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Of migration and the Singaporean diaspora

Comments (24)
  1. Fox says:

    Because Singapore is run like a company by the government, Singaporeans should think of Singapore as a business too. The question is how should Singaporeans view Singapore Inc. – as owners or as employees.

    Businesses have their ups and downs from time to time. Employees join and stay with the company when times are good and leave when wages are better elsewhere. They don't contribute to decision-making and do not have to feel any sense of loyalty to the company.

    Owners, on the other hand, have a say on how the business is run. Hence, they have some responsibilities and obligations. When times are good, they reap the benefits and when business is bad, they have to take part of the blame. When the tough gets going, Owners also stick around because of their sense of ownership.

    Because Singapore society is very top-down in nature, most young people see themselves as Employees rather than Owners. They are told which languages to speak (or not to speak), which subjects to study, when to marry, how to welcome new immigrants, how not to rely on government welfare, etc. After a while, people feel that they are not living in the Singapore that they want and can have. Any wonder why people choose to live?

    1. kweeter says:

      I'm thinking of migrating from Singapore too and this comment sums it up perfectly. A company's former employees are likely to be disinterested in the future of the company – in the spirit of capitalism, let the invisible hand of the free market deal with the company! – and it's no surprise that (ex-)Singaporeans feel the same way about good ol' .sg. Doesn't help that the stuff I grew up with in the 90s/early 00s (not even the 70s/80s!) is already disappearing so quickly. Like that where got attachment?

  2. Damn Disilluisoned says:

    Your parents are better off now than their parents when they first arrived here 50 years ago and all these years they could take good care of their parents and you. Now you look at your aging parents who are retired and have to fend for themselves using their blood and sweat CPF savings coping with ever increasing cost of living with declining quality of life. This is when you began to question what will become of you and your children in the future who are average ordinary Singapore citizens. This explains why more than 50% of youths aged between 15 and 29 years old want to migrate overseas if given the chance.

  3. Bernard says:

    Perhaps the government has realised this and hence started Singapore Day.

    1. Charles says:

      Campaigns do not work if the underlying cause is not changed…

  4. fishbuff says:

    why the sad posting? if u are not happy in sg, then move out of there once and for all. for crying out loud, no one is holding u back. u are not bound by chains and penalties from leaving. so pick up your courage and do something about it.

  5. guojun says:

    As if Singapore Day works – people go there for the makan only. And as for leaving, as if everyone can leave. Most want to leave Singapore but live in a Singaporean environment – like that how can?

  6. Divided says:

    As a singaporean living overseas I actually do have a wish to come home, whether it be for a few years or for the longer term to spend time with my family (the guilt!) and because I know that the reality is is that different countries merely have different issues. Nowhere is perfect and if anyone is kidding themselves thinking that the grass is greener on the other side is sorely mistaken and the harsh reality is that you solve one problem and create another.

    I left because I felt discriminated against by people in Singapore for not being "the norm" and I am hesitant to come back because unfortunately I doubt that a lot of my peer group (who I would undoubtly meet again) would have really changed. Apart from that they have to address:

    1) the pay is about 2/3 that of the UK for a similar top tier firm position, there is just no way they can match this
    2) the hours are about an extra 50% + potentially weekends (and on 2/3 pay!!)
    3) cost of cars are still very high as well as housing
    4) marrying someone from the UK means that they are even more hesitant about the 3 points above, and to be honest, will probably suffer a weird reverse discrimination for not being asian (e.g. if an ang moh came and said he would work at Ya Kun what really are the chances he will get hired? or as a teller at DBS? Sales person at Guardian? Basically any non-expatriate role related job?)

    I think singapore is great in many ways, the schools, the safety, the stability, the cleanliness, the size, eating etc… Singapore really just has to consider how they can address the serious reduction in living standards that moving home can entail.

    A question that people have to ask themselves is whether the reality of democracy matches up to the ideal that it poses. Most people who go into politics anywhere in the world go into it for themselves, and people should not lie to themselves that the chances that anyone is really any different is all that great. Man is alike anywhere, there are always going to be the good, the bad, the normal people.

    It would be my hope that Singaporeans can broaden their acceptance of their own people and not be cruel to those among them who are different, because cruelty from "khaki nang" is what hurts the most, but for those who do make it out, you can make it out to a place where people do not care, and perhaps most people accept you, but it is never a guarantee that that place is going to be better… or worse than home.

  7. lyn says:

    I am an overseas Singaporean who misses Singapore for its food, people, Singlish and the pasars. I would like to someday return, however the pay for an equivalent position is much lower in Singapore than in the UK or US and further more, the cost of housing and cars are phenomenal. Don't think that all overseas Singaporeans don't miss Singapore or don't want to go home!

  8. JESSIE says:

    I AM A SINGAPOREAN LIVING AND WORKING IN UK FOR 10 YEAR.OF COURSE I WOULD BE GOING HOME IN THE END AFTER THIS JOURNEY OF MINE IS OVER.
    FROM MY EXPERIENCE LIVING AND WORKING SO CLOSELY WITH THE BRITISH LIKE A FAMILY.I MUST SAY NOTHING COMPARES TO OUR HOME,SINGAPORE.LIVING STANDARD IN SINGAPORE MIGHT BE EXPENSIVE NOW BUT THERE IS LOTS OF SECURITY,SAFETY,HYGIENE,WELL MANNERED,CIVILISE SINGAPOREAN,GOOD QUALITY STANDARD OF LIVING,GREAT FOOD,GREAT SHOPPING,GOOD STANDARD OF EDUCATION FOR THE KIDS,.THE DOWN SIDE IS THAT THE HEAT IS AWFUL.TO SUM IT UP,SINGAPORE IS 95 % A GREAT COUNTRY.
    I AM SO VERY PROUD OF SINGAPORE AND TO BE A SINGAPOREAN…. :)

  9. JESSIE says:

    HELLO AGAIN,
    JUST SOME FEEDBACK REGARDING THE SINGAPORE DAY EVENT HELD AT THE HAMPTON COURT PALACE IN LONDON.I HAD ATTENT THE EVENT AND IT WAS VERY WELL ORGANISE AND VERY INFORMATIVE ABOUT SINGAPORE.
    ONE THING THAT I NOTICE IS THAT THE CROWD WERE ALL VERY YOUNG THAT LOOKS LIKE STUDENTS IN THE UNIVERSITY THERE ALL MAYBE WORKING AND LIVING IN THE UK.
    THEY CERTAINLY DO NOT LOOK LIKE AN UNHAPPY SINGAPOREAN THAT ARE RUNNING AWAY FROM SINGAPORE TO STAY IN UK THINKING THAT THIS SIDE OF THE GRASS IS GREENER….HAHAHAHA….
    I AM LAUGHING BECAUSE THIS SIDE OF THE GRASS ARE CERTAINLY GREENER BUT NOT NECESSARY LIVING LIFE ARE GREENER……
    CHEERS….
    XXX

    1. Kelvin Teo says:

      Hi Jesse:
      No need to shout using CAPS, we can hear you loud and clear from Singapore. hahahaah! Conversely, do you think Singaporeans attend Singapore Day in UK for free food?
      Sincerely yours

  10. JESSIE says:

    HI AGAIN,
    oops nearly forgot my caplock is on,sorry lah.
    i dont think that the oversea singporean went to the singapore day event for free makan.
    i didnt even have a clue that the makan was free until i was there.
    cheers,
    xxx

  11. Contented says:

    To be honest, I only went to Singapore Day for the free food and the fact that I have never been to Hampton Court. That is about it. I am not terribly patriotic and I do enjoy being in London. I have been living here for 3 years now. The only downside is that I do miss my family and will be missing out watching my niece and nephews grow up. But 'Divided' makes such great points and I hate to say it, he/she stated the exact points that I also have.

    That's the thing about being overseas Singaporeans. We are definitely different from our peers in so many ways. We do not have the same mentality, the same mindset, and we are definitely more open-minded and more worldly as we have left our fair shores and see things in a very different light. Singaporeans are very cruel to anything that is different since most Asian societies are homogenous. That is one reason why Singaporeans lack so much creativity. And that is why, the govt sees a need for foreign talent.

    Basically what I am trying to say is, the government has to do more that just organising Singapore Day to entice overseas Singaporeans.

  12. disillusioned says:

    I am a 30yr old Singaporean. I grew up in a blue collar household with very very hardworking parents. We live in a HDB flat. My dad is still furiously working away at an age of 57, not knowing when he can smell retirement. LKY says work is good, retire=dying? Tell him to try driving a bus at age 57. We never owned a car until I bought one (a typical japanese 1.6L) when I started working. ( I sold it away 3 months ago and realized a lost of $17k over 2 yrs.) I studied hard and attended a SAP school and thought one day I will bring my family out of the HDB class.

  13. disillusioned says:

    After 4 yrs of working I have barely 25k in savings + 35k in CPF. When I landed a better paying job during the boom that preceded the crisis, inflation took away all my hard work. I still couldnt afford much in Singapore. No condo, never mind, I look to HDB, and find that they are disgustingly overpriced despite the crisis. If its not the free market, then it must be the migration policy and the lack of care to ramp up supply of HDBs. I had to work under an incompetent british "foreign talent" boss who was a redneck in disguise. He doesn’t know Excel, he punctuates his sentences with fcuks. He bullies. Talent indeed. Where are the checks?

  14. disillusioned says:

    I hear the govt says Singapore gains FTs to replace the 'quitters', I wonder why I served the NS. My auntie killed herself becos she got depressed with medical costs, while MPs decided they deserve million dollar salaries. Both events happened at around the same time.I am making plans to leave SG for good, but its painful bcos I feel guilt for my parents. Singapore has the bright lights now, but I dun think the middle class citizens are any happier. Without anyone able to make serious changes in the govt, the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel just became headlights of an oncoming train for more and more of us.

  15. will4 says:

    There has been many local moving to neighboring Malaysia in order to lower the cost.

  16. puffer says:

    Another thing about migrating to Malaysia is that the NS is only 3 months, and they ironically practice more meritocracracy and equality than us by drafting the females too.

  17. jim says:

    Singapore is run exactly the way American multinational run, bottom line is profits without due regard to morale, motivations, and a host of dehumanising issue. This is one country where a minister can get away issuing threats to its own citizen, telling them that if a foreigner can accept lower salary and better qualifications , then singaporean must be retrenched in favour of foreigners.
    Today, when the next general election is around the corner, they conveniently tell us that they must put cap on the number of foreigner, 30% of our workforce is a foreigner, for every two singapore working, there is one foreigner competing with lower pay,

    when elections are not around the corner, they tell us, singapore cannot survive without foreigners, you should shut up, as u dont know what is good for u. The previous MP for clementi Tan Cheng Bock stoop up and speak up on issues of foreigners, he immediately got a rebuke and of course he lost his job as a MP

    There is a wide spread perception that singaporean are worst treated by their own government. This PAP governmnet treat foreigners better. , they do not have to go to National service, enjoy subsidised medical and housing, Singapore were calling out loud , the government choses to ignore us

    now that election is around the corner, everyday we are blasted with headline news that foreigners have to pay more for medical, schools.
    this is all an electon gimmicks, hoping that singaporean have short memory

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Established in 2009, The Kent Ridge Common is the independent daily of the National University of Singapore. Writers comprise largely of current undergrads with select alumni contributing to the paper. Opinions expressed are of the writer's own. Please visit our disclaimer page for our terms and conditions.
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