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I am Singaporean XX – Singaporeans in Demand? March 22, 2007

Posted by The Truth in I am Singaporean, Vol. I.

It seems that Singaporeans are in demand everywhere. The article smells of ra-ra-Singapura and flag-waving…but oh well, it’s Channel NewsAsia. Heh.

Well, in my opinion, Singaporeans are in demand everywhere but in Singapore. So…there’s going to be another civil service pay raise. (Admittedly, i’m also going to be a civil servant, but i don’t know if it’s going to apply to me…i keep thinking that it applies to the sewer serpents and not the civil servants…i mean, i don’t see us swimming in moolah.) And look at this…

Mr Lee said the government is also reviewing salaries for the political, judicial and statutory appointment holders.

I think that in Singapore, a salary review probably implies a pay raise. And did you notice that the ‘political, judicial and statutory appointment holders‘ refer to PAP politicians/social elite mainly? Will someone tell us if our opposition friends are also getting a pay raise? Anyway, our PM sure has a really good sense of timing, because he announced the pay raise right after the tax raise. Perhaps he believes that we, the citizens, have been too well-conditioned not to question the decisions of the government. Perhaps that is mostly true. But that doesn’t stop us from making logical conclusions, does it? Now, i quote again:

He added that it is critical for Singapore to keep their salaries competitive so that the country can bring in a continuing flow of able and successful people to be ministers and judges.

I don’t like saying it but i think it’s not a very good investment just to bring in people who are deemed to be ‘able and successful’ to become ministers and judges just by attracting them with a large sum of money. Perhaps the brain drain IS a result of Singapore’s smooth-going life. We should ask ourselves now, for those staying in and working in Singapore (or, more importantly, in the civil/sewer service): What are we working for?

With the brain drain and the importing of the so-called ‘foreign talent’ (some of which aren’t even talents at all) i think this question is one which has to be asked time and time again. Our Gahmen seems to be obsessed with money…because money can buy everything. Sadly, it seems, money has not been able to buy just about everyone over. So…exasperated at this brain drain, our Gahmen decides to zhng our little island to make it look ultra-attractive and all and attract foreign talent to the country. After all, since they want Singapore to stand up there on the GDP rankings, they have to do it.

And, to bolster the civil service (i.e., attract people with the brains and talent,) our Gahmen forks out humongous sums of money to keep them there. To me, it seems that even if these people ARE talented, they may not have the passion or even the right capabilities for whatever they are assigned to do. I mean, it sure is a good life for those who are talented but lazy: no baptism of fire, smooth-sailing as long as you don’t fuck up, make the right moves and bring in a million a year. Who wouldn’t want that kind of life? Don’t forget that the biggies in the civil service have their salaries pegged to ‘two-thirds of the median income of the eight top-earning professionals in six professions’! It remains to be seen, however, if they are actually worth it.

For some Singaporeans, Singapore is not a home anymore. Indeed, and perhaps sadly, i count amongst them. For me, Singapore is only home because my friends and family are here. I would fight if Singapore went to war, but for my friends and family. I doubt i’ll be fighting for some flag or some politician – i doubt i’d fight for my ex-NS CO even. But for people like me, who wish to pursue a passion, something you know you can do well at, or maybe something which you’re not very proficient at, but which you’ve found an unspeakable kind of joy at (because in Singapore you’re not likely to get a job based on pure passion), Singapore is not the place to be.

Others leave because Singapore is stifling and the work atmosphere is…let’s just say it’s not very healthy. But even average or slightly above-average Singaporeans, when given the free room to do things, can really shine overseas and get paid their due! Some go overseas and find that satisfaction. In the meantime, our Gahmen continues to use the line that Singaporeans are in demand overseas (true) and that people in our civil service are being headhunted (is this true? Any statistics?) as a reason to increase civil servant/sewer serpent salaries to keep them in the service! (illogical!)

Is our Gahmen too fixed on a quick solution by increasing salaries and attracting foreign talent (considering they have mountains of money) to concentrate on captivating the hearts and minds of Singaporeans? They are on home ground and should have a great advantage at keeping Singaporeans in Singapore (the ties of home, most importantly) and yet they are losing people like a torn sieve… Foreign talent are also mercenary. They come and once an even bigger carrot is dangled before their eyes, they’re gone again. Singaporeans are Singaporeans. But i guess, it’s monkey see, monkey do. Seeing how the talk of town is always foreign talent this, foreign talent that, and with civil servant pay-packets getting bigger while the people who these civil servants are supposed to be answerable to pay more taxes, with the government making the people answerable to them (instead of the government being answerable to the people), it’s no wonder why people choose to leave.

As a foreign talent overseas i’m pretty sure they can get quite a handsome sum too. And although taxes overseas are higher, have we considered the benefits they get for it? Oh, i’m sorry…i shouldn’t have used that word. It’s a swear-word in Singapore. You could use the words ‘benefit’ and ‘welfare’ to cuss at a politician here. Also, maybe people are getting tired of the lack of social responsibility, especially socio-political responsiblity here. Apathy causes us not to care about who we’re voting in, so the PAP gets power time and time again, to the extent that the use and abuse of that power has been fully given over to the politicians’ consciences.

It’s no wonder that with increasing education, Singaporeans feel exploited, the parts of an efficient machine – if they worked no more, it’d be fine – there’re always replacements. Replacements made in China, India, Europe, and everywhere else.

What happened to ‘Made in Singapore?’



1. vaixz grajivcst - May 23, 2008

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