Wednesday, June 11, 2014

We will lose most of the scholars

I have just read this as an email from my ex boss. This might be the German experience but it has a very familiar ring here too. Just like the Germans we will likely lose almost all of the foreign scholars the government attracted here to our schools and universities. Many will go home but in our case there is plenty of anecdotal evidence they will continue their journey heading to America. Both my kids have many PRC and ASEAN scholars in their classes and almost none of them integrate with the local students. When they finish school and fulfill their scholarship requirements they are going home. My elder child has a PRC classmate from secondary school to JC who wanted to be here 'permanently' but she has no interest to integrate at all. She even took herself out of the class whatsapp group at the first opportunity. I think she will be sticking around only for the economic opportunities and may be avoiding a less than happy family back home.

In the past, we were forced by circumstances to get along. It was expensive and often untenable to go home. You could only maintain contact with snail mail then and as a kid I saw how the older generation struggled with putting down roots here and respecting and accommodating those from  other races and religions. Today immigrants are completely different. They play both sides and enjoy the best of two or more worlds. No wonder citizens feel like suckers.

We will have to live with the poor ROI putting money on these scholars and also alienating locals who saw themselves denied places in top schools and universities here. In fact, we are even losing our own people to the US. Just heard about two of them over the radio this morning. Sure, they are still Singaporeans but they are contributing to their professions in LA.

Update: June 15 8:55am

Came across this in the Sunday Times early this morning. Andrew Ng was educated at RI.

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