Wednesday, 22 February 2012

MOE, what is our investment risk level for foreign scholars?

There is no way we can guarantee all foreign scholars are pro-Singapore and will remain here after their graduation.  It is also not fair to blame the Ministry of Education for all inconsiderable acts of foreign scholars, morally or immorally.

The task of our MOE is to teach and score high in academic. So, not only foreign scholars, our own trained professionals like doctors, lawyers, bankers, and now even MPs; there is now way to guarantee the quality of the final products.   

Throughout the history of China, we have seen many good character and high moral scholars but at the same time, there were bad scholars in all Chinese dynasties – the question of more or less. Some of these highly talented scholars were the major contributor for the downfall of the dynasties.

Same analogy should apply to local scholars, again we cannot guarantee their character, their royalty to Singapore (or the PAP), their moral and personal behaviours.

Risk analysis of scholarships

So, awarding scholarship is a risky business.  There is a trade-off, just like we cannot guarantee all investments are risk free and will make profits for investors. And so, we would like to know MOE’s risk level towards foreign and local scholars. What is the acceptable failing rate? Are they having the same criteria for foreign and local scholars?

MOE is investing public money for the betterment of future Singapore.  So, for every 100 foreign scholarships, what is the acceptable level of bad investment – how many scholarships failed; how many leave Singapore.  We are less concern about how many first or second class honours that are warded to them.

Not the first, not the last, more to come

Sun Xu will not be the first and certainly not the last foreign scholars who will post bad comments about Singaporeans.  There is no way to stop them.  How much do we know about them? Some are rich, some are poor, some have family background, some are really smart and some are not.

Singapore is an immigrant country.  Without foreign talents, we will not be able to move up to a higher level, a stronger state.  But as we are promoting inclusiveness, will these foreign talents and scholars willing to be included in our family?

Smart talents are valuable assets and they are in fact many opportunities for them to move out of Singapore.  This is why Sun Xu proudly declares his achievements and knowing 3 languages.  (In a time that our students find hard to be bilingual). He knows about opportunities in China, USA and even Europe as Chinese scholars outside China have their own links and connections. This perhaps explains why they are more driving, hungry, and confidence than our students. 

Furthermore, some Chinese may even think Singapore is part of China. The expressions, the tones, and the behaviours are quite similar to what they are doing in China. They know Singapore politically is an independent country (the advantage of being independent) but when they see they are so many of their country’s men here, physically they will behave like a Chinese in China.

The risk of being a foreigner in own land

This is a risk Singapore has to face when we have a sizable population of newly arrived Chinese and Indians. Will we become more Singaporeans or more Chinese? Will we become more Singaporeans or more India? 

This is a question that MOE cannot solve and so we have social integration programs for foreigners, for new citizens.  We are spending to include them in our family called Singapore.  

When we are welcoming foreign talents, scholars, and workers, mentally we must also accept their value system and cultural differences.  There is no free lunch in this world!  We must prepare to pay the price of the consequences – their criticisms, their comments, their behaviours, and their advantage taking of Singapore etc.   

This is why we need to know the investment risk, the trade-off, the acceptable and comfortable level of having foreign talents, scholars and workers in Singapore.  Perhaps, the government is already preparing the annual report of profit and loss and balance sheet of there foreigners every year. But as usual it is not prepared to share the annual report with the citizens or may be the report is too frightening to be released.  

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