Monday, 3 March 2014

"Special arrangements" made to keep Singaporeans from emigration

A Working Holiday Programme is a temporary residence permit that allows a young traveller, typically between the age of 21 to 30, to work and experience the life of living in the visa-issuing country for usually a period of six months. It is especially helpful for young people who wish to emigrate because it gives the person a living experience of the country he is going. For a Working Holiday Programme in Singapore, young foreigner graduates from the following 8 countries are free to apply:

Hong Kong
New Zealand
United Kingdom
United States

There is a good variety of job options young foreigner graduates from these selected countries could choose to work in, except for medicine and law where accreditation is required. It is clear Singapore is opening its gate wide open to welcome the inflow of labor.

Usually, a Working Holiday Programme is available two-way. Unfortunately for Singaporeans, it is only one-way. Young Singaporean graduates do not enjoy similar luxury of choice as their foreigner counterparts. In fact, Singaporeans can only go to one place for Working Holiday: New Zealand. It is hence apparent that the Singapore government has made "special arrangements" to ensure young Singaporeans could not get out as easily as foreigners are coming into the island state.

When most young Singaporeans do not get the opportunity to live and work in other countries, many tend to hold very high regard of Singapore's way of life. It is very often told and repeated in the Singapore media that we come in top in economy, stability and happiness:
NTUC: 9 in 10 working Singaporeans are happy.
Straits Times: Singapore is no. 3 in maximizing potential of its workforce
Straits Times: Singapore is 3rd richest country in the world
EDB: FACTS AND RANKINGS (virtually saying Singapore is the best in everything)

With the occasional reports of natural disasters and hate crimes in other countries, some young Singaporeans believe they couldn't have their future brighter anywhere than right where they are, and this is exactly the result the PAP government hope to achieve from their "special arrangements". Given how attractive an immigrant is depending on his qualifications, another obvious "special arrangement" is of course to maintain a low tertiary educated population by not building more universities and discourage young Singaporeans from holding a bachelor degree. Perhaps breaking their legs would be too authoritative and obstructive to those who still need to serve their National Service, Singaporeans are deliberately handicapped so they could not pick walking out as an option.

Mix these classified social conditionings with legislative limitations like National Service obligations and the CPF, and we could see how much effort the PAP government has put in to make it very hard of the average Singaporean to ever consider emigration as an option. After all, when every Singaporean son starts leaving, who will be left to serve NS? NS is after all a privilege for Singaporeans born and bred here and it would be very unfair to get doctors like MP Janil Puthucheary and new citizens to serve.

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