Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

[Singapore] Who actually benefits from our India and China Trade Agreements? [Temasek Review]

An opinion piece from Singapore’s Temask Review reveals the real benefactors of Singapore’s trade arrangements with China, and India.

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Who actually benefits from our India and China Trade Agreements?
Source – The Temasek Review, published June 23, 2010

People have always wondered why is it seems easier for foreigners to get work visas or permits nowadays. The possible reason could be the trade agreements our leaders so eagerly signed on, to increase Singapore’s Growth Domestic Product (which their bonuses and salary increments are tied to) without a thought for the negative social consequences.

The China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement

In reference to China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (CSFTA) 23 October 2008:http://www.fta.gov.sg/fta_ceca.asp?hl=6

“The market access obligation means that a country cannot impose additional market access restrictions for these sectors, both quantitative and qualitative. For instance, restrictions cannot be imposed on: i) the number of service suppliers, service operations or persons employed in a particular service sector; ii) the value of services; or iii) the legal structure used.”

Due to the currency exchange, majority of Singaporeans will not head to China just to work in their service industry unless they are willing to uproot and live in China with expatriate terms

However, the people of China will definitely want to come to Singapore to work in our service industry to accumulate enough wealth to be able to live comfortably in China. Moreover, they don’t even have to be excessively qualified to work in the service industry in Singapore. Based on the agreement, restrictions cannot be imposed on the number of foreigners a company can employ even if they are not qualified.

Close to 70% of the world’s products are made or contracted to be made in China. So basically, we are already buying and importing made-in-China goods long before the agreement.

Singapore does not have anything that China would need in terms of goods and services. But China (as in India), do have low quality job opportunities. So, once again we have traded our job market in exchange for a country to open up their markets for us mostly for the banking industry and for investments for our SWF. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Chinese Model, Economics, Influence, International Relations, Singapore, Soft Power, Temasek Review, Trade

Chinese Teachers’ Union called for preservation of weighting in mother tongue [Temasek Review]

(Singapore) Chinese Teachers’ Union called for preservation of weighting in mother tongue
Source – Temasek Review, May 05, 2010

The recent announcement by the Ministry of Education to reduce the weighting of mother tongue in the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) has polarized public opinion in Singapore.

While some welcomed the move, others lamented that it will diminish the efforts of schools. to increase the proficiency of Singaporeans in their mother tongue.

Officials from the Singapore Chinese Teachers’ Union (SCTU) met up with Education Minister Ng Eng Hen yesterday to express their concerns over the possible cut in the weighting.

It released a statement calling for the weighting to be preserved “so that it is more in line with the principle of bilingualism and further strengthens the competitive advantage of Singapore in developing bilingual talents.”

With Singapore developing closer bilateral ties in China, the latest move seems to contradict the government’s earlier efforts to nurture a group of “elite” Chinese students with indepth knowledge and understanding of Chinese culture and history.

It is highly unlikely that SCTU will have any influence on the outcome. As history has shown, once the PAP has made a decision, it is almost impossible to get them to back down.

The PAP is a “strong” government with a “clear majority” in Parliament which permits it to do anything as its whims and fancies without consultation with the people.

Singaporeans just have to swallow the “bitter” medicine and accept that whatever the PAP does is for their own “good”.

Filed under: Culture, Education, Influence, International Relations, Singapore, Temasek Review

Singapore: Mark Lee admits that most of his workers at Old Town White Coffee are from mainland China [Temasek Review]

News from the Temask Review – “an internet newspaper which aims to provide an independent, balanced and unbiased coverage on socio-political affairs in Singapore. We are not linked to any political party or commercial entity.” They provide news without the broadsheet slant – what is true is this, most Singaporeans are finding it hard to order food on their own turf because many of these workers are unable to speak English, Singapore’s language of utility for the longest time. It truly is strange – seeing how Singaporeans have to get better at Mandarin in this way.

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Mark Lee admits that most of his workers at Old Town White Coffee are from mainland China
Source – Temasek Review, 03 Feb 2010

Singapore’s famous comedian Mark Lee who has opened five Old Town White Coffee outlets in Singapore has admitted to a Chinese news portal xin.sg that most of the company’s staff are mainland Chinese.

It was reported by xin.sg that as most of their workers are from China, the company decided that it would be most convenient for them to receive their bonuses in cash.

Mark Lee is contemplating buying a cash counting machine to pay his China workers in cash:

“That is why we are going to buy a cash counting machine this year. I’m not being proud by saying this – otherwise, we really can’t count the cash!” Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Chinese overseas, Communications, Migrant Workers, Temasek Review, The Chinese Identity

VIDEO: Two PRC ladies scolding Singaporean old lady selling flowers at Kwan Im Tong Temple

Such aggressive behavior by China people are becoming ubiquitous in Singapore due their increasing numbers over the years.” In Singapore today, the mainland Chinese are called many things – China people (like this article), PRC, and never simply, Chinese. There are reasons for this – and this story is another example of the unrest between Singapore’s original ‘Straits Chinese’ and the newcomers.

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VIDEO: Two PRC ladies scolding Singaporean old lady selling flowers at Kwan Im Tong Temple
Source – The Temasek Review, 02 Feb 2010

A video clip showing two PRC ladies ganging up to scold a Singaporean old lady selling flowers at the famous Kwan Im Tong Temple at Albert Street has been making rounds in cyberspace sparking a massive outcry from netizens:

[Credit: Ester009]

The netizen who recorded the video clip said he was at the Kwan Im Temple taking photos when he came cross two young PRC ladies scolding an elderly lady selling flowers for a living.

The audio recording in the clip wasn’t very clear, but it appeared that a dispute had arisen earlier between the two PRC ladies and the elderly flower seller. It is not known if they are new citizens, PRs or tourists.

One of the PRC ladies was seen pointing her finger at the old woman and gesticulating in front of her. She was very aggressive and was scolding her non-stop.

Another middle-aged lady stepped forward to defend the elderly lady and was scolded as well. The clip ended when the PRC lady tried to stop the netizen from filming the ugly scene.

Such aggressive behavior by China people are becoming ubiquitous in Singapore due their increasing numbers over the years.

Two weeks ago, a PRC couple “hijacked” a SBS bus for 6 hours after being told that they were not allowed to bring their wheelchair up the bus as it did not have wheelchair friendly facilities.

A few days ago, a PRC woman made a din on a MRT trip over a trivial misunderstanding and the police has to be called in to resolve the matter.

Singapore has been welcoming Chinese immigrants from Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Taiwan in the 1980s and 1990s and they had encountered few problems assimilating into Singapore society.

The last few years saw a spike in the number of newcomers from mainland China who made use of Singapore’s lax immigration criteria to study, work and live in Singapore.

Unfortunately, bright and talented young Chinese are not keen to emigrate to Singapore which ended up mass importing uncouth peasants from the poorer inland provinces.

According to a Gallup poll done in July last year, the top emigration destination for college students in China is the United States, followed by France and South Korea. Singapore was not even featured among the top 5 destinations despite its numerours attempts to lure them over.

The ruling party is so desperate for mainland Chinese immigrants that even construction workers, cleaners, masseurs and prostitutes are given PRs and citizenships though many do not even know simple English.

Some parts of Singapore like Geylang and Chinatown now resemble more like provinces of China. In fact, one can find Chinese women from almost all the 23 provinces of China congregated along the narrow alleys of Geylang.

Despite rising frustration, resentment and anger among Singaporeans at the relentless influx of foreigners from China, the ruling party is adamant that they are “essential” for Singapore.

In a recent interview with National Geographic magazine, Singapore’s octogenarian leader Lee Kuan Yew told the journalist Mark Jacobson why Singapore is accepting so many Chinese immigrants:

“Over time, Singaporeans have become less hard-driving and hard-striving. This is why it is a good thing that the nation has welcomed so many Chinese immigrants.” Lee was quoted saying.

Lee described the country’s new subjects as “hungry,” with parents who “pushed the children very hard.”

“If native Singaporeans are falling behind because the spurs are not stuck into the hide, that is their problem,”he quipped.

[Source: The Singapore Solution]

Based on the video clip above, it is quite obvious that the newcomers from China are indeed more “hard-driving” and “hard-striving” than local Singaporeans who were described as “daft” by Lee if they dared to cast a protest vote against his party in the next election.

Perhaps Lee should try calling the PRC new citizens “daft” and see their reaction.

Filed under: Chinese overseas, Culture, Singapore, Temasek Review

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