Monday, October 08, 2007

there's something about ..... citizenship

Read this post from Mr Brown on citizenship.

Apparently, Singapore has stop distinquishing Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents in official statistics. In fact, both are lumped up as Singapore Residents.

And it seems the percentage of Singapore Citizens of the total population is shrinking from a high of 90% in 1980 to about half currently.

It's an interesting read, very Mr Brown, and it's that kind of article that would have been mentioned by PM Lee again in the next National Day Rally. PM Lee says that we have to embrace Singapore PRs, we needed them for economic reasons, etc etc. Whether you like it or not, there is no changing such things.

In my course of work, I dealt with many Employment Pass Holders, many of which subsequently applied for PRs and were almost immediately given.

I will always ask them, "Why did you apply for PR and what's the benefits to you?"

Interestingly, most of them mentioned this one reason "So that I can stay in Singapore when I change jobs" or "it makes coming in and out of singapore easy"

Nothing of the sort like:
  • Singapore is a safe city and I would want to bring up my family here and grow old here.
  • The Air in Singapore is so clean that it makes a healthy living as compared to other countries.
  • The property market is booming and I have made couple of millions flipping properties and getting a PR will make property investment easier.
  • The transport system is so efficient, bus-ride is so bloody cheap, goverment only raise 1 to 2 cents every year... damn cheap man.

To be fair, those people I spoke to, do not represent the majority. They represent the minority, the more-mobile minority.

There are 2 types of PR that I commonly see.

Those coming from countries that is less-developed than Singapore, and those coming from countries that is more-developed than Singapore.

It's very easy to spot them actually. The former are the ones that stay among the heartlanders. Coming to Singapore is the better alternative than elsewhere. They are the ones that will "grow" with Singapore.

The latter group stays in town. These are the highly mobile "expats" who took up PRs like collecting watches. They might work here one year, and in New York the following year. To them, they have zero loyalty towards Singapore.

Interestingly, one of the highly mobile "expat" told me that when he was invited to take up citizenship, the government body that invites him told him that he doesn't have to worry about his kids being enlisted into NS. Just apply student passes and when they reaches university age, send them overseas.

But it's these same PRs that make our properties prices appreciate. Did we complain when our property prices went up by 30%, in no small part due to these PRs.

Yes... it also make buying another property expensive. But that is the trade-off in Real Estate. You want to sell high and buy low? It's not going to happen in this order.

While I do not mind these PRs, my biggest worry is NS.

Recently NS period was reduced from 2.5 years to 2 years. Government said that this was due to a higher number of enlistees.

This also give rise to future increase in service should the number of enlistees fall short of the national requirement. In the last decade where birth rate has declined, this also means that boys who were born in this period will have to serve longer period of NS.

Not to mentioned if the population ballooned due to new PRs in Singapore. Will my son have to serve much longer in Future?


Anonymous said...

i read mrbrown's and your blog entries on the issue of singapore citizenship with interest.

i have 2 children. both are born in the states and are american citizens be birth. i have applied singapore citzenship for my daughter, while i am still pretty undecided at this point in time whether to apply singapore citizenship for my newborn son. the main issue that is causing my 'undecideness' is NS for singaporean males. while i tend to agree that NS is generally good for people who have gone through it, i am strongly against making it compulsary for citizens to go through NS because it is THE law. Idealistically as i may sound, if a person feels singapore is his or her home, he or she will do her moral obligations of volunteering his or her services to the nation.

perhaps, in the not-too-far future, to address the issues of a declining citizen population and emigration, the government will be forced to adopt a different stand on dual citizenship and NS, just as it has changed its stand on other issues to cater for the 'long-term' survival of our country.

Mr Anonymous

Anonymous said...

Well, it's good that you have a choice. Unless I'm super filter rich, migrating to avoid NS for my kid is almost not an option.

Also interestingly, one of my client refuse to apply citizenship for his kids because he wanted his kids to study at International School like UWC.

It seems not having Citizenship has it's advantages, more than being Citizen.