Sunday, October 12, 2008

6 reasons why Singaporeans leave Singapore - part 2 of 2

This is a continuation of an earlier post.

4. Influx of foreign 'talent'

Singapore office crowds













Of late, Singapore has been welcoming skilled foreigners with open arms. These foreign 'talent' are viewed as essential to maintain the relatively healthy economy growth that the city state has enjoyed for the past couple of years. As a result of which, the local populace see an influx of Chinese, Indians and to a much lesser extent, Europeans. Many of whom were subsequently granted permanent residencies.

Generally, Singaporeans view these foreign talents as responsible for squeezing them out of the job market and driving up property prices. A familiar story even to London, I supposed. But to a small island state such as Singapore, the effect is much more profound.


5. Quality family time

Singapore family time















As mentioned in an earlier point, the increase in standard of leaving means that most young families see both parents working – just one generation earlier, it was common to have a parent (most probably the mother) to tend to the household.

Although there was a recent effort to increase paid maternity leave to beyond three months, it is still frowned upon in the private sector (not so much in the public sector though) if an employee were to exercise that right. Crèches in workplace is almost unheard of and if there is, is only found in foreign firms that set up branches in Singapore.

With the long working hours, families would have to employ a maid or rely on the grandparents to look after their children during the work hours. Even though a bill was passed to provide a one time financial relief to families for every newborn child, parents would still prefer to spend more quality time with their kids if given a choice.


6. The mainstream society

Like many Asian societies, Singapore’s is still very much conformed to the mainstream. This manifested itself more prominently in education and the choice of lifestyle of Singaporeans.

Singapore Science students











In school, mathematics and science subjects are immensely more popular compared to those belonging to arts and humanities. In many junior colleges, where the students are first streamed into these two disciplines, the number of students taking the former subjects outnumbers the latter five to one, sometimes more.

This phenomenon can be attributed an entire generation who has grown up during the sixties and seventies when Singapore is still a fledging young nation and thus required people with technical skills. Even as Singapore celebrated her 43rd year of independence earlier this year, there are still much more opportunities for a physicist than a historian.

Although Singapore Tourism Board has been busy chasing the pink dollar for the past decade, alternative lifestyles still belong very much as a sideshow in the daily life.

Homosexuality is still outlawed in the penal code and a recent effort to overturn that was unsuccessful. However, even so, there hasn’t been an instance where person is persecuted by the law for being a lesbian or a gay.

* * *

That being said, many Singaporeans returned to Singapore after spending a couple of years overseas. So what makes these people return to the island state, which many referred affectionately as the ‘tiny red dot’? Look out for the top 5 reasons why Singaporeans return to Singapore.

Read also...
6 reasons why Singaporeans leave Singapore - part 1 of 2
5 reasons why Singaporeans return to Singapore

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19 comments:

Tommy said...

haha..my friends took your 6 reasons as their reasons to go SG (work/study). They think M'sia is not enough stress,too much family relax time,education system not rigid enough,not enough foreigner/international in M'sia,Math science isn't that advanced/developed enough here and space is plenty in M'sia; Therefore they need a better place to work hard.. Well,SG is nice what :)

fredy said...

We in Indonesia love how the S'pore work ( hard and fast ) , and we are very proud that we can be as like s'pore maybe for 10% form now on pace :)

Emm said...

Hmmm. I am starting to think that maybe I don't want to go work in Singapore anymore. I want progressive employment practices and time to grow with my family and on my own!

matt said...

Thanks for sharing all six steps, look forward to the series on why Singaporeans go back. We usually learn about other countries through a foreign perspective, which I feel is often half the story. Hearing it from a native Singaporean, is refreshing.

Dutchie said...

I enjoyed this piece as well, possibly bec I'm out of that pressure cooker - haha.

Netcohort said...

I've known people, mostly in finance, who have moved to Singapore and loved it. I will be visiting in the next year or two, and considering a move myself.

For internet and technology businesses Singapore seems to be offer great benefits - I'll have to see for myself.

Singapore might be a great base for a Netcohort Institute, international business incubator.

My Bug Life said...

I like how everything's organized, well planned and clean in Spore and public transportation and service are good compared to alot of countries..:) You have alot to be thankful for.

xiaocangshu said...

Some of my schoolmates aren't too happy that the foreign students are taking some of the top places in school. I happen to count some foreign students among my friends so I am kind of stuck in the middle when I hear other people I know say that.

SheR. said...

Hi Dutchie and CK! And to those who have chose to leave SG for one reason or another, just take some time and reflect how much "better" is your life in another country now???
I'm away from SG since 2003. And I wish I can have a home in SG too. But it's not as easy as it seems for my situation. After living in Europe for the past 5 years, SG is like a dreamland!

lina said...

@tommy,
I agree with Tommy in that some Malaysians do prefer Singapore as a place for their education and also to move up in their career. Admittedly, one do have to work hard there!

A. said...

I'm finding this series really fascinating because the reasons given by the large number of British people going to live in France are very, very similar. And I believe that 80% return to Britain within 2-3 years.

C K said...

@Tommy,
Not enough stress? Frankly, I can't think of anyone who will want to heap more stress on themselves. :p

But then again, I have many Malaysian friends who earn in Singapore but spend in Malaysia. However, at the end of the day, would they want to settle down in Singapore?


@fredy,
Hey fredy, thanks for stopping by. I think the difference in working mentality comes from the difference in culture among other reasons. Also, with the lack of natural resources, Singaporeans have to work their heads off just to keep up. :p


@Emm,
Honestly, though Singapore is a great place to grow your savings, it's not exactly fantastic to start a family. However, there are some redeeming factors that Singapore possess. Do look out for my coming post. I am very shameless indeed. lol


@matt,
Thanks for your kind words. These just pop out from conversations that I have with other Singaporeans who have relocated to London.


@Dutchie,
Eh? I thought that you were planning to return to Singapore for retirement eventually, no? Just curious, why would you need to give up your passport when you married your Dutch husband? I think Singapore's restriction on dual-citizenship has affected quite a bit of (former) Singaporeans.


@My Bug Life,
Oh yes, I do realised that there are many things that I've taken for granted back home ever since I've arrived in London, lol. But then again, I guess different cities have got their own unique charms.


@xiaocangshu,
Even now? When I was in school, the Government handed out several scholarships to foreign students as well. One way to look at it is that it'll build up goodwill (hopefully) with these students and that will go a long way.

Well, would't that just spur your friends to work a little harder? :)


@Sher,
Haha, another Singaporean yearning to return. But have you think about what you'll do in the even that you return? I've sure it'll be much more expensive to get a flat with a balcony with a view to boot back home.


@lina,
Nothing comes free really. I do emphatise with the many Malaysians who have to commute across the causeway day in day out.


@A.,
That's interesting to hear. There was a report here saying that up to 80% of Poles have returned to Poland after relocating to the UK for a couple fo years. I guess that nowhere is better than home, isn't it?

SheR. said...

CK. The prices for flats in Croatia is going for more than 45 euros per sq metre. You do the math and tell me if it's any better???

Besides, where to find all the law and order like in SG?

I bet the only minus point for SG is the weather.

I don't envy the slow and inefficient EU govt systems. Nor do I dream of a house overlooking the sea. I just wish to have a normal job and live like a average person without worrying if my boss is an A hole. Simple as that!

C K said...

@sher,
Hold on a sec, if you were referring to 45 euros per sq metre, that'll be just under 5,000 euros for 110 sq metres, which is the size of a new 5rm flat. Is that for monthly rental? It's way over the top if it is.

xiaocangshu said...

With foreign students the standard does get raised.

I also have friends who take a positive slant on this. One of them did mention networking with the Chinese students for the future. :)

Dutchie said...

Sher - haha, my hubby always asked me to reflect on the good things in life here. He said that I hv the best of 2 worlds.

Whenever I'm in doubt, I'm told to make a list of pro's n con's n often, NL wins handsdown !

R u nicely settled in Croatia or r u experiencing pangs of homesickness at times?

Dutchie said...

CK, Sg has no treaty with NL when it comes to dual citizenship. As far as I know, the Moroccans n Turks r holders of 2 passports.

R u enjoying such a privilege ?

Yes, retiring in Sg is on my list, providing a home is still affordable when the times comes. My younger bro suggested we build our home in JB as there r huge tracks of land but I don't think I will feel at home there. I can't speak Malay either, to get around .. sigh ..

R u making future plans as well ?

SheR. said...

Hi Dutchie and CK.
Yes.. house prices in Croatia are crazy and there is absolutely no demand. Croats are famous for artificially inflating any prices (houses, food, cars, second hand stereos...) in hope that there is a mad person out there who will buy their products.

I mean I've thoroughly seen through the EU system. Just look at the financial market! My goodness...

I have to admit I love being in London for a while where I pride myself to be a chef. And that's all.

I'm trying to psycho my fiance to move to SG now! Yipee!!!! :D

Dutchie said...

Sher, it might be prudent to give ur dear Marin a try-out first b4 settling permanently in Sg. My hubby tend to get real bored after a week without his hobbies, the constant elbowing in a crowd, the insidious heat .. just to name a few. I still hv hopes that he will come around for my sake when the opportunity arises for my re-emigration back there.