Most of them are doing well overseas. One completed his Masters under a scholarship awarded by the foreign university, and moving on to a doctorate. Another is doing research in genomics, peering into the DNA sequence of rice grains to produce a better crop. If they had stayed on in Singapore, they would have had to contend with a diploma, and end up working under a degree holder. Such is the way meritocracy works here.
Worse, they could have ended up working under a Pinoy "process engineer" in Seagate Technology International, a storage solutions company.
Carlos R Pestano III, declared on his Facebook account last Friday that Singaporean employees in his company who worked under foreign bosses were "bitter", and offered this bit of condescending advice: "You can improve over time and maybe start with your manners."
Pestano hails from the Catholic University of the Philippines, the almost 4-century old University of Santo Tomas which draws inspiration from the teachings and philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, the angelic doctor and patron saint of Catholic schools. Its ranking according to QS World University Rankings in 2012: 601+
The pecking order to put things in perspective:
#1 Massachussets Insitutue of Technology
#2 University of Cambridge
#3 Harvard University
#15 Stanford University
#19 University of Toronto
#23 University of Hongkong
#24 Australian National University
#25 National University of Singapore
#30 The University of Tokyo
#47 Nanyang Technological University
#79 University of Western Australia
#81 Uppsala University
#156 Universiti of Malaya
#198 Waseda University
#212 Indian Institute of Technology Delhi
#326 Universiti Sains Malaysia
#348 University of the Philippines
#400 University of Mexico
#401-450, #451-500, #550-551, #551-600 are grouped, no individual ranking
#601+ refers to the bottom of the heap
QS World University Rankings are based on data covering four key areas of concern for students: research, employability, teaching and internationalization, with the heaviest weightage on academic reputation (40%). Seagate should take note.
Fortunately the worst of Pestano's venom is not targeted at his Singaporean subordinates. Not happy working under foreigners? "Don't blame us for this," he wrote, "maybe rotten locals up there commenting are not good enough." There are so many rotten locals "up there", it's difficult fathom who he is referring to, but we have our favourites. Like the minister who opened the floodgates for foreign trash.
It was therefore a real surprise that Speaker of Parliament Michael Palmer had to resign over an "improper" relationship with a member of the People's Association staff. Another gratification pot-boiler to detract from the foreign talent issues? Whatever the true story is, we are forever indebted to Mr Palmer for dropping his guard in a single-seat constituency. Now, that's a real Christmas present!