Thursday, March 15, 2007

Singapore is leaking talent admits Goh Chok Tong and right he is.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Goh Chok Tong was absolutely right when he said Singapore is suffering a serious brain drain which is hurting the economy according to "Today" dated March 15, 2007 "Singapore is leaking talent: SM Goh". We had known this all along but this admission by the government confirms the brain drain beyond any doubt. He however forgot to mention that this loss of human capital from Singapore has been growing over the years to the point now that it is beyond remedy.

The tragic irony is that Singapore educates their young, only to lose them in the end to Western countries that benefit without having to pay anything. A total loss for Singapore and all gain for the recipient countries. In fact, Goh had underestimated the brain drain. Not just among the highest level of Singaporeans, but even the middle rungs and skilled workers of all levels are leaving.

Presently countries like Australia are looking for all levels of workers as long as they are skilled. Any Australian migration lawyer will tell you that even for occupations such as hairdressing, there is great demand. And therefore emigration has become easy as not too much effort and ability is needed to qualify as a hairdresser. And this is causing people, so eager to immigrate, to get training for these particular occupations, so making them eligible. Singaporeans are seeking out even the non traditional countries such as Germany to immigrate to.

Goh Chok Tong is absolutely right in confirming the brain drain from Singapore. What he has not explained are the reasons. There are multiple valid reasons why people want to leave taking their families and young children with them to live elsewhere.

The main reason is not economic. Most of these who emigrate are well educated and can easily find high paying jobs in Singapore. No, money is not the reason. It is the arrogance of the Lees. It is the high handedness of the PAP. It is their loss of respect for the legal system in Singapore when the courts are routinely used to punish political opponents. It is the lack of a free press where Singaporeans are provided only state controlled propaganda by their newspapers, where people have to turn to the Internet and blogs like this to find contrary opinion. It is the lack of academic independence in the colleges of higher education in Singapore. It is the overall dislike of having to live in submission to Lee's dictates.

It is the demanding of civil servants to act unconscionably when called upon by Lee to punish political opponents. It is the desire for people and their families to live honest decent lives which they cannot obtain if living under Lee's dictates. In other words, it is the desire to be free that makes people leave Singapore in droves.

Mr. Goh refers to having to raise salaries of civil servants and Ministers in order to induce them to stay. I would like to tell Mr. Goh that it is not going to work. The reason why people leave is that the best human beings, the educated and able, usually also have some pride. They usually also have a conscience. These will not be bought with money. Paying more money will only result in the sort that presently work in public establishments in Singapore. The unconscionable. People who I call dishonest opportunists. Money may make them stay, but they will never be the best of the human race.

The Official Assignee is a civil servant. His job is to bankrupt individuals who are unable to pay their debts. But a large chunk of his work involves bankrupting Lee's opponents after they have lost their cases in Lee's courts, where mind boggling eye popping judgments of millions of dollars are awarded against the hapless political opponent. The Official Assignee's job now is to make life as miserable as possible for that opposition politician during his bankruptcy, denying him a right to travel, to speak in public, to take part in elections and every possible obstruction and difficulty placed in his path.

The Official Assignee is supposed to be an educated man. He knows that the court's judgment in such cases are all wrong. It is politically motivated. He could, had he been an honest man, tell Lee that he refuses to do his dirty work and that Lee should do it himself. Yet he is prepared to carry out this cruelty daily as part of his duties as a civil servant. You see, it is this sort of thing, that makes people want to leave Singapore. When this sort of thing happens the integrity of the civil service, if it ever had any, is completely destroyed. It loses it's respect. So a right minded and upright Singaporean parent would begin to ask whether it is this sort of a discredited civil service that his child would join after his education.

Outraged by the open misuse of power by these dishonest civil servants, parents prefer to take their families and children to countries which they can respect. Where they and their children can live under the rule of law, which Singapore lacks. Where their children will not be required to act dishonestly like this Indian civil servant, the Official Assignee.

Mr. Goh does not seem to appreciate that there is a difference between where we work and where we live and bring up families. I may be prepared to work a few years in Yemen if the pay is right. But I may not want to live and bring up my family there. Instead I may prefer to live with my family in Canada because I could trust Canada. I can trust the Canadian judiciary to uphold the law. I can trust that JB Jeyaretnam and Dr. Chee would not have been sued for millions and bankrupted had they did what they had done in Canada. I can trust that the Canadian Official Assignee, unlike the Indian who presently holds that position in Singapore, would refuse to permit his office to be used as the Canadian Prime Minister's enforcer to eliminate his opponents.

Singaporeans who emigrate do so because they can expect an Australian judge to act impartially in all cases and not be biased against political opponents. Generally why Singaporeans leave is because they have lost respect for the civil institutions of the country and they have lost respect for their politicians and their civil service whom they no longer trust. In other words, they are beginning to feel that Singapore is turning into a banana republic with the Lee family in control of everything.

Power has shifted from Parliament into the hands of Lee and his friends. This is not a safe situation for their children’s future. The prognosis for the future is bleak. Civil society no longer exists and there is now only Lee's law. It is this falling into disrepute by the Lees and the Singapore government that pushes honest decent people to leave it's shores. Goh says that he is going to replace those who leave with migrants.

Unfortunately these will never be migrants who would want to call Singapore home. You see, foreigners too also know to what depths the reputation of civic instutions in Singapore have sunk. There may be some who may come for the money for a few years. But they would not want their children to be educated in Singapore schools and colleges. Lest they turn out to be like that Indian civil servant who presently heads the official Assignee Office who shamelessly does dirty work for Lee as part of his official duties as a Singapore civil servant.

In the end Singapore will be left with the migrant travelers who spend some years in Singapore because of the money with the real Singaporeans having gone to other countries with their families because they have lost all faith in Lee's Singapore.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914

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