Wednesday, September 9, 2015

What I have not yet heard so far

I have been very busy for the past few years so I have not got much time to blog about issues close to my heart. Looking at the current election rallies, I think some of the points have not yet been brought up, which I find important for us to move forward. 

First and foremost, the focus on GDP. Just google around and you will realize that there are many papers written about the focus on GDP does not necessarily translate to benefits for the citizens. In my opinion, this is especially true for us. Why?

First, our workforce. Most of our workforce are foreigners coming in. They don't have roots here. Some do not have families here. What do they do? Send most of their money back to their own country. What is the effect? No downstream effect to the rest of the businesses that usually flourish due to more disposal income. Evidence? Franc franc, borders, provision shops. All of them are leaving or closing. Why? Think about it. 

Next is the over focus on what I term as elitism education. Why do I say that? Let's go back to the basics. Do you learn how to build a wooden chair by reading the theories, going to exams and getting an A? Ask all the graduates of our universities on their practical experience. Look at all the highly paid CEOs , permanent secretaries of our statutory boards and ministries. How many have practical experience in the domain of which they are supposed to lead in strategy and direction? Is running a business all about money? Did Microsoft and Apple get to where they are because of the bottom line?

Last but not least, the unfair advantage of foreign companies in Singapore. Yes. You heard me right. In other countries, local companies usually have the home advantage but not here! I am not even going to cite examples because if you are in the SME, you will know this issue very well. You have foreign companies bringing in cheap labour from other countries to be based in Singapore due to some unknown pacts that were signed by our government. These people come for the short term, earn little from our perspective because their standard of living is not as high as Singapore, and go back. Quality may be questionable too. How do SMEs compete against such unfair advantage? The worst part is that this unfair advantage is totally supported by the government. Our standard of living is very high so there are expectations of a higher salary. We have families here and houses to pay for. When we try to hire foreign workers we get slapped by a high ratio quota. Coupled with the fact that we  may sometimes face an entitlement issue with local workers who sometimes don't even have any shred of practical experience and yet ask for high pay, how can local companies compete and most importantly, innovate?

I leave it as that for anyone who bother to read this to ponder on it. It's not like we don't have money. We are making money but yet, we only spend 50% of what we earn on ourselves. As I recall, I don't think we are a listed company. Even then, look at Amazon. They plough their profits back to r&d to improve and innovate. 

What are we doing? A case of scrounge mcduck?

Let's step back and think about what we want for the country. We are unique in the sense because all we have is human capital. If we don't invest in ourselves and be happy, how do we move forward?

Something to think about. I have reached my mrt stop. Another day of meetings.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, saw your point on big foreign companies having an unfair advantage over SMEs, but do you realise that SMEs are doing business for these MNCs?

In other words, by courting these MNCs aggressively, it gives businesses to the SMEs indirectly.

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