"S'pore 'must embrace migrants' - Sun, Apr 18, 2010 AsiaOne
Singapore must not shy away from embracing new, highly educated migrants, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said yesterday.
Re-stating his view on the issue, he said Singapore would continue to need overseas talent to drive its economic dynamo.
Pointing to the first quarter growth of 13.1 per cent and revised government projections of 7 per cent to 9 per cent growth for the year, he said this was 'a big turnaround from our most difficult period in early 2009'."
There is no doubt in any reasonable Singaporean's mind that we need to embrace new, highly educated migrants to be relevant and viable economically since we are NOT replacing ourselves fast enough! At the same time, the noises generated around the ground level in the recent times in Singapore by the ordinary people and some of those who were 'structurally unemployed' PMETs are against just taking in 'migrants' to take their primary and secondary jobs!
Lessons for me are:
1. the fact the the PM, SM, and MM have to constantly remind Singaporeans that we need to embrace new and highly educated, and for me, especially those who can also create employment for Singaporeans, means that the message has not been properly disseminated or the target audience have not understood the needs to do so;
2. when MM points to the record growth in GDP in 1Q10 over 1Q09 and over 4Q09, it will be great if the breakdown on HOW much is attributed to 'embracing new and highly educated migrants so that any skeptical Singaporeans who still DO NOT get it that we need to have more migrants can fully understand it with concrete numbers and figures and evidences!;
3. it is also imperative that the government reassures the public that the 'embracing migrants' policy is: 'embracing new and highly educated and especially those able to create employment for Singaporeans'. It is NOT what the public have seen so far: lower waged Foreign Workers (FWs) and the few shadowy thousands that work in the grey area of 'public relation' or 'hospitality' highlighted by some police raids recently!!
4. the gripe is really the SUDDEN realization that we are having SO many FWs that many OLD and unskilled Singaporeans who need to work to earn a living to make life bearable have NO chance competing against them while the FTs are hiring FTs instead of the skilled and willing Singaporeans PMETs!! Also, the delayed or seemingly unplanned response to the needs to have MORE housing for these FWs (dormitories) and FTs (housing), and the recognition that SOME of them bring their home countries' 'outdated-in-Singapore' habits and values to Singapore. e.g. the Indian caste system, the beliefs in 'giving some brides to facilitate easier business transactions', etc.
Singapore is a very small nation. We have not much resources. We rely on external trades, and now hopefully, services to make a living. We are NOT replacing ourselves and the population is shrinking. We have to do what we need to do to survive and thrive. Bringing in FTs is one way for sure. Especially those that complement Singaporeans and create employment for Singaporeans.
Majulah Singapura. Forward we march, Singapore. FTs who become New Singaporeans we march as ONE!!