Perspective Unlimited

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Immigration and Happiness - what is the link?

I recently suggested that from the perspective of economic geography, attracting more immigrants and foreign talent to Singapore is a good thing. All of us will benefit in one way or another. Many Singaporeans suffering from competition with foreign talent will no doubt disagree with me. Yet, it is difficult to see just how much job competition immigration poses - the labour market has been tight in the past few years, wages are rising, and the resident unemployment rate, which stands at 3.6 per cent, is not particularly high considering a part of it might simply be attributed to job frictions.

Keeping Up with the Jones

In another discussion on Singaporeangle, I actually made the following claim: Singaporeans are unhappy with foreign talent because they feel that their own socio-economic standing may be threatened. This is not a wholly original idea. Professor Lord Layard, another LSE luminary, has spent years finding out what are the factors that actually make people happy. It turns out that research after research suggest that people's happiness is derived from relative, not from absolute income. In other words, people compare and benchmark themselves against one another.

A Singaporean student used to top his class, but more bright students from all over the world begin to arrive at his school. He gets the chance to work and learn from these new students, but alas, his class position has fallen quite a few notches. He no longer wins prizes at quizzes. The teacher has also diverted her attention to the brighter students. Even though his overall experience is enriched, he feels poorer and less happy. He begins to suspect whether he would be better off if all these new arrivals had never come at all.

Trickling Down, Slowly

The Department of Statistics recently published this highly interesting report. Table 4 really captured my attention. We have known for some time of the growing income divide, which many people have attributed to globalisation. What was most interesting about Table 4 was that it showed the trickle down effect in two distinct dimensions. First, the people in the upper deciles saw greater increases in their income. Second, they also saw their incomes increase earlier in the economic cycle. It takes the people in the lower deciles 3-4 years into the economic expansion before they begin to feel the positive effects.

Socio-Economic Tradeoff

Herein lies the dilemma. What happens in the classroom is a microcosm of what is happening in Singapore. The sensible immigration policy is to try to attract people with skills, that is, not those at the lower deciles. However, no matter where one puts the entry cutoff level, some native Singaporeans will inevitably be below this cutoff. Their relative position in society is eroded in the process. The more foreign talent we attract to drive our economic growth, the faster the erosion of social standing for the lower deciles. Of course, the higher you are in the social hierarchy, the less threatened you are (as suggested by Table 4). In fact, a large pool of immigrants may actually improve your relative position. Our happiness or emotional response towards immigrants is therefore a highly primitive one.

On one hand, we clamour for greater access to foreign domestic help and the reduction of the maid levy. Some estimates put the number of maids in Singapore at 150,000 (that is 1 in every 30 persons on this small island, close to the population of Ang Mo Kio) but no one seems unduly concerned. Having someone else do the housework is the ultimate middle class status symbol in Singapore.

On the other hand, we feel deeply resentful when the CEO/CFO job goes to a foreign guy, when our jobs become less secure as a result of foreign talent immigration, or when their children compete with ours in school for prizes and scholarships.

Not that any of these are surprising. No matter how well one disguises the various arguments against immigration, I suspect the emotional trigger postulated by Lord Layard is at work deep down inside all of us - we like immigration only when it improves our relative position in society, doesn't matter if we are all better in absolute terms.

Globalisation and Inequality Between Nations

However, there is one missing piece in Lord Layard's analysis - the effects of globalisation. Without the foreign students, the Singaporean boy would continue to top his class. But those bright foreign students will simply go elsewhere if Singapore does not welcome them. And from wherever they are located, they will continue to compete with Singaporean students in one way or another within the same global marketplace. Firms simply move to places with easy access to factors of production, and in the process create an agglomeration force that make them stick to that location.

Globalisation therefore not only has the potential to increase inequality within nations, it also has the potential to increase inequality between nations as research by the spatial economists show. Shutting out or placing too much constraints on the entry of talent may preserve the relative socio-economic positions of Singaporeans, but it would also make it difficult for Singapore to maintain its position in the league of nations.

This also highlights an intricate tradeoff between the policy maker and the average Singaporean. The policy maker rightly cares about the league of nations. The heartlander only cares about the league of neighbours. To get the average Singaporean to focus on the big league and not the small one will be a key challenge.

24 Comments:

  • Bart ah Bart,

    What you are saying is OBVIOUSLY true, but so what?

    Did you read the comment left by the 40-year-old Singaporean who left because he can't find a job even after spending $8K "retraining"?

    While the KTM sympathetizes with his plight, the KTM also cannot resist spouting the "brutal truth". The KTM dare say that it's not "cannot find a job", it's "cannot find a job that he can accept". If he is willing to become a taxi-driver or waiter, would he not have been able to?

    But of course, he has a family to feed, so perhaps being a taxi-driver or waiter doesn't pay enough? But, we do have taxi-drivers and waiters who also feed their families right?

    So at the end of the day, it boils down to expectations -- and it's not even just a matter of relativity anymore. Some Singaporeans are used to a middle-class lifestyle and given the new environment, they can no longer maintain what they are used to.

    Should they just suck thumb and downgrade? Be content with something less? The KTM would quesion, "Why should they?" The KTM is happy that the said reader decided to take the risk and move on and is now better off.

    But when these fellas leave, they will of course blame Singapore for "letting them down". Such is life. What can the Government do about it?

    At the end of the day, what the Garmen has to admit is that IT DOES NOT have any instruments at its desposal to help the Derek Wees. As an economist, you tell me, even if the Government wants to do something, do WHAT?

    Restricting immigration isn't going to help. The problem is simply structural unemployment.

    Dunno lah, the KTM also has he reservations about this thing about dunno what training and retraining.

    The KTM is not convinced about the effectiveness of the retraining policy for the PMETs. The KTM believes that it gives many false hope and will just lead to more grievances.... but then again, chicken and egg lah. It is because there are no good ideas to help these fellas and the Government cannot be seen to be doing nothing and so we are in our present predicament.

    Please be realistic lah, you can NEVER get the "average Singaporean to focus on the big league" and not his immediate bread and butter.

    Also dunno why the KTM is fatalistic today. :-(

    By Blogger kwayteowman, at 3:33 pm  

  • KTM,

    Resist lumping the issues. As for the reader, the lack of success at finding job could simply be due to cyclical reasons. Don't jump to conclusions so quickly.

    There was also a hint of age discrimination, but that should be addressed separately. Structural unemployment pertains to skills mismatch, there is nothing structural being discriminated due to age.

    Furthermore, in this day and age, there is nothing wrong with relocating overseas for work reasons. People come, people go, fact of life. Again, don't jump to conclusions based on anecdotes.

    In this post, I am just suggesting that there is a lot of hypocrisy in the immigration discussion (myself not excluded), attitudes driven by socio-economic background. There is nothing we can do about human nature, but perhaps to get more to look at the larger picture.

    By Blogger Bart JP, at 5:49 pm  

  • When someone eaten alive by immigration like me speak up against the FT policy, you accuse me of being driven by socio-economic background. When someone rich and comfy like Mr Wang speaks up against the FT policy, people accuse them of being hypocritical.

    If I were to make a generalisation, I say that the camp speaking against Singapore's FT policy actually have first hand experience working with the FT IN SINGAPORE, while those who are overwhelmingly supportive of the FT policy are usually students and overseas Singaporeans, ie. people who lacks the "face time" with the very type of people they want to bring more in.

    Bart, since you like football, let's talk in football terms. England used to be very proud of her goalkeepers, but yet in recent times, England doesn't seem to be producing any more outstanding goalkeepers. There is no Englishman, or even British goalkeeper in any of the Champions League teams, not even on the bench. To get a game as a goalkeeper, you have to be the best. The second best sits on the bench. The third best doesnt even appear on the teamsheet. Players who dont get to play, dont get to shine. Players who dont get to shine, dont get noticed by the big clubs which has the means and opportunities to train them to be the best players.

    Often, fantastic goalkeepers are "discovered" not by shrewd management, but by opportunities created by injury to the regular player. Time and again, we see the substitute who was previously thought to be inferior, permanently replace the regular after an injury spell.

    If Singaporeans dont even get to sit on the bench, when will they ever get to play? Wait for twin goalkeeper injuries like at Chelsea? Even then, Chelsea promptly imported a new foreign goalkeeper anyway.

    When one's socio-economic position gets eroded, what makes you so sure that the absolute well being is not compromised? The salary of the lower income segment had been stagnant in the recent years, and if there is any recovery now, it is due more to the recovery of the US economy than the presence of the "foreign talents". The only people who clearly benefit from the "foreign talents" are really restricted to the ultra-rich.

    If I said it once, I said it a million times. Singapore has a unique immigration conundrum; our migration rates per capita is triple that of Australia and US. OTOH, the citizenship liabilities are much higher than either countries, and yet Singapore government offers little services to citizens that is equally and cheaply available to foreigners as well. These may be separate issues, but put together, conspires to choke the Singapore middle class to death.

    By Blogger Jimmy Mun, at 4:51 am  

  • With regards to your comments on the 'trickle down effect', it have always been articulated by many but not taken seriously and had tended to be brushed aside as complaints from people who do not understand economics.

    I am no expert at the maids issue but I would be hesitant to pronounce that having a maid is to announce one's middle class status as a primary motivation, and not least that to get a maid is to directly improve one's relative happiness.

    Brightness in people also tend to be relative, and I do not think it's so simple as that if Singapore do not accept them they would all go elsewhere, some of them could simply be languishing wherever they are from. Having Singapore accept them is simply one more option for them.

    Bart, do you adopt an economic view that countries are like corporations, engaging in competition with each other?

    -------------------------

    I thank the almighty eye in the sky that the KTM is only frying Kway teows and not a public servant. He obviously do not study much about policy making. He also does not study pull-push factors for migration. People do have the right to gripe about their governments, except perhaps in some countries they do so under the shadow of death or dire socio-economic sanctions. Perhaps the other job he can do is to become a preacher, it'll suit him quite well I think.

    By Anonymous ted, at 6:34 am  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Bart JP, at 7:55 am  

  • Ted,

    I am not sure whether I adopt the view that countries are like corporation, engaged in a struggle.

    What I do know is this - many economists (like Krugman and Venables) have long told us about the effects of economic geography, how it can lead to inequality between nations. Some get more and more industrialised, others get hollowed out.

    I will circulate Venables' article next week.

    By Blogger Bart JP, at 8:06 am  

  • Jimmy,

    I was thinking about you when I wrote this. When I checked, theunemployment rate amongst the 40 year olds is actually quite low. There is obviously some job gains and job losses (natural in any labour market), but the OVERALL NET effect is still one of rising wages, tight labour market, and rather low unemployment amongst the middle age group. While I sympathise with what you go through, certainly one cannot make generalisations based on anecdotes.

    Second, talk about football. English national team is poor for a variety of reasons, not just because of the foreigners playing here. English youth academy system is v poor (Ferguson, Benitez recently hit out against the system). France team is strong because they have a good youth system, and many players play in overseas league. Having Singaporeans go overseas to work/study is a good thing, there is nothing wrong with that.

    Third, try not to compare with Australia. If we aim to be a global city, the game is very different. I think something like one in three Londoner or New Yorker is foreign born. Enough said.

    Finally, I don't deny my views on immigration is shaped by my experience in London as well. I have seen how London is transformed from when I first came in 1996, to now in 2007. It has become more global, vibrant, even more prosperous and confident of itself ever before. Maybe Singapore should be like this.

    By Blogger Bart JP, at 8:56 am  

  • Bart,

    Apologies. The KTM was being sloppy about "structural employment", but hopefully you get his point. Total number of jobs actually exceeds the number of Singapores, but somehow we cannot match everyone up so that everyone is happy. How would you describe this scenario?

    No sure where you got the idea that the KTM is against Singaporeans moving abroad to find employment. In fact, the KTM is actually currently thinking about whether it would make sense for the Garmen to consider outplacing people..... :-) You actually haven't answered the KTM: do you actually believe in this dunno what training/re-training business?

    Mobility is always a good sign. Those who are mobile will generally find themselves in the higher echelons of the food chain.

    The KTM disagrees with your view that most of the immigration debate is hypocritically. Some, like Jimmy, are very earnestly speaking up because they are being squeezed. No hypocrisy there.

    The KTM feels somewhat sorry for this folks. But it is never the KTM's style to say what people want to hear. He must prefers straight-talk and the unvarnished truth. Perhaps this makes the KTM a good preacher? :-P

    By Blogger kwayteowman, at 2:20 pm  

  • KTM,

    Discrimination (NS liabilities, pregnancy, age, race etc) is not structural unemployment. Legislation or giving industrial tribunals more power to redress this is the solution. But many bloggers knot everything together.

    Structural unemployment: You are skilled in industry X, but industry X leaves Singapore. You have the education/skills, but not applicable to other industries. Two options - you move with the industry (many Singaporeans have gone to China), or you retrain for another industry. (Third non-option: blame the govt, again).

    Retraining is not totally useless, but may not provide you the same pay in the new industry. Afterall, you have no experience, network or knowledge capital there.

    I think something similar happened here. The UK subsidies work for the youth, trying to reduce youth unemployment. Initially, many rubbished it saying it was taxpayer money down the drain. However, it later showed that employers were keener to meet/interview people actively doing something (training or on-the-job) than those idling at home. There might be the signalling effect with retraining. I don't think we know enough to conclude that retraining is useless, cannot jump to conclusion.

    I might be too strong when I mentioned the hypocrisy bit. That, I apologies.

    By Blogger Bart JP, at 2:51 pm  

  • First of all, you have been drinking too much of the government Kool-Aid if you think that unemployment or underemployment is a middle-age problem. If you spend more time in Singapore, you will realise that plenty of young Singaporean men have trouble finding appropriate jobs. Those in their 20s and 30s. It is a hardly case of frictional or structural unemployment, because the unemployment periods are long, and they are fully qualified to work in many new jobs especially in the IT sector but are not even considered for hiring because of the "Little India" or "Little China" strategy of the companies here. (BTW, economics is a compulsory subject for NUS Engineering and I scored an A. No expert definitely, but I am familiar with simple economic terms.)

    Second, all I am advocating is that we give Singaporeans a fair equal chance of competing against foreigners. I think it will be great if Singapore adopts the hiring practices of London or New York companies, ie having some basic steps to ensure a local can take up the job before bringing in a foreigner. If you take a look at how some companies are run in Singapore, you will know how majority of the newly created jobs go to foreigners. Singaporeans are totally short-circuited from the whole hiring process because the jobs were never advertised here. There are whole companies without a single Singaporean except the cleaners and the tea lady.

    The government chooses to focus on the employment problems of the older Singaporeans, because, as KTM says, the government cannot do much about it. But the problem goes a lot deeper and affects a lot more Singaporeans and affects different sectors differently. Lawyers will tell you the job market is incredibly tight and cant imagine what harm foreigners can bring. Meanwhile, just last night, one of my ex-colleague, a foreigner working in the IT line himself, is lamenting Singapore is bringing in too many foreigners and he feels he has to leave Singapore as soon as a good opportunity arises before he is forced to relocate to India. When you lump everything together in one big average statistic, everything looks fine. But if you live among real Singaporeans and not surround yourself with yesmen like the ministers, you will know why there are lies, damn lies and statistics.

    As it is, one in four in Singapore is a foreign national. If you count by birth, the ratio is probably one in three. By the time Singapore hits 6.5 million, it will be more than one in two, ie those born here shall be a minority. Furthermore, Singapore is not a "final destination" like New York or London; foreigners of all strata are barely attracted to stay put in Singapore.

    In the near future, when Shanghai, Mumbai or even KL provide the same opportunities as Singapore, we are going to have trouble keeping our foreigners, which means the companies that depend on them will leave too. Then we will be left with two IRs and a lot of service workers with no one to serve. Now that is a warm and encouraging Singapore I want my son to spend two years of his life defending.

    By Blogger Jimmy Mun, at 4:15 am  

  • Jimmy,

    I get the impression from you (and from other blogs) that the IT people find it hardest to cope with the foreign workers. Looking at other sectors, like law (you mentioned) or finance, the market seems tight.

    I read from somewhere that providing IT services is like building roads, fixing pipes, ie completely 'commoditised'. Perhaps this is explains why it is so difficult for IT grads. Maybe, foreign nationals can really do it more cheaply than a Singaporean, notwithstanding NS discrimination like you said.

    But you made a good point, sectors differ. You asked me not to make generalisation from statistics. I hope you also do not generalise the difficulties faced by one sector to the rest of govt policies. I mentioned several times, it is not helpful conflate the issues.

    By Blogger Bart JP, at 3:48 pm  

  • Since you brought it up, how much does a commodity labourer fixing pipes like plumbers earn in London?

    IT workers are hit hard because the government is downright providing generous grants and tax breaks to encourage companies to pursue a "Little India" strategy. My friend I mentioned is earning five digits doing IT work, but even then, he finds his work untenable. Where he once supported American frontline staff who are well-trained and has some initiative to do problem solving by themselves, the newly imported Indian minimum wage workers only are little more than mindlessly passing messages.

    For the "big picture" management-types like you, it seems like spectacular cost savings in hiring the Indians, but the truth is that it is merely workload transfer to the next level support staff, hence my ex-colleagues hyper-inflated salary by Singapore standards, because of his heavy workload. Given he has hit the local salary cap, he is planning to leave Singapore soon because he can have easily higher salary doing the same work in Hong Kong or Japan.

    So the company will complain it is hard to hire IT workers while thousands of grunt-level IT workers flood the market: the foreigners who are hired because they are cheap and never given further training, while Singaporeans dont even get hired at all to gain the work experience ,an essential prerequisite to do the higher value-added jobs. Eventually, the government grants will not be enough to keep the "Little India" companies.

    The IT sector is hard hit because it is singled out by the government to "benefit" from a liberal inflow of foreigners. Soon, doctors and lawyers will feel the heat too. We are the canaries in the coal mine.

    Time and again, you are the one trying to inject the "London experience" to the Singapore immigration problem, and yet you ask me not to conflate issues. Like I said, the problems Singapore face has no parallel elsewhere in the world. Even if it looks similar, you only need to live among Singaporeans to know it is much much worse.

    By Blogger Jimmy Mun, at 4:05 am  

  • Jimmy,

    You have a penchant for labelling people to get your point across. Over the past week, you have used 'elite, genes, connections, bogeymen'. Now you call me a management-type, when I am obviously a PhD student and teaching assistant. We have different perspectives due to different experiences, but don't get angry with the other side.

    Chill brother, chill.

    By Blogger Bart JP, at 7:50 am  

  • Funny, the only time I referred to "bogeyman", I was talking about taxi drivers. You drive a cab?

    As to elite and/or well-connected, I dont recall referring it to you specifically either. Most people would be quite pleased to be labelled as such. And I used "elite", "connections" and "genes" as the defining characteristics of the ruling class in Singapore, one with a middle class totally devastated by immigration, be it lawyers or IT workers. If you think you are un-elite, has no connections and have lousy genes, you are welcome to join me in the poverty class, if and when you return to Singapore.

    Compared to the labels you use on me, like "grievous xenophobe", I think I have been civil. And in case you are unsure, I am never against immigration or immigrants. The fear is more of the government overdoing it. Singapore with our one party domination, is very prone to extremes, having engineered the lowest birthrate in the world. And now, Singapore will rapidly head towards the most densely populated in the world long before we hit 6.5 million. All you need is to spend time in Singapore to realise how close our transport system is to paralysis, and yet the government is bringing in immigrants at a rate of 100,000 a year. And jobs, yes, like I said before, plenty of jobs are created, but Singaporeans are not getting hired.

    It is not your ass in the hot water, so obviously it is easier for you to chill. If there is a label I want to plant on you, it will be "out of touch". You have no idea what is going on in Singapore, and yet you want to give out advice on how Singaporeans should live our lives.

    By Blogger Jimmy Mun, at 7:15 am  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Bart JP, at 7:47 am  

  • Jimmy,

    I said "sometimes breed grievous xenophobia". I have not labelled you as anything as far as I recalled. I sympathise with your predicament actually, you actually inspired me to write the latest post, where I stated there is a job hyperbole.

    I live in London, I know what transport paralysis is, I face it every other week. Back in Spore, I also noticed public transport becoming more congested, that is true. But again, address the specific concern and not knot everything together.

    Talk about taxi drivers. I have two uncles in the family who are. My wife has an uncle who is. Not every who talks about the benefits of globalisation is born with a silver spoon. I am a globalisation and free market advocate. Some would consider that in touch with reality.

    By Blogger Bart JP, at 7:50 am  

  • Jimmy,

    Can I ask you what line are you in to be facing stiff competition from foreigners? IT?

    Thanks.

    By Blogger Bart JP, at 8:05 am  

  • I believe there are interesting perspectives brought out here.

    Jimmy Mun's goalkeeper argument is ingenious ! Perhaps one issue is immigration but he is pointing out that it may be a talent selection issue where for some reason foreigners are able to "signal" their ability better?

    By Blogger Merlion, at 8:19 am  

  • No leh, recent English goalkeepers have all been disasters - David James, Tony Robinson, Kirkland. Couldn't think of an good English goalie 'discovered' through someone else's injury.

    By Blogger Bart JP, at 8:55 am  

  • Paul Robinson, England's current preferred custodian between the goalposts, does not get to play against top notch European sides in the Champions League. His substitute, Ben Foster, is probably Man United's third or fourth choice goalkeeper, having games to play in the Premiership only because he is on loan to Watford. Scott Carson, England's third choice for the World Cup, is probably Liverpool's third choice goalkeeper as well, and gets to play games only because he is on loan at Charlton.

    Paul Robinson's debut came when Nigel Martyn was injured, and managed to play a few Champion's League games when Leeds was still a European force. Scott Carson also had his debut at Leeds, because of a red card given to Robinson and an injury to Martyn, which impressed many clubs. After his transfer to Liverpool, Carson managed to play in one or two Champion's League games for Liverpool, when Dudek was injured, before the arrival of Reina.

    Given the sheer volume of foreign goalkeepers available, English goalkeepers could find themselves stuck on loan forever to relegation candidates without a chance to impress in the big games.

    Anyway, at no point did I say I am against globalisation or immigration. It is a matter of degree. On average, Singapore brings in 100,000 new immigrants every year. Is that too many or too few? If you are so pro-immigration, shouldnt we increase that number to 1 million a year? Or 10 million a year? I live here. I see the problems. I think it is too many, too quickly. Even the foreigners here think so. The infrastructure of the country cannot cope. The job market, from my point of view, cannot cope. Singaporeans are being displaced from middle income jobs to low income jobs. This is not a older worker problem. This is not structural unemployment, because many of the new immigrants have hardly any skills other than obedience and low salary expectations.

    I am not advocating a restriction on immigrants, or even a quota to hold back immigration. All I am asking, is that companies will need to show they have gone through the trouble, evaluating Singaporeans for the job before bringing in a foreigner, not unlike the practice in London or New York. Is that very demanding? Very xenophobic? Very anti-globalisation?

    Singapore is the place where women have to conceal their pregnancy until their 6th month or they risk getting fired without benefits for no reason other than being pregnant. After the sixth month, they can then be fired with maternity benefits. Employers in breach of this very basic regulation need to pay no more than the maternity benefits. Singapore is the place where Singaporeans have to compete on the job with little protection from the foreigners, and yet the government drags the Singaporean men away from the workplace for as many as 40 days a year. For service jobs that have quota to be filled, being unavailable for over 10% of the workyear is career ending.

    I chose to be a technology worker. I never sought special protection from immigration or globalisation. But I never expected the government to be so ruthless as to throw incentives to displace the Singapore citizen in the field I chose to work in. This dispair is shared even by the foreigners employed here. Unlike you, I have commitments in Singapore or I would have left this island a long time ago. It is no surprise that the foreigners, when they gain enough work experience, also leave as soon as they can.

    You acknowledge the Singapore press to be government controlled, and yet you take their articles to be the gospel truth. All you need, is to live among Singaporeans, for even among the employed, citizens and foreigners, the fear is palpable.

    By Blogger Jimmy Mun, at 5:03 am  

  • Let's move away from the goalie example for it is obviously simplifying too much. I hope to reply to the other issues you raised, personal or otherwise, point my point.

    - I have acknowledged the environmental stress, or infrastructure, is the limitingf factor in attracting immigration in my post on economic geography (kindly read it). What I do not agree is when people use the job fallacy as an argument against immigrants.

    - I intend to return to Spore next year, always want to. I came to London to learn and gain experience. This is an aspect of globalisation - people move around at different stage of their lives. We are long past the quitter/stayer way of thinking.

    - Discrimination is a problem, I acknowledge that several times already. Firing women for being pregnant is a disgrace. This is not an immigration problem. This is an industrial problem that should be solved through legislation or through industrial tribunal. Separate from immigration.

    - NS is a bugbear. With or without immigrants, we have to serve NS. If they are not here, they compete against us from elsewhere, this is the reality of globalisation. LPPL.

    - US/UK universities give many many scholarships to foreigners, in order to attract them to contribute to their research. What Spore govt does is not unique, their is strong international competition for people with talent.

    - I would rather the press be less controlled. But this is a political issue, not an economic one. I think many bloggers are quite fearless in making themselves heard, and I think it is a good thing.

    By Blogger Bart JP, at 5:48 am  

  • "US/UK universities give many many scholarships to foreigners"

    Do you know that nearly 20% of all students in NUS and NTU are scholarship holding foreigners? How does that compare to a typical US/UK university?

    There is no equivalent with the Singapore way elsewhere in the world. You live here, you stay here, you study here. You will know.

    By Blogger Jimmy Mun, at 6:23 am  

  • Jimmy,
    you said it all and well-articulated.

    I'm agree with what you said. The gov try to have competitive advantage of workforce label of expense of worker here, foreign or local.
    Bart, I hope you stop reading local newspaper, especially those on econmic and political issue. Would you ever want to trust a guy for example, that sometimes speak truth and sometimes tell lie according to personal agenda and interest ?

    The gov has lost of people, and yet the gov want to paint rosy picture all over the places. Look, Bart, do you think our economic is as good as you think or believe ? If so, why did gov-controlled press continue to piss other countries by highlight Singapore's accelerated growth and giving what I perceived to be unbelieveable statistic figure to back thing up. On what premise is these figure derive from ? And on what context, and who is the one that compiling in the department.

    Bart, see the real truth not half truth, get associated with people compiling those statistic, and it will probably surprised you at their logic and methods.

    Afterall, these people are paid high because economic is growing. What better way to grow economic by giving these information rather credible or not, if end of day, my salary and bonus will depend on how these statistic will help economic boom.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:50 pm  

  • I'm agree with what you said. The gov try to have competitive advantage of workforce label of expense of worker here, foreign or local.

    Should

    read as
    I'm agree with what you said. The gov try to have competitive advantage of workforce labour at the expenses of worker here, be it foreign or local worker

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:51 pm  

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