more leaving singapore

Singapore, Singapore

#41 Oct 16, 2010
Why they leave
Why has Singapore no hold for these students? Do they leave because the pull factors from other countries are much stronger?
Students interviewed by my paper say that they leave not only because of the lack of job opportunities, but also because Singapore is too stressful, or because they don't feel appreciated.
Ng Hui Jin, 20, a Biology student at Imperial College in UK said that the pace of life is so fast in Singapore she can barely catch her breath at times. She feels that Europeans place more emphasis on quality of life. The pace is slower there and her classmates do not compare their results.
"Perhaps the learning environment and lifestyle here is what keeps Singaporean students in Europe," said Hui Jin.
Ridy Lie, 28, who graduated from Carnegie Mellon in 2003 has worked at for six years. He said that he likes the free and easy culture in American IT companies. A software developer, he can wear t-shirt and jeans to work, and their supervisors do not require that they report to work by a certain time.
"The company also provides a two-storey recreation area which includes a basketball court, arcade and gym. Our bosses even encourage us to spend our time there during work hours, to get inspiration."
Higher pay also played a part in his decision to stay in the US.
"Big IT firms in US will pay a fresh grad between US$60,000 to US$80,000 (S$87,000 to S$115,000) while investment banks and consultancies can pay up to US$90,000 (S$130,000), this is practically three to five times more than what they can get in Singapore."
At least one student says that she wants to leave because she doesn't feel appreciated.
After the financial crisis last year, many firms around the world retrenched a large number of employees and quite a number of graduates made their way back home but were unable to find a job in Singapore.
London School of Economics graduate Ruchika Tulskyan, 22, applied to 20 companies for a job but received no response.
"The government has been encouraging overseas students to return to Singapore, but Singaporean corporations do not seem to hold the same attitude. It has made me doubt my decision to come back."
Disappointed, Ruchika has decided to further her studies at Columbia University next month.
more leaving singapore

Singapore, Singapore

#42 Oct 16, 2010
An ironic phenomenon
Authoritarian rule may have quickened Singapore's economic growth as we're told, but it also contributes to a flight of local talent. By Seah Chiang Nee.
Sep 6, 2008
A BAFFLING aspect of affluent Singapore, with all its economic finery, is the large – and growing – exodus of its citizens over the past 10 years.
While the hot economy has attracted more than a million foreigners to its shores, its own citizens have been leaving in record numbers to settle down abroad.
Their exit seemed to have taken on a new life in recent years, ironically when the economic growth and the job market were at their best.
In fact, one survey has placed Singapore’s outflow at 26.11 migrants per 1,000 citizens – the second highest in the world. Only Timor Leste (51.07) fares worse.
The explanation is, of course, globalisation, the new borderless economy, which is offering more job options for skilled Singaporeans who want a better life in bigger countries.
But the reason doesn’t end there.
Other comparable city-populations have similarly been affected, but Singapore seems to have been hit hardest of all.
The explanation must involve a higher non-economic priority strong enough to propel Singaporeans away from a stable, comfortable living towards the uncertainties of a new life elsewhere.
Yet this is what is happening, as new statistics have shown.
More educated Singaporeans – many taking their children with them – are leaving or are planning to leave their country, which is itself a traditional haven for outsiders fleeing from trouble.
A recent indication of the scope of the dilemma was the rising number of Singaporeans who asked for a document needed to apply for permanent residency overseas.
It has exceeded 1,000 a month to reach 12,707 last year from 4,996 in 1998, or a rise of 170% over 10 years, said Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng.
These people, over the age of 16, could be leaving for good, but they also included students and businessmen, who may eventually return.
In 10 years, they totalled 97,990 Singaporeans (a far greater number if children were included).
The government says about 140,000 Singaporeans are studying, working or in business in foreign countries, which by itself is not a bad thing, given Singapore’s global ambitions. The trouble is many of them may not return.
All the current statistics point to an upward emigration among Singaporeans who apply for PR or citizenship abroad. Some of the PRs, it is feared, may keep their citizenship but have no intention of returning home.
“After coming back, I find that other countries have much more to offer than Singapore, which is very boring,” one youth remarked.
The number of Singaporeans who gave up their citizenship, Wong said, averaged 1,000 a year in the last three years.
Other negative trends that reflect the tenuous link between many citizens and their country are:
more leaving singapore

Singapore, Singapore

#43 Oct 16, 2010
* Two-thirds of Singaporeans (aged 21-34) said in a survey that they had considered retiring in another country with a slower pace of life and lower cost of living.
* Among youths (15-29 years of age), 53% are considering emigration. Despite having gone through national education, 37% say they are not patriotic.(Indian youths are the most ready to emigrate – at 67%, compared with 60% of Malays and 49% of Chinese).
* Six out of 10 undergraduates said they wanted to go abroad to live or work, mostly to 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.
For this small state with a short history, the steady exit is not just a ‘numbers’ problem which can be – and is being – resolved by substituting Singaporeans with foreigners.
It has a serious security dimension, since the island is defended by its own reservist soldiers after a two-year mandatory national service (NS).
Fewer true-blue Singaporeans means fewer soldiers because permanent residents are not required to serve NS (only their 18-year-old sons are).
A bigger impediment to nation-building is the looser physical bond between today’s generation of Singaporeans and their country. Nearly half of them do not think they need to reside here to be emotionally rooted to the country.
It is estimated that half the Singaporeans who annually apply for foreign PRs – 6,000 to 7,000 – eventually settle down overseas.
The brain drain is serious.
Even if 0.5% of its brightest minds were to leave, it would hit Singapore hard, said Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.
“These are bright young people, children of very well-educated Singaporeans. They study overseas now, and the very good ones are right away green harvested by companies,” Goh said.
So why is Asia’s second wealthiest state losing its youths at a higher rate than its poorer neighbours?
“Many Singaporeans leave because of the stifling atmosphere of the country and the political and intellectual lock-step enforced by the government,” said one analyst.
“It would reverse if the government would begin to democratise, and to allow its people to develop their talents – in Singapore, not abroad.”
Importing large numbers of migrants from China and India, most of whom treat it as a study or transit point, is not a solution.
Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew once admitted:“They come in here, they get an English education ? and they're off to America.”
However, he seems resigned to it. Recently he told his political party youth members:“As a government, and personally for me and my colleagues, my responsibility is to look after those who cannot migrate.”
With one-third of the population now making up of foreigners, that task is becoming harder to achieve.
more leaving singapore

Singapore, Singapore

#44 Oct 16, 2010
Best place to live in but how many are leaving?
Posted by theonlinecitizen on August 3, 2008
Leong Sze Hian / Columnist

I refer to the report “About 1,000 give up citizenship annually”(My Paper, Jul 22).

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, emigrate means “to leave one’s place of residence or country to live elsewhere”. So, I think Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Sylvia Lim’s question may not have been answered adequately.

The foreign missions in Singapore have statistics on the number of Singaporeans who emigrate. For example, I understand that about 4,000 Singaporeans migrate to Australia in a year. The majority of emigrants may not show up in the “surrender citizenship” statistics, because the CPF board will only allow emigrants to withdraw their CPF, when they have obtained citizenship from another country. I have friends who have emigrated to Canada and Australia, and are still waiting to be granted citizenship after many years.

I believe in countries like Thailand and Malaysia, Singaporean emigrants generally are never given citizenship. As many countries allow dual citizenship, unlike Singapore, some emigrants may never surrender their Singapore citizenship.

Does the CPF board have statistics of enquiries that it receives from Singaporeans abroad regarding their CPF withdrawal ?

I would like to suggest that we compile the emigration statistics from the foreign missions, as well as the CPF statistics, so that we have a more realistic estimate of emigration. I feel that we should not in a sense, be complacent, by assuming that only those who give up their citizenship have emigrated. From my experience as the Honorary Consul of a foreign country in Singapore, I believe a simple diplomatic note to the foreign missions requesting for this statistic may suffice.

According to the Overseas Singaporean Unit (OSU), there are 150,000 Singaporeans residing overseas.

How many of these are emigrants ?

According to a Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) survey in 2006, 53 per cent of Singaporean teens want to leave Singapore permanently. The Prime Minister also said in April 2008, that 1 in 4 top A-level students settles abroad every year. Our former PM also said in October 1999 that 2,000 emigrate each year.

In the 1990 population census, the Singapore diaspora was 36,000. What is this statistic in the most recent population census?

More accurate and comprehensive data may also be helpful to the OSU in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) set up in August last year, to do analysis and planning to woo and help Singaporeans return to reside in Singapore.

Since Singapore has been ranked as the best place in the world to live in by expatriates, does it not beg the question as to why so many Singaporeans are emigrating, and more than half our teens want to leave too – if they could?
more leaving singapore

Singapore, Singapore

#45 Oct 16, 2010
Singaporeans Seek Asylum Elsewhere
Written by Ben Bland
Thursday, 07 January 2010
A handful of the Lion City's citizens want to abandon their homeland for less strict digs
Given the Singapore government's oft-repeated mantra that it has taken the city-state "from third world to first," you would not expect to find refugees fleeing the island's shores and gleaming skyscrapers.
But despite the prosperity, the decent health and education systems and the lack of crime, a steady trickle of Singaporeans have felt the urge to abandon their homeland and seek asylum in nations such as Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Canada over the last few years.
(That of course doesn't count the thousands of Singaporeans who leave every year to settle elsewhere. By one estimate, the number who put the Lion City behind them is as high as 15 percent of annual births. In 2006, the Transport Minister, Raymond Lim, expressed concern that 53 percent of Singaporean teens would consider emigration. One website survey 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).)
Canada, the refuge of choice for noteworthy politically fed up Singaporeans such as pioneering writer Goh Poh Seng, who left the city-state in 1986, seems to have a more sympathetic ear for those fleeing the Lion City or, at least, a more deserving slate of applicants. Twelve of the 29 who fled the Island Republic for Canada between January 2005 and September 2009 were given political refugee status, a success rate of 44 percent. Four applied in Canada in the first nine months of 2009 and three of them accepted. It isn't known who they were or why they were seeking asylum.
Another 26 have been granted asylum in the United States, according to the US Department of Homeland Security. At least some are believed to have sought asylum because they were being persecuted for being gay.
But these are the lucky ones. With genuine refugees from strife-ridden nations such as Afghanistan, Burma and Sudan often denied asylum status by the stringent immigration authorities in the Western world, most asylum seekers from Singapore are turned back.
Of the 50 or so Singaporean refugee applications identified by Asia Sentinel in Australia, New Zealand and Canada over the last decade, the vast majority were rejected.
Ten have applied for refugee status in New Zealand since 1997, according to spokesman for the country's Department of Labour, and all were rejected. Another 15 applied for refugee status in Australia between 2004 and 2009. All were denied.
The fact that there are so few successful asylum applicants from Singaporeans is testament to how perceptions of Singapore's approach to human rights have improved over the last 20 years. In that period, the government has made some small but significant steps toward meeting globally-accepted democratic norms, abandoning the detention without trial of political opponents and trying to combat institutional and societal discrimination against women, ethnic minorities and gays.
more leaving singapore

Singapore, Singapore

#46 Oct 16, 2010
Singapore's 21st- Century refuges are driven by a variety of motives including political oppression, racism, persecution and the desire to avoid military service. Some, no doubt, are economic migrants who hope for a better standard of living in New Zealand or Canada, far away from the rat race of the Lion City. A few are clearly mentally unstable, with others fleeing debt or using political repression as an excuse.
Looking into their cases provides a rare insight into the tiny minority of Singaporeans who have rejected the ruling People's Action Party's de facto social contract that promises economic development in exchange for the surrender of political freedoms.
Take the Singaporean of Tamil heritage who fled to New Zealand in August 2008 because, even after selling his apartment and all his possessions, he was unable to pay off debts to loan sharks and feared that the Singapore police would not protect him from violent reprisals. His sorry tale of loan-shark debt spiraling out of control is a common one in the humble public housing estates of Singapore, where many people are unable to get access to mainstream bank credit.
Not many in his position would resort to fleeing the country and with good reason. To fall within the remit of the UN's Refugee Convention, applicants must have a well-founded fear of persecution on grounds of "a person's race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion."
Fear of persecution from criminal gangs on the basis of your inability to repay illicit loans is not a valid justification for asylum under international law. Unsurprisingly, in August last year, New Zealand's Refugee Status Appeals Authority rejected his final plea for asylum.
The New Zealand refugee appeals tribunal also rejected appeals from two Singaporean men in 2003 and 2001 who claimed that they were discriminated against during their military service.
One repeated the often-aired grievance that the Singapore army is biased toward those of ethnic Chinese origin, insisting that he had been passed over for promotions because he was of Indian extraction. He also claimed that there was mounting discrimination against Indians in Singapore, which had led to the suicide of his brother.
The other appellant said he was a conscientious objector and that he feared being jailed if he refused to complete his obligatory military service. Both appeals were rejected on the grounds that the unpleasant circumstances faced by both men did not amount to persecution.
Meanwhile, the Singapore government continues to stick to its long-standing policy of refusing to accept refugees. It is one of the few countries that have chosen not to sign up to the UN Refugee Convention and has a long history of turning away even those in desperate need, whether they be Vietnamese boat people or stateless Rohingya fleeing Burma.
As Balaji Sadasivan, minister of state for foreign affairs, put it earlier this year: "Given our limited land and natural resources, Singapore is not in a position to accept persons seeking political asylum or refugee status."
more leaving singapore

Singapore, Singapore

#47 Oct 16, 2010
Recently-declassified British government papers reveal that founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew was so unforgiving that he vetoed a 1979 proposal by Margaret Thatcher to buy a vacant Indonesian or Philippine island to house Vietnamese boat people.
His concern was that this would create a "rival entrepreneurial city".
Fortunately for some Singaporeans in dire straits, other countries take a more compassionate view. As recently as 1996, Australia, which is evidently no soft touch on immigration, granted asylum to a Singaporean woman of Indian background who married against her family's wishes and ended up getting divorced.
The immigration tribunal upheld her claim that she faced possible sexual harassment and physical abuse by men within her community and that the Singaporean authorities "may be unwilling to offer her protection" because of "the view that they take of her moral background".
Such dark days appear to be behind Singapore now. But the realities of political repression and the climate of fear stoked up by the government continue to drive some Singaporeans to flight.
Singaporeans flee

Singapore, Singapore

#48 Oct 20, 2010
Saturday February 23, 2008
Goodbye and thank you
Singapore’s emigration rate, one of the highest in the world on a per capita basis, is a blow to the government.


YEARS of strong economic growth have failed to stem Singapore’s skilled youths from leaving for a better life abroad, with the number topping 1,000 a year.

This works out to 4%-5%, or three in 10, of the highly educated population, a severe brain drain for a small, young nation, according to Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew.

Such high-end emigration is usually associated with less better-off countries where living conditions are poor. Here the opposite is the case.

Last year the economy created almost 200,000 jobs, far in excess of the 38,000 births recorded.

The future doesn’t look better, either, despite Lee holding out promises of “a golden period” in the next five to 10 years.

Lee believes the exodus, which has been worrying him for two decades, could only grow because “every year, there are more people going abroad for their first or second degree.”

The emigration rate, one of the highest in the world on a per capita basis, is a blow to the government, particularly to Lee, who takes pride in building up this once poor squatter colony into a glittering global city.

They are people who abandoned their citizenship for a foreign one, mostly in Australia, the United States and Canada.

It is particularly serious for two reasons. First, Singapore is a young nation that is working hard to consolidate its nationhood and its people, and second, its defence lies in a reservist army.

This is made up of young men who have served two years of compulsory military training when they reach the age of 18. Any big outflow will badly affect security, not to mention the economy.

Adding to a declining birth rate, the problem of emigration, which appears to have worsened during the past few decades as people became better educated, will further reduce the base of this well-trained people’s army.

Hundreds of thousands of foreigners and permanent residents who have come to Singapore help make up the numbers, but they do not have to serve national service.

The emigrants, mostly professionals, don’t leave Singapore out of poverty but to seek a better, less pressurised life.

Lee recently said the brain drain is touching close to this family.

Lee’s grandson, the elder son of Prime Minister Hsien Loong, who is studying in the United States, has indicated that he may not return.

Over the years, the children of several Cabinet ministers have also made Britain or the US their home.

Lee, aged 84, has often spoken on the issue with emotions, once tearing when referring to the losses.
Singaporeans flee

Singapore, Singapore

#49 Oct 20, 2010
However, he has offered no reasons for the exodus beyond economic opportunities, although the government more or less knows what they are.

Singaporeans who have or are planning to emigrate are given a host of 10 questions and asked to tick the three most important ones. They include the following:-

> High costs of living

> Singapore is too regulated and stifling

> Better career and prospects overseas

> Prefer a more relaxed lifestyle

> Uncertain future of Singapore.

Some liberal Singaporeans believe Lee himself, with his authoritarian leadership and unpopular policies, is largely to blame.

Singapore’s best-known writer Catherine Lim calls it a climate of fear that stops citizens from speaking out against the government, saying it could eventually lead to the decline of the state.

She praised the government for its economic achievements but added:“A compliant, fearful population that has never learnt to be politically savvy could spell the doom of Singapore.”

Globalisation, which offers opportunities in many countries like never before, is a big reason for the outflow.

Many countries, including populous China, are making a special effort to attract foreign talent.

Others who leave were worried about the future of their children living in a small island, and look for security and comfort of a larger country.

The exodus is more than made up – at least in numbers – by a larger intake of professionals from China and India.

“The trouble is many of the Chinese then use us as a stepping stone to go to America, where the grass is greener, Lee said.

“But even if we only keep 30%-40% and lose 60%-70%, we’re a net gainer,” he added.

He believed, however, that the Chinese would cease to come in 20 to 30 years’ time, when China’s living standards rise to match Singapore’s.

Some feel the large presence of foreigners, and the perks they enjoy over locals in military exemption as well as in scholarships, are themselves strong push factors.

They see the foreigners as a threat to jobs and space, undermining salaries and loosening the nation’s cohesion.

“I just feel very sad to see the Singapore of today with so many talented, passionate Singaporeans moving out and being replaced by many foreigners,” said one blogger.“I feel sorry for the future.”

Others point out the danger of an easy fix in numbers without regard to quality.

“Foreigners treat this place as a hotel, when the economy turns they will leave,” said a teacher who is seeing more and more foreign students in his class.

Lee recently made a passionate appeal to youths to think hard about their country. He said they had received education and opportunities provided by Singaporeans who had worked hard for it.

“Can you in good conscience say,‘Goodbye! Thank you very much?’ Can you leave with a clear conscience? I cannot,” he said.
Singaporeans flee

Singapore, Singapore

#50 Oct 20, 2010
MM Lee says Singapore facing brain drain problem
By Julia Ng, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 14 February 2008 0603 hrs

SINGAPORE : Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has said Singapore is facing a 'pretty serious' brain drain problem.

In an interview with the United Press International (UPI), Mr Lee said Singapore is losing about 4 to 5 percent of the top 30 percent of its population every year.

More people are going abroad for their degree courses.

The problem is, increasingly, more Singaporeans are staying on in countries like the United States.

Mr Lee said every year, some 1,000 people at the top end are giving up their citizenship. And he believes the numbers are growing.

But Singapore is making up for the brain drain by getting bright Chinese and Indians into Singapore. They are attracted by better prospects here.

But the trouble is, many of the Chinese then use Singapore as a stepping stone to go to America where "the grass is greener".

Still, Mr Lee said, Singapore will make a net gain of talents - even if it only manages to keep 30 to 40 percent of them.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Washington-based news agency, Mr Lee was also asked about US politics, including his assessment of the US presidential candidates.

The interview also touched on geo-political issues such as US engagement in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Singaporeans flee

Singapore, Singapore

#51 Oct 20, 2010
Cut scholarship bond to stem brain drain
Grace Ng
Fri, Feb 29, 2008
The Straits Times

CUT the length of scholarship bonds to three years and grant tax rebates for the overseas university fees paid by parents whose children return to Singapore after studying abroad.

These measures were suggested by Nominated MP Loo Choon Yong to help tackle Singapore's brain drain.

He noted that many talented young Singaporeans are leaving the country annually to study overseas and feared they 'may be lost to Singapore permanently' if they settle overseas after studying there.

'We are losing some 1,000 bright people annually to other countries,' he said. Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew provided the same statistic in an interview with United Press International earlier this month.

Dr Loo said he supported the notion that scholarship students must return to serve Singapore after they study overseas. But he urged the Government to cut bond periods to three years and allow them the option of serving also in the private sector, not just with the Government.

In this way, scholars who choose to work in the civil service would do so willingly. They would be attracted by the excellent compensation and improved work environment in government agencies, as well as the pride of serving Singapore, he said.

The scholarships must 'not be an instrument for converting free Singaporeans to indentured serfs,' he said.

In the light of the current shortage of places at local universities, Dr Loo also urged the finance minister to consider giving tax rebates to parents whose children study at approved overseas universities and return here to work.

These tax rebates can be the same size as the subsidy given for the child if he had attended a local university.

This can help to grow the pool of graduates in Singapore and give more Singaporeans a chance at tertiary education, said Dr Loo.

'If we lose our young, we will have nothing,' he said.
Singaporeans flee

Singapore, Singapore

#52 Oct 20, 2010
Wanted: Strong wings, deep roots

SM Goh urges schools to help students retain their emotional bonds to Singapore.-ST

Wed, Jul 01, 2009
The Straits Times

By Goh Chin Lian, Senior Political Correspondent

More than one in five of the top students from the 1996-1999 A level graduating cohorts are not working in Singapore today.

And of those from the same batches who went on to universities overseas without a scholarship bond, more than one in three are today carving out careers outside the country.

Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong gave these statistics yesterday to illustrate the urgency of getting young Singaporeans to sink roots here even as they become more entrepreneurial and break out into the global economy.

'If more and more of our bright students do not return, this begs the question whether our success in giving them wings to fly far and high will result in our eventual decline as a nation, especially as we are not even reproducing ourselves.

'No nation will be able to sustain its growth and prosperity without sufficient talent, much less a small country like Singapore without natural resources,' said Mr Goh.

He was speaking to more than 1,000 guests at the 70th anniversary dinner of Chung Cheng High School last night.

He urged schools to help students retain their emotional bonds to Singapore,'so that they think of Singapore as the home which nurtured them, and want to contribute in some ways to the country of their birth'.

To do this, he suggested that schools inculcate in the young certain values, such as being appreciative of those who help them advance in life; and not taking for granted the academic, sports and arts programmes they can enjoy here and abroad, when many children elsewhere cannot.

Mr Goh hoped that the end result of such teaching would be students who have strong links with their schools, close ties with their friends and a strong sense of responsibility to their families - even if they choose to live, work and even settle down overseas.

Switching to Mandarin, Mr Goh said:'I hope Chung Cheng and our schools will give two lasting bequests to our children. One is strong wings; the other, deep roots.
Singaporeans flee

Singapore, Singapore

#53 Oct 20, 2010
'Like wild geese that migrate each fall, young Singaporeans should be equipped with the courage, strength and adaptability to venture to distant lands in search of opportunities. But when spring returns, they will come back, as this is their home.'

Indeed, Mr Goh further argued in English, helping young Singaporeans stay rooted here was the most important challenge facing the Education Ministry.

This is because the number of young Singaporeans working overseas will grow, given that the education system is producing more and more students equipped with the right skills to go global.

He noted:'Our continued investments in schools have produced more bright students with each passing year. In 1996, the number of local students with at least 4As and a B3 in General Paper was 541. By 2008, this number has more than doubled to 1,263.'

Even as he made it clear that he supported the push to equip the young to go global, he said:'But here we face a conundrum. When we prepare our students to be entrepreneurial and world-ready, we are also growing wings on them.'

Mr Goh's remarks are a reminder of a point brought up in April last year by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, when he also touched on the brain drain and how it could adversely affect the country's survival.

Mr Lee noted that about one in four, or about 150 out of 600, top A-level students yearly work overseas after their studies.

This trend presented a big challenge to find successors, particularly for politics, PM Lee said then.

Speaking to The Sunday Times last night, the principal of Chung Cheng High School (Main) Mr Lo Chee Lin said that one way the school keeps its students rooted is by emphasising the need to remember one's roots.

This was a key tenet of the school's culture, he said.

It helped too that students could see the examples set by an active alumni, he added.

These include people like top banker Wee Cho Yaw and Hougang MP Low Thia Khiang, who were both present at the anniversary celebration last night.
singaporeans leaving

Singapore, Singapore

#54 Feb 15, 2011

MM Lee says Singapore facing brain drain problem
By Julia Ng, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 14 February 2008 0603 hrs

Photos 1 of 1

SINGAPORE : Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has said Singapore is facing a 'pretty serious' brain drain problem.

In an interview with the United Press International (UPI), Mr Lee said Singapore is losing about 4 to 5 percent of the top 30 percent of its population every year.

More people are going abroad for their degree courses.

The problem is, increasingly, more Singaporeans are staying on in countries like the United States.

Mr Lee said every year, some 1,000 people at the top end are giving up their citizenship. And he believes the numbers are growing.

But Singapore is making up for the brain drain by getting bright Chinese and Indians into Singapore. They are attracted by better prospects here.

But the trouble is, many of the Chinese then use Singapore as a stepping stone to go to America where "the grass is greener".

Still, Mr Lee said, Singapore will make a net gain of talents - even if it only manages to keep 30 to 40 percent of them.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Washington-based news agency, Mr Lee was also asked about US politics, including his assessment of the US presidential candidates.

The interview also touched on geo-political issues such as US engagement in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
sulaimi idris

Melbourne, Australia

#55 Feb 24, 2011
Eric Zhang wrote:
My mother grew to love Singapore at a time when Singapore had more space to grow to love her.
It scares me how little space Singaporeans have been left to integrate foreigners, and how visceral the xenophobic reactions are.
Why are Singaporeans angry, the PAP wonders.
Then there is my paternal granduncle. He was a bookish bachelor, and spoke a crisp Victorian English common among the English-educated of his time. He used to trundle down every weekend to the old National Library at Stamford Road, where he enjoyed reading everything from American thriller novels to Singaporean history books. He was such a loyal library member that the library used to send him commemorative coffee table books on their more significant anniversaries.
He died a few years before they turned the Stamford Library into a tunnel. I guess in a way it was better he never found out, he would never have forgiven them.
Why are Singaporeans angry, the PAP wonders.
If our Ministers took crowded MRTs and buses, ate at neighborhood coffee shops, or worked as front line service staff, they might better understand Singaporeans’ anger.
If they lived like us, ate like us — if they looked at us — they might know.
Singaporeans aren’t inherently xenophobic or hateful, my family will be the first to attest. I trust that Singaporeans can remember a common humanity even as we condemn dehumanizing policies.
But our country is changing so quickly that we now feel overwhelmed and displaced, angry, in a country which is becoming harder and harder to recognize.
It is hard to believe the PAP doesn’t know why Singaporeans are angry, but what does our anger mean to them?
Singapore is increasingly losing our physical and emotional space for love, and soon the only thing we will be able to call ours will be our Anger
angry singaporean, come follow us get out of singapore, get your hard earn money save in cpf, built your family future in australia or new zealand, no regrate, I have been away nearly 20 years now, no stress at all......
Stepping stone

Singapore, Singapore

#57 Aug 21, 2011
MM Lee speaks about idea of Singapore-Malaysia reunion once again
By Loh Chee Kong
11 October 2007

SINGAPORE: Some 10 years after he publicly broached the idea of a Singapore-Malaysia reunion - to raised eyebrows all around - Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has spoken about the topic once again.

In a recent interview with American journalist Tom Plate, Mr Lee said Singapore would be "happy" to go back to Malaysia should the latter practise meritocracy.

On Wednesday, transcripts of the wide-ranging interview - conducted last month in Mr Lee's office - were made available online by UCLA Asia Institute.

When Mr Plate asked Mr Lee who he thought would "come after" Singapore, the Minister Mentor said: "We are a standing indictment of all the things that they (Malaysia) can be doing differently."

"If they would just educate the Chinese and Indians, use them and treat them as their citizens, they can equal us and even do better than us and we would be happy to rejoin them."

The last time Mr Lee floated the idea in 1996, it caused ripples on both sides of the Causeway, with then-Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad replying that he did not think "it is time yet".

While much has changed since then, scepticism towards a reunion remains.

Said Dr Ooi Kee Beng, an Institute of South-east Asian Studies (ISEAS) fellow: "The chances of a re-merger in 1996 and in 2007 are the same - Zero."

While bilateral economic links would continue to increase, Malaysia is far from ditching its decades-old bumiputera policy, "where race-based affirmative action ... has disqualified efficacy as the criterion for policy correctness", Dr Ooi added.

In Parliament, Opposition leader Chiam See Tong is often a lone, but persistent, voice on the issue of an economic union with Malaysia, espousing the benefits of a common market.

Mr Chiam told TODAY: "A political union is out of the question. The Malaysians will never agree."

Dr Ooi added: "The very idea of a re-merger on Singapore's terms is appalling to most Malays (in Malaysia) and any move in that direction would be political suicide for a Malaysian politician to take."

ISEAS' Dr Terence Chong believes that Mr Lee had in mind the future - "50 to 100 years down the road" - when he talked about rejoining Malaysia.

Said Dr Chong: "If you look at historic port cities, they all enjoy their golden eras and then decline. For Singapore to flourish in perpetuity would mean defying history."

Already, Singapore is facing a fight to keep the very talent it had successfully attracted.

Mr Lee acknowledged in the interview that the Chinese students on Singapore Government scholarships were using the Republic as a stepping-stone.

Said Mr Lee: "They come in here, they get an English education ... and they're off to America. The Indians, strangely enough, more of them stay here in Singapore because they want to go home to visit their families."

Mr Lee added: "We are net gainers for how long? I think in the case of China, maybe another 20, 30 years ... India, maybe longer - 50, 60 years before their infrastructure catches up. Anyway, this is not my worry anymore!"
Stepping stone

Singapore, Singapore

#58 Aug 21, 2011
Mon, Mar 23, 2009
The New Paper

MM Lee on Chinese students

By Ng Tze Yong


MM Lee: On Chinese students here

I'll be upfront. Most of the bright Chinese students use us as a stepping stone to move on to American schools...

So why are we so stupid?

Because more than half of them will not make the grade.

They will remain here. And the second tier is not bad for us.

On Beijing

You look at the Olympics.

The greening of Beijing was unbelievable.

From the airport to the city, just masses of trees, ferns, everything. Within the city, flowers everywhere.

40 million flower pots!

And they have the power to make the flowers blossom at the right time...

But where did the ideas come from? Tiny Singapore. Little red dot. when you say I come from Singapore, I want to open a company, they say sure, no problem.

Singapore, Singapore

#60 Feb 28, 2012
Despise singapore

Singapore, Singapore

#62 Jun 28, 2013
Ex-Singaporean wrote:
There is no chance that Singaporean will take back their country.
There are too many foreigners. If we don't vote for change, there will be millions more foreigners coming.
It is better for Singaporeans to look for greener pastures overseas.
Where can we go?

Since: Jun 13

Singapore, Singapore

#63 Jun 30, 2013
To be honest: I would leave if I could. Easier said than done, nonetheless.

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