foreign talents for company boards

it is a truth that nobody wants to know. or at least nobody who is benefitting from all the fat director fees would want to know. heng swee kiat, the mas managing director said this,' these busy directors find that they do not have time to keep up with the workings of the business and to fully digest the information they are confronted with in their board papers.' is this new or news? has rip van winkle just woken up? now, finally mas wants to do something to correct this anomally that has been common knowledge all these years. it is pure nonsense for someone, no matter how talented, to be in full employment, maybe even wearing several hats, to sit in more than 3 boards of directors. everyone has only 24 hours a day to work. no, minus all the rest and sleep time, travelling time, eating time, quality time with families, how much time is left for real work? 10, 12 hours. it is high time that corporate governance be taken seriously and directorship be taken seriously. the party is over. or is it? is the call for foreign talents to boost up the pool of directors necessary? some companies that need that extra exposure may need some foreign talents. but we are not short of qualified people to be directors. we have plenty of them, now jobless or holding lesser jobs, because of age. many have been prematurely retired for their own good as if after 45 or 50 they should be buried and forgotten. we have a very serious unemployment problem at hand for the above 50s. there is no need to import more fictitious foreign talents. look after our own people. make directorship a new career for the senior and qualified professionals. are we so short of ideas as to discard all our experienced people to be cleaners and taxi drivers? limit directorship to a maximum of 3, preferably 1, for full time employees. the rest of the directorships can be made available for qualified and experienced singaporeans. these are the jobs that we should reserve for our own citizens. not fictitious foreign talents. can we be real? can we create value jobs for our citizens?


Anonymous said...

Good morning Redbean

What? Singapore companies hiring ang mohs for directorships while Singaporeans are without jobs? I thought Singaporeans are wiser than that. I say, hire them only when they can contribute to the betterment of the company and not just to add colour to the board of directors. We are better than them in many ways, but if we need foreign expertise and new western ideas of doing business, then by all means hire them. At the end of the day, they must to made to work for their money, like the rest of us.

redbean said...


this is another story of the emperor's new dress.

there are many companies that can make do with the expertise of singaporeans. not everyone is a singtel or sia or nol or dbs.

the directorship pie has been the monopoly of a small group of people. it is a small happy party.

i have heard comments by some of the privileged few that they don't even know where the money comes from. they just got paid by so many directorships that they lost track of them.

obviously they did not attend the board meetings or they slept through the board meetings without knowing that they were there.

Anonymous said...

Redbean, sad that these privileged few do not share their pie with more deserving Singaporeans. I too came across a case when I was talking to a prominent Singaporean architect who was holidaying/business in London. He told me he was in London to seek a London based architect for a joint venture to put up a building in Singapore. I asked why he had to do that and he told me that the Singaporean authority had insisted that had to be so. I said, surely you must have architects in Singapore who are capable of putting up a simple building. What he said took me by surprise. He said that the mentality of many Singaporeans who are in authouritative positions are in the habit of making local architects' life miserable because they are jealous and do not like to see other Singaporeans do well. I would have thought that where possible one would like to use local talent.

If Singaporeans do not change these kind of mindset, the future of Singapore will not be too rosy.

redbean said...

the seed of self destruction was planted the moment singaporeans started to begrudge fellow singaporeans who earned more than them. this karma has started with the destruction of many trades and the incomes of these professionals and semi professionals.

instead of everyone prospering and living merrily, many lives were destroyed and you have hardship all around. 40 years of building up wealth were destroyed in less than 10 years. wealth is now concentrated in a few. that is how a society cracks.

when there are more unhappiness than happiness, change will take place. our economy is likely to go bust, first with the stock market and then the property market. the property market can only be supported by a strong stock market. but the stock market is as good as dead, though the appearance still look rosy. can't imagine the stock market running to a standstill.

the forces of karma are unstoppable.

Matilah_Singapura said...

I think you are reading the situation wrongly. You are evaluating throught your own filters of perception: perceptions based on race, instead of focusing on the sole reason for the existence of any comapany : PROFIT i.e. increase in owners' equity, and return on equity.

There are many singaporeans who sit on foreign boards too. singapore is the regional home of many multi-nationals. Singaporeans hold board positions.

What's the problem? It is in the companies' best interests to appoint the mst worthy people to do the job. It has got nothing to do with race.

Remember, its a meritocracy

redbean said...

how did race comes in? my contention is lt and ft. and the other aspect is the forces that were let loose because of personal perceptions. and agreed, my view is also a personal perception.

there are many people who are doing extremely well. but many have also fallen along the wayside.

it is to the company's benefit to appoint the most trustworthy? not all are trustworthy. and not all are worth their values.

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