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[ASIA] Melissa Aratani Kwee's Vision of Singapore in the 21st Century

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  • madchinaman
    Attracting Talent vs Looking After Singaporeans http://216.239.57.104/search? q=cache:3OdKIMvS0bcJ:www.singapore21.org.sg/dilemma3.doc+Melissa+Arat
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 16, 2004
      "Attracting Talent vs Looking After Singaporeans"
      http://216.239.57.104/search?
      q=cache:3OdKIMvS0bcJ:www.singapore21.org.sg/dilemma3.doc+Melissa+Arat
      ani+Kwee&hl=en&ie=UTF-8


      INTRODUCTION: A VISION FOR SINGAPORE


      1. In the 21st century, Singapore will be even better than it is
      today: an exciting city in which to work, live and play; a global
      hub pulsating with energy and ideas. The Singapore economy will be
      vibrant, our culture brimming with diversity, and our society strong
      and united.


      2. To achieve our vision, we must make Singapore a centre of
      opportunity. Singapore will be a hub in Asia where people can
      advance their economic lifestyles, pursue their interests and find
      happiness in their lives. We will be a society where everyone
      matters, where everyone is valued, and recognised for his or her
      myriad contributions.


      3. Singapore’s continued prosperity and success depends on our
      ability to maximise the talents of all Singaporeans, as well as to
      develop a deep-seated sense of belonging — or rootedness — to
      Singapore. Singaporeans must be allowed to become the best they can
      be. We should develop a more encompassing definition of success.
      People must be encouraged to try the road less taken, to explore
      what lies off the beaten track. We must recognise success even in
      the single penny picked up at the end of the rainbow, and respect,
      applaud and celebrate the diverse accomplishments of fellow
      citizens. Locals have to feel that Singapore is our best home, best
      hope. Singaporeans must believe in our country, identify with its
      destiny and stand ready to contribute to, suffer for and defend our
      society, values and nation.


      4. Our continued success also depends on our ability to attract and
      retain talent. In the new millennium, talent is not something “nice”
      to have; it is the essential ingredient for sustained success. We
      should not see foreign talent as queue-jumpers in the race for j obs
      in Singapore; nor as opportunists competing unfairly. Rather, as we
      shall explain, illustrate and seek to convince in this report,
      foreign talent help to make Singapore more competitive, and create
      more opportunities than we can generate on our own. This will be
      crucial in enabling Singaporeans to find fulfilment and achieve “the
      good life”. Singaporeans have expressed concerns. However, after
      much discussion and deliberation, our committee feels strongly that
      there is no contradiction between making Singapore our best home and
      a talent capital. These two goals are mutually self-reinforcing and
      synergistic.



      Why Do We Need Foreign Talent?


      5. Talent is crucial to Singapore’s survival and success. To
      maintain our long-term competitiveness, Singapore must transit into
      a Knowledge-Based Economy (KBE). What is a KBE? In the 20th
      century, production of wealth was through the use of raw materials,
      labour and capital. But, in the 21st century, talented people and
      the services, ideas and innovations they generate will be the
      critical factors. We need talent to deal with forces of
      globalisation and the challenges wrought by advances in technology,
      especially Information Technology (IT). We need talent to stay
      ahead.


      6. Major cities around the world have thrived because of talent and
      their ability to absorb the best and brightest. Even a country of
      abundant resources like the US needs talent. In 1998, the US
      Congress approved an increase in the number of visas for foreign
      talent that allows the US to continue absorbing the brightest minds
      from around the world. In Silicon Valley, a small town has been
      transformed into a vibrant home for start-ups and ventures because
      of the ability to draw top IT talent from all over the world,
      especially Asia. In the US, the immigrant ethos is still very much
      alive and this enables the country to continue to welcome talent
      from abroad and to benefit from their contribution.



      The sea welcomes a hundred brooks,

      Only those with big hearts can accommodate others


      - Chinese saying




      7. Singapore, too, must be the sea that continually welcomes a
      hundred brooks. Being big-hearted and accommodating enable
      Singapore to be plugged into the global network. We will benefit
      from the cross-fertilisation of ideas and thinking that comes from
      the convergence of a hundred sources.



      What Do Talent Bring To Singapore?



      In a knowledge-based era, the scarce strategic resources that will
      allow one company to surpass its competitors is the quality of the
      people working for it…companies that seek people with a passion that
      makes real the oft-repeated rhetoric that `people are our greatest
      assets’ can gain enormous returns on that scarce asset. As one
      manager told us: `We must think of our company less in product-
      market terms and more as collectors of great people.’


      - Christopher A Bartlett and Sumantra Ghoshal, “Play the Right Card
      to Get the Aces in the Pack”, Financial Times 1




      8. Besides bringing valuable skills, knowledge and ideas, the
      foreign talent’s vigour provides powerful motivation for us to
      continually strive for higher standards. They also strengthen our
      society by keeping alive the migrant spirit and instincts that give
      Singapore a critical advantage. Their example can make us aware of
      the dangers of becoming complacent.


      9. Foreign talent does not just help to enlarge our economic pie but
      also make our pie tastier and more diverse in flavour. They
      introduce the croissant to supplement our roti prata. Foreign talent
      brings variety and diversity to Singapore, adding colour, richness
      and spice to our cultural life. We not only need top economic
      people but top-class artistes and musicians as well. To compete in
      the World Cup, we too must, like France, absorb international sports
      talent. This will add a cosmopolitan flavour to Singapore and
      enable us to compete in the big league.


      10. Singapore is a small country with no natural resources and a
      small population. In welcoming foreign talent, we benefit from
      global education and training resources and use it to supplement and
      complement our own. Attracting top specialists in their fields to
      Singapore raises our country’s profile: talent attracts talent.
      This helps to make Singapore a world-class talent capital as well as
      to establish a network with international specialists. To become a
      truly globally competitive city, Singapore must forge links with
      every major dynamic economy and incorporate talent from all regions
      of the world.



      Who Are Foreign Talent?


      11. Talent refers to both foreigners and locals. Local talent is
      valuable but with a population of three million, the Singapore pool
      is not large enough when the competition we face is the world. Our
      local pool must be augmented with the best skills and talents that
      can be tapped globally. Just as the brooks enrich the sea, foreign
      talent enlarges our human resource pool, strengthens our
      competitiveness and increases our social vitality. We think of
      foreign talent to be people who have certain internationally
      marketable experiences and skills, and who can do the jobs that
      Singaporeans cannot do, or where there are just not enough
      Singaporeans to do the work. They include foreigners who work in our
      industrial and commercial sectors as well as those in our
      universities and research institutes. The foreign talent may be an
      entrepreneur, IT specialist, artiste or sportsman in our “S”
      league. They can also be foreigners in our education system who
      strengthen schools through greater competitiveness and diversity.


      12. What we want is to complement our local talent with talent from
      overseas.



      How We Have Benefited and Continue to Do So?


      13. How have we benefited from foreign talent? We need only to
      remind ourselves that foreign talent is not new to Singapore but has
      been an integral part of the Singapore story. Historically, Temasek
      has been an oasis for immigrants. People from afar, be they
      Chinese, Indians, Arabs, Eurasians, Jews or Armenians sailed here
      seeking a better life. Some fled famine and chaos while others
      brought new businesses and ideas. But all were determined to succeed
      in a foreign land. All but one of our first Cabinet were foreign-
      born and, without them, Singapore would not be where we are today.
      In the private sector, contributions to Singapore’s economic
      development by foreign CEOs and business leaders, as well as their
      MNCs, are also well-documented.


      14. We continue to benefit from foreign talent. The benefits that
      foreign talent bring are not just economic but are spread out across
      many sectors. Let us explore some specific examples.



      15. Higher Education: As our economy matures and moves towards high
      value-added industry, the government has increased the opportunities
      for tertiary education. The number of full-time tertiary places
      (university and polytechnic) has increased from about 14,900 in 1988
      to about 66,200 in 1998. This increase was made possible by
      recruiting quality foreign lecturers to supplement our local talent
      pool, especially in areas where locals are lacking or difficult to
      recruit like in animation, digital media design, etc. In the past
      10 years, the number of full-time foreign academic staff in our
      tertiary institutions have increased by about 840 in absolute
      numbers. The proportion of foreign academic staff with respect to
      the total academic staff strength, however, has remained at about
      26%.


      16. Attracting foreign lecturers, researchers, technical specialists
      and postgraduate students to Singapore, either into our tertiary
      institutions or through the setting up of joint institutions, also
      helped in the transfer of expertise from other countries to
      Singapore. For example, at the early stages when the German-
      Singapore Institute, French-Singapore Institute and the former Japan-
      Singapore Institute of Software Technology were set up, foreign
      technical specialists from these countries were attached to our
      tertiary institutions and had helped in the development of course
      curricula and training of staff. In addition, they have also helped
      to raise the standard of the research work.


      17. Overall, the presence of foreign expertise not only supplements
      our local talent pool but also helps to raise our standard of
      intellect diversity through regular interaction and sharing of
      knowledge and experiences. This has not only helped to raise the
      standard of our education but enriched our campus life.



      18. Research & Development: Foreign talent have similarly
      contributed to Singapore’s research and development (R&D) scene. In
      1990, we had about 3,600 local Research Scientists and Engineers
      (RSEs) and 700 RSEs from overseas. We recognised that the R&D field
      is an area that can give Singapore a technological leading edge in
      regional and global competition. We strived for a more highly-
      educated population which would create conditions ideal for R & D
      work to be brought to Singapore. We attracted foreign RSEs to work
      in Singapore. By 1997, we had expanded the total number of RSEs in
      Singapore to 11,300. Foreign RSEs contributed 2,300 or 21% of this
      number. With the greater number of more highly qualified RSEs, our
      Research Institutes (RIs) were able to make greater strides and
      contribution.


      19. For instance, the Institute of Molecular Agrobiology (IMA) had
      conducted many agricultural technology research projects which led
      to commercialisation of new products like rice with better
      resistance to diseases and yields, and cotton with improved traits.
      In 1996, the IMA collaborated with China to access upstream
      technologies developed in research institutes there and transfer
      them to Singapore for further development work and product
      commercialisation.


      20. Another example is the Institute of Molecular Cell Biology
      (IMBC) which was able to establish its name. In November 98, IMBC
      entered into a bilateral partnership with the Medical Research
      Council of Canada to support R&D activities in both countries,
      geared towards the creation of intellectual properties in the
      biomedical field. The long term objective is to utilise this
      intellectual property pipeline to spin off and support Singapore-
      Canada biomedical ventures and to create opportunities for corporate
      partnerships with major global drug companies.


      21. Another example is the Centre for Remote Imaging, Sensing and
      Processing (CRISP) of the National University of Singapore (NUS).
      CRISP developed a computer-modelling system linked to powerful
      satellites which can help monitor land or sea pollution, forest
      fires, seaport congestion as well as track lost ships. This computer
      system is used by the Ministry of Environment and the Maritime and
      Port Authority (MPA) to monitor forest fires in the region, and
      track pollution at sea. It was immensely useful during the 1997 Haze
      episode and was deployed to assist Indonesia to monitor hot spots in
      her battle to curtail forest fires from starting and spreading. The
      system was also successfully employed to help MPA clean up the major
      oil spill in Singapore waters in 1997.


      22. Some of the most exciting technologies in the IT world are being
      developed at the Kent Ridge Digital Laboratories (KRDL). One product
      enables surgeons to rehearse their operations in 3-dimensional
      computer models – making surgery safer. Another product creates an
      invisible digital watermark on digital products (eg. digital music,
      books, photos) which brings added security to electronic trade and
      services. A third product can recognise spoken Mandarin and
      reproduce it on screen, removing the need for slow and cumbersome
      keyboard input.


      23. As we develop the calibre and increase the number of RSEs in our
      R&D industry, overseas Research Institutes (RIs) have been attracted
      to partner with us. In November 1998, leading US medical school,
      Johns Hopkins Medicine, announced it had selected Singapore as the
      site for its very first clinical facility outside of the US2. The 75
      research scientists at Johns Hopkins Singapore Clinical Services
      will work closely with local institutions and together, are expected
      to bring Singapore into the forefront of research and education in
      diseases common in this region. Such collaboration will raise the
      profile of local researchers through the yield of patents, research
      publications and other medical innovations. Undoubtedly,
      Singaporeans – and our neighbours – will also benefit from leading
      edge medical care.


      24. Though Singapore has made progress, we still lag behind in the
      number of R&D scientists and engineers compared with developed
      countries. Working on the ratio of R&D personnel per 10,000
      Workforce, the 1998 figures for Japan is 138.6, Switzerland 121.7
      while Singapore is only 59. We have quite some ways to go. We need
      more top quality R&D scientists and engineers in Singapore.



      25. Manufacturing: Manufacturing is a high growth sector and a major
      provider of jobs for Singaporeans. In the 1990s, manufacturing has
      been growing at an average of 8 % a year. Today, manufacturing
      accounts for about a quarter of Singapore’s GDP and employs about
      23% of Singapore’s workforce.


      26. In the 1960s, when unemployment in Singapore was high, Singapore
      attracted many manufacturing Multi-National Companies (MNCs) to
      create employment. In those days, the top management in such MNCs
      consisted mainly of foreign talent whose management and technical
      skills contributed to the creation of jobs and opportunities for
      Singaporeans. Many of the MNCs such as Philips, Hewlett Packard,
      IBM, Motorola, Esso and Sundstrand have since localised the
      management team, with their top management having handed over and
      transferred their skills to Singaporeans. Hence, the presence of
      MNCs and expatriate managers in Singapore’s manufacturing sector has
      not only created jobs for Singaporeans but also created
      opportunities for Singaporeans to rise to the top.


      27. Foreign talent have also played an important role in shifting
      Singapore’s manufacturing sector into more high value-added and
      knowledge-driven activities. For instance, when Singapore first
      started attracting MNCs to conduct wafer fabrication activities,
      there were few Singaporean engineers with the skills and experience
      needed for the industry. Training programmes were conducted to equip
      Singaporeans with the necessary skills. However, such training took
      time and many foreign engineers had to be recruited to fill the
      shortage in skills and experience. Openness to foreign talent is a
      key factor that makes Singapore attractive to MNCs. Without such
      foreign talent, Singapore would not be able to start up high-tech
      manufacturing activities such as wafer fabrication that creates high-
      paying and meaningful jobs for Singaporeans.



      28. Business Services: Recently, in October 1998, Singapore edged
      out Sydney, Manila, and Hong Kong to host Caltex’s global
      Headquarters (HQ). This is the first multinational global HQ to be
      based here3. With sales of US$9.9 billion, Caltex was Singapore’s
      largest oil trader in 1996, an amount equivalent to about 12 percent
      of Singapore’s Gross Domestic Product. Caltex is the largest
      private company in Singapore, with a 1997 turnover of S$14 billion.
      Explaining Caltex’s move, EDB said that Caltex was a “company that
      likes to get involved with a country. They looked very favourably
      at our initiatives towards developing Singapore as a knowledge-based
      economy, bringing in world-class institutions like INSEAD”.
      Chairman of Caltex, David Law-Smith explained that “the move to
      Singapore will position us centrally in the areas where most of our
      business allows us to be closer to our customers and serve them more
      effectively. Singapore is a dynamic, international city with great
      infrastructure, talented people and high living standards”.



      29. Financial Services: The Monetary Authority of Singapore is
      promoting Singapore as the Asian hub for specialist financial
      services. In order to achieve our aim of becoming a leading
      financial centre in this time zone, we need to develop capabilities
      in many key areas where local talents are scarce. Some of these
      areas include investment banking, derivatives, actuarial services,
      reinsurance, asset and risk management.


      30. Today, EP holders make up about 15% of the financial
      professionals in the licensed financial sector. The annual growth of
      Employment Pass (EP) holder in the financial sector over the last 4
      years has averaged 12%. The flow of foreign talent into Singapore's
      financial sector brings in expertise in cutting-edge product
      innovations and transfers world-best financial practices to
      Singapore. This will bolster our domestic skills and knowledge pool
      as well as further enhance our position as a financial hub of Asia.
      In the process, this will create better and higher paying value-
      added jobs as well as contribute to our economic growth.



      31. Entertainment: In 1983, the then Singapore Broadcasting
      Corporation began recruiting foreign talent, primarily from Hong
      Kong and Taiwan, to help set up the Chinese Drama production unit.
      These talent were mainly in key production management and creative
      grades like director-producers, scriptwriters, story planners,
      lighting men, and cameramen: professions where local expertise was
      not readily available. In the 1980s, foreign talent comprised close
      to 25% of the total Chinese Drama production talent pool. Of these
      foreign talent who are still active with local productions, more
      than 80% have taken up Singapore citizenship or PR.


      32. In the 15 years since the inception of the Chinese Drama unit,
      much production know-how has been transferred and the local talent
      pool has learnt through their jobs while working closely with the
      foreign talent. Today, locals make up 84% of the talent in
      Television Corporation of Singapore’s (TCS) drama talent. However,
      TCS continues to actively exchange ideas and expertise with
      producers in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, and China. The
      entertainment value of TCS productions has certainly gone up because
      of foreign talent.


      Foreign talent have helped raise the production standard of TCS.
      They have also helped Singapore break into the international
      entertainment scene. For example, TCS artists like Shanghainese
      compere Wang Yanqing recently won the Asian TV Best Compere award.
      Malaysian Christopher Lee is also well received by the Taiwanese
      when the Singapore-produced serial “Return of the Condor Hero” was
      aired via TCS’ satellite TV in Taiwan.


      – Lee Bee Furn, media consumer in her 20s.



      33. Orchestra: In 1979, when the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO)
      performed its first concert, Singapore’s musical talent base was
      small and only 8 out of the 41 musicians were Singaporeans. The
      presence of foreign musicians has not only livened the music scene
      in Singapore, but also helped to build up the local talent base
      through the transfer of skills to Singaporeans. Many have also
      become Singapore citizens. Today, out of the 89 musicians in the
      SSO, 70 of them are Singapore citizens of which, 36 are foreign
      born.



      34. Sports: A couple of years back, the S-League was created amidst
      concerns that the Singapore soccer standard would not be high enough
      to sustain interest. The S-League has since grown in popularity,
      with the development of home-grown and foreign football talent.
      Soccer fans recognise the need for scouting and bringing foreign
      talent into Singapore’s soccer scene to enhance the standard of the
      game and the local soccer players here. A typical call by fans is
      for Football Association of Singapore (FAS) to “import” foreign
      talent, just as some sectors of the economy had done.


      35. Import” of foreign soccer players has helped make the game more
      interesting and entertaining. This has also created healthy
      competition and opportunities for our local aspiring players.











      Fans come to watch the match partly because they want to watch
      foreign players who generally are of better quality than the locals.
      Though this would deprive local players the chance to get into the
      first team, however, in the long term, the skills of our local
      players would improve by playing with these foreign imports.


      - Eric Teo, avid soccer fan.


      36. In each of the above areas, Singaporean talent has played a
      major role in our success. We can be truly proud of the
      contributions and accomplishments of our fellow countrymen. But we
      must also be humble enough to recognise that the progress we made
      could not have been achieved as rapidly without the infusion of
      foreign talent. Foreign talent is a pool to supplement local talent.
      At the same time, we also benefit as critical skills are passed on
      to locals, thus raising overall standards and proficiency.



      PUBLIC CONSULTATION AND FEEDBACK


      37. Our Subject Committee found that although the economic reasons
      for attracting foreign talent are strong, concerns were raised on
      the possible negative impact that attraction of large numbers of
      foreign talent might have on Singapore. Such concerns merit serious
      consideration and our committee had set itself the task of doing so.
      A series of 11 Focus Group discussions was arranged for committee
      members to meet with Singaporeans from different walks of life to
      hear their views and discuss their concerns. The committee met with
      executives, professionals, employers, grassroot leaders, trade
      unionists, NUS students, foreign talent, artistes, polytechnic and
      ITE students, ethnic minority groups, returned graduates and
      scholars and the teaching and medical professions. (A summary of
      views articulated is at Annex A.) At these Focus Group discussions,
      animated debates yielded at times an exchange of strong and
      polarising viewpoints. A public consultation feedback session was
      also held on 21 November 1998, where about a thousand members of the
      public were invited.


      38. Not all the issues and questions were resolved for everybody.
      But Focus Group participants unanimously agreed on the need for
      talent, and that we should attract them here as Singapore is a small
      country with a small pool of people. Most were convinced of the
      economic rationale for bringing in foreign talent with higher skills
      and experience, that this would create wealth and, consequently,
      more jobs and opportunities for Singaporeans. However, concerns
      about the impact of foreign talent, especially in this economic
      downturn, were also raised. These concerns were real and
      legitimate. But in discussions that followed, the committee
      concluded that the problems were not insurmountable.


      39. Two extensive surveys were conducted as part of the S21
      project. In June, the Straits Times published a survey that
      essentially confirmed the findings of our Focus Group discussions
      that most Singaporeans accepted the rationale and support the policy
      of bringing in foreign talent. 76% of those polled supported the
      government’s move to attract foreign talent while 23% did not.
      Younger Singaporeans were also more supportive, with 85% of them in
      their 20sbeing supportive. This contrasted with only 68% for those
      in their 40s.


      40. A Forbes survey conducted in July found that 56.6% polled felt
      that Singapore needed foreign talent to complement our work force,
      while 16% felt Singapore could do it alone. One in three
      Singaporeans felt that foreigners created more jobs than they took
      away, while one in four thought the reverse. About one in four were
      neutral i.e. they did not know what to think or were unwilling to
      commit. What these surveys revealed was that although Singaporeans
      were convinced of the economic rationale for foreign talent, deep
      down, they remained anxious about the impact of bringing in foreign
      talent. The uncertainties brought about by the regional crisis were
      also reflected in the many non-committal and neutral responses to
      the issues. The main concerns are examined in detail in the
      following sections.



      Major Concern 1: Will I Still Have a Job?


      41. The top concern expressed was fear of being crowded out of
      jobs. The skies were cheery when the S21 project was launched. But
      since then, tectonic changes have occurred across the region. Given
      the regional economic slowdown and its impact on Singapore, quite a
      number of people questioned whether we should continue to welcome
      foreign talent. During hard times, they argued, Singaporeans should
      be given first preference for jobs. Emotional pleas were made that
      the government was morally obligated to take care of its citizens.


      “Loyalty demands protection. In times of crisis, the government
      must look after its people.”


      “Where there is sugar, there will be ants. But what happens to the
      picnic when the sugar supply runs low?”


      - Focus Group participants



      42. We expect these fears and sentiments to increase if economic
      conditions continue to deteriorate. Measures that directly protect
      jobs for Singaporeans will only reduce our national competitiveness
      and ability to weather the storm. We need to be like athletes who
      build up stamina and skill from training and participation in
      competitions. Repatriating foreigners will not solve the economic
      problems. Keeping foreigners out will ultimately cost locals to lose
      more jobs because the talented foreigner takes job opportunities
      away with him. For instance, retrenchment of experienced and
      globally-connected foreign bankers will affect our financial
      industry and our ability to compete with overseas financial
      markets. Saving a few jobs for locals may end up causing Singapore
      to lose more jobs.



      “The onset of the currency and financial crisis illustrates another
      way in which foreign talent can contribute to Singapore. Local
      staff were slow to react to real-life rapidly depreciating
      currencies and asset values. That proved to be a costly experience
      for some of us.”


      - Kong Siew Cheong, manager in a major securities house


      43. We also sensed that Singaporeans were worried that employers
      might prefer to hire foreigners. Some Singaporeans felt foreigners
      were willing to take on unpleasant jobs and to toil harder, such as
      working over time and doing shift work. During the economic
      downturn, they were particularly worried these foreigners would be
      willing to work harder for less, putting pressure on them to work
      longer hours at the expense of a quality life-style.


      44. Some Focus Group participants felt that each time they got
      closer to the “Singapore dream”, the goal posts would shift, and be
      moved further away. They felt that the government policy to bring in
      foreigners was aimed at making them work harder. They perceived some
      of the “talent” being imported as not real talent but “cheap
      labour”. Our committee noted that this concern was greatest not
      with the top professionals or low-end workers, but the middle band.
      It was the “ordinary” white and blue-collar jobs that Singaporeans
      felt they could do just as well that the threat was felt most. The
      more highly-paid Singaporeans also tended to feel more secure about
      their jobs. Less than half of those who earned under $1,000 a month
      felt secure about their jobs, while 77.4% of those who earned more
      than $4,000 thought so.


      45. Some participants suggested that we should be more selective
      such as recruiting foreign talent only in sectors with severe
      manpower or talent shortages, or only for strategic growth
      industries. However, it would be problematic for the government to
      legislate specific areas. What criteria, for instance, should the
      government use, especially for professional and high level talent?
      Our committee believes that it would be best to leave such decisions
      to free market forces.


      46. In a world where advances of technology have made every region
      accessible to each other, competition is truly global. Every country
      competes against another. If we do not attract talent to Singapore,
      they can easily go to elsewhere and compete against Singapore from
      there. As Minister Teo Chee Hean has said, “At least if he’s here,
      he is part of our team, helping to make the big picture here, and I
      think we prefer to have more good people on our team than out there
      on another team.” Protectionist policies will only blunt
      Singapore’s competitive edge in the global economy. By helping
      companies remain competitive, foreign talent actually protects and
      creates jobs for Singaporeans.


      47. Our committee feels strongly that the way to look after
      Singaporeans is to help them upgrade to their fullest potential. In
      this regard, $420 million has been committed for the Skills
      Redevelopment Programme (SRP) and Critical Enabling Skills Training
      (CREST) programmes. A Skills Development Centre is now in operation
      to meet the demands for more training places. We make further
      recommendations later in the report.



      Major Concern 2: Will My Children Have a Place in School?


      48. The second key concern expressed was Singapore children were
      being crowded out of our schools. Many (59% in the Straits Times
      survey) felt that the specific targeting of foreigners would crowd
      their kids out of the best schools. Worse, allowing large numbers
      of foreign students would have a ripple-down effect and make it even
      more difficult than now for young Singaporeans to find a place in
      good schools.


      49. Unlike the first concern, these concerns were expressed by
      parents who were worried about the hope and future of their
      children, rather than their own immediate welfare. Some asked the
      government to protect the positions for Singaporean children in good
      schools. They argued that our children should be given the best
      educational opportunities, so that they could compete in future as
      working adults.


      50. We are confident that the government will ensure that no child
      in Singapore is denied a place in our schools. However, to realise
      our vision for Singapore, we cannot shy away from competition. We
      can choose to bury our heads in the sand like ostriches but that
      will not make the competition go away. Protectionism will not help
      us but stymie the growth of our children. Instead, teaching our
      children early how to swim will ensure they can swim faster and
      further later on in life.


      51. Foreign students will benefit our schools and children. They
      will raise standards by spurring excellence in our classes. Like
      foreign talent in our work force, foreign students in our schools
      are another resource we can tap. They bring with them new cultures,
      innovative ideas which can stimulate and broaden the outlook of our
      local students. Many schools are already observing national days of
      other countries and celebrating cultural diversity.


      52. The youth of Singapore must also develop international awareness
      and global mindset. An island mindset will spell undisputed failure
      for Singapore. We must create opportunities for our students to
      travel overseas and interact with foreign students. Some schools are
      already organising excursions, study trips and exchange visits
      during school holidays to countries like the UK, France, Australia
      and China. These should not only continue but be further
      encouraged .



      Major Concern 3: Second Class Citizens


      53. The third key concern was locals fearing that they would be
      turned into second-class citizens. Some 24% of those polled by
      Straits Times felt that the government treated foreigners better
      than Singaporeans. In the Forbes survey, 55.2% thought that PRs
      have the same privileges as citizens, while a small minority (8.7%)
      perceived that PRs have even more privileges than citizens.


      54. Anecdotally, many felt that foreigners, including PRs, enjoyed
      benefits without obligations like national service. Examples cited
      included: foreigners not having to pay CPF which makes them
      “cheaper” to employ, foreign talent enjoy housing allowances, JTC’s
      scheme providing housing for foreign talent, and subsidised
      education and healthcare for PRs. Other than complaints about
      inequity, locals also felt unhappy that many foreigners were no more
      than birds of passage, who would not hesitate uprooting from
      Singapore the moment things turned bad.


      55. Some Singaporeans felt that foreigners were granted permanent
      residency too easily and that PR status had all the privileges of
      citizenship. There were suggestions that the criteria for granting
      PR should be made more stringent and the PR should have certain
      obligations to reflect commitment to Singapore. Some suggested that
      foreigners who wished to continue working in Singapore for an
      extended period of, say, more than 10 years, must decide to become
      PRs and then citizens. Otherwise, they would enjoy the benefits of
      working and staying in Singapore, without the corresponding duties
      and responsibilities.


      56. However, imposing such restrictive conditions works against our
      broad strategic objective of attracting talent, which is an
      extremely competitive business. In a globalised world, talent is
      internationally mobile. To bring them here, Singapore must be made
      as attractive as possible to work and live in. A better way is to
      attract the foreign talent to cast his lot with Singapore and opt to
      become a PR and perhaps later for his children to be citizens.


      57. For Singaporeans, we believe that there are clear benefits of
      citizenship which are not enjoyed by the foreign resident. We
      discuss this later in the report.



      How should the concerns be addressed?


      58. Our committee felt that the concerns expressed are reflections
      of Singaporeans’ desire to better our living standards. We want
      better jobs, good opportunities and a country we can protect and
      call our home. From the Focus Groups and public feedback, it is
      clear that most Singaporeans agree with the need to attract and
      recruit foreign talent for the future of Singapore. Equally clear is
      that some Singaporeans are concerned that foreign talent will have a
      competitive edge over them and take away the better job
      opportunities. Since a protectionist reaction will only work against
      ourselves, we should resist that temptation. Instead, a win-win
      solution would be to respond by looking for ways to improve the
      skills and competitiveness of our people - to provide opportunities
      for Singaporeans to develop to our fullest potential.


      59. We must not have a “foreigners-them, locals-us” attitude.
      Foreign talent will supplement our strength as we work side by side
      together for the development of our nation.



      What does it mean to be a citizen?


      60. As we listened to and discussed the concerns expressed during
      our feedback sessions, one of the themes we repeatedly returned to
      was the question of what it meant to be a citizen. To us,
      citizenship is more than economics. Citizenship confers intangible
      benefits, and it also requires commitment beyond mere economic
      contribution. Above all, citizenship is about belonging to a place,
      having a sense of ownership and calling it home. This is a right for
      those born here, but a privilege we extend to others only when they
      share our same hopes, values and vision for the future.


      61. As Singaporeans, we live in a safe and secure city, where law
      and order prevails, where we can raise a family without fear of
      crime or discrimination. We enjoy a clean and green environment,
      safe grounds in which our children play and social cohesion and
      racial harmony. The Singapore passport also entitles us to the
      invisible protection of the state, wherever in the world we may be,
      at work or on holiday.



      “I feel secure whenever I travel because my citizenship engenders
      full confidence that I will be helped should I face difficulties
      when abroad. I was especially glad to be a Singaporean when I was
      in Japan right after the Kobe earthquake as I was assured that I
      would be guaranteed a seat on Singapore Airlines to return to
      Singapore even if I did not have a single cent on me.”


      - Angie Monksfield, mother of two who decided to become a Singapore
      citizen 10 years ago



      62. Our sense of belonging comes from things uniquely Singaporean.
      It is that special feeling when you hear a local accent or smell
      familiar food when you are in a foreign country. It is that
      familiar accent which reminds us of our sunny island in the
      tropics. It is the pride we share when the Singapore flag is
      planted on top of Mount Everest. It is our collective memories of
      life in Singapore, from the generation of our forefathers, to the
      future we hope for our children.




      “But what was it exactly which made me hang on so tenaciously to my
      Singapore passport? Well, it is not something I can explain
      easily. The closest way I know how is to say that it concerns deep
      feelings of identity and belonging...if your country has been good
      to you, if you have friends there going back a long way, even back
      to primary-school days, and if you have fond memories of your
      homeland, then renouncing your citizenship will be a nearly
      impossible step to take … I actually felt an affection for my little
      red Singapore passport. The idea of holding any other passport,
      was, well, alien to me.”


      - Ow Wei Mei column, “The citizen who came home”, Straits Times,
      July 1998



      63. Citizenship is both a matter of pride and duty and nowhere is
      this more clearly illustrated than the National Service issue. On
      the perceived inequity of National Service, some pointed out that
      Singaporean males were disadvantaged by losing 2 years of their
      lives and also later, during their work years, when they were
      regularly recalled for in-camp training. The committee has made some
      recommendations in this area which will be detailed later in this
      report.


      64. Singapore men will recall that it is immense trepidation he
      first feels when called up to give two years of his life to the
      country. But as he dons the camouflage green and goes through the
      strenuous training, he begins to appreciate the importance of the
      SAF to the defence and security of the country. Each and every
      individual young soldier contributes to the well-being of the
      nation. It is a crucial rite of passage for all Singaporean males,
      which brings us together as one multi-racial nation. Parents also
      gradually accept that National Service moulds the hearts and
      character of our nation’s young men. While some Singaporeans feel
      that there is disruption to their careers, especially when they are
      called up for reservist training, there is broad recognition of the
      importance of national service.


      65. Perhaps there is no better way to express the pride we feel
      about being Singaporean than the joy and jubilation at the annual
      National Day Parade. It is a celebration of our nation’s birthday
      and an affirmation of the good life we have as Singapore citizens.










      “It didn’t bother me that I’d spent so many years away from
      Singapore. But, standing in the National Stadium, saluting that
      gigantic flag flying overhead while listening to 60,000 voices belt
      out the national anthem, deafened by the collective roar from the
      sea of people around me. I knew then that was what I’d lost by
      being away: the remarkable unity and harmony of multiple races,
      religions, and creeds that you find nowhere else in the world, only
      in Singapore.”


      - Su-lin Gan, University lecturer who recently returned after
      spending 11 years away from Singapore, at her first National Day
      Parade



      ATTRACTING TALENT


      66. Let us return to the question of how Singapore can and what we
      should do to attracting talent. To our committee, everybody is
      talented. In the words of the Chinese poet, Li Bai:


      All of us are talent bestowed by heaven

      and we must serve some useful purpose .


      - Li Bai, poet, Tang Dynasty





      67. International talent is internationally mobile. While Singapore
      is attractive, improved job opportunities elsewhere has eroded our
      competitiveness. We need to create opportunities in Singapore to
      attract and retain top class talent. Top talent will not come to
      Singapore unless we actively create conditions that are conducive
      for them to flourish and develop. Affordable housing, flexibility
      of education system, cost and quality of living are some areas that
      can help make it attractive to foreigners intending to settle in
      Singapore.


      68. We need to actively target and seek out talent. Our vision is
      to make Singapore a global city of opportunity for talent. This
      involves having a pool of people who want to be here, because this
      is the place to be. The pool of talent will be a natural magnet to
      more talent. We want Singapore to be a gathering place not just for
      international talent, but a place where our own people feel
      comfortable and at home, where they have the capabilities and
      confidence to participate fully in the life and prosperity of the
      nation.


      69. Attracting talent involves promoting Singapore to foreigners and
      removing obstacles to the entry of talent. Regulatory mechanisms
      can be loosened. Rules should be simplified and made clear. We
      will also have to encourage greater openness in Singapore companies
      and Singaporeans towards welcoming international talent.
      Singaporeans must also be prepared to accept different life-styles
      and practices.


      70. We should make available information to foreigners; not just
      glossy tourist brochures but useful information about working and
      living in Singapore can be prepared and disseminated. Relocating is
      a family decision and we must consciously address the needs and
      concerns of the family. We need to sell Singapore’s strengths, and
      how we are a safe place to bring up families, and where foreign
      talent can live without fear of discrimination.



      “I’m so happy here. I can enjoy my own Asian culture with all the
      Western comforts and education for my children and grandchildren…The
      perks are nothing compared to being accepted here and being able to
      enjoy the Asian culture. There is stability without racism.
      Naturally, I want to be a citizen of the country I call home.”

      - Neila Sathyalingam, South Indian classical dancer, Director of
      Apsaras Arts, became a citizen in 1994. Neila left her homeland, Sri
      Lanka, because of civil unrest.



      71. Beyond attracting talent to Singapore, we also want to
      selectively root some of them here. The granting of citizenship is a
      very special and carefully scrutinised matter. It is not just a
      matter of economics, but must also be balanced with matters of the
      heart and societal concerns. Citizenship is given only when the
      foreigner shows that he or she associates with our values and wants
      to commit his or her destiny to Singapore. It is an act of
      permanent commitment, to become part of Singapore society and rooted
      to our community.


      72. However, that sense of belonging cannot be assumed nor does it
      happen naturally. We can do more to help foreigners understand
      Singapore, our uniqueness, diversity, traditions and values.
      Similarly, we should encourage locals to understand and make
      newcomers feel welcomed. There are two interlocked processes
      involved in the transition a foreign talent makes in becoming a
      Singaporean. First, acculturation which involves foreigners fitting
      into our society and feeling comfortable in it. There is mutual
      accommodation by both the newcomer and society and, in the process,
      there is a fruitful cross-fertilisation of ideas and culture.
      Second, rootedness which is a deeper sense of belonging to
      Singapore, of loyalty and commitment to the nation. Some specific
      recommendations on how to achieve rootedness will be offered later
      in the report. This will involve teaching and celebrating our
      history and key moments in our national life, as well as the
      transmission of core values. We must put in place enough support
      mechanisms to promote both acculturation and rootedness.


      73. While attracting and rooting foreign talent, we will also have
      to root local talent to Singapore. Singaporeans must have a clear
      sense of where we are in time and space. We need to develop a
      strong ethos, built on a deep understanding of our history and a
      broad knowledge of how we fit into the global village. Singaporeans
      must also develop and retain a global mindset. This will not only
      strengthen our sense of national identity but also enable us to
      compete more ably in global markets.



      RECOMMENDATIONS


      74. To attain the kind of vibrant and dynamic society we envision
      Singapore to be, we must help Singaporeans to excel and compete. The
      best way is to bring Singapore and Singaporeans to global standards
      is not to close the door as we cannot shut the world out. Instead,
      we must face the challenges head-on.



      “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot
      read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”


      - Alvin Toffler



      Helping Singaporeans Excel and Compete


      The L3 Fund


      The Government has set up workers training programmes and
      funds to help Singapore workers upgrade their skills, and enhance
      their employability. For instance:


      the $220 million Skills Redevelopment Programme (SRP) which is
      accessible to workers through their companies


      the NTUC Education & Training Fund (N-ETF) available to individual
      union workers to help defray the cost of upgrading without having to
      go through their companies;


      the Skills Development Fund (SDF) which subsidises Singaporeans and
      permanent residents’ training through their companies and self-help
      organisations, which includes:


      the $200 million Critical Enabling Skills Training (Crest)
      programme which will help workers, their supervisors and managers
      develop thinking and management skills.


      75. These funds are geared toward supporting both hard and soft
      skills training and cut across all sectors of our economy.
      Together, they ensure that many of our workers are provided with
      adequate training opportunities to re-skill. However, these training
      programmes and funds are geared towards specific skills, which are
      mainly relevant to the manufacturing and service industry.


      76. We recommend that a Life-Long Learning (L3) Fund be created,
      that is not restricted to specific industry skills, but available to
      all adult Singapore Citizens for their life-long learning. This fund
      can be used to acquire a useful employment skills or knowledge.


      77. This is how we envisage the L3 Fund to be set up: Individual
      working adult Singapore Citizens will receive a special dividend
      from the Government whenever the economy does well. This dividend
      will be kept in each person’s L3 Fund which can only be spent on
      approved educational and training courses, but cannot be encashed or
      bequeathed. This dividend will be different from Shared Ownership
      Top-Up Scheme (SOTUS) in that the L3 Fund can be used for
      individuals to upgrade themselves.





      Re-engineer Institutes and Schools of Learning



      78. Institutes/Schools of Learning should be re-engineered to
      support life-long learning. Currently, institutes are structured to
      support one-time learning experiences, such as getting a diploma or
      a certificate. The institutes should re-engineer their courses and
      curricula to be:




      Modular: Free standing modules of short duration can form part of a
      larger structured programme. Individuals can complete modules at
      their own pace, when they are relevant to their needs or interest.




      Accessible: The modules or courses should be made accessible outside
      office hours. Distance learning through the Internet could be
      encouraged.




      Affordable: The modules should be made affordable by lowering the
      cost to the individual. Just as subsidies are given for one-time
      learning courses like diplomas or degrees, we propose that the
      Government provide some subsidies too for such life long learning
      modular courses so that they would come within the reach of a larger
      number of the population. Together with the L3 fund, this would
      ensure that every working adult in Singapore who wishes to pursue
      courses after his/her formal education, would have the opportunity
      and the means.




      Creditable: A credit system should be set up to give recognition and
      certification after accumulation of sufficient credits.




      Accreditation: The private sector should be involved: they have the
      incentive to drive and market the courses to individuals. Private
      courses allowable under the L3 fund should be properly accredited so
      that they are recognised to be proper and useful courses.





      Transfer of Skills



      79. Business, trade, professional, social and cultural organisations
      should make all efforts to recruit foreign talent to become members
      or associates of their organisations. These organisations should
      then actively facilitate the transfer of know-how and knowledge of
      the foreign talent to the Singaporean members. This could be
      achieved through activities that promote interactions and global
      networking.


      80. The Committee challenges local organisations to link up with
      their international counterparts and aspire to have their members in
      leadership positions in the international arena. Such positions will
      help Singapore to have some influence on international organisations
      and become a part of some decision-making body in setting global
      standards. This would be like having a seat in key United Nations
      bodies or the International Maritime Organisation.



      81. Attaining such positions could also help open the windows of
      opportunities for other Singaporeans, and help promote Singaporean
      talent, companies, services and products internationally and upgrade
      Singapore’s global standing. We already have some good examples: Dr
      Noeleen Heyzer who is Executive Director of UN Development Fund for
      Women (UNIFEM), Mr Ng Ser Miang who sits on the International
      Olympic Council, Mr Liew Mun Leong who has served as president of
      the International Standards Organisation (ISO), and Mr Abdul Halim
      Kader who is Secretary-General of the International Sepak Takraw
      Federation (ISTAF).





      Nurture Curiosity and Develop Critical Thinking



      82. In the 21st century, Singapore must become more of a leader and
      less of a follower in many fields and industry. Singaporeans must
      correspondingly develop our creativity, critical thinking skills and
      an entrepreneurial spirit to excel and compete. The Committee
      commends the Ministry of Education for taking the lead in this area
      in promoting the concept of Thinking Schools and Learning Nations.
      We recommend that through the revised curricula and pedagogy,
      schools nurture curiosity, encourage informed debates, and build up
      an adventurous and risk taking spirit amongst the students.






      (e) Promote global outlook both at work and schools



      83. It is important that all Singaporeans develop a good sense of
      our place in time and space. We need to develop a strong ethos,
      built on a deep understanding of our history and a broad knowledge
      of how we fit into global markets. This will not only strengthen our
      sense of national identify, but enable us to participate more
      effectively in global issues and compete more ably in global
      markets. A global outlook should be promoted and encouraged in both
      schools and workplace, through student exchanges, international
      seminars and exchanges, overseas visits and establishment of
      international relationships.



      Attracting Talent



      84. Bringing out the best in our people and for our country means
      managing our talent and attracting new ones. This requires that we
      create the best conditions in Singapore so that the local and
      foreign talented will come to stay. To do this, we must increase the
      opportunities here.


      85. We should adopt the following measures:




      Have a clear message to ‘sell’ Singapore. We could ‘sell’ Singapore
      as a centre of opportunity, as a place where things work and things
      happen. Singapore can be seen as the bustling metropolis.




      Boost our marketing efforts. More attention should be paid to the
      marketing of Singapore Inc overseas. A central agency could be
      identified to spearhead this effort. Efforts should be made to
      correct wrong negative images of Singapore. Attention should also be
      paid to the usefulness of information provided. For instance,
      Singapore Tourism Board (STB) packages very good tourist brochures,
      but these are not useful for a foreigner considering whether to work
      in Singapore. More practical information about living and working
      here should be made available through mediums like interactive web
      sites. Such packaged information should include tips not just for
      the foreign talent but also the family, as decisions to relocate are
      made collectively. We could also make use of Changi Airport– given
      that 25 million passengers flow through annually – and SIA to market
      the opportunities available for foreign talent to work or invest in
      Singapore.




      Expand our facilitation services to new talent and their families.
      Transitional help can be provided for foreign talent and their
      families so that they can adapt to our local conditions. Programmes
      could be organised to help them adapt to and assimilate with our
      lifestyle, eg. Singapore history and culture. Packages should also
      be created to ‘sell’ Singapore as best home, and attract them to
      sink roots here.




      Application procedures and process should also be as transparent and
      as simple as possible. Immigration should revert to applicants as
      soon as possible and within a fixed and known timeframe so that
      there is greater certainty.




      Both business and government should be involved in promoting
      Singapore to foreign talent.




      We also need to change the mindset of Singaporeans towards foreign
      talent to be more open to, accepting of, and welcoming talent. We
      need to have a big heart and recognise that talent contribute to and
      benefit our country. This effort would need to involve all levels of
      society, from the individual to the family to the community to the
      nation. As a start, our schools and universities could, through
      immersion or exchange programmes, create greater global awareness.
      They should also provide more opportunities for global exposure and
      inculcate a global mindset amongst the younger Singaporeans. In
      relation to this, the Committee fully endorses the concept of
      ‘Thinking Schools, Learning Nation’ envisaged by the Ministry of
      Education.




      A committee could be formed to help expatriate families integrate
      into our society, such as provide assistance to settle down, find
      places in local schools for their children. We should encourage
      foreigners to mix socially with locals and involve them in cultural
      exchange programmes and social services (eg. civil defence
      exercises, blood donation drives). Residents Committee can also help
      foreigners feel accepted in the community by including them in
      community activities.



      Integrating and Managing Talent



      86. The current system of controls is adequate to maintain the
      quality of talent flows. However, regular reviews and transparency
      in criteria used to admit foreign talent should be maintained.



      87. In managing this policy of attracting talent, we also need to
      address the following issues:




      We need to address the issue of inequity concerning National
      Service. Permanent residents should not be forced to become
      citizens. However, second-generation PRs who avoid NS by giving up
      their PR status, and subsequently return to live and work in
      Singapore after completing their tertiary education should not be
      allowed to circumvent our NS policy. Such loopholes should be
      plugged.




      Companies who hire active NS men should be recognised for their
      contributions towards national defence. Tax rebates equal to the
      rank pay of NS men who are called up for active national service
      could be offered to employers. Self-employed NS men should also
      enjoy the same tax exemption.




      We should strengthen the links with Singaporeans living abroad, keep
      in contact and help them re-integrate into our society when they
      return. This should be a broad strategy that involves all sectors of
      society working together: public, private and people. A small
      gesture would be setting aside a small number of NDP tickets for
      returning Singaporeans so they can participate and revive their
      sense of belonging to Singapore.




      Managing local and foreign talent spans across a number of
      government agencies and ministries. A central steering committee on
      Managing Talent could be formed, to co-ordinate and direct our
      strategies and actions. Our committee welcomes the government’s
      decision to form the Singapore Talent Recruitment (STAR) Committee,
      headed by BG George Yeo.



      88. Ultimately, it is not enough to “tolerate” foreigners because
      they are of use to Singapore. We must welcome them, make them feel
      at home and that they belong here. To be welcoming to foreigners
      requires an open mind and a big heart. We need to remind ourselves
      that almost all Singaporeans are either immigrants or descendants of
      immigrants. Shutting ourselves off will make Singapore very insular
      indeed. Singapore must retain an open and hospitable attitude. The
      challenge is to build an inclusive Singapore, where citizens feel at
      home and a part of the nation, and confident in welcoming foreign
      residents to be a part of our society, to live with us, to benefit
      from our society, and also contribute to our continued growth and
      prosperity.



      But we must not discriminate against foreigners because they are
      foreigners. If Singapore is reserved for Singaporeans alone, we
      would have a very small Singapore.”



      - BG George Yeo, Minister for Information and the Arts, Launch of
      Contact Singapore in Sydney, July 1997



      EVERYONE MATTERS



      89. We return to the vision we painted at the beginning of this
      report. At the dawn of the 21st century, we want to make Singapore
      a centre of opportunity, like the boundless sea, receiving, enriched
      and enlarged by the ideas and contributions from surrounding brooks.
      We must keep our minds open and our hearts big. We will be a
      society where everyone matters, a society where everyone is valued
      and rewarded for his or her contributions. We should be a society
      where everyone is recognised for his or her ability, and which helps
      individuals realise their full potential.



      In the end, it comes down to people, both locals and the non-locals
      who have decided to call Singapore home, building the kind of
      society we want our children to inherit.


      Tong Chee Kiong, University lecturer


      “The success or failure of our efforts will be decided by each
      Singaporean’s willingness to take responsibility, for the future we
      want to create. The feeling of being Singaporean comes from being
      able to make choices about the kind of community we want to live
      in.”


      - Melissa Aratani Kwee, Co-director for Project Access



      90. Citizenship is about commitment and commitment is based on
      participation. There can be no citizenship without participation
      from everyone. From a fishing village to modern city, Singapore’s
      prosperity has been founded upon talent and their commitment to this
      country. Many of our forefathers were foreign talent who came to
      Singapore. Braving storms, they sailed down the Southern Seas to
      Temasek looking for a better life. They worked to build a better
      Singapore. While some went back, others chose to call Singapore
      home. But, whatever they chose, they came to Singapore because it
      offered them something in exchange for their skills, hard work and
      talent. Singapore prospered because they came and contributed.


      91. For Singapore to remain competitive and prosperous, we must be
      like the sea , receiving a continual flow of talent. We also need
      to develop and maximise the talents and abilities of all
      Singaporeans. No vision of Singapore can be sustained unless we can
      keep and develop our local talent. There is no contradiction between
      attracting foreign talent and nurturing local talent. They are not
      two horns locked forever in battle but two wings that will propel a
      thriving Singapore. Foreign talent is not “them” and locals “us”.
      Instead, “we” are the same team competing together against the
      world. Everyone matters to Singapore’s success.













      For the want of a nail,

      A shoe was lost.

      For the want of a shoe,

      A horse was lost.

      For the want of a horse,

      A soldier was lost.

      For the want of a soldier,

      A war was lost.

      For the want of a war,

      A kingdom was lost.

      And all for the want of a horse shoe nail.



      92. This report attempts to capture some of the key concerns and
      recommendations that emerged from our committee’s meetings,
      deliberations with the public and the broad consensus which
      eventually emerged. Our views are by no means comprehensive;
      neither do we claim that our recommendations are the only right
      ones. But we have put them forth in the belief that these are
      aspects of the society we want to create and the dream we have. Our
      forefathers too came to Singapore with their dreams. They came,
      stayed and were transformed into Singaporeans.


      93. This is our unfolding Singapore story, a global centre of
      opportunity. Let’s join our hands to realise our vision for
      Singapore.



      . . . . .
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