Sunday, March 07, 2010

Much to Ponder About .....

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Adam Khoo: The expats will rule Singapore

Posted by admin 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!

My client, Sylvia, sent me the above article. Wasn't the above reminiscient of what I had witnessed before in 1978, not in Singapore, but in Canada? I remember when I was a university student in Canada, some of my ang moh classmates became less friendly towards me after they realised that I had topped the class in English Literature! This was despite my having to work part time as a cleaner to supplement my expenses as I wanted to stand on my own feet. Many felt threatened when overseas Chinese snapped up properties which were paid by hard cash! It was in the 1980s and I remember having written to the Straits Times that Singapore could and must not have the Stop at Two Policy because the developed countries were lamenting that the birthrate had gone down. Now, alas, we have become very developed, and isn't history repeating itself? Our birthrate has gone down, and as Adam Khoo has pointed out, many of our youngsters are becoming very complacent to the point of nonchalance. Of course, we also have very motivated ones for eg. my best friend, Soh Wah's two sons and my client, Amelia's children who have made the family proud with their wonderful attitude and achievements.

Frankly, I would not worry if our future prime minister were someone from overseas. After all, aren't some of our current wonderful ministers and ex-ministers also from neighbouring countries like Malaysia.? I too am a brain drain from Penang, and am glad to be contributing my utmost to this lovely island, I have called home for the past 30 years. If our future prime minister is as brilliant as Bernard Shaw, as kind and compasssionate as Mahatma Gandhi, as foresighted and eagle-eyed as our great Lee Kuan Yew, and most important someone who has grown to love this little dot, we will welcome him with open arms.

Right now, I am more worried about the influx of doubtful ladies from China who have been breaking up homes and causing lots of social problems. As a housing agent, I have witnessed divorces which came about because the husbands could not resist the temptation of lust. Recently I received an email from my English professor which again calls for some serious action from the authorities.

A Singapore man’s unhappy experience with a PRC lady

February 26, 2010 TEMASEK REVIEW

The below email has been circulating around in cyberspace and was forwarded to us for publication. For those of you who knows the identity of the author, please keep it strictly confidential.

Please forward this to all your male Singaporean loved ones and friends. This is something that actually happened to me and I feel that it needs to be shared.

I believe my experience will help your male loved one stay out of trouble.

On the morning of 18th February at about 9.50 am I was standing at Coffee Bean (Novena Square) counter, ordering my usual cup of mocha latte before heading into the office as usual. Behind me was a row of leather cushions that the mall has provided. In the corner of my eyes, I noticed a middle aged Chinese lady with an umbrella and a cold storage plastic bag, looking really nervous, glancing around every now and then.

The lady had shoulder length hair tied up neatly in a pony tail and looked pretty plain, wearing just a normal t-shirt and jeans – nothing too revealing.

She was about mid 20s to early 30s and pretty pleasant looking I must say. But her eyes were scary when she stared intently at me for a short moment

I did not pay much attention to her as I thought she was waiting for the slimming centre to open. I carried on my business as usual, glancing through the Today newspaper.

As I made my way towards the direction of Banquet coffee shop, she stood up and walked towards my direction. What happened next caught me completely by surprise.

The lady stopped directly in front me of, stared at me and suddenly screamed “Why you touch me?” Only then did I realise from her unmistakable

accent that she is from China. I said “Sorry? What are you talking about?” I was more in shock then angry. The first thing that came to my mind

was, is this some woman that I accidentally brushed on the train this morning?

She did not bother to explain but kept on screaming and pointing her index finger at me “Why you touch me!” about 4 or 5 times. She then squatted,

covering her face and cried, crying out over and over again that I had touched her. I was really lost. There were some people walking past me and I felt like a criminal standing there, while people gave me this disgusted look. All the while I was trying to talk to the China lady but she remains in a squatted position, covering her face and crying.

At this point of time, a Malay bang in light blue coloured uniform walked over from Banquet. Seeing the situation he asked me what happened.

The lady stood up and said that I had “touched” her. She then told the Malay bang that I need to giver her $500 to “see doctor” or else she would report me to the Chinese Embassy. She took out her hand phone and took several photos of me.

The Malay bang then said, “Bro, I think we better call the police”.

At this point of time, I have gotten over my shock and anger was slowly taking over. I nodded to the Malay bang in agreement. I took out my hand phone too. But instead of taking her photo, I dialled 999 immediately. “I am calling the police myself. Let them settle the matter”. I said calmly to the both of them.

At this point of time, she picked up her plastic bag and umbrella, and swiftly left towards the direction of Tan Tock Seng hospital – even before my call could connect!

We were left there puzzled. Somehow I was relieved that it was over and did not want to proceed with the call. The Malay bang asked me if I was ok. All I said was “Thanks”. He patted my shoulder and walked away towards the direction of Coffee Bean. Several patrons inside banquet were already witnessing the commotion. I just wanted to get out of there.

In case something like this happens to you or your loved ones, do not make the same mistake I did, trying to console the woman. Immediately take out your hand phone, take a photo of her and call the police. Please help to spread this around to our Singaporean husbands, sons, brothers and friends.

Please, my dear Singaporeans, look around you, what has happened to our country? Where have all these pests come from? Think about your loved ones and your other Singaporean friends. Forward this story and make sure that they know what to do when the same thing happens to them.

Hence, my dear felllow Singaporeans. Let us each consider ourselves and what we want to improve on. Let us learn and even emulate the good attitude, diligence and
drive from people around us, whether Singaporeans and foreigners. Let us shake off the dust of complacence to achieve and improve. Let us know our priorities and treasure our families. Remember when families are strong, societies will also become strong, and in turn the nation will be strong. Let us not be afraid of competitions which in fact should only goad us on. Let us not complain that foreigners and permanent residents are driving up hdb homes beyond our reach. Let us, instead, examine our own wisdom to invest and to take risks. Remember, when the going gets tough, the tough get going! Let us always be on our toes, and adapt, change and make the best of every situation. Above all, let us be happy people who know that we can only do our best, and leave God to do the rest!

Gan Cao

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