a stately colonial building, a moneychanger would holler, “US Dollars, Pounds, US Dollars…”, and as one forded a small crossing, the scene changed to rows of shophouses—not the teahouses, peddlers of traditional medicine and clan associations of Chinatown, but a quite different blend of sights, smells and sounds: the fragrance of cinnamon and cardamom; the pungent bite of garlic and onions; aisles of silk sarees that spilled onto the five-foot way; freshly roasted notes and whiffs of sweetened tea; curries on banana leaves; and the dust of urban mills as grains, grams and raw spices were ground into flour and finer mixtures.

Amid these louder establishments were half a dozen other, more austere, premises. “There, you would see some shaven Indian men, sitting on the floor by low desks, bent over and writing on open ledgers with total concentration,” recounts Subbiah.

These men were Chettiars, a caste of Tamil moneylenders, nay merchant bankers, devotees of Siva who served as vital links in the entrepreneurial food chain during past times when capital and credit were scarce and big banks catered largely to commercial houses of similar pedigree, leaving little to local businessmen and migrant traders. Among the first financiers to arrive in modern Singapore, the Chettiars operated in communal offices called kittangis, where they provided sundry merchants and middlemen with the funds to fuel the port’s early development as a node in the opium route between Bengal and China, and later, as a global emporium for tin, rubber and other tropical commodities.

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Riot May Take Toll on Job Opportunities

Riots which broke out following the fatal accident of an Indian citizen employed in Singapore may take a toll on the job opportunities of the people of other ethnic groups especially Tamils who have dreams of going there as unskilled labourers.

Kumaravelu, hailing from Pudukottai, slipped to death from a private bus around 9.30 pm local time on Dec 8 at Race Course Road and Hampshire Road in Little India in Singapore. The incident sparked violence, according to official sources.

As many as 39 police and civil defence personnel were injured, and 25 vehicles including 16 police cars were damaged when a 400-member mob went on a rampage beginning from the private bus which caused the accident. Subsequently, 27 persons including two Bangladeshi nationals, a Singapore Permanent Resident and 25 Indian nationals mostly from the State were arrested.  Of the 27, an Indian and two others were released after preliminary investigations revealed that they were not part of the riots.

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Accident Leads to Street Violence in Singapore

Little India is usually crowded on Sundays, with many construction workers from Bangladesh and India gathering there to spend their day off. Violent episodes are rare in Singapore, which has tough laws on rioting that carry a sentence of up to seven years in prison and possible caning.

“This is a serious incident which has resulted in injuries and damage to public property,” said Teo Chee Hean, deputy prime minister and minister of home affairs. “Police will spare no efforts to apprehend the subjects involved in the riot.”

The disturbance is likely to fuel concerns about discontent among low-paid foreign workers. Last year Singapore had its biggest outbreak of labor unrest in years when about 170 bus drivers from mainland China went on strike illegally.

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Indian national arrested in Singapore for murder

Singapore police on Thursday said they have arrested an Indian national in connection with the murder of an Indian woman whose headless body was found in a canal here last week.

The 25-year-old suspect, who was not identified, would be charged in court tomorrow for the offence of murder under Section 302 of the Penal Code

Police said they were also looking for 33-year-old Harvinder Singh, another Indian national and the husband of the murdered woman, to assist in their investigations.

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Hunt for hubby of decapitated woman found in Whampoa River

Mr Harvinder Singh, 33, had left S'pore 30 minutes before the body of his wife, Ms Jasvinder Kaur, was found. The police are now looking for the senior logistics coordinator

The decapitated body of a woman found in Whampoa River last week has been identified as that of Ms Jasvinder Kaur, the 33-yr-old wife of a logistics executive, also 33, who was working here on an employment pass.

Police also said on Thursday that a 25-yr-old forklift driver has been arrested in connection with her murder, and they are looking for her husband Harvinder Singh to help in their investigations.

All 3 are Indian nationals.

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Full Coverage:
CNAsia: Headless body murder: Man arrested, husband sought by police
STimes: Decapitated body: 25-yr-old man arrested; Another sought by police
Free District: Man arrested in Singapore decapitated body case
Business StandardIndian man arrested in Singapore over woman's death
Times of India: Indian national arrested in Singapore for murder
Zee News: Indian man arrested in Singapore over woman`s death

Reflections on the Little India Riot
Lessons From The Little India Riot
Little India Riot: "Who Dares Win"
Aftermath of Little India Riots
Riot Erupts in Singapore's Little India
Singapore to become hub for Indian diaspora
Singapore, India And CECA