Many people have expressed fears of loss of job in Singapore to foreign talent, be it in the high (management and above; C-level), low (less than $1800) or middle (S-pass, more than $1800) level.

Even before the Sunday Times report today, I was commenting to Alice one day, while eating at the Parklane Wan Ton Mee store, that almost 80% of the helpers in the store are either from PRC or Malaysia – and it sort of reminds me of my history lessons eons ago about how our early forefathers came down to Nanyang from China looking for jobs and better prospects.

From the past, we know that (most of) our forefathers have worked really hard to become what we are today – not that our Malay counterparts are any less hardworking, but it’s just that they have a different way of working with an entirely different set of beliefs and priorities.

Soon after, the Chinese helped flourish (with the help of many other people from other races) Singapore to what it is today. If you ask me, the situation in Singapore is somewhat similar to how it was pre-independence – where a lot of Chinese came down from China for a better future.

The only difference now, in my opinion, is that there may be stiffer competition for jobs, but I figured that if PRC Chinese are willing to learn and work hard, they will get somewhere one day and build their own empires.

Wait, isn’t that supposed to be "detrimental" to Singaporeans – in that Singaporeans will be losing jobs to PRC Chinese and become jobless. I guess a lot lies in the mentality – not that I am any less vulnerable, as the Post-doc sitting next to me is from PRC, the PhD student diagonal to me is from Indonesia and the Masters student opposite me is from Pakistan.

For me, I’d constantly be upgrading myself in more ways than one – be it academically, professionally or otherwise. It does seem that I’m always on my toes, doesn’t it? In a certain sense, it does seem that way – but I don’t think I’d be exaggerated to keep upgrading myself constantly – that would definitely be too tiring. At the end of the day, there are many other factors besides skill sets that can keep us hired, including interpersonal skills, a good working attitude and sad to say, perhaps some pay cut.

I figured that by the time the new Chinese (as I like to call them) is up and coming again, I’d hopefully be planning for my retirement in Singapore or elsewhere. So, there’s really more to competing for jobs. It’s a whole process of packaging and marketing yourself, as well as planning your roads ahead. Sometimes, complaining probably doesn’t help as much as taking the first step and planning ahead. After all, the end point doesn’t always have to be the same as where you started. šŸ˜‰



Reader's Comments

  1. Alex | December 10th, 2007 at 4:47 am

    I am a Singaporean and I am not surprise.

  2. SG fella | August 15th, 2009 at 11:21 am

    The situation is that so long as new migrants come, income levels for Singaporeans will not rise. This is good for employers, bad for employees. Singapore can then never attain income levels comparable to Australia or Switzerland.

    At a social or cultural level, Mainland Chinese will cause the increase of use of Mandarin (over English, Malay and Chinese dialects) and possibly improve the standard of Mandarin in Singapore. However, this really does not help gel the nation together in view of Singapore’s English and Malay speaking communities. So perhaps the ‘new Chinese’ should be made to take an oral and written English or Malay test before being allowed to reside.

    Also most ‘new Chinese’ tend to be Han Chinese. There seem to be few Hui Chinese or Uyger Chinese. If there were more Hui and Uyger, they may be able to integrate better with Singaporean Malays.

    Really, Government should target Singaporean and Malaysians in other countries like Australia, UK, Canada and USA rather than Mainlanders. Of course with high income levels in these countries, they may not want to come to Singapore. Maybe there are former residents of Singapore and Malaysia living in China or elsewhere in SE Asia or South Asia, or children of former residents, and they could be targetted to move to Singapore, since they have some affinity.

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