Monday, February 17, 2014

In Praise Of Foreigners

Senior expatriate managers are considered by Transnational Corporations (TNCs) to possess high levels of technical and business expertise and are rewarded accordingly. They form the upper echelons of the core workforces of TNCs and are despatched to foreign geographies to implement corporate globalisation strategies. Helen Sakho wrote that in her abstract for her paper, "The Role of Expatriate Managers In Global Economic Restructuring: Some Key Components and Constraints".

Bona fide foreign talent
Those of us who have benefited from being tutored by such expertise expats are eternally grateful. From Albert Winsemius, the Dutch economist and United Nations Survey Mission to Singapore economic advisor, to the American technician who set up the first hard disk assembly line from Seagate, we owe them thanks. They were the pioneers who helped us grow from Third to First World status.

Here's how the general manager of an oil TNC saw his role:
The big thing here is technical expertise and management skills. Our partners know how to build and operate a company using 35,000 locals.  They do not have any indigenous high quality technologists. So what they want from us is technology. We give them that in return for presence and access to market.  Secondly, they want to know how to form and operate a company to modern international  standards. My skill is to run that factory with 4,000 people. That is the skill that the locals do not have. They need a small number of expats, people from the Centre, from the UK who know how to run things.

No Singaporean in his right mind would want to shut its doors to foreigners. The guys we don't want in are the closeted racists and the exploitative capitalists attracted by low taxes and fast growing reputation of haven for dirty money.

Don't mistake foreign talent for foreign labour, especially the cheap kind sequestered in inhumane quarters. Before the advent of the flush toilet, night soil was carried away in buckets slung over the backs of Singaporeans. Seamstresses making Levis in factories may have moved up to semiconductor production lines, but there are at least 4 aunties at a nearby wet market happily altering trouser lengths for $4 a pair. Who says Singaporeans are selective about tasks? And what Singaporeans are turning away cushy jobs as receptionists, manning customer support, providing IT services? Why is there a foreign sounding voice at the other end of the telephone line?

The balance between local and foreign workers is a “tricky issue”, so claimed a local politician. The trick here is the maximisation of profit over care of its own citizens. Spare us the image of globalisation as whipping boy. When the minister said, “Foreigners, in a sense, are competing with us," he's obviously not including himself in the mix.


  1. Why are the powers that be steadfastly and deliberately confusing the opposition to indiscriminate immigration and employment of foreign PMETs with globalisation? The answer is obviously a political one. One which they hope will keep them and their cronies in charge with the usual rewards. This time they will not get away because the citizens are no longer the ignorant fools they take them to be.

  2. Singaporeans have been and are being sold out and betrayed.


  3. Good balanced article. Same cannot be said of the politicians and civil servants if they keep ignoring the most obvious question: why cannot they be replaced by they some real talent? replace D. Kwek and his born with diamond spoon colleagues of SMRT with someone competent and proven from HK MTR. For all we know, the taxpayers who pay for their salaries might end up paying less for more. Wat say the four legged folks?

  4. We should also not forget foreigner like Captain Muhammad Jalaluddin Sayeed, from Pakistan, who helped Singapore set up NOL in 1969.

  5. TCJ is a general all his life with no private sector experience.
    He, along with his senior Ministers are still pulling the "its tricky" jargon to pull wools over Singaporeans' eyes.

    From the horse mouth, Victor Lye " When I asked my ex-colleagues in government to do something for the many Singaporeans who were losing their jobs, the message was, ‘don’t look to the government, look to your friends and family, be self reliant,”

    You wonder why he ends up in the grassroots helping the very same group of politicians to perpetuate the same problems local PMETs are today. Instead of telling people to get their hands dirty, he gets his hands dirty now for the party who pays for his job.

    WE ask again TCJ what are you doing to protect Singaporeans PMET vs PR/Foreign PMETs who are here in large quantity that are causing massive unemployment for many in the 40s- brackets now? Do you have a plan or do you not have a plan? IT is disgusting to see you trying to trick the people with tricks like lumping foreign workers with foreign PMETs.

  6. Is there any trustworthy member in the Cabinet?
    Are they even conpetent?
    Has any delivered and fulfilled their
    How many million Sin Dollars do they pay themselves per term in office?
    Other than sweet talks and empty promises, what have they done for the people?

  7. In Praise Of Alternative Political Parties.

    - It's time for patriots to take over the reins of government.
    - Out with the Traitors

  8. They always say foreigners do jobs that Singaporeans don't want. First they take aways our cleaning jobs, then they take aways our construction jobs, slowly they take away our engineering jobs and finally they are everywhere from customer service to teaching to bus driving. Singaporeans have to accept miserly pay to stay employed while ministers are being paid millions. Does our young has any future in Singapore? No wonder the old are collecting cardboards and our young are migrating overseas. Singapore is hollowing out. University graduates are no longer making it. Many are struggling. And the only job still paying good money is insurance or taxi driving.

  9. Send all your sons & daughters to sign on in the SAF.. better pay, less competition and the budget is endless. No foreigners there.

    1. What an idea .The thing is if all our sons and daughters join the SAF, who is going to pay the taxes to pay them in the SAF other than taking in more tax- paying foreigners?

  10. PAP to Singaporeans: Competition is good, it give you the spur in your hind so that you can be cheaper, better and faster.

    Singaporeans to PAP: Political competition is good, it wake up PAP from years of sleeping in ivory tower.

    1. I do not want to wake the PAP... they are in their element.
      I prefer to put them into deep stupor, comatose state, never to be revived again.

  11. How the heck Singaporeans of his generation and those following honour him as Founding Father?
    And at his sunset days after a few generations later, rebrand him traitor/betrayor?
    Uniquely Sin.

  12. All i know is that in any complex system....once u take too much...things go awry fast...

    And those who cause it...always the first to run/fly...

    Interesting no...

    Paying for "loyalty"....and so called loyal suck ups still keep asking for more...more for doing more shiet is what i say...

    Crazy papies.