As Bloomberg reported: “Renouncing your citizenship well in advance of an IPO is ‘a very smart idea’ from a tax standpoint," quoting University of Michigan international tax law professor Reuven Avi-Yonah. By moving to Singapore, co-founder of Facebook Eduardo Saverin will avoid paying at least US$67 million (S$85 million) in American taxes when Facebook launches its initial public offering. And how did Saverin make his first millions? Mark Zuckerberg described Saverin like this: “My friend who wants to sponsor [Facebook] is head of the investment society. Apparently insider trading isn’t illegal in Brazil so he’s rich lol.”
We don't know how Ma Chi, the PRC driver of the Ferrari 599 GTO that killed a taxi driver and his passenger, made his millions, only how he started making money at age 18. Instead of dwelling on how they will cope with losing a husband and a father, it was curious to read his surviving kin flaunting his material acquisitions on this earth: “Mr Ma’s wife, known only as Madam He, told Wanbao that her husband had bought a $3 million condominium in the East Coast and a $400,000 BMW. The Ferrari was a $1.8 million limited edition car that he bought for his 30th birthday last year.” Would anyone really want that kind of an epitaph? Maybe the blame should be on Deng Xiaopeng, who did tell his people, "To be rich is glorious."
Ma was reported to be applying for his Singapore permanent residency. Saverin is a PR and has lived in Singapore since 2009. But his spokesman said that although he plans to live in Singapore "for an indefinite period of time", he is not applying for Singapore citizenship after giving up his United States passport. So what kind of citizens were the planners aiming for when they handed out the application forms?
That's just it, isn't it - Scandinavian Fredrik Haren's “best place in the world to be creative”. Singapore is the destination of choice for their one-night stands, to juice up on their "creativity", and then hop on to the next port of call. We have our own share of these cosmopolitan types, who have the credit cards to jet to other countries and sample the delights over there. But nation building is about the stayers, most of which are the heartlanders. The people who will be around to look after the baby boomers who have already done their part to build the economy. The people who will be around to bear arms and defend our country when the time comes to repel the invaders.
Sure there is creativity, the wrong kind that builds casinos and sea front bungalows for those refugees from high income tax regimes. Not the kind that builds affordable housing, and healthcare for an aging population. Billions pledged to the IMF, but pittance allocated to encourage our women to raise kids. And there's the creative accounting, which is probably causing one Christopher Balding to lose his hair, trying to reconcile the total increase in debt and the total government surpluses with the purported amount of assets under management. Perhaps that's why the old geezer said we are not yet a nation, he was just building a hotel all along.