I say we SHOULD give foreign talents equal dues!
Reading this letter to the Today paper reminds me once again of all the reasons why we Singaporeans are unhappy with foreigners.
For this blog entry I'll be doing it differently by putting in comments in between paragraphs. I think it has better effect.
Give foreign talent equal dues
Why treat overseas employees differently?
Letter from Robyn M Speed
Robyn Speed chooses to title this letter "Give foreign TALENT equal dues". Why not just foreigners and drop the word talent? Or is the writer suggesting that we only give the "elite" foreigners equal dues but not the "peasant" foreigners? Minefield there. But it goes to show like attracts like.
I refer to the report, "Permanent Residents debate price of citizenship", (Dec 5).
One might argue that Singapore citizens in other countries should not be entitled to the same benefits as the citizens of those countries. It is only fair that they pay full health costs and pay more for education.
If they want the same treatment as citizens, they should take up citizenship in that country.
It should not matter if Singaporeans have been living in Australia, New Zealand, or the United States for a decade or more — they should not get the same rights as the citizens. They should expect to pay more.
It is only fair. Right?
Actually Robyn Speed has a point. I totally agree with him/her. But the whole idea rests upon this principle : Equal benefits and privelleges for equal contributions and sacrifices. I shall address this a bit more later to show something that Robyn failed to point out in this letter.
I bet you would say no; that if you do the work, you should get fair and equal treatment. Yet, that is what Singapore wants to do to foreigners here.
Now I take issue with that statement that Robyn makes. Do you do the work? And I mean all the work! What about National Service? Do foreign talents here as PRs do National Service? They don't. Now let's not sidetrack into the point Robyn makes below about making Singapore an attractive place. But perhaps Robyn should put himself/herself in our shoes as Singaporean males.
We serve National Service for 2.5 years (now 2 years). We get called up for In Camp Training every year that disrupts our working and social lives. We have to go for IPPT and RT. This is all part of the "work" that we do as Singapore citizens. Do the foreigners do it? They don't. So can you really say foreigners "do the work"? Yes or no? If no, then can you still say "you should get fair and equal treatment"?
This is why we Singaporeans are so angry. Try to understand that before you write such letters to the press to fuel our anger further. It is not as if Singapore citizens get much benefits anyway.
You want the top professionals in the world to come and work here, to build Singapore as the top research place in the world, the top education hub. Yet you want to hold them distant, to treat them as second to the locals.
I don't like Robyn's tone here. Perhaps Robyn speaks the truth. Singaporeans are pathetic and we need people like him/her to come and help us. Or else we would die.
But I suspect Robyn has not lived in Singapore for very long. Because if he/she did, he/she would have come to realise that Singapore citizens get very little if not close to nothing in terms of benefits and privelleges by being citizens compared to being PRs.
(Sorry to bring up the NS issue again, but one forumer asked if we could pay more for healthcare like the PRs and not have to serve NS. I think most of us would gladly take it!)
What exactly are those "benefits" that the writer cannot get that makes him/her feel so second rate anyway?
Surely these foreigners are working for Singapore and her citizens, to build your country and economy, to add to your markets and prestige.
Some come here, with their families, for career opportunities. They pay rent at the market rate for a condo apartment, their children attend an international school (because they want a sense of continuity for their children's education). Add up these costs and they are paying a lot of money, while supporting Singapore's economy.
Why do these foreign employees come here? Because the employer decided that they were the best person for the job.
That last sentence "Because the employer decided that they were the best person for the job." makes me wonder something. If these foreign talents are the best people for the job, won't it mean they are also paid the best rates? Shouldn't their healthcare benefits be the best as well? If not then why work for such companies if you are indeed the best? Don't shortchange yourself. You are not a Singaporean!
Most TRUE foreign talents that I know and read about (eg our Ministers talk about them) are paid big bucks and have comprehensive healthcare insurance plans and if not even hefty expat allowances. They are usually well taken care of.
So it seems strange that Robyn Speed chooses to write this letter after the Singapore government announces that healthcare would cost more for foreigners (mind you at the subsidized government healthcare centres). The timing seems strange to me.
Can you thus fault me for suspecting that the writer is unhappy because he/she has to now pay more for his/her healthcare needs? What happened to the employer taking the best care of "the best person for the job". Whose fault is that really?
Singapore is a small country and it is difficult for anyone to have the same experience as a worker who has travelled the world, worked in massive markets and learnt from the top people in their fields.
More condescending statements from the writer to fuel the anger once again. We all hear these truths from our leaders everyday already. Is there a need to rub it in?
I am an expat. We all have a bond with our homeland and to turn one's back on it is considered to be almost despicable by many. Our homeland is our home in the world — you cannot lightly ask a person to give that up.
Excellent point Robyn. I would love to ask you what you think of Singapore as a nation, her government and how her people are treated compared to your lovely homeland. How would you feel if you were a Singaporean? That would be something the government would not like you to write about I am sure. So have some pity for us. That much we ask you.
Singapore wants to be an international hub of research, education, tourism and so on. And yet, this latest move smacks of: "You are welcome to come, but … ".
Foreigners are either welcome or they are not.
And beware, for there are always other markets for these people to go to.
Good point. Once again reiterates how "vulnerable" Singapore is.
Just a last point. This letter seems to spark a lot of debate and fans the underlying flames of discontent in the foreigners vs locals issue. Would we consider that as disrupting the harmony of our society? Seditious?
But it's printed in the papers so I would think this is not a OB topic.