Saturday, March 15, 2014

Singapore - some thoughts on scholarships for foreigners

Offering Scholarships to foreigners are rather pointless in Singapore's context

Some thoughts on the way home... The air pollution rating is utterly horrible today. I wish it would rain - and rain hard. But nada - not a drop. Thank goodness our water catchments are doing their job - thank you people who designed the water storage system :)

I'm feeling in a somber, contemplative mood - I just attended my uncle's birthday and it is so sad to see him so frail. He suffered two strokes but what is depressing is to see how his wife is treating him - almost like a school kid child - barking orders at him, handling him like a mannequin... His mind is still sharp but his speech is slurred and his body movements affected by Parkinsons as well.

Anyway -  so what's the deal behind the freebie scholarships to foreign students? It seems a great idea to attract foreign talent - and after all we shouldn't forget the Singapore is a city founded by migrants.

But I think it is seriously flawed - no one seems to ask the question - why would they want to remain here? Would they remain here? With a good education and - no ties to this nation - family or history - they would be better off traveling overseas to greener pastures. And I bet virtually all of them do.

Does anyone keep track of the number of foreign scholars that actually do stay and settle in Singapore?

It was the same case with the Hong Kong migrants in the 1980s - Singapore opened it doors wide for them - but they simply used our nation as a stepping stop to migrate to other places.

On a sidenote - is there also any point in importing Sportsmen and sportswomen from China to help us help win trinkets at the Olympics? I mean seriously - wtf for? Its like some father paying some stranger's kid to play sports because he can't be bothered motivating his own children.Where is the glory in that? With that sort of thinking you might as well importing foreigners to be our politician or run our military. That's not so far fetched - it seems Gurkas are used to guard our top leaders - hey, might as well pay them to run the whole show (sarcasm).

A nation is very much like a family. We belong to each other. We all share certain ties, beliefs, values - based on familial, historical and cultural factors that make us want to live here, together and most importantly help one another and contribute to the greater society. 

Loyalty is Sold not Bought. You cannot purchase a foreign people's love and affection and make them want to live here - that is the government's mistake. It might work for other countries - like Australia - which are blessed with natural resources and have access to good social welfare, cheap property, car, schooling, and a generally more comfortable lifestyle etc.. but for Singapore? The uniqueness of Singapore is something which will attract only a certain type of people. You cannot purchase new citizens. They themselves have to come here willingly of their own accord. And many of them do already.

On the whimsical note - Singaporeans love Singaporean food. There are some Singaporeans who can't stand living overseas because they can't bear to be without their char kway teow or chicken rice or curry chicken or fishhead curry. This might seem insignificant but it binds us together. This is our culture. Can you pay a foreigner to eat curry and love it?

The foreign scholars on the other hand have no ties which bind them to the country. Most of them once they get their free lunch degree they will probably head off back home or to the US, Europe or Australia etc..They have no stake in this land - their parents do not live here - they were not born here- they did not grow up here - all they have is a free lunch - a scholarship - an education which they can use elsewhere. And why shouldn't they move? After all Singapore is one of the most expensive and crowded places to live - you have to love the culture and the people to want to live here.

Singapore should do all it can to help its own people first and foremost. Most of the people live in government housing, rely on public transport and generally put up with a lot of shit from the overpaid paternalistic govt servants. Singaporeans get no free lunch. Its not right that the Govt should then offer it to foreigners.

Wouldn't it be better to spend Singapore's tax payer money improving education prospects for locally born students?

Should a father adopt and nurture other children if he is dissatisfied with his own child? Does he think that if he lavishes money on a stranger's child he will win their affection?

Apparently - the Govt is currently forking out $354 million dollars for foreign scholarships... compared to $174 for local scholarships.You also have to remember that scholarships for Singaporeans issued or given by the Government or Ministry of Education (even on behalf of other nations) usually have a string of complications attached to them. Foreigners however are free to flee - quite a lot of them do apparently. :)

No comments: