Monday, April 28, 2014

You Raise 'Em, We Milk 'Em

Singapore's success story, professionalism and other economic positives ... owe a substantial debt to Malaysia, or rather Malaysians who have chosen to study and/or work there. Even I was there for 3 years. I am only guessing but I think maybe one third of the upper management of the whole of Singapore are Malaysians (or ex-Malaysians). That is the big reason why, Malaysians cannot take out their CPF when they decide to move back to Malaysia to work (before retirement), they will make it as "unenticing" as possible for Malaysians to move back. Many would want to in particular if their flat is already worth S$700,000 and their CPF balance is over S$300,000. You are talking close to RM2.5m for mid level exec to move back to Malaysia. But I digress.

Singapore is laughing secretly and keeping hush ... they do not bear any cost of bringing up the kids, but at their ripest, they get to cherry pick the top 5% of the crop - where got such good deals????

You may have your reasons to let them go but it only drives down the quotient for capable labour force over time. You want to create "more opportunities" for bumis, thats not the way to do that. You end up with a prolonged deteriorating capable workforce, thus less value added services to overall economy. You compensate by bringing down average labour cost to maintain competitiveness - EVER WONDER WHY A SO-SO ECONOMY LIKE MAYSIA KEEP INCREASING ITS RELIANCE ON FOREIGN WORKERS ... thats the only way to maintain competitivess. At the same time it drags normal Malaysians' wages lower in growth.

Yes, we may still be able to make a living, yes, plenty do make money from the property market and maybe stock market - ever wonder why???, these are not absolutely value driven industries, these are vehicles that attract liquidity. Without oil and gas, we are dead a long time ago, I mean worse than Cambodia or Burma even.

Yes, some people do benefit from the policies, the elite few at the expense of the vast majority of all races.

You can ignore these often said sentiments, you are taking the whole country down the road of no fucking return.

Malaysia’s bright sparks head south of the border

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s standard of education has deteriorated over the years while
Singapore can take pride in having one of the best education systems in the world.
According to a World Bank report, Malaysia did poorly in an international educational
benchmarking study. The 2012 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment)
results, which was made available last year, showed Malaysia languishing near the bottom
of a list of 65 countries surveyed.
Singapore, on the other hand, is ranked among the top three in the study that evaluates
the knowledge and skills of the world’s 15-year-old pupils in mathematics, science and reading,
thus providing a benchmark to gauge the quality of education in these countries.
However, a study by Education First, a Singapore-based English language school last
November found that Malaysia has the best English language proficiency skill in Asia, beating
its southern neighbour. According to Education First’s findings of their English Proficiency Index,
Malaysia has the highest level of English proficiency out of 13 countries in Asia.
Despite the higher standard of English among students in Malaysian schools, most Malaysian
parents have better faith in the education system of their neighbouring country. Many have gone
to great lengths to ensure that their children are schooled on the island republic despite the 
higher costs and logistical demands.
Many non-Malay families view Singapore as a base for quality education, and their prayers
would be answered if that could be provided for with scholarships. Another push factor is the
race-based quota system, which makes it tough for non-Malay students to enter public
universities or pursue courses of their choice.
The Singapore government has long recognised this and has been using it to advantage.
For years it has offered scholarships to young talents from middle-class Chinese families,
providing a chance for better education at Singapore’s expense. This is done with the hope
that as these children adapt to the Singapore lifestyle, they would eventually decide to reside
in the island state. The end result is Singapore having a pool of talent it grooms from a very
young age while Malaysia deals with this brain drain.
Although, not all these young talents survive the pressure of studying under the Singapore
education system while away from home, most still excel. For three consecutive years since
2009, the top scorers for Singapore’s General Certificate of Education (GCE) O-level
examination were Malaysians.
While it benefits Malaysians, especially bright students from poor families, Singapore stands
to gain more. This move is part of Singapore's social engineering plan to tackle its problem of
an aging population and low-birth rate. It has also been said that many Singaporean women
have chosen not to settle down as most men their age are deemed inferior to them.
Singaporean men lose two years prior to university or work, having to serve compulsory
national service. Hence, when they enter the workforce, they rank lower than the women in
terms of financial or work status.
Currently, Singapore also has an influx of foreigners especially from China. Although they
are Chinese, culturally they are different. Those from China have different values and ethics
from Singaporean Chinese. Malaysians are seen as the best option as being closest
demographically, they would have no problem fitting in.
Chances are that the children who have completed their studies there would make Singapore
their home as their friends are there. There is an informal arrangement where Singaporean
educators come to handpick the best Malaysian students, solely from Chinese schools.
Although this is not known to many, it is normal practice in top Malaysian Chinese schools.
For years the Singapore government has surveyed younger Malaysians, as young as 11
and 12 years of age mainly from Chinese schools. The ones approached are mostly
straight A students. Class teachers inform these students about this ‘schoolbased
scholarship to study in Singapore, which is similar to the Asean scholarship and they are
asked if they are interested to apply for it.
After their parents are told of the opportunity, the students sit for several tests. These tests
measure their IQ, proficiency in mathematics, English composition and command of the
spoken language.
Most of these tests are held in the middle of the year and do not coincide with the Standard 6
Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) examinations. Once they pass these tests, they go
for interviews a month later. If they pass the interviews, the students are offered scholarships
to study in Singapore tertiary schools.
These students are granted four-year scholarships in secondary schools, and many proceed
to junior colleges. Excellent students are given five years to reach A levels. Hence, by age 17,
these students are eligible for university studies.
Upon completion of the scholarships, the students are given the choice of staying in
Singapore to seek work opportunities or to return to Malaysia. Although there are no bonds
attached, parents of these students are required to repay the amount spent for sponsored
courses in the event their children decide to quit half-way.
The perks for students on scholarship include free food and lodging and paid school fees.
They are also provided uniform allowances and monthly allowances. Malaysian students
on scholarship receive a well-rounded education. Besides shining academically, they are
also required to perform well in sports, and social services. Their performances are
reviewed every year.
There is no doubt the Singapore education system is stressful as it is academically focused
with examinations held every two to three weeks. The outcomes of these tests are taken into
account to assess yearly performance. It is very competitive with many students striving to
be the best.
There is no doubt that Malaysia has among some of the best talents internationally, but the
country is losing the battle to ensure these bright young talents do not pack their bags and
head across the straits to Singapore due to lack of opportunities at home.
While the scholarships offered may benefit some Malaysians, it does not help Malaysia
economically as the country faces a constant brain drain should these students decide
not to return.
The offer of education scholarships from Singapore is just the tip of the skill loss as many
Malaysians are also moving there for better job opportunities.
This article was first published in the March 1, 2014 issue of The Heat.
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Colin said...

A bit strange for a country with better education system poaching for one that is inferior?

CK said...

S'pore might have one of the better educational system, BUT it is ALSO one of the better psychological pressure cooker for young learners.

That's where M'sian Nons fit in perfectly. These M'sians r tightened, mentally, through a very competitive vernacular educational system. On top of that there is an added pressure of doing well to make the parent back home proud of them.

Both conditions r a rare commodities among the pampered S'porean learners.

BTW, ever wonder how S'pore can score so highly in TMSS & PISA? These M'sians r part of the answer + the Mainland Chineses, the S Koreans & the Sub-continent Indians.

Without these group of imported young learners, u can bet yr last dollars that the S'pore standing in both tests would be that few nodes down the rank!

Whatever say & done it's a blessing in disguise for those families having their children selected. Otherwise, where would they be in the M'sian format of scheme of zero sum game?

John Teng said...

My friend told me that his nephew who qualified as a doctor in Malaysia was allowed to go work in Spore after his housemanship. The Spore govt even paid for the balance of his scholarship bond, but it is amazing that the Malaysian govt would let such a talent go after spending so much time & effort training a doctor without trying to counter-offer. What a waste.

Unknown said...

chinese people need to stop worshipping money and find out what life is all about....

clearwater said...

And why not? It's there for the taking; good DNA material sidelined by a twisted system. You take them, make them your own, where ever you can find them. And they can be great investments. That's how the USA was initially developed, by hundreds of thousands of poor unwanted European migrants crossing the seas to the New World to make a new life.

Salvador Dali said...


While the education system is inferior, you'd still be doing very well poaching the top 5% ... and assuming they have gotten their mainly on their own merits without "structural environmental support"... they should bloom even more in a better equipped setting and rewarding competitive landscape.

Unknown, it is not worshipping money, it is knowing how to make a better live for yourself and your family, its taking responsibility... not lepak, gov take care of us mentality

why not indeed, singapore is blameless here... I would do the same, even more aggressive if I was an influential SG minister

Colin said...

Dali, they have been doing that since I studied there. They are now casting their net a lot wider to include Vietnamese, Mainlanders, Thais and Indonesians and it is very hard to say no to free education.

However, I have noticed that retention rates or not what it was like it was for those who ventured forth 30 years ago. Opportunities are not as plentiful as in the early days. Some return, some move elsewhere but with greater mobility it is no surprise that I have classmates all over the place.

walla said...

Diminishing returns all round. Those out of the mill who return to teach and train will produce only as good as themselves. Milking those cohorts will also yield limited quality. You see as much in the new batches of foreign workers as well. The same cause. Weak education and social policies. Low work ethics and fifty percent drop in productivity compared to those in earlier batches. The supervisory midlevels are also getting weaker if not demotivated.

Meanwhile: commodity needs replanting and agriculture faces el-nino today and al-nina tomorrow; manufacturing has hollowed out except for some goods for local consumption, MNCs not exactly enthused to scale up; services which is mostly tourism because banking is too tied to local economy, and tourism is waning rapidly; leaving oil and gas meaning only canadian shale meaning big question mark on returns because sudan has been destabilized.

On top of that: massive debt meaning ruinous financing charges that will take the first cut of any future earnings intended for development.

Not to miss the tide of brain hemorrhage, the weakening of the currency, the end of your epf, and the artificial hiking of prices galore.

And the only solution for all this they could offer? "don't provoke us."

The end, señor salvatore.

robertan said...

This country has passed the point of no return and is imploding as a society; just look at the number of incest , baby dumping/killing by the 'jangan cabar kita' types.
When the majority consistently chooses to be blind, it is time to
move on and if you are too old to do that, do prepare your young to compete and flourish elsewhere. It is too difficult to fight stupidity.
For those who remain, good luck. Adios.