Friday, January 25, 2008

ST: It's S'pore's gain even if 30-40% of immigrants settle here: MM Lee

This recent Straits Times article caught my eye. The MM said that it is Singapore's gain even if 30 to 40 percent of immigrants settle here. He also acknowledged that many PRC and India students use Singapore as a stepping stone to the West. Well, it certainly took him some time to catch on to what most ordinary Singaporeans have known for a long time.

I was back in Singapore a couple of weeks ago. Feeling nostalgic, I took out my copy of Commencement 2004, which stated who graduated with what degree in 2004 from NUS. As I thumbed through the pages of the booklet, I saw that majority of the first class honours graduates from the Engineering and Science faculties had very Chinese Singaporean surnames (Lim, Tan, Teo, etc). Mind you, these faculties are where the PRC and India scholars are concentrated. Also, first class honours are usually given to the top 3 to 10 percent of the cohort (depending on the specific course of study).

Given that foreign students make up 20 percent of the NUS undergraduate body, you should expect PRC and India scholars in the Engineering and Science faculties to be grabbing the majority share of the top honours. After all, we are told that for every one local undergraduate on scholarship studying in a university in Singapore, we have two foreign undergraduates also on scholarship. Surely, it would not be unreasonable to expect our foreign undergraduate scholars perform academically. If undergraduate scholarships are given out on the basis of pure academic merit, then we should expect the ratio of foreign to local first class holders to be 2 to 1. Yet, this is not even true in the faculties in which the foreign students are concentrated.

This clearly demonstrates the strong anti-local bias in our foreign talent policy. Good local students, who study the same subjects as equally able foreign students, are given much less financial incentives to enroll in our local universities, unlike their foreign counterparts. What more can I say?


Anonymous said...

Nowadays the word talent seems to have receded from official speak. Any tom, dick, abdul, ah tiong, are welcomed to boost our input-driven economy, as opposed to a value-added economy.

Anonymous said...

Singapore, my country gains, but I, a born Singaporean, lose big. Space(physical/emotional) becomes a premiun and high costs. And the biggest headache, I feel 'squeezed' and choked.

poor guy said...

oh. you're also from the class of '04. me formerly from ntu. same thing happened over here. my engrg sch only gotch 3 prc vs 17 of us sinkees (incl. ~3 malaysians) getting a 1st. it's plain ridiculous that the underachieving foreign legion can get freebies (incl. accommodation + some $500 monthly allowance using taxpayers monies) while locals like us are made to literally 'eat-ourselves'.

limpeh apply scholarship - only manage to get the half-fuck ones i.e. cannot even cover half the tuition fees (even though i topped the sch for 4 consecutive yrs). really nabei loh. then temasek & m.o.e. really one up man, no horse run one: say what asean scholarship only reserve for the other member countries - sinkees cannot even apply. elsewhere in the world where gotch such bullshit one - own self penalise own country's people. siao ah?

then last night i saw the cna news 'sinkland tonight' and learnt that some sinkees are getting a miserable $2k scholarship (i think it's sports scholarship) per year only at s.m.u. it's macam like a smack in the face: govt can sponsor foreigner fully as opposed to giving equally capable local less than half the monies.

Fox said...

poor guy:

You have my sympathies. I feel exactly the same way as you do about academic scholarships for foreign students and I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who feels that way. Like many locals, I had to work part-time as an undergraduate.


Anonymous said...

Poor guy, fox, i agree with you two.
The whole "Foreign Talent" policy is simply SCREWED. The so-called "foreign talents" in my school are just muggers with no life, that's how they "score high". People i know who DO study properly (not like me who mugs last min and sleeps through boring lessons) can easily top these supposed "talents".
Like you said, most of the ft are completely redundant. if we singaporeans work hard, we can easily achieve their results. after all, how smart one is usually depends on his/her's education, enviroment, etc. the only exceptions are geniuses and savants (sorry, that's genetical, bo bian). So why do we singaporeans lack that incentive to work hard? maybe it's cause we know that we'll always be second-class, IN OUR OWN COUNTRY.
HOW ***KING STUPID IS THAT? BEING SECOND CLASS IN ONE'S OWN COUNTRY? that has to be a record. the gov had better reasses their priorities.