11 September 2008

150,000 Singaporeans live abroad

Sometimes you find nuggets of information when you trawl through the Parliamentary Reports. But why not have a Freedom of Information Act, so we can ask directly? Full essay.


HanSolo said...

Just a few quick comments:

1) Serangoon Gardens episode is not about xenophobia.

It's about the right of residents to voice their concern over a sudden influx of 1000 male workers living in cramped accommodation, into the middle of a quiet residential area.

Where the workers come from doesn't matter.

Since you sound disapproving of the SG residents, would you like it if the dorm is 10m from your doorstep? I think not.

My suggestion is to house them in industrial estates, and not residential areas.

2) KL and London are cities, Singapore is a country. This is the only place we've got. We can't just pack up and move to another city, unlike the British and Malaysians.

Anonymous said...

Yes other cities in the world may have a significant number of foreign workers, but the key difference is invariably that these cities have much higher income tax rates than S'pore.

Why should citizens of those countries complain when foreigners willing pay the high taxes that go towards supporting the social security of citizens??

The situation in S'pore is completely different. We have defined contribution pension plan and our income taxes are low. Foreigners don't have to serve NS. So foreigners in S'pore benefit far more

Anonymous said...

Mr Au,

U need not go that far. Just drop at the hawker centre in JB, you will notice most were manned by Indonesian girls...

Simply order in Mandarin as they alll speak fluent Mandarin....

yh said...

I am one of those singaporeans living abroad (with a pr). I remember cringing a bit when I went home some time ago hearing people complain abt "foreign workers this and foreign workers that". I am a foreign worker in another country, did I "steal" someone else's job? Am I unwelcome because I am living in someone else's country? I hope not. I never understood why singaporeans (most that I know of) hanker after migrating to countries like aust, nz, us and can also bitch about foreigners living in singapore in the same breath. Doesnt make sense.
What do you think you become when you move to those countries?

Overseas Singaporean said...

"I wish more members of parliament would ask the government for various kinds of information like Siew Kum Hong did. Too many MPs just sit in the chamber doing nothing. In the absence of a Freedom of Information Act, questions filed by MPs are about the only way to get information out of our usually tight-lipped government."

Good point Alex, from what I’ve seen so far, the only MPs asking questions are Mr. Siew and occasionally Sylvia Lim. Imagine, 2 unelected MPs seemingly being the only ones asking questions like this. While I’ve no beef with other MPs focusing on bread and butter issues, they should realize their responsibilities as MPs go beyond their wards. I believe that Mr. Siew’s question might have stemmed from the earlier answer by Wong Kan Seng to Ms. Lim’s question about how many Singaporeans have left Singapore. Quite a few comments on the various blogs brought up the issue of the CNCC when Wong mentioned something along the lines of being able to provide data on those who’ve given up citizenship but not those who’ve taken up foreign PR (another attempt to duck a question). Maybe Mr. Siew picked up on these comments or someone tipped him off via his blog. Either way, well done to the two of them.

As I’ve mentioned on Mr Wang’s, getting the data for the CNCCs required efforts from a NCMP, a NMP, a non-answer from one of our million dollar ministers and spanned 2 sessions of parliament.

Anonymous said...

another interesting use for the FOI laws, if they existed, would be to enquire about the true cost and impact of hosting the upcoming F1 grand prix.

some questions:

1) how much was the license fee paid by the govt to bernie ecclestone's F1 corp?

2) how does this fee compare to fees paid by other cities hosting an F1 race? (hint: it's not likely to be lower... http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2008/04/22/how-new-tracks-are-squeezing-traditional-circuits-out-of-formula-1/)

3) what is the projected economic impact for SG in terms of visitor numbers, hotel bookings etc? how have similar projections for other cities turned out in reality?

4) how much petrol will be used by the generators providing power for the floodlights and big screens during the grand prix? how compatible is this with the "go green" initiative of the the government, whereby they are encouraging people to buy and use fluorescent bulbs and turn off the air-con?

that's enough for now... suffice to say i've not seen any bad press (unsurprisingly) for the F1, but the blogosphere has been similarly quiet...

yuen said...

bloggers have been quiet about F1 because no one would want to speak against fun and excitement, while speaking for it would seem redundant; also, little information about the economics of the event itself is available; I have seen just these:

1. ST last week reports says nearly $100M's worth of contracts have been awarded to various companies for various facilities like barriers, lights, seatings, etc, for a 5 year period; the cost of constructing the new road along the marina bayfront and the grandstand building (next to the Singapore Flyer) must be considerable too

2. today's ST details the road closures over nearly two weeks; I assume this will cause some productivity loss among the people affected

3. Singtel's name is on the event, but I am not clear whether it is footing the whole bill and what revenues it is entitled to collect from the event besides ticket sales (I hear hotels in the area are paying a special tax during the period, but do not have any concrete information)

KiWeTO said...

One very core reason why as a Singaporean I possess much angst about foreign talent:

They were NOT required to give up 2 years of their lives for the right to work here.

No, a paltry $100 sop whenever pork barrel politicking is done is insufficient.

Those who come here and work, well, they pay (or don't pay, since 70% don't pay taxes in SG?) taxes.

But they didn't have to do NS.

And when they convert to the pink IC, they still don't (beyond a certain age).

nothing like living as a PR until you hit the certain age, and then turning pink. ;-)

No beef against the foreign talent whose only skill is strong arms and legs, they have helped build Sg, and will continue to help build SG, but they're not here to feed off the benefits that those sons of Singapore have had to live through.

And yes, that is resentment. Especially when they watch non-singaporean male students go straight on to university in SG, and we have to go to NS. Not fun at all.

Does growing up in SG really bring any additional privilege? Or just a need to wear additional chains of obligation?


Anonymous said...

150,000 Singaporeans living abroad would represent about 5% out of a pool of 3 million Singapore-born natives excluding those foreign born citizens. On the surface, it doesn't look very alarming both in terms of numbers and percentage. However, once we apply Pareto principle ie. 80-20 rule, the absolute numbers start to look alarming! [Definition: The Pareto principle (also known as the 80-20 rule, the law of the vital few and the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.]
It is not unconcievable for the migrants to be from the 20% pool of the population - the better ones with the language skills, education & capital to migrate. Even to 3rd world countries like Thailand, Malaysia or even PRC - you'll need capital to migrate! 5% from the Pareto principle of 20% equates to about 25% of the Singapore-born natives who have migrated. If 150,000 Singaporeans are living abroad, it leaves about 450,000 still in Singapore [20% of 3 million = 600,000 people].
Since year 2002, the number of people seeking CNCCs were between 10,000 to 12,000 including PR & foreigners. Assuming 8,000 people seeking CNCCs per year are Singaporeans - within 56 years, this 20% stock of Singaporeans will disappear from Singapore forever. If the number of CNCCs applicants suddenly rose to 20,000 per year - within 22.5 years, they're all gone from Singapore. Given that LKY is already 85 years old & instability may arise upon his demise - this scenario is not impossible!
This is a demographic nightmare! These are not government created artificial & fake elites like Wee Shu Min or Lee Bee Wah but good solid citizens - those with the ability & credentials to settle abroad with their family. Within 22.5 to 56 years, Singapore will bleed away these people - those who can contribute to the nation but chose to leave because of the present political and economic circumstances.
As Mr Bread said, <..I wish more members of parliament would ask the government for various kinds of information like Siew Kum Hong did. Too many MPs just sit in the chamber doing nothing.>
The tragedy here is even with the sparse numbers - no one is doing the hard number crunching to see the bleak and stark future that confronts Singapore. Maybe those in the know are aware of the situation but are looking to do a runner before the shit hit the fan!

Anonymous said...

Funny that the Pareto Principle i.e. the 80-20 rule was mentioned here! Singapore is indeed applicable in terms of 80-20 rule. Examples are:-

Education (Yr. 2000 census)
Degree & higher 12%
Poly Diploma 6%
Others Diploma 5%
Total Degree/Dip. 22%
A Level & below 78%

Residential Housing (Yr 2007 Stat)
Private Housing 22.2%
Public Housing 77.8%

Language spoken at home (Yr 2000)
English 23%
Others 77%

Income Tax payers(Yr 2001 Budget Speech)
Tax Payers 30%
Non-tax payers 70%

If 150,000 Singaporeans living abroad are from the above 20% category - Degree/Diploma [22%]; Private housing [22.2%]; English speaking [23%] & tax paying [30%] with another 8,000 per annum applying for Certificate of No Criminal Conviction (CNCC) from this same 20% category - Singapore will be in deep shit in 5 decades or less!
Hello! why aren't any MPs or for that matter, Million-dollar ministers bring out this problem in Parliament?