Visitor impressions with the large increase of foreigners,
especially Indians, in Singapore. By suria. Comments
May 27, 2007
notes on Singapore
(This article on Singapore was published in 3quarksdaily)
true that changes are afoot in a nation that – after
the Asian Financial Crisis, and the terror caused by the
spread of SARs – realised its government could never
offer it complete protection.
bargain for freedom from want in return for silent cooperation
was not legitimately struck.
based on the false notion that Singapore was a nation in
charge of its own destiny rather than a small sliver of
land, smaller than the dot that represents it on the global
me think of my last trip to Singapore, a couple of months
back. Every time I visit Singapore, I am surprised by the
pace of change. I, in my nostalgia, try to seek out places
I knew from before, and am constantly reminded that I am
this time, I was struck by the number of foreigners. I still
remember the time I first came to Singapore.
year was 1995 - sure, there were some foreigners around,
but we felt like foreigners - I mean, we felt like we were
a minority - as I assume, foreigners in any country are
supposed to feel.
in Singapore for just a day and had way too many people
to catch up with - so I set up shop at a cafe near Millenia
towers and as I had cup of coffee after cup of coffee with
friends who managed to sneak off work for a coffee break,
I indulged in one of my favourite pastimes - people watching
- and I was more than amazed by the proportion of foreigners
- almost every other person seemed to be a foreigner!!
for the first time, I heard murmurs of dissent among my
Singaporean friends, and we had some lively discussions
on the topic.
quite get it - why is the Singapore Government so desperate
for foreigners? Do they really need so many foreigners -
to perhaps, the extent, that you have to ask who is the
only imagine the government has a plan - and a good one
too - that is behind this mass import of “talent”.
But none of my Singaporean friends seemed quite able to
explain to me the rationale behind the policy. Which begs
a bigger question.
is just one of the many policies that the Government makes
on behalf of the citizens. I wonder, without due political
participation and debate, why do the people assume that
the Government will get it right every single time? What
if they are wrong?
Posted by Surya
desperatly needs foreigners for many reasons, the 2 most
evident are: -
1. To support the growing international financial hub. The
local talent is just to weak to handle international matters,
that’s why we, 'ang-mos', come here with huge salaries
to work for people like Merryl-Lynch, ING and other mega-companies
and the locals receive only S$2,500-$3,000 per month.
2. The Singaporean population is quickly decreasing. Singapore
needs to increase 50% its population by 2050 otherwise it
will become an old country and the economic system will
fall; for this many Asians are coming here to ‘have
babies’ and reasonable jobs, and I would say the Indians
are the responsible for the future of Singapore. Studies
estimates that in 20 years Singapore will be ruled by today’s
Indians sons and daughters, today they are already 15% of
the foreign population here.
I bet that in a few decades, Singapore can then change its
name to ‘Indiapore’.
Thanks for your comment. I agree with your reasons. But
seems kinda odd to have a government-supported policy to
change a country’s demography so drastically. As you
say, changing Singapore to “Indiapore” - is
that a desirable outcome?
As for the first reason, I think a lot of capable Singaporeans
have left Singapore, which is probably why they need to
depend on foreigners. Shouldn’t getting them back
(and not by threats) be the first course of action?
point.. The example of the US comes to my mind. One way,
the US is run by the best brains in the world, not all of
them Americans. They welcome talent, be it from any country…
Probably Singapore is following that example?
And, a lesson here for India?
and I think it would definitely be good for India to have
foreign talent too..
But the proportions in Singapore are kinda alarming.