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Friday July 25th 2014

Open Letter To Our 1.8 million Foreigners – Please Don’t Convert To Singapore Citizenship

Editor’s Note: This letter was penned on July 18, 2012

Dear Foreigners,

We welcome you to work among us but really we are more against the government’s liberal immigration policies than you personally.

We apologise if some of the anger was mis-directed though we hope that you will better respect us as this is our country.

As you know by now,  our government has tried  it’s best to convert at least 20,000 new citizens each year to arrest the low birth rate  in our  country.

Some of you have taken the bite and decided to become citizens of our country – welcome!

There are at least half a million permanent residents  (PR) and some have being working here for many years.

There are  a total of 1.8 million foreigners living and working among us now and one million are from mainland China.

I have known of a Malaysian PR who has being working here for the past two decades without ever thinking of converting to become a Singaporean citizen for personal reason.

Our government has being doling out permanent residency rights like tiolet paper a few years ago but recently they have clamp down hard on new PR applications due to a stiff voters’ outcry in the recent general election.

I have met stall hawkers  from PRC China who have managed to become PRs which is an amazing feat – reiterating the fact that our government has no clear transparent system of only bringing in the best for our country.

Why PRC Chinese Likes Singapore Citizenship

I know that PRC Chinese prefer to convert their citizenship as what good is it to hold on to a communist China passport which restricts your travel movement internationally?

This  is probably  why mainland Chinese movie stars  like Gong Li and Jet Li have converted to become Singapore citizens mainly for ease of international travelling.

Sadly, many PRC Chinese converts have this sinister plan  of migrating to  either Australia or USA once they received our coveted internationally-recognised passport.

One recently-converted citizen from PRC China  even told me that if he commits a crime in China and as a foreigner now he will receive  a lighter sentence than if he is convicted as a  local mainland Chinese!

To make matters worse, we continued to hear news of  how employment pass holders managed to find work in Singapore with all sorts of bogus educational certificates and false identity papers. Some even became PRs later on…

Those who want to maintain their PR status instead of converting to citizenship probably prefer to have a back door to escape to if things go awry  whereas others do so due to patriotic reason.

Pros and cons of citizenship conversion

It is hope that by now, after staying in our country for a while,  you  will know that there are both pros  and cons to converting your citizenship.

You can of course buy a so-called government subsidized HDB Build-To-Order (BTO) flat after becoming a new citizen but  the subsidy is minimal after factoring in land and building cost.

The subsidy amount  should not be more than 25% of the surrounding second-hand flats in open market and you will need to pay off the housing loan within a 25-year loan period.

It is an open secret by now that our government is trying to shore up voting advantage by converting at least 20, 000 new citizens each year so that by the next General Election in 2016, they will have at least 100,000 new voters rooting for them.

New citizens will naturally vote for the ruling party especially when they have  provided  you with a new home, better employment  opportunities  and a positive future compared to back home.

I have spoken to some PRs from India and they are favourable of staying on in our milk-and-honey country for the long term as opportunities are very limited back in their own country.

The salary they can get from India is only 10% of what they can earn if they work in Singapore.

New citizens politically manipulated

Nevertheless, I want to remind my foreign friends that you are being   politically manipulated.

During the last GE 2011, more than 100, 000 new citizens were able to vote and they helped the ruling party restored their majority rule but the percentage was reduced by 6%.

If not for the large new-citizen contingent, the ruling party would have suffered a larger loss at the polls.

Though there  is  no hard evidence to support, chances are new citizens will understandably vote for the ruling party out of gratitude and loyalty as how can you bite the master who feed you?

After staying on for more than ten years, we believe that new citizens will definitely feel the urban strain of staying in Singapore and may even vote against the ruling party especially if they are unemployed or under employed for a long period.

It is envisaged that if the status quo remained with the same number of voters as GE 2011 and another 6% swing votes against them, the ruling party will be out of power within 2-3 elections.

Most Generation Y voters are voting against the ruling party as they clamour for  political change which is slow coming so far.

Each year leading to GE 2016, at least 25, 000 new voters from the Generation Y group will come on board – all ready to cast their vote  against the ruling party for change in a stifling  political environment.

If the ruling party does not resort to getting new citizens on board to nullify the opposition votes, there is every chance that it will be displaced from power within 2-3 general elections.

No political party in the world – however strong they are, has managed to hold on to  power for more than 50 years.

It is my belief that our country will undergo rapid political change in the near future despite the fact that the ruling party is trying to hold on desperately to power.

It is very short on ideas due to a rigid top-down governance philosophy and it’s total reliance on a elite scholarly team to govern the country has it’s own critical shortcomings.

Changes bring forth discomfort and sometimes pain as it attacks the ruling party’s  comfort zone especially if you have stay in power for almost five decades uninterrupted.

Flaws of our system

If you  become new citizens in our country, you will have to accept our system of monopolistic governance,and more importantly the  lack of human  rights and personal freedom.

Our legislation prohibits even a one-man protest in the street and you will be hauled up by the police for questioning.

You will also have  no arbitrary right  if you are sacked indiscriminately at the work place as so far the employment act does not cover you if you are an executive or earn above a certain income bracket.

Employers can sack you anyhow giving you one month’s notice and even a trip to the Ministry of Manpoer (MOM) may not yield any favourable result as the advantage lies with our employers here.

By now, you should know that our government is very pro-employer and our  workers have little rights and are treated like digits ready to be cast away when you are old and useless.

We don’t even have a minimum wage here when third countries like Malaysia, Vietnam and China have already introduced them!

Here in our age-bias employment environment, chances are you will go out of work for a very long time if you are  above 40 years old and most likely retrenched for younger foreigners to take over your place.

There is also no social welfare programme available for you if you are unemployed for a long time. You are left to fend for yourself -  foreigner or  citizen.

I have seen close to five hundred jobless PMETs – mostly in their 40s – 50s while working full time for  Transitioning – a  non profit organisation -  they are all well educated but because of their age they are unable to find viable employment opportunities.

Do you think that you can be any  different here when you grow old?

Your children will also face tremendous amount of pressure in schools as our educational system is very stressful and tend to milk out the very best for the elites.

If your children are of above average intelligence chances are they will go through a very tough time trying to compete with one another for a  prestigious scholarship where life will be smooth sailing after that.

Moreover, currently, only 26% of the primary school cohort will be able to enter our three prestigious universities and many of us have to spent six-figure sums  to ensure that our children have higher tertiary education abroad if they fail to gain a place in our own local unis despite garnering all the As and Bs.

As our government maintains  a co-funding policy in all it’s social welfare programmes, you will be shocked to know that many of us do not have enough to retire on let alone check in a public hospital to treat our ailments when we are old.

Despite gathering record-breaking revenues from GST to land sales to casino levies, it bothered to  spent only 5% of the budget on healthcare each year so far.

I spent a year teaching in China some time ago and  realised that most of the mainland Chinese people  could retire comfortably at age 55 years old.

In Singapore, you will see our aged ambling along at foodcourts and the airport, clearing rubbish and food trays off tables.

Is this the kind of life you want to lead when you are old?

Most of all, Singaporeans are pretty unhappy people due to a very stressful lifestyle and many people live lonely sheltered  lives without friends.

Divorce is also sky high in our country with a record 7,800 divorces registered  for last year as the country goes through social mobility stresses and money-related issues.

Unhappy local workers

A poll of employee attitudes in 14 countries has ranked Singapore last in workplace happiness.

Talent management company Lumesse polled about 4,000 employees from a wide variety of industries.

People were asked about how happy they were at work, whether they felt their skills were properly utilised, the career paths open to them, and the training and career development opportunities they had.

The results put Singapore last in three major areas – we least enjoy going to work, are the least loyal and have the least supportive workplaces.

There is no reason to believe that you will not feel the similar frustrations if you have being working and living here for at least five years or more.

Except for the solid infrastructure shell,  our country  is somwhat hollow inside. Local Singaporeans will know what I mean here.

We also have a serious wage division here and  a record 140, 000 Singaporeans earn $1500 and below per month.

Right now, India, PRC China and even Myamar possess abundant opportunities for future expansion and you can contribute better by  helping to build up your own country’s economy using your experienced  niche skills.

In fact, many Singaporeans have flocked to India and China to look for business opportunities as their  economies are  still brewing over there.

On the other hand, Singapore’s economy is on the decline after the GFC in 2008/9 and we have to desperately import cheap foreign labour to attract MNCS to our shore.

Once this cheap labour source dries up, many MNCs will leave us to our economic demise as we can’t depend on our own local SMEs which  are still struggling and fighting to survive.

By converting to become a Singaporean citizen, there is also a high chance that you will be made a political pawn and  cast aside when you are redundant and old.

I hope that you are conscious of the fact that you may be standing in the way of a political change in our country – which will go on with or without you.

Of course, you can re-convert back to your own citizenship after a while as I have heard of some Indians already doing that.

They took on citizenship here, bought a new BTO HDB flat, earned some money in the process and after a while re-applied to revert back to their Indian citizenship.

The money earned from the profit of the flat sales can set you up for comfortable permanent retirement back in your own home land.

I have also seen some converted citizens in Sydney  living and working  on a Australian PR – with no intention of returning to Singapore for the long term.

It looks like our country is used by many  as a stepping stone  to other better greener pastures.

So,  if you decide to become a new citizen in our country, do think at least ten to fifteen years ahead – the short-term may look good for now but it’s the long haul that you should worry about.

Written by: Gilbert Goh

Reader Feedback

20 Responses to “Open Letter To Our 1.8 million Foreigners – Please Don’t Convert To Singapore Citizenship”

  1. Thank you Gilbert says:

    Good writeup, let’s see how PAP will react in future….

    • Youtube user/jemdude22 (jeremy lin) is a MALE singaporean who, like fellow MALE compatriot larry medina, will be subjected to as much conscription and lifelong reservist liability as MALE compatriot robert viswanathan (v.) chandran says:

      “These aliens are [in Singapore] to work and contribute economically. [… and] WHO WOULD WANT TO COME [to Singapore if we compel them to adhere to a passport with nine (9) months of validity with subsequent extensions of the tantamount duration until sixteen (16)-and-half years of age, years of full-time military conscription (‘NSF’), lifelong reservist (‘NSman’) liability and exit permit applications as well as restrictions that we IMPOSE on ALL our local lads, no matter how many MALE children the parents conceive]?

      THEY WILL LEAVE!”

      – 楊康海 / 杨康海
      Telephone: +65-6791-0518

  2. theonion says:

    Gilbert

    Per your articles, the now is more important

    in this case, you may have resulted in the totally opposite effect

    • Emiliano says:

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  3. patriot says:

    All the minted citizens and PRs will
    be our future whiners and criers of
    foul treatments.

    patriot

    • MALE Singaporean DOCTOR ஜனில் புதுச்சேரி, Professionalism Does NOT Equate With Patriotism says:

      Anyway, according to the world’s HIGHE$T paid minister of law and FOREIGN AFFAIRS, காசிவிஸ்வநாதன் (கே) சண்முகம், stinkapore is only a city and NOT a country.

      Do NOT start me going what happens if a stinkaporean couple has a disproportionately HIGH number of MALE children all born with solely the nationality of a “city, not country” amid the PLUMMETING birth rates.

      I am sure MALE stinkaporean larry medina, like MALE stinkaporean compatriot madhupati singhania, cares about the abbreviations “NSF” and “NSman/men” as much as HIS MALE stinkaporean compatriot robert viswanathan (v.)
      chandran.

      To all posters, after reading, you may toss – or rather, KICK – MALE Singaporean egmar gonçalves into the menagerie.

      By the way, considering where that FOOTBALLER is NOW, I am sure you are just as aware that, considering where HE was born, eduardo luiz p. saverin has a BENTLEY.

  4. ElectiOn2016 says:

    The Ruling govt can always change certain laws as
    Before, eg changing electoral boundaries as before
    Or any other cunning ways to remain in power.
    They claim they are the smartest in the world
    That is why they say they are entitled to be paid
    More than any other govt in the world,
    Be Directors of many govt backed companies and
    Claim directors fees
    and the cleaniest govt and
    They even say morally we will must expand the
    Population explosively so that we will not perish
    Hahahaha

    If you lose your jOb to a foreigner in your country
    And you have no food to feed your family and
    You are suppose to protect the country for the
    Benefits of foreigners or PR, would you do it
    And the foreigners insult you that you are not
    Able to do the jOb, etc, etc,,
    I do not see a light in this tunnel from past
    Elections, how oppositions disappear
    I pray to God, there is a big earthquake that
    Destroy everybody in Sg, is ok my family and
    All die, they do not have to worry about no jobs
    Or food to eat,
    I still say Those Sg who can leave, should leave
    But keep your citizenship, it belongs to you,
    Is your inheritance from your forefathers from
    1819 and be patient !
    For those who are not able to leave and your
    Relatives cannot help you to feed your children,
    I have no answer, sorry !

  5. david joe says:

    new citizens should not be allowed to vote for 5 years

  6. Why would a new citizen worry, first come to
    sg, companies employ them, EP holders do
    Not need to pay CPF, companies n EP save
    Next, get PR, for a couple of years, before many
    Within half a year get PR, after that within two
    Years become citizens, probably do not even
    Remember Sg pledge or National Anthem,
    We Sg said the pledge and sang NA for
    at least 10 years almost everyday
    After citizenship, apply to go overseas, would
    Already have the working experience to go
    Why bother to stay in Sg?
    For original citizens from 1950 to 1960 are
    Unemployed and their children are underemployed
    Do not have the work experience to migrate
    Who vote in the election? Hahaha
    Is simple Math,
    Work out the probability and percentage required
    From new citizens, and other ways, they are smarter
    Than All Sg, they Studied statistics And there is the Law and Secrecy,
    Then there are many many other ways
    Sg must be silly to think about winning election
    To change the law to protect Sg citizens from
    Foreigners ;
    Foreigners are potential voters
    If new citizens do not vote for them, they are
    Always other ways to win
    So what if you get a couple more GRC, big deal !

  7. Pappy says:

    Your call to ep not to convert to citizens
    Will not work
    We will give them jobs to replace all born n bred
    sg n the new citizens will vote for us as they
    Want their relatives to come over
    We will remove all born n bred as u hv not been
    So loyal , we want back 99% of the votes
    Hahaha
    Go to hell with you n your forefathers who help
    To establish Sg n give us the power
    We have the POWER !
    Hahahaha

  8. Leone says:

    “In fact, many Singaporeans have flocked to India and China to look for business opportunities as their economies are still brewing over there.”

    Yo, Singaporeans, don’t ever come to my country, dammit! You’ll pollute us with your Singlish, education system, and backward political attitude and mindset. Keep the mess to yourself, thank you. Go out, visit us, but don’t stay – you’re not welcomed here also. Capice?

    • MALE Singaporean DOCTOR ஜனில் புதுச்சேரி, Professionalism Does NOT Equate With Patriotism says:

      Anyway, according to the world’s HIGHE$T paid minister of law and FOREIGN AFFAIRS, காசிவிஸ்வநாதன் (கே) சண்முகம், stinkapore is only a city and NOT a country.

      Do NOT start me going what happens if a stinkaporean couple has a disproportionately HIGH number of MALE children all born with solely the nationality of a “city, not country” amid the PLUMMETING birth rates.

      I am sure MALE stinkaporean larry medina, like MALE stinkaporean compatriot madhupati singhania, cares about the abbreviations “NSF” and “NSman/men” as much as HIS MALE stinkaporean compatriot robert viswanathan (v.)
      chandran.

      To all posters, after reading, you may toss – or rather, KICK – MALE Singaporean egmar gonçalves into the menagerie.

      By the way, considering where that FOOTBALLER is NOW, I am sure you are just as aware that, considering where HE was born, eduardo luiz p. saverin has a BENTLEY.

  9. james says:

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  10. SingAlongSpore says:

    We need to reduce the number of foreigners like the PRCs and Indians.

    Though we need and welcome foreigners here but it is also great if many of them can leave and let us have our country back again.

    Much to your impression that our govt welcomes you, yes .. but many of us Singaporeans don’t.
    However we still welcome you, just not for you to stay here longer than you should.

  11. jj@39 says:

    On one hand, PAP control the influx of EP/WP/SP/PEP foreign workers but on the other hand, PAP continue to issue SPR & citizenship to thousands of foreigners to increase the population. Over-population is disastrous.

    These so called new citizens are view as new supporters by PAP. PAP are trying to replace us with them in order to stay in power.

    Not only we need to reduce the number of foreigners like the PRCs and Indians. We need to reduce the number of foreigners from other countries too, e.g Philippine, Malaysia, Indonesia, USA & Myanmar etc.

    It is not that we can’t have foreigners here but there is too many of them here. S’pore is just a small country with limited landsize & resources. The over-population & rapid urbanisation have greatly affected the whole living balance & environment here.

    • Suntec city Singaporean BASHER robert james springall is a British Citizen like david sandison of pricewaterhousecoopers (pwc) who thinks Singapore is HEAVEN sans the fact that it is easy to get a TAXI says:

      “Yes, here is my take as a Singapore [Permanent Resident (PR)] from a WESTERN country.

      If they made Singapore citizenship more attractive, i.e. allow dual citizenship [i.e. FLEXIBILITY OR ROOM FOR ABUSE], I would [gladly] take it up [I.E. EXPLOIT/MILK IT].

      If they force me to give up my existing citizenship, I would SIMPLY LEAVE [I.E. DISPOSE IT (stinkapore) LIKE USED GARBAGE/REFUSE(no pun intended)] and go off to one of the many other countries of the world that welcome English speaking highly-paid professionals.

      Why wouldn’t I give up my existing citizenship? Well most importantly there are the emotional reasons of loyalty to my country and my ancestors who fought for it.

      AND THERE ARE OF COURSE THE PRAGMATIC REASONS. THE PIECE OF PAPER CALLED A WESTERN PASSPORT IS NOT JUST A TRAVEL DOCUMENT THAT OPENS DOORS AROUND THE WORLD BUT IS ALSO A MEDICAL INSURANCE POLICY, GIVING ME FREE HEALTH CARE IN MY HOMELAND IF I CHOOSE TO TAKE IT, A SOCIAL WELFARE CARD GIVING ME ACCESS TO VARIOUS SOCIAL WELFARE BENEFITS, A PENSION PLAN FOR WHEN I AM OLD, AND AN EDUCATION SUBSIDY FOR MY CHILDREN GIVING THEM THE RIGHT TO STUDY IN UNIVERSITIES BACK HOME (AND IN OUR FRIENDLY NEIGHBOUR) AT A HIGHLY SUBSIDISED RATE.

      If Singapore Inc. thinks that any rational human being [with all these PRIVILEGES that FEW people on the planet possess] would give all that up for a Singapore passport [i.e. be CONFINED or TRAPPED in one of TINIEST countries in the world [17th from the BOTTOM] that is STUCK in one of the most VOLATILE regions on the Earth that has to CATER and TART itself to the taste of ASININE and ARROGANT (mainly ANGLOPHONE) WESTERNERS like US, no matter how PRETTY and PEACEFUL it has to MAINTAIN itself], THEY NEED TO TWEAK THEIR GRIP ON REALITY VERY FAST.”

      [ expatsingapore . com / forum / index . php ? topic=64363.15 ]

      Best,
      “Suntec city Singaporean BASHER robert james springall is a British Citizen like david sandison of pricewaterhousecoopers (pwc) who thinks Singapore is HEAVEN sans the fact that it is easy to get a TAXI”.

      P.S. anton casey EAT YOUR HEART OUT! Indeed, anton casey EAT YOUR HEART OUT!

  12. sal says:

    Vote for the party that come out with good policies for the citizens….

  13. Cynical says:

    Wow… the last portion condemning Singapore… I tot the whole purpose of the article was to make the case that we do not need the influx of foreigners that will be detrimental to the state of affairs in SG which from an argumentative angle I can agree with but in the same stroke SG seemed to be doomed 15 yrs time so the foreigners in the end will congratulate themselves for heeding the author’s advice and not come to SG while we are still left here to suck it all up. If that is the crystal ball forecast, I would rather have more foreigners coming at least basic business 101 means our businesses in SG have a bigger market to tap, even our kopi auntie who can sell more kopi a day.

    • British Citizen brian dalby does NOT want to be a Singaporean CITIZEN for personal convenience. BOO! says:

      @cynical:

      Who knows? Perhaps the Singapore Government permitted an executive from the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to take up CITIZEN-”SHOP” in order (no pun intended) to drive a Bentley (BRAZILIAN CITIZEN eduardo p. luiz saverin, EAT YOUR HEART OUT!) to intimidate a “Mrs. Wang” and FIST-SMASH a Mercedes windscreen.

      I of course, need NOT mention stefan masuhr by name.

      Best,
      “British Citizen brian dalby does NOT want to be a Singaporean CITIZEN for personal convenience. BOO!”

      P.S. Now that I mentioned Latin America’s BIGGEST country, you may like to check up — or rather, KICK your way into finding out more on MALE Singaporean egmar gonçalves.

  14. imidiot says:

    nonsense,you need to travel around and see the world before giving a comment.

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