Apr 22, 2005

Cloning an impossible dream

The latest issue of Newsweek covers an interesting article called The Singapore Clones, about our neighbors Malaysia, Indonesia and even Taiwan wanting to emulate the "success" of that Goliath of a State Investment Vehicle (hence abbreviated as SIV for convenience) - Temasek Holdings.

One wonders were these countries have given the idea serious thought. Taiwan in particular, where the private sector has always been fiercely independent and competitive, might not see much or any success with such an experiment. Unlike Singapore, the Taiwanese generally view their government and its officials as incompetent, scandal-ridden and/or too busy looking after their self-interests to bother with the well-being of the country, its citizens and local companies.

The upside of this scenario is that this forces companies (especially the SMEs) to rely on themselves, rather than the government, to ensure their businesses succeed. That, I feel, is the way entrepreneurship is born. Not something that can be taught in a classroom or shouted out in meaningless national slogans, like our mandarins sitting in air-conditioned rooms see it.

If my government cannot help me, I'll help myself. That's the Taiwan way.
If my government cannot help me, how? Sure die one lah!!! Singapore way.

The article in full below:

The Singapore Clones

Temasek started as a novel experiment in state-run investing, but now its success is inspiring copycats.

By Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop
Newsweek International

March 21 issue - If copying is the most sincere form of flattery, Singapore should be red in the face. Its Temasek Holdings was once a novel experiment: a state investment fund that molded renowned brands, like Singapore Airlines and SingTel. In recent years, as Temasek began to invest abroad, it was at first greeted by neighbors like Malaysia and Indonesia as an unwelcome foreign intrusion. But now several Asian states, including these detractors, are more or less openly trying to copy the Temasek model.

At a time when much of the world is questioning the free-market ideal, the appeal of a quasi-public investment vehicle is clear. It gives Asian political leaders a proven mechanism for directing investment and shaping national industrial champions. Taiwan has plans to consolidate some $31 billion in state shares into a holding company modeled on Temasek. Indonesia is considering a similar idea to reorganize and improve the efficiency of some of its state giants, like the oil and gas company Pertamina. And while Malaysia would never admit to following the lead of its neighbor and rival, economists say the recently reorganized Khazanah, the national investment agency, looks like a carbon copy of Temasek in its early days.

Singapore created Temasek in 1974 with the idea of nurturing strategic industries and channeling investments to support economic and social goals. Temasek has since grown into a giant with $56 billion in assets, controlling roughly a third of the Singapore stock market. But after returns began to slow at home, from an annual average of 18 percent down to just 3 percent in the last decade, Temasek began to diversify regionwide. Its move into the Indonesia bank sector provoked attacks from the political opposition, and the ambitions of SingTel (64 percent owned by Temasek) in Malaysia were once quashed because of security concerns. Still this has not slowed the advance of Temasek. In 2002 a new executive director, Ho Ching (the wife of the current prime minister), vowed to refocus on profits over social goals. That has meant further investments in Asia, including more than $1 billion last year in India alone.

Each copycat is following Temasek in its own way. For Taiwan the priority appears to be on exerting some influence on national champions, like Mega Financial, Taiwan's second largest financial company, as they begin to seek out higher profits abroad. Jakarta's aims hark back to the Temasek of 30 years ago, hoping to raise the returns of state firms in order to create a larger pool of capital for social projects at home. But matching Temasek's successes won't be easy. "The Temasek model cannot be transported everywhere, but the fact that many governments are moving toward big public companies shows they believe you cannot leave it all to the market," says Dominique Dwor-Frecaut, an economist at Barclays Capital.

While the Singaporeans nurtured blue-chip companies over decades, Indonesia and Malaysia are hoping to adapt the model to clean up operations. Khazanah has already taken more than $61 billion worth of national assets, including car manufacturer Proton and conglomerate Sime Darby. The problem: while the government is diluting its ownership, it appears to be retaining management control, partly defeating the purpose of creating a strong private sector.

It is hard for any big nation to match the focus of a small city-state like Singapore. Temasek can restructure (read: cut jobs) easily in a quiet political culture. Indonesia and Malaysia are much more populous and unruly. "In that context they have to figure out what it means to set up an equivalent of Temasek and which sectors they will want to support and how they will carry out the intervention," says Dwor-Frecaut. "I don't think Temasek [in its current form] can be translated 100 percent in places like Malaysia and Indonesia." In Taiwan, the private sector is already strong, but it's not clear the new agency can achieve its goal—speeding further privatization—given that strong unions still rule the state sector. "Singapore has been very good in redirecting its economy through Temasek," says Chris Hunt, Macquarie Securities' head of research in Taiwan. "But I just don't see it happening here to anywhere near the same extent."

Temasek also has a complicated legacy in Singapore. Last year the combined profits of its companies more than doubled, but some say it has held back the emergence of a truly private sector. Consider that Temasek created Singapore Airlines, which has set up its own discount airline, Tiger, which has inspired new startups like JetAir Asia—in which Temasek also has taken a stake. It's hard to tell where Temasek ends and the "private sector" begins. Perhaps so long as it works, it doesn't matter.

© 2005 Newsweek, Inc.

Apr 19, 2005

Of Singaporeans and Mongrels

I don't know about other "quitters", but this is perhaps the biggest reason why I choose not to return in the near future.

Not because FTs are taking our jobs.
Not because they are wasting our tax dollars on copulating cows.
Not because the IRAS cannot hire better IT subcontractors.

It's because I don't feel respected as a citizen of this country, by my own government.

I used to joke to my Taiwanese friends that the only thing useful about being a Singaporean is the passport (The Taiwanese need a visa for almost every country on Earth, poor things). Now perhaps, it probably IS the only thing of any value. But don't take my word for it.

Tigerprawn2 sums it up well in this post below.


When I heard on the radio this afternoon the government's decision to build casinos and IRs in Singapore, I was disappointed and sad. Not because the casinos will be built (in fact, I understand the economic benefits the IRs would bring and welcome the decision). I was disappointed because Singaporeans are not allowed entry into the casinos unless they pay an entrance fee of S$100 per day or an annual fee of S$2,000.

And in case you are thinking that my disappointment lies in the high entrance fee, it is not. I am disappointed because the entrance or annual fee requirement only applies to Singaporeans and not foreigners. Is the message here that foreigners enjoy higher rights than Singaporeans on our own Singapore soil? It does not help that my Malaysian friend immediately seized the opportunity to poke fun at me claiming superiority that he can enter freely the 2 casinos to be built on Singapore soil while I as a Singaporean am not allowed to enter unless I pay.

For the first time in my life, I felt almost like a second class citizen on my own homeland! The immediate scenario that rushes to my mind is pre-World War Two Shanghai in the 30's and 40's - there was a garden built on the Bund in Shanghai on Chinese soil but for the enjoyment of foreigners only with a signage at the gates "DOGS AND CHINESE NOT ALLOWED". Well, in this present case I suppose I should feel much better because as a Singaporean I would be allowed entry if I pay the entrance or annual fees but presumably a dog would not be able to pay an entrance or annual fee so technically there is no
way a dog can gain entry; so at least Singaporeans are one class above dogs.

Wait... I seem to recall a scene in the classic Bruce Lee cult movie "Fists of Fury" involving the aforesaid Shanghai Bund garden with the signage where a dog on leash was allowed entry into the garden when accompanying its foreign non-Chinese owner on a walk. So it remains unclear still whether a dog accompanying its foreign non Singaporean owner would be allowed entry into the casinos though I am assuming that the general rule is that dogs are not allowed in Casinos. For the time being, I am contented to just assume that. The other scenario that comes to my mind is british colonial days Hong Kong where the Hong Kong Turf Club and horse betting is only open to British citizens and foreigners whereas the local Chinese in Hong Kong are not allowed entry.

The first thought that comes to mind is what and how am I going to tell my foreign friends in explanation when they ask me why I as a Singaporean am not allowed into a casino on Singapore soil unless I pay while they as foreigners have free entry.

Do I reply that it is because the majority of Singaporeans are such imbeciles who lack the maturity, self-control and better judgment to refrain from becoming gambling addicts hence the need for the government to restrict the entry rights of Singaporeans? Which at least in my mind does not make sense because as rightfully pointed out, 30 years ago it may be right to not allow a casino in Singapore but 30 years later today where Singaporeans make some 4 million trips overseas annually and are well exposed to casinos and gambling worldwide, we are not a country of uneducated illiterate mountain turtle pheasants who will self-destruct once stepping into the casino.

So, what am I going to tell my foreign friends when they ask?

Yes, not allowing Singaporeans entry into the casinos unless they pay an entrance or annual fee will to some degree discourage and/or deter Singaporeans from entering the casinos and to that effect
reduce the possibility of gambling addictions amongst Singaporeans.

Even so, most Singaporeans today who will want to enter the casino to gamble will be able to afford the S$100 entry fee. So it is
not so much an issue of money. If an entry fee is to be imposed why is it not across the board applying to Singaporeans and non-Singaporeans as well? To draw such a line allowing free access and
entry to foreigners while "penalising" Singaporeans does nothing to the decreasing morale and feelings of the people, the Singapore people who make up and constitute Singapore.

It is one thing when there are no casinos on Singapore soil, but when casinos will be built on Singapore soil, why subject Singaporeans to a different set of stricter restrictions and control? Are Singaporeans such an inferior breed to foreigners that they need to be put on a leash if they want to play on a playground built on Singapore soil while foreigners can play freely in that playground anytime?

Already these few years nationalism has been low considering the increasing numbers of Singaporeans who leave Singapore, the "quitters". And there is rising unhappiness amongs Singaporeans with the foreign talents in Singapore who enjoy better salaries, treatment and live a better life in Singapore than most Singaporeans do. At least for myself, I really do not need such discrimination now on Singapore soil to make me feel worse than I already do like a second class citizen not just in Singapore but on earth, because anyone else on earth whether an Eskimo or African or Mongolian, so long as he or she is NOT a Singaporean, can enter the casinos to be built in Singapore freely while I, as a Singaporean am not allowed entry unless I pay.

Suppose when the Hong Kong Disney Land is completed, the Chinese government announces that Hong Kongers are not allowed entry into the Hong Kong Disney Land unless they pay a much higher entrance fee than foreigners for fear that they will become Disney Land addicts and start neglecting work and eventually leading to breakdown in society. Does this make sense? And if gambling is such an evil to be guarded against like how opium nearly destroyed China in the 19th Century and the majority of Singaporeans are naive halfwits who will become addicts as soon as they step into a casino, then obviously we should really question whether Singapore is truly ready for one.

Did I hear correctly that the IR (with the casinos) will change the skyline of Singapore? And this is the "new" Singapore that I as a Singaporean have to give my everything jointly with other fellow Singaporeans to build? A new Singapore where my rights are restricted one class below foreigners? Sure, maybe if this were really 30 or 40 years ago where the majority of Singaporeans were still not so educated and exposed internationally to the outside world as we are today, this kind of class system may be needed and may work.

But 30 years on today, the circumstances for that justification no longer exists. So while the Hong Kongers will certainly be very proud of their Hong Kong Disney Land when it is completed and will no doubt speak proudly of it to the world, the changed skyline of the new Singapore in the future featuring the new IR and casinos will only remain a constant reminder of my second class status as a Singaporean compared to foreigners in Singapore. Let's not even talk about being proud of it, I would not even want to talk or mention it to anyone in the world because it is a personal Singaporean embarrassment.

My personal feelings is that while such a discriminating system may do some good in the short term, in the long term it will only serve to further erode what little nationalism and patriotism Singaporeans have left towards Singapore. Which is more important? To further reduce the possibility of the 2% of Singaporeans who are prone to become casino addicts or the building of stronger nationalism and unity in hard times so that the people of Singapore can stand together as one to pull and push through to better times? In any case, it is also my humble opinion that probably a very large majority of that 2% of Singaporeans who are prone to becoming casino addicts will be able to afford the S$100 entrance fee and will still set foot in the casino anyway; and hence will become casino addicts anyway whether or not there is an entrance or annual fee for Singaporeans only.

Crap(s) in Singapore

Yes, they've finally gone and done it, as expected. After all the hoo-hah and pseudo we-care-about-your-views smoke-bomb, the powers that be have sent an all too clear message for the populace to hear:

"It's about the money, stupid. YOUR money."

SMS your minister and tell us your views. Each SMS cost 30 cents per minute. Give us your views, then shut up.

Lure of tourism ends Singapore casino ban
By Wayne Arnold
The New York Times

Singapore said on Monday that it would legalize casinos to allow the construction of two Las Vegas-style resorts, overruling public opposition in an effort to promote tourism.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told Parliament that the cabinet had decided to lift the city-state's ban on casino gambling, ending a year of uncharacteristically vigorous public debate in a country that has been governed by the same party since 1965.

Singapore plans to award licenses this year to build the two casinos. It estimates that this will translate into roughly $3 billion in investment.

The hope is that introducing casinos will let Singapore fend off increasing competition for tourists from mainland China. China is one of the largest and fastest-growing sources of tourist arrivals in Singapore, but competition is mounting, particularly from Thailand.

More broadly, however, the casinos are part of a longstanding effort to reorient the economy in Singapore toward higher "value-added" service industries like tourism and biosciences as it loses manufacturing competitiveness to China.

There is no shortage of investors willing to share in the new wager by Singapore. Nineteen gaming consortia, including Harrah's Entertainment, MGM Mirage and Las Vegas Sands, responded to a government request for plans.

International casino operators are eager to expand in Asia, where rising incomes are letting billions of people spend more than ever on wagering. Harrah's, owner of Caesars, has enlisted the architect Daniel Libeskind, who designed the Freedom Tower that is to stand on the site of the World Trade Center in New York City, to design one of its proposed resorts.

Singapore business leaders praised the move to lift the ban.

"The government is prepared to give these folks the ability to invest their money and create tourism attractions that will get Singapore tourism back on track," said Philip Overmyer, executive director of the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce.

Tourism accounts for at least 5 percent of the economy in Singapore, a number that economists say understates the importance of the industry to the part of its economy that is not involved with foreign trade.

Despite its long and colorful history as a regional trading center, Singapore is short on conventional tourist sites like ancient temples or historic quarters. Many of its most colorful ethnic neighborhoods were nearly depopulated after Singapore became independent in the 1960s as part of a "slum clearance" program and stand today only as drab restorations.

Singapore has succeeded in turning itself into a regional hub for air travel, but tourists are spending less time on average in Singapore, using it instead as a staging ground for forays around Southeast Asia.

"They feel they have to act to give people a reason to stop here or stay a little bit longer," said David Cohen, director of Asian economic forecasting at Action Economics in Singapore.

The government plans to have two separate casino resorts, one on an underused theme park island off the southern coast.

The second resort will be near the main convention center, an area bristling with business hotels and near the distinctive Esplanade performing arts center that Singapore built in 2002 in a bid to become a cultural hub.

Harrah's is bidding to build both sites as part of a venture with a local government-controlled company, Keppel. Other bidders are Kerzner International, Wynn Resorts and the Australian casino operator Tabcorp Holdings.

Economist said the casino was likely to bring direct, tangible results. A report by Merrill Lynch estimated that a single casino would cost roughly $2 billion to build and would generate about $2.1 billion a year in revenue, about a third of it from foreign tourists. The project would help the construction and tourism industries, it predicted, including shops and hotels. It would contribute $865,000 a year to government tax revenue.

Singaporeans are no strangers to gambling. The government runs a national lottery as well as off-track betting on horse racing. Widespread illegal gambling on soccer matches prompted the government in 1999 to get into that business as well.
More coverage by agentX here.

Apr 14, 2005

Mech-Warrior in my backyard

Even dreamt of commanding your own MechWarrior, or shooting sotong like the APU-commander in Matrix Revolutions? Now that dream is now a reality...well, almost.

Sakakibara Kikai, a maker of agricultural machines such as fertilizer compactors, hay cutters and mechanical feeders, has developed the Land Walker, a 3.4m tall bipedal single-seater human-controlled robot, complete with hydraulic machine gun and rifle on each of its mechanical arms.

From the company website:
The robot that adults of today have longed for since they were children...Your dreams of "when will I be able to ride and control my own robot?" are now fulfilled in the real physical experience of the [LAND WALKER].

By aid of computer-assisted control, the robot can be moved front, back, left and right by four foot-controlled pedals. In addition, the rifles and machine guns on the left and right arms of the robot can be manipulated with your own hands. You only need this to control such a large robot effortlessly. Presently, there is only one prototype available, but we hope to bring multi-robot combat games a reality...!


Height 3m40cm
Gross weight 1000kg
No. of passengers 1
Power Engine (250cc)
Movement Sliding bipedal walking movement
Speed 1.5 km/h
Equipment Air cannon 2 types (Cushion ball)
Right-side : Bar gun type (6 rounds)
Left-side : Shot gun type (6 rounds)
Cockpit monitor (changeable)
for viewing front bottom and back
bottom of roobt body

Movies of the prototype can be viewed here and here. But the view from the cockpit feels like the whole thing is about to topple over, so I suppose it may still be a while before we see this thing on the market (if ever). Meanwhile, we can dream on, right?

Thanks to Hikikomori for the link.

Apr 13, 2005

Speak Better Singlish Tip 1: Mispronounciation is the key

According to katongking,
Singlish is a curious mix of English, Malay, Mandarin Chinese and Hokkien. With an English base, it borrows words liberally from all of these languages, adds in the Chinese (lack of) grammar, all rendered in a lovely Singaporean twang. The beauty of Singlish lies in its brevity. When we would normally say, 'Have you eaten your meal yet?', locals here say, 'Got makan onnot?', resulting in a grand saving of 3 syllables. Or better still, 'Are you sure it is possible?' becomes an elegant 'Can meh?'.
Because Singlish is such a melange of different languages and dialects, excessive fluency in any of those languages, especially English, tends to "upset the balance" and makes you sound, well, like a "katang" (potato, connotes a Westerner). If you pepper your conversation with words of three syllables or more, for example, you might be greeted with a "Wah, your england vely the powderful, ah?" (You are quite proficient in English, aren't you?) in response.

The typical Singaporean may or may not be fluent in proper English, but the general consensus is that to sound really Singaporean, your English pronounciation shouldn't be too perfect.

So in short, bad English is good Singlish.

But how does one sound local? One way is to deliberately mispronounce certain words to sound more Singlish. In that way, no one can accuse you of being a katang because you're not speaking like one.

Examples here are from the following browncast:

[TMBS-050407-PT1 03:31] brown: "They say your muscles (mus-kerls) look like hunk, not punk"
[TMBS-050407-PT1 06:29] brown: "Singapore fashion festival ends with lingerie (leen-ger-ree) show"
[TMBS-050407-PT1 09:23] brown: "For those don't speak Cantonese one ah, I translate (trans-rate) for you"
[TMBS-050407-PT1 10:12] miyagi: "I think MediaCorps (media-corpse) is giving bonus"
[TMBS-050407-PT1 14:03] brown: "Canada (ker-nay-der)? Isn't that north of America (er-meh-dee-ker)?

Though it takes some practising to know which words to mispronounce and when, mastering this essential skill will definitely score you points with the heartlanders. No doubt about it.

So until next time,

Tua Kay Or Singlish....*ting*

Speak Better Singlish

After listening to mr. brown's podcast with mr. miyagi and other commentaries on Singlish by the Calm One, I thought it would be why not start my own series of tips on how to speak better Singlish (the real National language, regardless of what Gahmen say).

Cannot meh? I also pure-bred Singaporean what.

We've already got The Coxford Singlish Dictionary, but nothing useful on correct usage to sound like local. No wonder the ang-mohs have no idea when to end a sentence with "lah" or "meh".

But then again, a text-only tutorial is quite boring right? What better way than some real examples to help our Caucasian friends get that local pronounciation "just right", and what better source of native Singlish conversation than mr. brown's podcasts? Examples will be extracted from said podcast with the timing included for you industrious guys out there to practice again and again.

So without further ado, let's "Tua Gey Or Singlish" (Let's Learn Singlish)...

Eh..Why U so like Dat?

Excuse me, but your maru is showing

When in primary school, we sang the national anthem loudly and with gusto, because we were taught by the music teacher to do so. Each word was sung with innocence, not knowing what the Malay in them meant.

In secondary school, tired of hearing the same refrain every morning, we began mouthing the words (only singing after being caught).

In JC, you were lucky to be standing in line when the anthem was being played (as opposed to doing CS for being late).

The national anthem is something citizens of any country should know by heart, and are taught the lyrics from young, but not always the history behind those lyrics. I've noticed that it is often young children that sing the national anthem with the most fervour and enthusiasm, perhaps because they are too young to know better. Being proud of your country, flag and anthem should be a good thing, but such patriotism can be manipulated by people of more nationalist beliefs.

Japan is one such example, where recent events such as teachers being punished for refusing to sing the national anthem and the white-washing of history textbooks have shown that nationalism is on the upswing in the Land of the Rising Sun. As a result, anti-Japan protests have been started in China, to the silent approval of the Party.

Things are escalating quite nicely now. Much more exciting than any thriller in the cinemas.

Japan's nationalism rising, by jingo
By Deborah Cameron

It is school graduation season and the national flag is flying high at assembly halls in Tokyo where rules demand that teachers and students stand to face the ensign and sing the anthem.

Severe consequences face those who do not. The Tokyo Board of Education this week summoned a social studies teacher with a 33-year career who sat down during the anthem. Nobuki Matsubara expected the education department to freeze him out, along with 60 other teachers in line for punishment.

Last year, 243 teachers were punished for not honouring the flag and 67 reprimanded for not ordering students to sing the anthem.

These enforced displays of patriotism coincide with other signs of nationalism in Japan. The doctoring of history has reappeared with greater significance because of the 60th anniversary of the Second World War's end.

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun has harshly criticised Japan for white-washing its history books. In January, two powerful politicians were discovered to have threatened the budget of the national broadcaster unless changes were made to a war documentary.

Ever present is the possibility Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will pray at the Yasakuni Shrine, where war criminals are honoured.

All this is against a backdrop of a defence policy that names China as a threat, and pressure for change to the pacifist constitution. Japan is also taking a bigger role in world affairs - with troops in Iraq - and it wants a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

There is tension on the streets. Ethnic Koreans in Japan say they are harassed and discriminated against. In Tokyo and regional cities, right-wing activists in trucks and buses draped with national flags use powerful speakers to pound out a prophecy that Japan will rise again.

Japan's more muscular behaviour in its region, where it is in confrontations with China, South Korea, Russia, Taiwan and North Korea, has added to perceptions of nationalism-driven aggression.

"Japan is very easily manipulated by people at the top and the people at the top have been consistently very right-wing," Professor Gregory Clark, vice-president of Akita International University and a former Australian diplomat, said.

Acting secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party Shinzo Abe said he thought patriotic fervour was uplifting.

Senior government officials say it is a "revival of patriotism", not fascism.

"The Japanese are now trying to reach some version of love of the nation or patriotism," one said. "And that does give an appearance that we are going back . . . We are just trying to establish an identity."

Should we be concerned? Our neighbours to the north certainly aren't fretting. Perhaps the Asian identity thing is in vogue right now. Sure, we've only had them as masters for 3 years and 8 months, but as they have proven to the world their economic prowess, the Japanese should never be taken lightly.

Apr 6, 2005

Singapore - The 24th province?

China is administratively divided into 23 provinces, 5 autonomous regions, 4 centrally administrative municipalities and 2 special administrative regions (SAR).
-- www.chinatoday.com
I was waiting for the MRT at Tampines, and a quick scan of the numerous faces on the platform revealed not a small number of ladies with fair-complexion from the Motherland. As I got on the train, my trained ears (purposefully?) detected heavily-accented Beijing Mandarin and some totally incomprehensible provincial dialect on more than one occasion.

Perhaps our dear Gahmen has overdone the "attracting skilled Chinese foreign-talent" thing? At least from the fair-skinned young ladies or dark-complexioned labourer-like male counterpart, little gave the impression of "talent", more like "make enough money then chabut back to my village and live like a king".

Back in my university days, there was already a sizeable Chinese student population, especially in the postgraduate programmes, outnumbering locals by 2-1 (in my faculty). Numerous as they were, there wasn't yet a sense then that they'd be in direct competition with us for jobs.

Several years on, the little red dot seems to be overrun with them.

The other day I was watching the news on CNA about the SNOC arranging a monthly activity for fellow Singaporean Olympians to get to know each other, and they interviewed a Singaporean Olympian (judging from her heavy accent) who emigrated here from China. Yes, she's now Singaporean and representing the country for the Olympics and all, but listening to her perfect Beijing Mandarin about how she'll do her best for Singapore somehow doesn't really cut it.

Seeing an middle-aged man in shorts and slippers putting his arm over the shoulder of his young-enough-to-be-his-daugther China bride/girlfriend doesn't help their image either.

As a foreigner in a foreign land, I also do not wish to be the subject of xenophobia. But as they say, "when in Rome, do as the Romans do"? For the past few years that I have spent in Taiwan, I have enjoyed learning and experiencing the Taiwanese culture, including all the idiosyncracies that come with it, and along the way met some of the most friendly and welcoming people.

Some friends say I've assimilated so well that they ask me when I'll becoming a citizen here. But that's not my point.

How many FTs is enough? Attracting foreigners to fill voids in high-level managerial positions is one thing, but pulling in the foreign (dare I say Trash?) to compete with your local Tan Ah Kow and still insist on calling all of them "talent" is quite another.

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You can check out anytime you like
And even leave (only if you're not Singaporean)