Thursday, October 11, 2007

Paying people to be their stepping stone

In one of my earlier post, I discussed the use of scholarships to attract Chinese immigrants from the PRC and how it does not seem to be working very well as a population policy with most of the recipients having little propensity to settle in Singapore. Of course, that required no great insight on my part but nevertheless, it was something I felt I had to articulate.

Well, it turns out that great leader himself no longer denies what ordinary Singaporeans have known for a long time: Singapore is paying bright young PRC nationals to be their stepping stone. From the full transcript of Tom Plate and Jeffrey Cole's interview with MM Lee:

We give a lot of scholarships to Chinese and Indians. If one quarter stay on here in Singapore, we're winners, especially with the Chinese. They come in here, they get an English education, they get our credentials and they're off to America because they know that the grass is greener there. The Indians, strangely enough, more of them stay here in Singapore because they want to go home to visit their families, America is too far away. We are net gainers for how long? I think in the case of China, maybe another 20, 30 years and then the attraction is gone. We can't offer them that difference in opportunities and standards.

Well, someone had to say it.

Now, I don't have to feel guilty about quitting Singapore for good. Hey, the great leader himself has said that he doesn't mind if 75 percent of Chinese and Indian scholarship holders use Singapore as a stepping stone. I gave 2.5 years of my life to the SAF and borrowed from the bank to pay for my own university education (I got no stinkin' scholarship from no one!), so I don't see what there is for the Singapore government to complain about.

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