29 September 2008

More people on this island, but poorer

Singapore's total population grew a stupendous 5.5 percent between June 2007 and June 2008, but the economy is flagging. The new demographic report gives many interesting details, enabling a different way of looking at our racial composition. Full essay.


Alan Wong said...

For obvious reasons, our Government does not want to bother we citizens with the real statistics just like they do away with explaining to us how our CPF funds are invested (or divested ?).

If we raise too many inquisitive questions, they may have too many skeletons to reveal or explain to us.

Do you think, for a second, that they have the guts to expose themselves for some financial scandal , it there is any ?

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

Is that really fair? Leaving aside the CPF question, in this specific case of demographic statistics, the data came from the government itself.

Anonymous said...

Median income and unemployment rate is more accurate than per capita GDP.

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

Anon, 30 Sep, 11:59 -
Agreed. I just wanted to show how the release one one set of statistics can and should lead to critical evaluation of another set. If good journalism prevailed in Singapore, this kind of "follow where the facts lead" inquiry, asking uncomfortable questions, would be par for the course...

Anonymous said...

At the rate at which they admit Indians into the IT profession, in no time, they will outnumber the local population of Malays. I wonder how the Malays feel about it.

The Indians expats where a large majority are also Spore PR holders are here just to make money, plain & simple, they simply remit their money back to India where their purchasing power will balloon many times over. They can afford to save for bigger property purchases back home by simply scrimping while they are in Spore by living together with other fellow expat Indians in an HDB flat.

The entire IT sector is now so lopsided with the majority of staff from India. Any Spore undergrad student worth his salt will not dare to take this as a course of study as he or she will not be employable upon graduation.

With the economy going from bad to worse, more employers will up their current preference for these Indian expats to top priority to specifically hire them to save costs.

Anonymous said...

Thats a big question. How do Malays feel? [I'm local-born Indian S'porean] How would any of us S'poreans react to significant changes to racial makeup, bearing in mind it could theoretically move in any direction?

Also remember: we don't know how this affects the racial makeup of S'pore CITIZENS (ie. with voting rights - however meaningless). We only know the race breakdown for 'residents'. Maybe the proportion of Indian S'pore citizens has shrunk - that was the trend before the influx of f'gn 'talent'.

I'd *like* to say that we should not be hung up about race. But i think this is unrealistic. Ideally, there should be transparency about immigration policy, based on rational arguments (e.g. Canada's points system). We should also be more clear in defining what it means to be S'porean, in terms of rights and norms.

Obviously we are nowhere near that. Govt is terrified to discuss this. People suspect govt motives and some are resentful or fearful about the future. Just another problem waiting to blow up later.

Anonymous said...

The Singapore population policy is clearly in favour of more quantity versus quality; more head-numbers as opposed to greater skills or intelligence. The sad thing is that it is reversion to the past policies that Spore's old British colonial masters had adopted during the early period of Spore. During that time, Samsui women (now: Bangla/Indians) worked on the construction sites; Cantonese maidens (now: Indonesian maids) worked as domestic maids; Coolies from South China (now: Chinamen) worked on the lower end of economy; Higher caste Indians (now: Indian IT workers) worked as administrators or civil servants while the British rulers sit around at SCC/SRC/Padang (now: PAP/Govt Ministers) sipping tea while drawing a nice fat salary.
Then, the foreign workers were being exploited as a source of indentured slavery or cheap exploited labour. Now, what has changed since? Nothing! instead Spore has come full circle. Then, foreign workers had to pay a head tax to work in Spore - Now, it's called Worker's Levy! For maids, Maid's Levy. For those higher up the ladder, worker's permit and employment pass. For foreign students, student's visa & various deposits/guarantees for their accompanying mothers (Pei-Du Mama).
Wow! The picture is becoming pretty clear - It is not a national issue about locals or foreign talent; It is a revenue generating programme enriching the state coffers. Why no MPs or Minister are worried about local Singaporean migrating or discuss this 'Hollowing Out' issue - Who cares? They're just a bunch of losers (ie. Wee Shu-Min's rant & Daddy's approval).
Money can buy everything including Olympic medals. An Olympic Silver? Just buy China's table tennis reserves and grant them citizenship! Lost to a no-ranked player in the Olympics, just sob, cry & complain that the coach was not around during the match. Lady Rambo comes out with guns firing - team manager fired/team coach under review.

KiWeTO said...

Given that we're looking to be more concerned about the 'average' singaporean and his ability to keep his wallet from imploding, shouldn't the figure NOT be mean nor median, but rather mode?

median means nothing when the top earning minister is in excess of 10,000 times what our cleaning auntie is earning at the hawker centre (and they're being replaced by foreign talent every day too... what will they do?)

Mean is also skewed when u have enough ministers earning 1000 times to make a mess of the statistics.

If the majority of singaporeans don't pay tax, then, the GDP per capita is truly useless, since >20k income pays tax, and GDP is in excess of 45k.... there's a huge disconnect somewhere.

Oh well. More things swept under the rug. Hope there's a deep hole under it to keep it all from piling up.