1888 cartoon in Puck attacks businessmen for w...
1888 cartoon in Puck attacks businessmen for welcoming large numbers of low paid immigrants, leaving the American workingman unemployed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am an immigrant to Singapore, and this would be one article that applies to me... or maybe not...

Jan 07, 2013
by Peter Heng Teck Wee

Most Singaporeans are Xth-generation immigrants. My grandparents originated from China, making me a third-generation Singaporean, and I am grateful for the contribution of immigrants to our fledgling nation.

However, I am not convinced that continuing immigration is a long-term solution for our socio-economic problems. First, we must ask if we can count on new immigrants to commit to Singapore.

Paddler Li Jiawei's return to Beijing, reported in "A grateful Li bids farewell" (Dec 28), serves as an example that immigrants may see Singapore as a place to eke out a living and not as their hinterland.

It is difficult to fault them for this, given that our tiny island cannot offer the security that underpins the concept of a hinterland.

Even if they stay for the long term, it is dangerous to rely on them to plug our demographic holes.

Integrating new immigrants who have not gone through national education or National Service is a trial-and-error process.

They are not immune from growing old, nor are they exempt from having dependents. Unlike Singaporeans, the elderly dependents of new immigrants have no economic safety net in the form of Central Provident Fund savings.

New immigrants may relieve immediate problems such as labour shortages, but it is a form of kicking the can down the road.

We have learnt that such relief comes at the price of productivity stagnation or the gradual displacement of Singaporeans.

If we are not careful, we will create a situation where ever greater numbers of "foreign talent" are needed to offset an ageing, unproductive population. Already, many top jobs at multinational corporations and financial institutions go to new immigrants.

Let us also ask ourselves if building ever more new towns and expressways to absorb a fast rising population is what we stand for.

How many more trees and graves will be given up in the name of development before we realise that what fills this nation's stomach may not be good for its heart? Certain things, such as our heritage and identity, are priceless.

We should think twice before sacrificing these in striving to be a hub for everyone and everything. In the new year, Singaporeans should ask: What is the kind of legacy we wish to pass to our children?

Taken from TODAYOnline.com; source article is below:
Immigration is not long-term solution

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