By Lawrence Pek
As I am writing this article on my way from Shen Zhen (where I am based now) to Shanghai, my heart is heavy. Too much has transpired in the last 18 to 24 months. Almost every conversation that I have with my family, my friends is about where this country is going and how things have changed. Besides the usual rant on immigration policies, what troubles me is not how and why the PAP has formulated these slew of policies with considerations but without deliberations with their electorate. Rather what we can do about it with these “given conditions”.
My thoughts turn to what we can do about the current scenarios. In the short run, we are faced with pro-foreigner policies and in the long run, how we can change ourselves, to be better to be more value added. My thoughts are about what we can do ourselves, take actions ourselves rather than wait for more policies, rather than continuing to believe that we will be taken care of.
If you are 25 to 40
I would like to take this opportunity to propose a radical idea – If you are between 25 and 45 (male or female), just leave Singapore and make your careers, your money and livelihood outside of Singapore. Yes, if an opportunity exists, just take it and leave – if there is a biz opportunity and it makes sense to you, just seize the day and take the plunge. If your employer offers an opportunity to work overseas, just go (may it be in Dubai, Shanghai, London or Chicago), may it be a Local or Expat package.
My reasoning is simple – with the current economic climate (internally and externally) – I will make the following assumption – My value, your value, our value is higher overseas than staying back in Singapore. With the huge influx of cheap and cheerful labor force, we need to consider where and how to maximize our value. Given Singapore’s limitations of size and natural resources, given that local jobs are getting cheaper and cheaper (hence so many cheap and cheerful foreigners), staying back and sighing over a cup of tea-c is hardly productive, for yourself, your family or for your country.
For the Local Born and Bred Students
If your sons and daughters are entering or finishing college, please do consider to send them overseas to further their education. Having lived in China for so many years, I am clear that besides the language barrier, the local Chinese lacks the single most important element – Exposure. You cannot read this in any tertiary institution, you cannot buy this off the shelves; you need to be mentally and emotionally be ready to invest in your children’s future. They will learn to interact, to speak a different language; they will see the world and hence react differently.
I never liked the local tertiary institutions for 2 reasons. Firstly, their curriculum does not foster cutting edge technology R&D nor Creative Arts and Design talents. 2ndly, upon graduation, these graduates will be herded “factory like” into the Singapore local workforce and be instilled with local paradigms and culture. The funny reference to “kiasu and kiasi” – these may be funny reference to local mentalities, but it is not funny after a while, if you need to compete globally.
Yes, I am sensitive to several issues that my idea will encounter, working parents will need to bear with temporary separations, and the all important family unit will be temporarily disrupted. Spouses will pine for each other and parent will miss their children. Even though there will be tears and pain but there will also be joyous reunions every holidays and family visits.
However, please consider the long term value add to our people and our country (above and beyond the ruling PAP). We will have seen, experienced and become more exposed to the world beyond Changi Airport. With our opened eyes, we will know what is right and wrong, what should and what should not be.
My vision is to see locals returning to Singapore not just with value added global exposure, which will propel our economy forward. Furthermore, they will be more willing, able and capable to take their destinies into their own hands. To decide what the issues are, what the policies should be, who they want to see as administrators for their neighborhoods, their districts and their country.
My conclusion is a simple summary, if you can go, please go. If your kids want to go, let them, There will be risks, there will be pain and tears. However, by doing this, we evolve and we will better take charge of ourselves, we will be better equipped to vision and administer ourselves.
The Winds of Change are Blowing….Singapore for Singaporeans!