Steph's Friend

Friday, February 03, 2006

Singapore's Brain Drain

Whether we know it or not, Singaporeans are going to greener pastures. Mr Lim Boon Hee asked in TODAY (2nd Feb 06), "Why are so many middle-aged
university-educated professional Singaporeans leaving?".

He gave the reasons of National Service, education, changes in society, lack of welfare and the influx of foreign talents. It is true that there are people complaining about these issues here in Singapore but the one highlighted by Mr Lim is the issue of foreign talents. Now you can say that it's beneficial or not. Beneficial because as these talents come, they contribute to the growth of the country through their own talents. They also create jobs for the unemployed when foreign firms brought by these talents come over. It's not beneficial because they take away jobs that Singaporeans could have taken. The presence of foreign talents also increase competitiveness in Singapore as citizens need to work harder and longer to show their bosses that the coming promotion should be theirs. He ended his letterwith this:

"This vicious cycle cannot be good for Singapore. Yes, we welcome foreign talent but not at the expense of our own sons and daughters born and educated here."

The next day, 4 people wrote in concerning this issue.

Mr Jeffrey Law Lee Beng suggested of offering incentives to young talented Singaporeans to prevent them from going to the greener side, causing a brain drain in society. Who wouldn't want "healthcare and welfare"? Who would want "to compete with much sought-after foreign talent in Singapore"? Well, I guess the answer is obvious.

Next is Mr Ebenezer Jeyaraj who refute Mr Lim's statement which attributed the brain drain to the foreign talents in Singapore. Instead, he attributed the drain to the lack of bonding among family members. Family ties which aren't strong, resulting in people leaving their families behind for the other side.

Mr Chen Dong pointed out a very interesting point.

"If no foreigners came, would such Singaporeans be more willing to contribute to their homeland? Perhaps, we should drive all foreign talent away to see whether these Singaporeans who migrated to greener pastures come back."

If yes, then it only goes to show that Singaporeans leave their country for their own reasons and not because of external factors. But if it's no, then I guess the problem is due to the foreign talents.

The last person is Mr Leong Kum Chuen who says that "to each his own". Even though his friend's reasoning of leaving for Brisbane for a better life seems reasonable and sound, he still decided to stay here for he "prefer[s] competition".

So what's my point of view? I would say that humans are generally selfish, they will consciously or unconsciously work towards paths that benefit them. I am not saying that there isn't any selfless people here. What I am saying is that it's rare. Ultimately, it's the choice that you have of whether you want to stay or go. Be either a "stayer" or a "quitter". Whatever path you choose no one can say that it's wrong for it's your life and it's up to you to set your own personal goals and dreams. If it means staying here, then it's good. But if it means migrating, then it's also good. But seriously, the fact that capable and talented Singaporeans leaving the country is a serious one which needs to be checked. If not, it will only result in the majority consisting of people from the lower pyramid of society.

Is this good?


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