6/20/2007

yes, we are progressing

An article posted by an overseas Singaporean in Sammyboy Five years ago, if someone were to suggest to me that Singaporeans should always come first, whether with regard to housing, healthcare or education, I would have agreed readily. But as you can tell from my recent posts, I have become more skeptical about these "Put Singaporeans First" instincts. Back in the 1980s, faced with competitive pressures from Japan, there was also a 'Buy America' campaign. Today, 'Buy America' is probably targeted at cheap Chinese imports. But to those of us who are beginning to understand how inter-connected the world is, such efforts are looking increasingly futile, and are in fact detrimental to the people they are supposed to benefit. It became somewhat of a joke when it latter transpired that many made in America products in fact had foreign components. Looking beyond goods and services, globalisation has also resulted in greater movement of people from their countries of birth. Immigration and emigration are on the rise everywhere. I mentioned before that 1 in 10 British nationals actually live overseas even as Britain experiences large scale immigration. Singapore, being a global city-state, is not immune to these forces. I dare say that on the whole, we have benefitted greatly from it. We have many non-citizens (permanent residents, permit holders) working here for large parts of their lives. Many are becoming as Singaporean as you or I. Similarly, there are many Singaporeans working, studying, living overseas for an extended period of time. I am a Singaporean, but I do receive some British welfare benefits because I am studying here. With the influx of non-locally born students or working professionals to Singapore, competitive pressure inevitably arises - as is reflected in rising rents, house prices, transport congestion or university places. Faced with competitive pressure, the natural instinct is to adopt a 'Put Singaporeans First' mentality. There are also those in Britain demanding that welfare for foreigners be cut, and that British citizens should come first. Why should we worry about putting citizens before every one else? Firstly, it has become increasingly difficult to meaningfully categorise people into citizens and non-citizens based on the passports they hold, and conduct redistribution policies that way. For example, many permanent residents have lived in and contributed to Singapore for decades. Many have Singaporean spouses and Singaporean children. Secondly, even if we give the Singaporean priority to everything, healthcare, university education and what not, he or she could easily emigrate to another country after consuming all the benefits (ah big beautiful house and nice lifestyle in Australia). Being open and free means that citizens can easily pack up and leave. The fact that one has to be a Singaporean citizen at the point of consuming taxpayer-funded benefits does not guarantee that it will be taxpayers' money well-spent. Who is a taxpayer? Foreigners who work here pay taxes too, GST if not income taxes. Though it has become a cliche to say that the world has become more open and borders more porous, we still have not really accepted this at the emotional level. Many of you will no doubt disagree with me on this and believe that we citizens should always come first. But I hope to convince you at least that old comfortable assumptions we have will not always hold today. I fully agree with what he said. He is not only a Singaporean with talent, but also have breathed in fresh foreign air. So he can be a bit airy but the talent he showed in his arguments is a gem. We should do away with citizenship and embrace globalisation. This will be a first that we can claim and welcome everyone here as equals to all Singaporeans without distinction. We are progressing, very well towards the day when we can discard the name Singapore and call ourselves international citizens.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

We can never be equal. Get foreigners to do NS and we call it quit.

If all are treated equally, why be a citizen?

Foreigners pay taxes, big deal....citizens don't pay taxes?

Anonymous said...

Following that hypothetical argument the end result must be non-citizenship. As one can only fool some people some of the time people will somehow know and relate to whatever truth there is.

If this is where we are heading, an inevitable question would be; should one fight and risk dying for a place that dun belong, or should these sacrifices be made by hired foreign labor instead?

I think there were similarities in that the Americans were complaining half the time why they were fighting someone else's battle in Vietnam and Iraq. It may not sound good but globalisation wasnt supposed to be tasteful to begin with.

No body would easily stomach all-out care-little abt citizens type of globalisation, and it neednt be done that way too.

Anonymous said...

Foreigners pay taxes, big deal....citizens don't pay taxes?



This is my observation;

1. most citizens dun pay tax becos of the tax ceiling.
2. foreigners espec the talents pay alot of taxes.
3. the locals that pay little taxes think they are doing everyone a big favor.
4. the few locals in the high salary ceiling, paying alot of taxes does it quietly.

Anonymous said...

This is also true:

1. If a country is desperately poor, will foreigners want to come in to earn a living.

2. In times of trouble will foreigners stay and fight for the country? They are probably the earliest to leave at the first sign of trouble.

3. Foreigners are also depriving locals of limited resources, pushing up healthcare, housing etc.

4. Not all foreigners are high-income earners. I think the majority earn about the same of less than locals.

redbean said...

a case for foreigners, or rich foreigners, is for them to come and buy our expensive properties. but then we ask the question, why we built properties on our limited land to sell to foreigners?

who benefits from the sales? people, country or some private organisations?

if we have a lot of land, no sweat. but with limited precious land, should we trade them for a little money? the sale of the land is long term, 99 years or more.

Anonymous said...

No body would easily stomach all-out care-little abt citizens type of globalisation, and it neednt be done that way too.



But the verdict is not what you propograte it to be, many people are already quite fed up. Will that get worse?

redbean said...

not sure if many people are fed up. some are very happy.

Lost4ever said...

Fellow Singaporeans, put down your plight, be the first true "Earthlings" instead, nothing to loose, everything to gain, keep your passport, u can go to anywhere on Earth to stay. From 600+ sq km, you have the whole world, be positive. Learn from the Hongki and the Taiwanese, their presense is wholewide, Learn from the Jew as well, they control the whole world, don't just complain and complain, they world is there for u to claim, lets do it.

redbean said...

that's the way turaikiller,

we must think positive. the world will welcome us and love us like the jews. and we will rule the world with the talents that we have.

Anonymous said...

Anon, 3.10pm. On your pt. no. 2, what makes you so sure the citizens themselves will stay and fight ? I know of many Singaporeans in Singapore with another passport. Can you count on these fellow citizens of yours to stand in line with you if need be ?

redbean said...

we should have more prs and not citizens. and we shall make citizens enjoy all the privileges of being a citizens and the prs contributing to the benefits of the citizens or nations, for the privilege of making a living here and enjoying our facilities.

this is fundamental. if we lose this concept, we lose everything.

there are many hungry millions in china and india and asean who would willingly come here to work and contribute to our economy. never mind those who have made it and leave. there will be hungrier ones waiting in the line. and the hungrier ones, though poorer, may be more talented and more entrepreneurial.

Anonymous said...

Redbean, we should let the grateful PRs and happy new citizens vote as soon as they get their certs from the government. That's a crucial way to win elections.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:36 PM
"Can you count on these fellow citizens of yours to stand in line with you if need be ? "

Put it this way, unless one is bloodthirsty or suicidal, nobody fights for nothing and the stupidest thing to do is to believe singaporeans are that stupid like in the 1950s. Singaporeans have the reputation to be the most complaining, selfish and self centered ugly type the world has never known.

Try rallying them for a risky cause. Brother I only earn $2,000 not $2 millions, who has more to lose?

Anonymous said...

those who calculated to the last cent didnt think they should make give anyone free lunch also didnt realise how foolhardy and shortsighted they were. here nobody owes you a living you look after yourself. no money no talk even kids know that. besides loads of money in the reserves this place is increasingly like a hotel where everyone looks after their own butt and mind their own business. we were all taught that way.

Anonymous said...

U'r not lost 4 ever.

Hi Lost4ever,
I appreciate what U said in Sgnews redbeanie's blog. U'r rite. We oughta kick our Sengkapolian asses n get cracking - not just complain n sulk.
We'r responsible for ourselves & our loved ones.
Thks for yr good advice.
Cheers!
Sengkapolians Not Stupid. Although We DO Always Grumble. ;)

TuraiKiller said...

Hi RedBean,

How to be positive when you are to competed with so many desperately foreigners blooded in a small dot island to compete with us for job, wages (or course miser bosses favour cheap labours)& job loss.

It is a great treat for every sg employees b'cos the wages will be stagnant for sure, no job security (short term in contract), CPF scheme will become an obstacle to s'porean interm of employment (additional cost for employer b'cos foreigner do not require), the old & low skill worker wages will further exploited unless leader implemented minimum salary scheme said around $1,500 as a law. Besides, degree & Diploma holders will have a serve competition with the s-pass schemes & a recently foreign student holiday work scheme.

I guessed only Top management, bosses (I would like to be one of them if I am capable enough) & leaders were welcome them b'cos that will bring them more wealth.

If you ready go & take a look at heartland, I can assure you majorities of s'porean are jobless or try to attend seminar on property or trading & observe yourself where our government claimed the unemployment rate are as low at 2.9%. I can assure out this 2.9%, at least 99% of s'poreans are out of job.

But frankly, I definitely welcome those rich & talented foreigners to root here. (I think every part world will love them to come)

redbean said...

your pension scheme is your hard earned cpf. your medical insurance is also your hard earned cpf.

we are on our own. we don't need charity. no need to be dependent on anyone.

TuraiKiller said...

RedBean,
too bad we are expected to live on independently, But our hard earn money (either CPF or medical insurance) are manipulated by our calculative leaders, maybe a lot of old retired idiots after their retirement, they quickly spend on mistress either in batam, bintan or conned & cheated by "small dragon lady", so the leader sort of extend the CPF withdraw age inorder to lock up your or their(confused) money & also reduce their PA problem (nation financial so more share to them) but they do not understand the high impact on their foreigners policy, imaging late 30 to 60 years old, u are discarded by blooded cheap labours forces mindset unless u willingly to accept extremely 3rd world nation salary then again forget about CPF scheme just work if possible your body still able.

redbean said...

it is always good to be independent, self reliance. a little suffering in life, work the hard way, is good for you. that is what our parents used to say.

never think of depending on anyone except yourself. and our govt is doing just the right thing, telling the people to depend on themselves, save for their own retirement.

now, i am not being pro govt by saying this. how can people attack me for saying the right thing?

Anonymous said...

how was the re-education camp boss?

redbean said...

the class is quite attentive. they have convinced themselves that globalisation is the way to go.