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9/26/2006

foreign talent - the discussion so far

After several rounds of discussion with fellow bloggers and forumers, two distinctive views emerged from the pro liberalisation of foreign talent policy camp. The first point that was strongly emphasised by this group is that the govt does not owe the people a living, and it is not responsible to provide jobs for everyone. I can accept this view to the extent that those who are not trying to help themselves will not be the fault of the govt. The people must first look after themselves and be prepared to fend for themselves instead of depending on the govt. On the other hand there are many who are doing all they could to prepare themselves to compete in an increasingly tough environment, slogging through all the years through tuitions and university or polytechnic education, and they deserve a fair chance in society. To this group, there is a social obligation, my view, that jobs shall be created for them. We cannot be like other countries producing tens or hundreds of thousands of graduates that are jobless. I would like to hear a politician standing up and say openly that they are not responsible to create jobs for Singaporeans. I will definitely pin up the speech in my forum, on stickers, to be remembered. The other point of view is that Singaporeans must tighten their belts and compete with the foreign talents. And if they failed against the foreign talents, they deserved to be losers. Because they are no good and do not deserve to earn a living here. This kind of thinking can only come from those who think that they are better than foreign talents and will never be replaced by them. Unfortunately this kind of smugness is misplaced. The foreign talents are not only smarter than our local talents, even the very best, they are also hungrier. Our best are from a minute pool of 3 million people. The best of the foreign talents came from a pool of 3 billion people, from two ancient civilisations well known to produce brilliant people. Our talents will be a mixed match when they have to compete against them. I have mentioned that maybe only a handful will survive such a challenge if not protected. It is easy for people whose jobs are protected, or at least in a better off position today, to advocate full liberalisation of foreign talent policy, welcome all with open arms. They will regret it one day when they too will be displaced by them. But if that is the end that we are looking for, the continued survival of the city state regardless of who lives here, then by all means. But if the city state is for its citizens, called Singaporeans, then there is a need to be more circumspect in this policy.

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