5 Foreign Talents explain why they cannot stay in Singapore indefinitely but yet have job security

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picture credit: journalist.sg

Linda Yuen-Ching Lim, a Professor of Strategy at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, delivered a keynote address this morning at her alma mater, Methodist Girls School, in a Strategic Planning Retreat for senior education administrators and teachers.

In her address titled ‘MGS, Singapore and the World: Looking Back and Looking Ahead’ Professor Lim suggested that Singaporeans must be brave enough to challenge authority. She emphasised that this challenging of ourselves, and challenging all the orthodoxies which govern our lives and work, is required to spur the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship that Singapore needs in the decades ahead.

To drive home her points, she quoted five of her former students who had been in Singapore for fairly long periods as a foreign talents in her Speech. The following are the quotes from Professor Lim’s former students.

“Singaporeans all think alike, that’s why we need to hire foreigners, and why we expats have job security.” – an American and former MBA student of Professor Lim who worked in a senior position in two global banks for ten years in Singapore.

“The Singapore journey to meaning is one of a clear path—defined by good grades, good schools and eventually, a good job” (resulting in a society that he found “myopic”, “monotonic” and “monochromatic” compared with his home, which he acknowledged was chaotic but also colorful, exciting, stimulating—and much more entrepreneurial.) – an Indonesian who studied here since age 15

“I always knew that I couldn’t stay in Singapore for the long term. Had I stayed any longer I would have become very inflexible and unable to adapt to other locations.” – Professor Lim’s Indian MBA student at Michigan who studied and worked in Singapore for 12 years, and is now a McKinsey consultant in Chicago

Another Indian student of Professor Lim used the word “claustrophobic”.

“Singaporeans have a predominantly strict attitude to life, marked by clear authority structures and distinct social status lines…..Singapore government managed so well that the local people are very lawful, strict and structural. Sometimes, I needed a breath though.” – Professor Lim’s woman MBA student who grew up in communist China, then worked in Singapore as a semiconductor engineer and is now at a Silicon valley tech company

 

Linda Yuen-Ching Lim is Professor of Strategy at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, where she served from 2005-09 as Director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, and has frequently served on the executive committee of the Center for Chinese Studies, most recently from 2013-15. At Ross, she teaches MBA courses and executive education sessions on The World Economy and Business in Asia, and has been faculty advisor of the annual Asia Business Conference for 25 years

Linda obtained her degrees in economics from the universities of Cambridge (BA), Yale (MA) and Michigan (PhD), and has published extensively on economic development, trade, investment, industrial policy, labor, multinational and local business in Asia—most recently focused on the economy of Singapore, her home country. She has consulted for private think tanks, government and international development agencies, is a former Trustee of The Asia Society, New York, and has served sequentially as an independent director of two U.S. public companies with tech manufacturing operations in Asia.

THIS IS A BRILLIANT KEYNOTE ADDRESS I received from Linda this morning which was delivered at her alma mater, Methodist…

Posted by Yap Kim Hao on Friday, 2 June 2017

54 COMMENTS

  1. She’s absolutely right. What do you expect when you want a population that’s obedient like sheeps yet you desire for them to be innovative & enterprising? You messed with their mindset from young and still expect them to be able to think beyond monotonic structured mentality? Likewise, for those expat who have these edge they’ll never want to be controlled like some dogs. Only the govt can be that naive to expect both.

    • I­ a­m c­r­e­a­t­i­n­g a­n h­o­n­e­s­t p­a­y o­n-l­i­n­e f­r­o­m h­o­m­e. ­I e­v­e­n h­a­v­e c­r­e­a­t­e­d $­1­9­7­2­8 i­n p­r­e­c­i­s­e­l­y m­y l­a­s­t m­o­n­t­h b­y o­p­e­r­a­t­i­n­g o­n-l­i­n­e. ­s­t­r­a­i­g­h­t­f­o­r­w­a­r­d a­n­d e­a­s­y j­o­b t­o t­r­y a­n­d d­o f­r­o­m h­o­m­e a­n­d e­a­r­n­i­n­g­s a­r­e­a u­n­i­t l­a­r­g­e t­h­a­n r­e­g­u­l­a­r j­o­b. m­e­r­e­l­y b­e ­a p­a­r­t o­f t­h­i­s j­o­b i­m­m­e­d­i­a­t­e­l­y a­n­d b­e­g­i­n e­a­r­n­i­n­g f­r­o­m h­o­m­e b­y f­o­l­l­o­w t­h­i­s l­i­n­k……..

      HERE ↛↛↛ https://web.facebook.com/Dollars-Job-1870736566524041/app/137541772984354/?ref=page_internal

  2. ““Singaporeans all think alike, that’s why we need to hire foreigners, and why we expats have job security.” – an American and former MBA student of Professor Lim who worked in a senior position in two global banks for ten years in Singapore.
    “The Singapore journey to meaning is one of a clear path—defined by good grades, good schools and eventually, a good job” (resulting in a society that he found “myopic”, “monotonic” and “monochromatic” compared with his home, which he acknowledged was chaotic but also colorful, exciting, stimulating—and much more entrepreneurial.) – an Indonesian who studied here since age 15
    “I always knew that I couldn’t stay in Singapore for the long term. Had I stayed any longer I would have become very inflexible and unable to adapt to other locations.” – Professor Lim’s Indian MBA student at Michigan who studied and worked in Singapore for 12 years, and is now a McKinsey consultant in Chicago
    Another Indian student of Professor Lim used the word “claustrophobic”.
    “Singaporeans have a predominantly strict attitude to life, marked by clear authority structures and distinct social status lines…..Singapore government managed so well that the local people are very lawful, strict and structural. Sometimes, I needed a breath though.” – Professor Lim’s woman MBA student who grew up in communist China, then worked in Singapore as a semiconductor engineer and is now at a Silicon valley tech company”

  3. …..first spore has no oil unlike brunei…..second spore has no mountains which are the sources of water unlike malaysia…..third spore has no padi fields and rice is entirely imported unlike thailand…..no oil, no water, no rice and spore is a nation???….yes a freak nation as mentioned by LKY…..yes spore is a disciplined, structural and monotonous survival machine because spore has NIL natural resources and everyday sporeans have to work to buy oil, water, rice to survive…..if spore is as big as johor, spore can be as relax as bhutan…..prof linda lim has a good life and a good education and can move to usa which has oil, water, rice and much, much more…..but what about sporeans born in spore who have a poor life and not much education and where can these sporeans go??? the press has the sacrosanct duty of informing the public of the REALITY that we are living in…..spore is not usa, europe or india, spore is not even johor…..please print about the real world and the truth and not fairy tales and rubbish…..

  4. Govt here very clever. They realized that if Local Sgporean becomes the expat, they will become rich and emigrate away to Australia, US etc. No way they will allow it. So sad to say, majority of Sgporeans will live in HDB and vote fearfully for the PAP Govt. They will forever be stuck here.

    • If Singaporeans were obedient, Opposition would be impossible. The smart ones become private sector employees. The poor.but smart ones go.into civil service. The maladjusted and smart ones go overseas. The dumb ones complain all day instead of standing up to their bosses. People like us, just watch and laugh.

  5. The very survival of the incumbent depends on Singaporeans being myopic, unthinking, unimaginative, uncreative, uninnovative, law abiding, fearful, afraid to speak out, look the other way. Our education system + MSM + NS basically enforce these traits. All these talks of promoting creativity, entrepreneurship, critical thinking, these are not meant for Singaporeans. That’s why it won’t work, you can’t have it both ways.

    • Andrew Tan Kok Wah True. Some countries have natural resources like oil or diamond but end up very poor too, it’s definitely about working hard, taking risks. Think the author was trying to illustrate against increasing complacency while I was trying to point out we do have some strategic natural resources to our favor.

    • Kow Ping Two points to share: (i) Our port was once a unique resource but technology development has made it possible for our neighbours to build out their own ports and for shippers to bypass us altogether. (ii) There are countries with resources but still poor, yet there is no country that has no resource but is rich. People often quote Israel and HK, Israel has the entire jewish population around the globe behind them while HK has a unique political resource as China’s financial gateway to the world. And us? We have nothing except out people, and if we all keep in our slumber it will potentially end poorly for us.

  6. LKY needed a society of workers to sell to the foreign capitalists for cheap. It worked so well that the same model is still practised by the G today. If the G cannot be creative and change with the times, how can they nurture the people through the 21st century? Singapore G has failed its people. This is only the beginning. Worse is coming.

  7. Challenge authority like challenging your father, mother, grandfather, Boss, supervisor, general manager, policeman. This is crap. This is not challenging but protesting like protester and activist. Show no basic respect. Shoot to kill.

  8. what a piece of crap. is geograhpy destiny?
    she is so enamoured with s.e.a that she simply and blindly echoes kiswhore.
    how much can you make in s.e.a? and europe is history? she is dreaming. eu is still a contradiction but rising power.

    she is good at telling her grandmother stories.
    challenge authority? pls define challenge what authority?
    she is v vague here as she is talking crap.

    sg is an economic machine and the peasants are just economic digits. for the machine to work, you need a subservient, docile and acquiescent workforce.

    on one hand she calls for challenging authority, on the other she agrees with the ft policy, that fts are here cos sgs are lousy – conformists. and she went along and support the ft influx.

    she quoted others, what about her own opinion of sg?

    she push for self entrepreneurs, but why don’t she become one herself?

    like most useless good for nothing unemployable academics, ‘those who can do, those who cannot teach.’ she brags that she is in business, just by sitting on boards doesn’t qualify her as a business person, thick skinned.

    by her own admission her department is heavily subsidised by the gamen. they are also surviving as an soe – state owned enterprise on welfare handouts.

    most, if not all her students ended as miserable salaried men. none of them ended up as entrepreneurs. this is her failure as a high class teacher or pros-fessors. PTUI!

  9. yes, must question and challenge authority.
    cpf @ 65.
    grc scams.
    ft influx.
    low healthcare spending.
    importing beholden voters to hold on to power at all costs.
    high cost of hdb and living
    hdb lessees should not pay property tax
    etc.

    why doesn’t she lead by example?

  10. That’s why I respect our old guards. They moved up the ranks with practical experience. After the 90s, the system was rigged by the top scholars taking hold of the institutions. All rules and criteria all rigged to benefit the scholar circles. The ministers comment didn’t helped either. The society as a whole has a stereotype on those who don’t excel academically. We were despised, but we chart our own success with practical experience. Not just the paper qualifications.