Pssst, want Singapore citizenship? Its disposable.

October 16, 2008

Which is more sacred and meaningful? A government scholarship or a Singaporean citizenship. Most of us would say the latter because it gives us a nation, a home and history. And yet, in this strange bewildering government’s mind it’s the scholarship that’s more important.


Remember the big hoo-ha some years ago when some Singaporean students broke their government bonds to remain overseas? Oh the self-righteous baying for blood from the PAP government. A PSC scholarship comes with moral obligations! It’s not a mere contract! It’s about discharging duty to your country! They even succumbed to a lynch mob mentality and actually put up pictures and profiles of Singaporean bond breakers in The Straits Times. And The Straits Times, that beacon of ass-kissing, happily went along with it. So much for media integrity.


So, if we value government scholarships so highly, if we store so much symbolic value in something an 18 year old signs, then we must really be hopping mad over news that our table tennis China-imports Li Jiawei and Feng Tianwei may be dumping their Singapore passports to return to China right? Balls.


The word is that Li Jiawei, now engaged to a PRC entrepreneur, is leaving to settle down in Beijing, her home town. All the signs are there: she’s registering her marriage in Beijing, her parents are in Beijing… all that’s missing is that Uniquely Beijing tattoo on her ass. Feng Tianwei is rumoured to be leaving because her coach, Liu Guodong, is off. Coach Liu groomed and trained Li, and it’s not uncommon for players to go where their coaches go.


The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) is another example of hungering after instant noodle success. So far two under its Foreign Talent Sports Scheme have ditched their Singaporean passports. Egmar Goncalves, returned to Brazil to settle with his family last year. In an interview towards the end of his S-League career, he noted that the money he had earned from football would buy him 7 houses back in Brazil, but only 1 condo in Singapore. The other is Croatian Mirko Grabovac who returned this year.


I don’t blame these foreign talent for grabbing the red passports and then disposing them again. Really I don’t. As a sportsperson you want to compete on the international stage so you take whatever avenues are open to you – fair enough. And when you’ve finished your sporting career, you want to be with your family – again fair enough. No one can legislate for strong primal ties to your homeland. Just like for most Singaporeans, no matter how screwed up the system or how arrogant the government, you will always love the soil you were born on.


I blame the Foreign Talent Sports Scheme. If you hand out Singapore citizenship like cheap White Rabbit candy sweets to anyone who wanders along, don’t expect them to take it seriously or treasure it. The Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA), so greedy for results and glamour, is more guilty than most for lusting after instant noodle success. So much so that it has cheapen the Singapore passport. And to what ends? Sure, it now boasts a silver Olympic medal but how many Singaporeans see it as a Singaporean achievement?


And just in case you think the Foreign Talent Sports Scheme is the norm in all local sports associations, well, its not. The Singapore Sailing Federation emphasizes local talent. It focuses on Singaporean boys and girls and does not go waving citizenship at anyone who’s ever steered a Laser Class.


Isn’t it ironic that this government screams and shouts when Singaporeans break their bonds but remains so blasé when new citizens throw their passports back in its face? We demonise young Singaporeans born and bred who decide not to work in the civil service and yet we grin stupidly when these foreign talents give us the old heave ho! Something is very wrong with our values and priorities. Rejecting the opportunity to work in government is seen to be more offensive than rejecting our nation. How can this be right?


And to rub salt into our wounds, it’s been reported that “Already, Lee [Bee Wah], a Member of Parliament in Ang Mo Kio GRC, has indicated that the STTA and the SSC are working on a university scholarship programme for Li.” I wonder how many Singaporeans have had the privilege of having a scholarship programme tailored for them?


The next time some PAP minister talks about national identity and the Singaporean spirit, just tell him to take a hike. The Foreign Talent Sports Scheme, FAS and STTA have already made the Singaporean citizenship as disposable as plastic forks and styrofoam cups.



6 Responses to “Pssst, want Singapore citizenship? Its disposable.”

  1. superman Says:

    at the end of the day it is all about bargaining power. If you are an 18 year scholar and if the singapore government sues you for breaking the bond with the possible threat that all future career prospects being put in jeopardy, you pretty much know that you stand. However, if you are foreigner, you always have a choice. If you don’t like Singapore or Singapore has outlived its usefulness, any foreigner can always pack up their bags and go back to their place of origin.

  2. The SS Says:

    Spot on ! Problem is.. they are wasting our money for their own glory?

  3. Panzer Says:

    Imagine how the 250,000 reservists feel seeing our citizenship responsibilities which include potentially DYING for your country being taken so lightly by our much vaunted foreign talents??!!!

    During my own NS experience, I encountered 2 fatalities in units I served in. Both men were Singaporeans who died serving their country. So what is the value of their sacrifice? I’m sure the parents of both men would be happy to have sons who become malaysian or thai or whatever citizens and lived than to be born Singaporean boys to die for their country so that foreign talents can wear and discard citizenship like paper underwear.

    Majullah Singapura.

  4. sushibar Says:

    Rejecting the opportunity to work in government is seen to be more offensive than rejecting our nation. How can this be right?

    The next time some PAP minister talks about national identity and the Singaporean spirit, just tell him to take a hike.


  5. Ping Ping Says:

    hey, it’s spot on! i love it! Diposable Singaporean Citizenship!

  6. […] in a Strange Land – groundnotes: Pssst, want Singapore citizenship? Its disposable – The Sun Chair Critic: On Foreign Talents – BothSidesOfTheJohorStraits: Headline: “Foreign […]

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