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The Expats Will Rule Singapore!

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The Expats Will Rule Singapore!

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 11 Mar 2010 10:18 pm

I received the following email from my boss this afternoon. Thought it would make interesting reading (My boss is a Singaporean). Kind of mirrors some of my thoughts that I've made here off and on over the years......

Makes for an interesting read. I normally don't like to cut & past but I've done so on this article from the email but I've also included a link to Adam's site for reference as well hence the difference of dates. Adam is a Singapore trainer of some repute here and in the region.

The Expats Will Rule Singapore

Adam Khoo: The expats will rule Singapore
Posted 28 January, 2010

I have a prediction. My prediction is that in a couple of years, the expatriates (from China, India, US etc…) will rule Singapore. They will increasing take on more leadership roles of CEOs, directors, heads of organizations, award winners etc… 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 honours students in the local universities are foreigners and more and more CEOs, even that of government link corporations are expats. The top players in our National teams are expats.

As a Singaporean, I am not complaining. I think that in a meritocratic society like Singapore, it is only fair that the very best get rewarded, no matter their race, religion or nationality. Like Lee Kwan Yew said, I rather these talented and driven people be on our team contributing to our nation than against us from their home country. 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!!!

Expats who come here today have the same tremendous HUNGER for success that our grandfathers had. They are willing to sacrifice, work hard and pay the price to succeed. They also believe that no one owes them a living and they have to work hard for themselves. They also bring with them the humility and willingness to learn. Take the case of Qui Biqing, the girl from Qifa Primary school who topped the whole of Singapore in last year’s PSLE with a score of 290. When she came to Singapore 3 years ago from China, she could hardly speak a word of English and didn’t even understand what a thermometer was. Although she was 10 years old, MOE recommended she start at Primary 2 because of her lack of English proficiency. After appealing, she managed to start in Primary 3. While most Singaporeans have a head start of learning English at pre-school at the age of 3-4 years old, she only started at age 10. Despite this handicapped, she had the drive to read continuously and practice her speaking and writing skills, eventually scoring an A-star in English!

This hunger and drive can also be seen in the workforce. I hate to say this but in a way, I sometimes think expats create more value 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. Of course, this is just a generalization. There ARE definitely some Singaporeans who create lots of value and show fighting spirit.

Unfortunately, I have found that more and more young Singaporeans lack this hunger for success. Instead, they like to complain, blame circumstances and wait for others to push them. Some hold on to the attitude that the world owes them a living. I shake my head when I see local kids nowadays complain that they don’t have the latest handphones, branded clothes and games. While I acknowledge that the kids of today are much smarter and well informed than I was at their age (my 4 year old daughter can use my Macbook computer and my iphone), I find that they lack the resilience and tenacity they need to survive in the new economy. Some kids nowadays tend to give up easily once they find that things get tough and demand instant gratification. When they have to work first to get rewards later, many tend to lack the patience to follow through.

So, how did this happen? Why is our nation of hardworking, hungry fighters slowly becoming a nation of complaining softies? I think the problem is that life in Singapore has been too good and comfortable. Kids today have never seen hunger, poverty, war and disasters. What makes it worse is that parents nowadays give kids everything they want and over protect them from hardship and failure. Parents often ask me why their kids lack the motivation to study and excel. My answer to them is because they already have everything! Giving someone everything they want is the best way to kill their motivation. What reason is there for them to fight to become the best when they are already given the best from their parents without having to earn it? It reminds me of the cartoon movie MADAGASCAR where Alex the Lion and his animal friends were born and raised in the Central Park Zoo. They were well taken care of and provided with processed food and an artificial jungle. When they escaped to Africa, they found that they could barely survive in the wild with the other animals because they had lots their instincts to fight and hunt for food. They could only dance and sing.

I see the same thing in the hundreds of seminars and training programmes I conduct. I see increasing more and more expats attending my Wealth Academy and Patterns of Excellence programme in Singapore. Not surprisingly, they are always the first to grab the microphone to answer and ask questions. While many of the locals come in late and sit at the back. The expats (especially those from India and China) always sit at the front, take notes ferociously and stay back way after the programme is over to ask questions. I feel ashamed sometimes when I ask for volunteers to ask questions, and the Singaporeans keep quiet, while the foreigners fight for the opportunity. For my “I Am Gifted!’ programme for students, I have the privileged to travel and conduct it in seven countries (Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia etc…) and see all students from all over. Is there a big difference in their attitude and behaviour? You bet!

Again, I feel really sad that in Singapore, most students who come are usually forced by their parents to come and improve themselves, Some parents even bribe them with computer games and new handphones to attend. During the course, some adopt the ‘I know everything’ attitude and lack the interest to succeed until I kick their butts. It is so different when I go to Malaysia, Indonesia and once in India. The kids there ask their parents to send them to my programme. They clap and cheer enthusiastically when the teachers enter the room and participate so willingly when lessons are on. I still scratch my head and wonder what happened to my fellow Singaporeans to this day.

So mark my words, unless the new generation of Singaporeans wake up and get out of their happy over protected bubble and start fighting for their future, the expats (like our great grandfathers) will soon be the rulers of the country. At the rate at which talented and hungry expats are climbing up , our future prime minister may be an Indian or China PR or may even an Ang Moh!

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Postby Splatted » Thu, 11 Mar 2010 10:46 pm

I sort of agree with some points..

Where I disagree,... not everyone in Singapore has an equal opportunity to excel.

It's easier to succeed in a meritocratic society when you have wealthy parents backing you in all your endeavors.

There are quite a few people that don't get a second chance if they miss out on going to university, however if you are rich enough you can buy your way into many universities around the world.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 11 Mar 2010 10:50 pm

Splatted wrote:It's easier to succeed in a meritocratic society when you have wealthy parents backing you in all your endeavors.

There are quite a few people that don't get a second chance if they miss out on going to university, however if you are rich enough you can buy your way into many universities around the world.


For a moment there I almost thought you were talking about the US of A! :-|

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Postby Splatted » Thu, 11 Mar 2010 11:00 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:
Splatted wrote:It's easier to succeed in a meritocratic society when you have wealthy parents backing you in all your endeavors.

There are quite a few people that don't get a second chance if they miss out on going to university, however if you are rich enough you can buy your way into many universities around the world.


For a moment there I almost thought you were talking about the US of A! :-|


No, Singapore, but the comment would be valid around the world.

In Australia, if you don't make the cut-off score to enter into your desired course, you can enrol as full-fee paying students.

Those that actually make the cut-off, get their higher education subsidized by the government for a fraction of actual cost.

There are many many students from Singapore, Malaysia, China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam studying in Australia .. all full-fee paying students.

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Postby durain » Thu, 11 Mar 2010 11:08 pm

introducing singaporean "bumiputra"?

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Postby SGBoyxxx » Thu, 11 Mar 2010 11:12 pm

:roll: I don;t like that adam khoo

his speech is all B S ...

tell yourself a successful person will willing to share with you their secrets?

of their success?

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Postby Splatted » Thu, 11 Mar 2010 11:27 pm

SGBoyxxx wrote:tell yourself a successful person will willing to share with you their secrets?

of their success?


There's no secret at all.. the playing field has been grossly uneven for years....

There are even parents who pay the tutors to do the assignments for their child just so they can get the perfect score.

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Postby textex » Thu, 11 Mar 2010 11:38 pm

Hi SMS, interesting article to read. I think it is more apparent in small countries like Singapore, with a population of just over 4 million. The percentages of people who will rise up to the challenge (out of 4M vs 20M vs 200M vs 1B) is also contributing to the current climate of local vs foreign. There will always be talent in or outside the country vying for top spots, we have a smaller base that's all.

Definitely agree that the new generation is very spoilt, I hope to impart to my kids that nothing in life is free and you have to work for what you want. Unfortunately, I don't see a very entrepreneurial society in Singapore, there is a stigma here that failure is not well look upon, so don't try or try to get the easy way out. Plus we seem to measure success here by what brand you are wearing.

cheers
Tex

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Postby morenangpinay » Fri, 12 Mar 2010 12:10 am

what i see is some younger generation have been brought up too materialistic. their priorities are wrong it all adds up to not being able to have empathy.

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Postby nakatago » Fri, 12 Mar 2010 12:11 am

"Never be complacent."
"And ask yourself 'what are you willing to live with?'"

These two statements change lives.

Well, them and a sudden blow to one's ego.

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Postby ksl » Fri, 12 Mar 2010 2:24 am

SGBoyxxx wrote::roll: I don;t like that adam khoo

his speech is all B S ...

tell yourself a successful person will willing to share with you their secrets?

of their success?
You are just suspicious, like everyone else, but what you should be asking yourself, is what is success! I've been on this forum quite a while and I will give my honest opinion, that success is in the eyes of the beholder, they have achieved their goals, and in most cases it is not greed. Those that have truly struggled pay it forward, those that inherit, may not know how to handle it, again many variables involved, but from my experience many intelligent and successful guys, have helped me on the way. This is truly networking and friendship with people with ethics and there are some in Singapore too, that are very very good at what they do and they know it...no education at all but they can generate between 4 to 6 k a month because they have the gift of the gab and they don't tell deliberate lie, customer service is top priority, I've learned a great deal from a Singaporean that I know will be successful

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Postby Mad Scientist » Fri, 12 Mar 2010 3:32 am

I have to agree with SMS and his boss on this issue.
I am a second generation Sger where life were very hard for us in the 60s. We had nowhere to go and our backs were against the wall most of the time. Hence the only way to succeed is thru education. Alot of tribulations and obstacles we had to face and endure. Our IC was not even classified into the mainstream race as my parents came from different race and cultures. No subsidies, nothing at all..
We lived in the rental flats for more than 20 years in a ONE BED APARTMENT with 9 of us squeezing. More like sardines !!
Now, most of us live overseas and doing very well in life. We repeat the same cycle to our children by living overseas and have the hunger to succeed so that they realise not to take things for granted.
Complacent is a disease and Sger back home has this mentality. They will wait for handout promised during election year, not wanting to venture out. Rather be comfortable with life.
Those Sger that are hungry for success and wanting to succeed in life have already left the country to make it overseas.
As long as Sger has this mentality that the Gahmen will take care of them and micro manage them, they will always be complacent. The expats will rule the corporate and political landscape of SG. Hell, some of our Ministers are foreigners .

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Postby x9200 » Fri, 12 Mar 2010 8:32 am

Spoiled younger generation is not really special to Singapore but I have much more reservation to the whole "success" thing. As for my experience I see lots of Singaporeans nicely fighting to be successful but it only means they want to be successful in the eyes of their bosses so they will produce any BS possible without more deeper reasoning to be acclaimed successful. Sadly enough this often works.

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Postby Vaucluse » Fri, 12 Mar 2010 8:45 am

morenangpinay wrote:what i see is some younger generation have been brought up too materialistic. their priorities are wrong it all adds up to not being able to have empathy.


. . . aside from which there is a definite feeling of entitlement among Singaporeans.

Someone mentioned Singaporean Bumoputras . . . I wonder how long it will be before some similar laws are set in place like Malaysia to 'protect' the local population.

Added to which, I doubt there is a level playing field for Indians and Malays
......................................................

'nuff said Image

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Postby Pepijn » Fri, 12 Mar 2010 10:25 am

This is something you see every where as soon as a country goes from developing to developed. Europe is a good example for that!

I have been denied jobs overthere because I was TOO ambitious and bosses thought I might be a threat to their job. Wealth is seen as a right, because your grandparents worked hard for it, to the point that people rathe not work at all and get wellfare none the less.

Still european countries are not over run by expats, but a large majority of the management layer is not native to the country they work in.

It's funny to see that all these discussions start with underpayed foreign workes "stealing the jobs" to "high earning expats stealing our jobs". This is a repetition of the rascist flare up europe has seen during the 80s.

Any way, a point I see might contribute to the "over representation" of none singaporeans in management might have to do with the school system driving on factual knowledge. If you want to move high up in a company you need to be creative with the things you know, and I still have not met many Singaporeans being creative in this way. They all excel in their field, and I think most are better on paper then any expat I meet. It's just the thinking outside of the box and stepping out of the comfort zone to make things work seems to be a rare trait..


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