20 November 2006

On Emigration

In the Straits Times today, some writers discuss a July survey which showed that 53% of young Singaporeans would consider emigration. Can Singapore depend on its youth to stay here and take ownership of the country, our ever-complaining MPs lament in Parliament.

Actually I wonder why young Singaporeans are being singled out in particular. After all, Singaporeans in just about every age group are emigrating. This article, written in 2005, cites various sources and tells us that:
* Every year, 6,000 to 7,000 Singaporeans leave to settle down overseas, including many professionals. This is 15% of today's annual births, probably the highest proportion in the world.

* One survey has put Singapore's average outflow at 26.11 migrants per 1,000 citizens, the second highest in the world - next only to East Timor (51.07).

* Nearly half of all Singaporeans do not think they need to be a resident to be emotionally rooted to the country.

* Six out of 10 undergraduates said they wanted to go abroad to live or work mostly for better economic and job prospects, and enjoy a higher quality of life with less stress.

* An ACNielsen poll showed 21% of Singaporeans, mainly professionals, were considering emigration, half opting for Australia and New Zealand.

* Between 100,000 and 150,000 Singaporeans are studying, working or in business in foreign countries; leaders fear that many of them will not return.
On a separate note, I do not really believe that the government is really concerned about the high emigration rate, as long as it is able to continue attracting sufficient numbers of foreigners to Singapore.

Singapore misses out on another world no. 1.
East Timor still has a higher emigration rate than us.

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Whispers from the heart said...

We not number one?! No way.

I hope we catch up with Timor soon.

Age is not on your side when it comes to emigration. Other nations are not stupid too. They aim to take the young and educated only. It's hard to even sponsor parents and relatives over. Unlike our beloved country, one PRC wife came in tow with 2 grandparents as well. Amazed at how they could do so. The wife works as a waitress and the grandparents hang around the block picking up left-behind items. Their flat looks like a recycling facility.

Wayne said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Wayne said...

Interesting article, Mr Wang.

I disagree, I think the government cares about the emigration rate. It has enacted several policies such as Contact Singapore and make attempts to link up with overseas Singaporeans.

However, without an overt commitment to allow most overseas Singaporeans to vote, overseas Singaporeans may not believe the rhetoric of reaching out. Allowing all overseas Singaporeans to vote should be the first step in engaging them.

As overseas Singaporeans, we should

1) Raise awareness of Overseas Voting for Singaporeans

2) Promote active citizenry by encouraging Singaporeans to register to vote overseas and to vote

3) Promote the idea that all overseas Singaporeans can and should vote regardless of their status and number of years overseas, taking into account maximum efforts to allow all to vote in a safe and secure manner as well as similar election laws in Singapore

4) Encourage the State to eventually work towards allowing all overseas Singaporeans to vote regardless of their location by considering postal ballots, internet voting or opening more consulates and embassies for overseas voting

Dr Oz bloke said...

Let's look at the situation and trends today:

1) The government is trying to attract more and more foreigners to settle in Singapore. However the foreigners settle here TEMPORARILY. Many take up PR but few take up citizenship mainly because it is required by law for them to renounce their existing citizenship. There is a strong suspicion that they are likely to pack their bags for home when Singapore runs into trouble.

2) There are an increasing number of Singaporeans migrating to other countries. Singapore does not allow dual citizenship. Many of these Singaporeans might choose not to give up Singapore citizenship, but effectively they have settled in their new countries. Those who do take up citizenship in their new countries are required by law to renounce their Singapore citizenship.

Can someone tell me what is the difference between the two groups of people? If we say that we are hoping that the people in group 1 are here to replace the people in group 2, what's the difference really? In fact I think it's even worse! Which group of people do you think are MORE likely to care about Singapore? Singaporean born Singaporeans abroad or non-Singapore born foreigners living in Singapore?

Those who are not going to return aren't going to return anyway. Those who come here and are not going to stay are not going to stay anyway. But there may be people who don't really know what they would do, but have decided they love both countries just as much.

It is high time that Singapore consider dual citizenship. Trust your people for once. Give them a choice. Show them you believe they are mature. Show the world you are not insecure as a government and nation.


Elmo says Hi said...

and cheapen our pink ic? i think not.

besides, dual citizenship would be very unfair to those who have slogged away 2 years of their prime for NS.

Anonymous said...

Remember when "someone" said that losers go to Western Australia? Well, haha due to the Mining Boom caused by China' demand for resources, salaries in WA have skyrocketed. Even truck drivers are bring paid AUD $100,000 a year.

Anonymous said...

I know many people with dual citzenships and from personal experiences, i believe the potential gains do not outweigh the potential loss.

Quite simply, people with dual citizenship can be construed as people who swings wherever the wind blows harder. Also, I particularly disagree with Dr Oz Bloke's argument that 'PRs are like leaches who come and suck us dry and leave for greener pastures', as a supporting argument to dual citizenship. Having dual citizenship will exacebate the problem and not aleviate it.

And No, i do not think that Singaporeans in general are mature enough to make their decisions by themselves. Giving people choices should never be construed as a positive. Time and again we may ask, "Do we really want choices?" How many times have you agonized over decisions and only to pick the one that was discarded initially? Freedom of choice is not always a good thing. It will be foolish and naive to think so. Did freedom from Saddam help the Iraqis? Do the Russians worship Gorbachev since it was he who thought that Glasnost can arrest the decline of the Soviet Union?

I think we should keep people who are interested in Singapore's welfare irregardless of where they are from or how long they have resided in Singapore. There is no point keeping rotten apples to infect the rest of the good apples. Between, a choice of losing 1 out 100 apples and sinking the whole ship with infection, the choice is clear to me.

Is the choice clear to U?

Elmo says Hi said...

medstudent: yes, choice is bad. people are dumb at making choices. the gahmen is the only one capable of making sound decisions because of their million dollar talents.

hmm, perhaps that is why the PAP is so popular (or so they say) with the people, simply because it doesn't give us much of a choice.

Anonymous said...

"besides, dual citizenship would be very unfair to those who have slogged away 2 years of their prime for NS."

I would like dual citizenship, but I don't intend to cheat my NS. If I could, I would do military training here to render myself fit for service.

Whispers from the heart said...

I am so amused that someone advocates 'no for singapore.

We should have arranged marriages and arranged parenthood. Let PAP decides when you give birth and how many children you can have as well. Afterall, we all do make lousy choices, like stopping at two and caused this big population problem for the ruling elites.

If choice is bad, no choice is worse because the heart will not be with you.

SHIMURE said...

Emiration to seek one's dream is always happening.

A book by Paulo Coelho, the alchemist speaks of following one's dreams and that of a shepard stepping out of his comfort zone and seeking his dream.

Dr Oz bloke said...

I am so ashamed that the guy who said "no choice is better" is a medical student!

Man o man o man. Nevermind see what happens when he's doing his housemanship!

I do recall a lot of friends changing their ideas or Singapore when they were working 48 hours days and earning $7 an hour.


Tattler said...

Early this year, someone told me that we should plan to send our children overseas to study, so that they have the chance to adjust to the lifestyle overseas and try to get employment there. I thought it was defeatist. Now, I am a convert, and will send my son overseas and wish him the best for a better future there. Who knows, he may even be able to sponsor me there!

Pkchukiss said...

If we look at the personal point of view, if you are that capable enough to be wanted by another country, and are dissatisfied with the current situation in the country, there really isn't much to keep you here if you can muster the will to uproot and settle in another country.

Worried about friends and relatives back in Singapore? Nothing a plane trip here for a holiday to visit your parents (that is, if they choose not to uproot with you).

The circumstances are against retention of local talent.

Like all personal development authors say, apply the Law of Attraction! If you do not want to be treated like a hotel, don't be one!

Kevin said...

about the hotel bit...

yeah, it is true. based on how much you have, you can choose your room but at the end of the day, you can't choose how you want your sheets to look like, your layout of your room. everything there is, as-is. no choice.

Wowbagger said...

Mr Wang,

I can't find original study for the emigration rate cited anywhere on Google, and the only websites that cite it say that it is from an "unverified" survey. I don't doubt that Singapore has a high emigration rate for a country of its prosperity, but that statistic is probably not the most reliable.

R said...

I refer to the anonymous person who posted "There is no point keeping rotten apples to infect the rest of the good apples. Between, a choice of losing 1 out 100 apples and sinking the whole ship with infection, the choice is clear to me."

Firstly, if you have such strong views, then don't hide behind that anonymous cover. That is only cowardly, and by your yardstick, we do not want cowards, who are bad apples, in Singapore.

At the same time, who are you to say that only those who are on shore are good apples? There are many apples out there working hard to bring investment and business to Singapore even though they reside overseas, there are many apples out there who have come back for NS and reservist, there are many apples out there who read news about Singapore and worry about the country far more than apples back home who watch drama series DVDs all day long and cannot even tell you what is happening in their neighbourhood.

So if you have any guts - identify yourself, anonymous apple!

Raymond Tham

Joshua Pang said...

If Singapore allowed dual citizenship, I would definitely consider reclaiming my Singapore citizenship.

Joshua Pang said...

If Singapore allowed dual citizenship, I would definitely consider reclaiming my Singapore citizenship.

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