Elite as elite does…;

February 20, 2006 at 8:45 pm 8 comments

Was spring-cleaning my mailbox when I saw this email from Aug 2004. The title was enough to make me cringe (again).

Subject: To the Internationally Talented Mobile Singaporeans

Hi folks

I am part of a study-team on how to present “Singapore as a Land of
Opportunity” to Internationally Talented Mobile Singaporeans. I
strongly believe you fit the profile of this elite group! Hence
would appreciate if you spare a few moments to help answer a few
questions, so that we can better understand your group 🙂

Rest assured that your identities will be keep confidential and your
responses will only help to be used for the purposes of this study

Would be most grateful for your responses — they might help us
change the way Singapore will be in the future!

Thanks loads!

Rosalind Khor
Research Analyst, Economics Unit
Manpower Planning and Policy Division
Ministry of Manpower
DID: 6317 1680

p.s. Please also feel free to forward to your internationally mobile
talented Singaporeans


“Singapore as a Land of Opportunity: the Internationally Talented
Mobile Singaporeans”

Your profile in brief
1. Age
2. Present Job
3. Academic Background

General questions:
– What does a Land of Opportunity mean to you?
– Do you see Singapore as a Land of Opportunity? How can we make
Singapore a Land of Opportunity?

Here are the questions for talented Singaporeans who are in

– Have you thought about working overseas?
– If so, what would make you want to work overseas?
– At which stage of your life would you make this decision?
– If not, what makes you want to live and work in Singapore?

If somehow we have opportunity to tap views of mobile Singaporeans
who are already overseas, we can ask the following questions:

– What makes you want to work overseas?
– When did you decide that you want to work overseas?
– What will make you want to come back to Singapore (to live and
work)? How can the government help in this process?
– When will you consider whether to come back to Singapore (to live
and work)?

Then I remember this post. Erm, does the Sg civil service do this every year? I was KIVing for a response later, but I guess I didn’t get around to writing it. I wonder if it had anything to do with then-PM (now SM) Goh’s speech in April 2001. Note the emphasis (for students overseas) on studying in top 10 universities; which is at best ambiguous, at worst offensive to those not in (their) list.

…I even met with our Education Minister when he visited Teachers College. Of the questions he asked me, two stood out: “When are you going back to Singapore?” and “When are you going to have babies?” It hit me that I had never spoken to the Minister when I was teaching in Singapore. I wondered: am I valuable to the country only after I leave? – Jocelyn Woo

Does anyone want to call up MOM to ask if a report based on the above questionnaire is out to the public already? Would appreciate if you can post links if you know about it. Thanks.


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Of Scholarships (from Singapore to the US) Ties that bind

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Peishan  |  February 20, 2006 at 9:03 pm

    “when are you going to have babies?”


    Again, WTH.

    Pardon me, but this is not a polite question to ask a stranger, don’t you think? Hello, how do you do, what’s your name? When are you going to have babies?

    I mean, come on!

  • 2. kite  |  February 20, 2006 at 9:43 pm

    The Minister was probably trying too hard to make small talk.

    Does he really care whether she answer “five years” or “two years” or “not in a million years”? I doubt.

    Bad attempt. Some people are socially awkward, some people make mistakes.

  • 3. L'oiseau rebelle  |  February 20, 2006 at 9:52 pm

    “Internationally Talented Mobile Singaporeans”??? Huh??? What does “internationally talented” mean? Talented “internationally”? So are there Domestically Talented Immobile Singaporeans?

  • 4. KnightofPentacles  |  February 20, 2006 at 10:04 pm

    An unattributed and unidentified quote stolen from a blog I read says it all:

    The motherland is such a sad, sad place to be female. I mean, you can meet all its warped criteria for being an excellent, upstanding citizen, and all you are at the end of the day, is a pretty (and expensive) heifer.

    On the bright side, the existence of such a survey shows that at least there are some in the hierarchy that are aware of the problem. And that they are at least collecting data to formulate possible hypotheses to address this unintended side-effect in the social engineering experiment.

    Anyone watched The Island recently? Excellent film potrayal of a closed-system, imho.

  • 5. KnightofPentacles  |  February 20, 2006 at 10:12 pm

    Corrected link for The Island.

  • 6. -ben  |  February 21, 2006 at 7:24 pm

    When are you going to have babies?

    That made me fall off my chair laughing.

    Thanks to this article, now every time I see these,


    I will think of women in Singapore.

    Oh, what a mindset these folks have (present company exempted, of course).


    SDU -> the RING -> registration -> HDB application -> pop out screaming brats -> employ domestic maid -> scramble for 10 tutors for brats with “Little Emperor” complex.

    Oh joy.


  • 7. Anonymous  |  February 21, 2006 at 9:43 pm

    Let’s imagine an emperor asking a servant when she is having babies. Is this appropriate even when it is the first time the emperor and the servant meet? I would say yes. I would think it is the similiar case here. This is what I feel. Would a servant ask the empress when she is having babies? This is absurd. Clearly, class difference exist in Singapore. Let us take a look at other countries where the people are kings and the ministers are servants trying their best to make the people happy and make the people vote for them.

  • 8. Sacrelicious  |  February 24, 2006 at 5:21 pm

    – What makes you want to work overseas?
    So I can be a fallen talent like those fallen talents back home. (Someone please post that photo taken of some graffiti that say “Jobs for Foreigner, NS for SG’reans” )

    – When did you decide that you want to work overseas?
    After it is too late to pay a 3K fine to pursue self interest.

    – What will make you want to come back to Singapore (to live and
    Never if possible.

    -How can the government help in this process?
    Too late man.

    – When will you consider whether to come back to Singapore (to live
    and work)?
    Isn’t it the same as the questions above. Ok I write something new, the day when it is the land of the free and the home of the brave.


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