Monday, September 12, 2011

Why expats will rule Singapore

(source: CNNGo)

January 5, 2010

Investment gurus and self-help coaches like to make controversial statements to attract the public's eye, but this one just about takes the cake. Adam Khoo, Singapore's self-professed self-made millionaire and investment author, made a sweeping prediction -- "that in a couple of years, the expatriates (from China, India, United States etc.) will rule Singapore. They will increasing take on more leadership roles of CEOs, directors, heads of organizations, award winners." The funny thing is, there's not that many dissenting voices in the blogsphere.

It's a open statement and post in his website, Adam Khoo's Philosophies and Investing Insights, which we reproduce portions of here.

"If you observe closely, it is already happening now. This year’s top PSLE (Primary School Leaving Exam) student is a China National. Most of the deans list students and first class honors students in the local universities are foreigners and more and more CEOs, even that of government linked corporations are expats. The top players in our National teams are expats.

The question I have been asking is, 'why are the expats beating the crap out of Singaporeans?' What I noticed is that these expats have a very important quality that many Singaporeans (especially the new Y generation lack). It is a quality that our grandfathers and great-grandfathers (who came from distant lands) had that turned Singapore from a fishing village to the third richest country in the world (according to GDP per capita). Unfortunately, I fear this quality is soon disappearing from the new generation of Singaporeans. This quality is the hunger for success and the fighting spirit!

I hate to say this but in a way, I prefer to hire expats for my own business than locals. Expats are willing to work long hours, go the extra mile, are fiercely loyal to you and don’t complain so much. They also come alot more qualified and do not ask the moon for the remuneration. Recently, I placed an ad for a marketing executive. Out of 100+ resumes, more than 60% came from expats. While locals fresh grads are asking for $2,500+ per month, I have expats with masters degrees from good universities willing to get less than $2,000! They know that if they can come in and learn and work hard, they will eventually climb up and earn alot more. They are willing to invest in themselves, pay the price for future rewards. Sometimes I wonder how some of the locals are going to compete with this."

For the full post, refer to his website here.

It's certainly meant to rake up the leaves, given the recent discussions on foreign talents and the increasing number of expats in Singapore, and comments have been coming in hot but not quite so bothered. jiaan posted on Adam's website he knows "of many people who still think that their job is an iron rice bowl & their wages will increase yearly. I do know of people who have the mindsets that their parents should be the one paying for their wedding or providing captial for them to start a business" but Spike didn't really agree that Singaporeans lack fighting spirit or are not hungry for success -- "Regarding your point that Singaporean kids do not ask questions or tend to be quiet, I believe this is more a result of their upbringing. Our past and current education system trains children to accept what their teachers, parents, etc tell them without questioning. This form of rote learning tends to produce kids who are like sponges; great for memorizing chunks of data but unable to analyze or articulate what they’ve learned."

The Online Citizen website member ken, who doesn't really follow Adam Khoo and his so-called 'investment philosophies', cannot fault him on the fact that Singapore needs the expats. "But how many of them could have have been replaced now by local talent if our education system and general mindset was different 20-30 years ago?" he asked. sloke believes that "the locals have their passion and fighting spirit doused out by the system. It took years of programming and it is now showing in the form of apathy towards most things except private pursuits of wealth and happiness. The locals are competing with both hands tied behind their backs."

On the SgForums site, angel7030 posed the notion that "it is better to let Singaporean a feel of the global market competition now rather than later, now they understand they are not worth that much to walk around, point and point there while earning a five-figure paid, these will motivate them work harder and smarter, so that in a long run, our Singaporean PMET or workers will be able to adapt to any condition set about in the global market."

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