Thursday, September 9, 2010

Life Without Foreigners

Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew in December 2009 told the local Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry that Japan has to take in more foreigners despite fears of racial dilution in order to make up for its fast-ageing population. "Bakka!", Prime Minister Hatoyama must thought to himself, as he mouthed the politically correct response that he was broaching a "sensitive issue".

Japan has some of the world's strictest controls on immigration, as its people are reluctant to, as Lee put it, "dilute or to complicate the society by bringing in people of different cultures, different races."

But the Japanese cannot be labelled xenophobic. Not with France spending a long hot summer clearing camps of foreign-born gypsies, Australian Tony Abbot vowing to "stop the boats" of aslyum seekers arriving by sea, Netherland's anti-Islamic Geert Wilders calling for Muslim headscarves to be licensed and taxed, and Americans screaming for stricter border control. Even Britain's Conservative Party supporters tweeted, "It's time to put a limit on immigration."

So how is Japan faring without a calibrated inflow of newcomers? The Land of the Rising Sun (spelled with a "u" not "o") certainly has had its share of economic doldrums, but it hardly resembles a place wallowing in crisis. The workaholic salarymen are ditching the traditional practices of drinking into the wee hours with the boss, for a greater work-life balance, focusing on their homes and hobbies. Some even take sabbaticals or drop out of corporate life altogether, strumming air guitars at Harajuku. The "shin-jin-rui" women folk are forgoing diapers and ironing for shopping trips to Paris and Hongkong. Despite a ridership exceeding 3 billion a year, world's busiest by far, Tokyo's public transport system is still easy and cheap to get around in. PUB could learn a thing or two from their ingenius urban flood control schemes. Crime levels are among the lowest, the Koban system is discrete, and cops are not trigger happy types who discharge firearms in congested subway stations. Social cohesion remains strong, strong enough to relocate an American air base on Okinawa. Income disparities are low - Gini coefficient in 2009 for Japan is 24.9, compared to Singapore's 42.5.

With life expectancy averaging 82 years, Japan in the face of a shrinking population seems to be able to improve the quality of life for many of its senior citizens. Without having to pack them off to Johore or Batam.

Most significant of all, walk down cosmopolitan Ginza or entertainment district Shinjuku. Except for the odd tourist, the gaijin is truly a rare sighting. If only Singapore would learn from Japan.


  1. This is a bad comparison between Singapore and Tokyo. Japan has about 127M people, while Singapore has only 5M. By itself, the Japanese population can sustain its own economy to the extend of being the world's 2nd largest economy for the last 2 decades (even as Japanese are known to save a lot).

    Also the Gina coefficient is not a good gauge as Japan is not a meritocratic society but one who values teamwork (hence the salary gap between managers and workers is small). And this is the problem of the Japanese economy not moving forward as there is no incentives for the Japanese to take risks and make good decisions for themselves and for the country. Most of the smart Japanese are based overseas.

    Lastly Japan has the highest number of suicides in the world, which is not surprising given the higher costs of living and greater social pressures to conform, in comparison with Singapore.

    How I know so much about Japan? Because I'm living and working here, and I pity my Japanese friends and colleagues for all their woes. I often share with them what and how living in Singapore is like, and I can see how envious they are of me.

    1. Anti-منافق8/27/2013 1:01 PM

      @anonymous (9/09/2010 11:10 AM):

      So, for ALL that, why are you STILL in Japan?

      Action speaks louder than words.

      By the way, if you are a MALE Singaporean Citizen, you may like to perform an internet search for these terms:

      " ஜனில் புதுச்சேரி காசிவிஸ்வநாதன் சண்முகம் கே city not country professionalism patriotism ".


      Condign imprecations,

      P.S. If you are indeed a MALE Singaporean Citizen, you may also like to do another internet query with these terms:

      " muslim dominated temasek race 宰杀 关 731 实验 ".

  2. I worked and studied in Japan in recent years. I'm not so sure that Japanese envy Singapore. They are being courteous, as in their nature.

    Singapore society is not in a good state. Behind the fanciful facade lies a simmering social tension that is just waiting to boil over.

    It would be nice if we can do a poll of Singaporeans (on the streets, in the heartlands etc) on whether they think that Singapore is heading in the right direction, as well as if they are optimistic about the future of our country.

    There will always be Singaporeans, who will continue to support the PAP, as long as their own welfare is well taken care of. The plight of the less well-off Singaporeans are, to them, "just facts of life". The PAP plays on and encourages such sentiments.

    If things are not going well for the PAP, they would, in a knee-jerk fashion, point to other countries (be it other developing or developed countries) and say, "at least we ain't THAT bad", hoping that Singaporeans will feel "grateful" after seeing such comparisons. The compliant local media will also come up with reports of how things are much worse elsewhere to drive home the message.

    I'm not sure how long this can go on. If the ruling party continues to think that past performance is an indicator of future results, they are truly self-deluded. Sadly, the PAP has now become a parody of its former self, taking knee-jerk reactions to problems highlighted by Singaporeans, without clearly thinking through the consequences of these half-baked measures (as seen in recent events).

    Singapore is not the PAP. Singaporeans deserve better leadership than the current batch, who have evidently failed their own countrymen.

  3. I quote Anon 9 Sept 11:10am:
    [Because I'm living and working here, and I pity my Japanese friends and colleagues for all their woes. I often share with them what and how living in Singapore is like, and I can see how envious they are of me.]

    As your fellow countryman living in Japan, I strongly encourage you to leave Japan and go back to Sg, if you really believe on how "good" living in Sg is.

    Else, please stop your LIES to your fellow Japanese workers.

    GINI coefficient is a GOOD gauge as besides Japan, other developed countries like Swiss, Norway and even Korea have lower GINI coefficent. Sg has the HIGHEST social divide in among all developed nations. Even a Pr 3 kid can tell me that if the rich get richer and the poor gets poorer surely the society is going down the drain.
    So why can't you???

    As for suicide rates, our Sg statistics are NOT OPEN and our legal definition of suicides differ. Thus there are people who kill themselves but DO NOT FALL under our category of suicide. This means that our numbers are HIGHER than it is released!

    Don't you know we are experts in Fudging Numbers like what MBT do to HDB on "affordability"?

    Also, please tell your Jap colleuges on the good idea of living in a country where
    1)Foreign Talents are treated better than the citizens,

    2)You have ZERO social security with Grandmas and Grandpas selling tissue and beg for living.

    3)Where train fares increase EVERY YEAR with ZERO improvement in comfort and efficency

    4)Where our housing price now (S$300k) is almost the SAME with Japan prices (Yen200mil) but ours are a 99yrs LEASE and we need to SELL in order to use the money for old age

    5) and where politicians systematical REFUSE, DENY, and TWIST words instead of taking responsibility to solve problems or improve people lives.

    Tell them the TRUTH. Open your eyes to see WHY 1000 Singaporeans throw their pink IC EVERY, SINGLE, YEAR.

  4. Dear Anon 9 Sept 11:10am,

    You should leave Japan and go back to Sg ASAP.

    Go back and see how YOU suffer back home, where you can neither quality for top jobs because they prefer Angmoh FTs than you, nor can you qualify for low-end jobs because the Banglah IT engineer is cheaper than you.

    Go back and see how packed MRT is, where service sucks and social manners for non-existant. Feel for yourself the pressure of taking MRT, which makes taking Japan Rail like SQ Business Class.

    Go back and see FLOODS smacked in city centers. Such things don't happen in Tokyo and other major Japan cities.

    Go back and see Pioneering Singaporeans picking cupboard, selling tissues and handicaps BEGGING. You don't see such in Japan, right?

    Go back and read ST to vomit blood over blatant propaganda. If you can read Japanese, I am sure you will appreciate what Yomiuri and Asahi has to offer.

    Go back and cry on the roadside should you be retrenched, where there is ZERO social security, and you can re-train but still find no jobs. Ultimately, you cannot even fight the PRC who has taken your job to drive taxi or bus.

    Go back and live in hallucination of some MP who stated that Sg provide "free food and can even deliver it to your doorstep"

    Go back and see that your CPF can only support LESS THAN 20% of your last drawn pay upon retirement and you need to SELL your HOME so as to downgrade to get cash.

    Go back and wake up to the fact that retirement is a thing of the past in Sg. Where leaders encourage you to work till you die.

    I prefer the clean air and lead-free tap water in Japan than in Sg. I prefer high civil consciousness and manners in Jpn than Sg.
    Most of all, I prefer the pension and social security benefits from the Jpn Gov than to what Sg can offer me.

    Going back to Sg is definitely NOT an option for me.

  5. You speak like a loser. Tell me you have not given up your red passport yet?

  6. If you cannot argue nor have facts to backup your claims, you should stop lying to your Jap colleuges and eat the humble pie, shut up and learn.

    That's how you live life like a winner, instead of trying to twist and turn and go off topic like some of our MPs often do. Get it?

  7. Me thinks the Japanese will not give a damn to the view and impression of a Singaporean. Nor do i expect Singaporeans to get much respect from anyone in foreign lands except those that have not visited Sin.


  8. I'm from the Netherlands, the best countries of this world.