Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Who are we actually letting go and why?

Referring to the article titled: ‘Time we learnt to let go?’ in ‘today’, a letter from Kwan Jin Yao, he wrote:

‘The advent of globalisation has brought about heightened communications and enhanced mobility, encouraging Singaporeans to venture into different parts of the world for work and study. It is not a coincidence that many of these individuals are the creme de la creme of the Singaporean population; students and professionals who excel in their respective fields and possess tremendous potential and abilities.

It is disheartening to hear that many of these citizens make the decision to remain abroad instead of returning - after all, Singapore is a place that has done much for them in their formative years. Mr Tan seems to attribute the trend of an increasing number of "absent citizens" to the fading sense of belonging - exacerbated by extended periods overseas - as well as the mantra that the grass is greener on the other side.’

Well, i wonder if the author realise that over the couple of decades, Singapore has turned into a nation which promotes and favours one culture over the rest. There are plenty of evidences which seem too hard to ignore. For instance, the promotion and campaign for speaking one particular language, the nation wide publicity of speaking that particular language is ‘cool’ slogan, hosting mega celebration of one particular culture in central location (eg. marina bay), special education programme which targets additional resources to students to master one particular language/culture so that once these students graduated, they would be able to have better understanding and fostering closer ties with people from the so called ‘mother land’ and the list goes on...

So before the author can start getting emotional against those citizens who have remained abroad, he needs to differentiate those who have despite benefitted from the advantageous position described above and still choose to remain abroad and those who have not. The author got to show good reason/s for the latter to return to the country even though they may be called a citizen. Till the nation starts showing genuine interest in promoting and practicing multiculturalism over what is currently being practiced, the outflow of people from the relatively disadvantaged culture (as described above) will continue. It would be the nation lost as it is the essence of multiculturalism that promotes among the people the ability to notice and appreciate differences and thus making sense of things from a multifaceted perspective which is required in a dynamic environment people are living in now and even more so in the ‘advent of globalisation’.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Substantial help for low-income, over a lifetime - Or is it?

Reading the article in 'today' titled :

'Substantial help for low-income, over a lifetime'
, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam argued against some of the MPs and NMP views:

"By allowing in more foreign workers, Singaporeans at the lower end of the income ladder saw their wages being depressed, they argued.

This argument was "wrong and misleading", Mr Shanmugaatnam said. In fact, between 2006 and 2008, the earnings of lower-income households grow by about 16 per cent in real terms - this "corresponded to the period when the foreign workforce was growing most rapidly", which had allowed businesses to seize opportunities, grow and create more jobs for Singaporeans.

During the second half of the decade also, Singapore would have missed the boat had it not allowed businesses to invest and expand in Singapore, including leading investors like Shell or Exxon-Mobil. "We would have ended up with a decade of very weak income growth. In particular, low growth would have hit our low-income families the hardest, as it did in the first part of the decade.

Firstly, an interesting point Mr Tharman brought up was the correlation he presented on the period of rapid influx of foreign workers and the increase in earnings of lower-income households by 16 percent in real terms, between 2006 & 2008. A question i would like to raise is, what is the profile of the said 'lower-income households'? Are they citizens (new/old), PRs or foreigners? Since he mentioned this period coincided with the influx of foreign workers, it could well be this group of workers/ households who have 'benefited' from the said increase in 'earnings'. Also, If the wages of the 'lower-income households were already way below the means to pay for the living expenses(i.e relative to the cost of living; housing, transport, food etc) in 2006, a 16% increase (if that is true) would still not be able to help in lifting them out of poverty.

Then, he made a causation on the need for more foreign workers for the businesses to grow and the ability to attract ‘leading investors like Shell or Exxon-Mobil to invest and expand in Singapore’. I do wonder how do other countries who do not employ such strategy to attract these ‘leading investors’ still able to make these ‘leading investors’ continue to invest and expand in their countries? Go to these companies sites and one can find a long list of countries these companies are operating and how many of these countries employ the said policy/ strategy?

Even if he can prove that the foreign worker policy can help the economy to grow, he still can’t show that those ‘lower income households’ or individuals are benefitting equally from it compared to the higher income groups. The income gap between the two groups might have widen even greater over this period of ‘growth’. Yes, growth might be good if it benefits all and not more for a selected group as we have witnessed so far.

About This Blog

Powered by Blogger.

Lorem Ipsum


© 2010 SIMY T C ? Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha. Converted by tmwwtw for LiteThemes.com.