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Of Wild Goats and New Citizens

Posted by inspir3d on August 30, 2006

High impact2“A Goatherd, driving his flock from their pasture at eventide, found some Wild Goats mingled among them, and shut them up together with his own for the night. The next day it snowed very hard, so that he could not take the herd to their usual feeding places, but was obliged to keep them in the fold.

He gave his own goats just sufficient food to keep them alive, but fed the strangers more abundantly in the hope of enticing them to stay with him and of making them his own. When the thaw set in, he led them all out to feed, and the Wild Goats scampered away as fast as they could to the mountains.” …more (Dr Huang)

Also, a reply by Whispers from the Heart


23 Responses to “Of Wild Goats and New Citizens”

  1. kevin said

    I think one of the key problems in Singapore is the lack of home grown, middle sized corporations. Home grown companies tend to keep their headquarters in their home country while promoting home grown talents (provided they dont suffer from the government’s Pinkerton disease).

    It would be most helpful if Temasek Group doesnt keep stifling private enterprise and forcing them to move overseas. Hence the current shortage of relevant labour and talent is very much a combination of micro mis-management (land prices, education, private enterprise) by the government.

  2. Hi Kevin,

    The KTM disagrees with your claims. You have failed to understand the problem of being small. The world is very big. Singapore is very small (i.e. little red dot, pi sai).

    The KTM is of the view that because of our size, we don’t even have enough talent to promote to begin with. It seems to the KTM that the main reason why public organizations give out scholarships is mainly to get their share of local talent. As is, many are already scrapping the bottom of the barrel and wasting tax payers’ dollars.

    If indeed you are of the view that “the current shortage of relevant labour and talent is very much a combination of micro mis-management (land prices, education, private enterprise) by the government,” then you should exprain yourself. The KTM is not trying to defend the Garmen here. He just cannot understand your logic.

    Another thing: go and do a count on number of foreigners among the CEOs and senior management of the GLCs and Stat Boards. A lot of ang mohs hor? 🙂

  3. chronicler of the book of ages said

    how do old friends become old friends in the first place?

  4. deep blue said


    They have to start off as new friends first rite! That’s obvious, but what the good doctor is trying to say is we need to balance our national identity with the economic realities. I this is easily said, but I do recount one post by a certain darkness where he mentions many things which constitute citizenship cannot be easily reduced into numbers.

    I am in my mid thirties and yet I have absolutely no idea of what it is to a citizen of singapore – I guess there should be more discussions on what citizenship implies, because if we do not even know what it means, how can we expect to convey this to the FT’s and if we dont do it right, they will simply not sink roots here.

  5. mrt said

    I dont understand what this doc is saying, they must all do NS, take it or leave it? What is he trying to say NS = citizenship, if that is the case then go to nepal and get en masse Gurkhas or perhaps we can be like France and have the Singapore Foreign legion.

    Coming from a doc this is both disturbing as it is funny. just my two cents

  6. The kind doc is proposing a pragmatic solution. If people are unhappy about the discrimination as against Singaporeans, we should find ways to lesson this ill-perception.

    Otherwise, we will have problems like the one happening in a Jurong West HUDC estate.

    Notice that PM did not use ‘Foreign Talents’ in his NDR. I think it’s now just ‘immigrants’?

    In a way, some of us are confused. Is it numbers or talents?

    Somehow, I do agree with Deep Blue, as I am quite lost too when pressed to elaborate on our identity and what citizenship is. And I didn’t have National Service to help me.

    You’ll be surprised how many equate NS=citizenship and I don’t think it’s funny. It’s just Singaporean.

  7. Harphoon said

    Singapore isn’t the only country to actively pursue a foreign talent program.

    We are in competition with the rest of the region and even developed countries like the US and EU have fast track avenues to recruit talent – in most cases, they have even dispelled with the whole idea of nationality and have even begun experimenting with the notion of dual nationality – to appeal as a preferred place to work, play and live.

    SIR has not even begun a pilot program, that’s how far they are ahead of us.

    In certain academic institutions in the US and EU, they even give out bond free scholarships in the hope these aspirants will one day even sink roots in their countries.

    It’s just a hope and a pray, but they are prepared to wing it and we all know people don’t give out scholarships for nothing – that is the measure govt’s ascribe to the strategic importance of intellectual capital.

    In Singapore we haven’t even begun to comprehend this level of marketing competence yet. You have no idea how far we are – so where do you think the crème de la crème of the intelligentsia are actually migrating too?

    Not Singapore that is a 100% certainty, trust me.

    Unlike larger nations we don’t have a space program, but we have a science centre, we don’t have firms which are able to synthesis information into commercial products and services on a world class level, but we have SIA and Creative (not enough).

    And why am I saying all this, because if we aspire to be a destination of choice to FT’s, we simply need to be brutally honest about our strengths and weakness.

    So let us get our perspective ultra clear here, Singaporean citizenship isn’t exactly Roman citizenship and don’t have this misguided view everyone wants to come and work, life and play here. They don’t.

    As for the Romans even they actively pursued a foreign talent program – their elite Praetorian guard unit didn’t even have a single indigenous roman citizen, and the same can be said of the Ottoman Empire, when they formed the Janissaries Corp.

    If we want to mix and match our sentiments as to what should be against what must be: then the final product will never be attractive enough to inspire FT’s to sink their roots here.

    We simply have to profile the entire package according to the marketing manifesto, if we don’t other countries will and we will lose out.

    As for the need to dwell deeper into what actually constitutes citizenry – Agreed. I need to think further on this as I share Whispers view on this matter and it is quite confusing.

  8. There are 3 threads going on at the same time: nofearsingapore.blogpost/

    Dear friends,

    Going back to Aesop , the perception is that old goats are treated worse than wild(new) goats.

    Our new goats (new or future citizens) get to enjoy all the benefits without having to shoulder any major responsibilities of nationhood- ok.. they contribute to the economy whilst earning a salary… multiplier effect of economics/Adam Smith ,,blahblah

    NS is a bugbear for many- not just the 2 years but the annual reservist call-ups which put them at perceived disadvantage with employers. It is not impossible to believe that some “unenlightened” employers actually discriminate against male S’poreans for this reason. (But of course we can never prove this).

    If Sg is such a wonderful place/can walk in the night without fear of mug or molestation/clean green and sterile/now hip and happ’ning etc- then let them show some commitment. If this place is worth keeping, it is worth serving. When the call comes, who will be the one looking for the old green uniform to see if it still fits… me!!

    My contention is that since NS is so wonderful, then let all new citizens also enjoy it, all of us putting our shoulders onto the yoke and ploughing together… It also helps us weed out the less than true blue-goats.

    If we want those brilliant kids’ brains (& genes) (from HCM city/Mumbai etc), make them citizens first/ serve out some ( or all) NS , then put them on the fast-track career or politics .. whatever.

    I am not against immigration. We also go to other countries right? They come, we go.
    Just don’t be stupid and cheapen our citizenship. It becomes a joke if it gets any cheaper!


    Dr.Huang Shoou Chyuan

  9. Atomic Monkey said

    When I was a small boy my neighbor had a tanned Alsation.

    His name was Milo. When I returned from school Milo would always wag his tail and I played with him all day.

    He would accompany everywhere to tuition, football and even to the local pasar but most of the time, Milo simply slumped down on the carpet while I studied.

    One day my neighbor complained to my mother,

    “your son spends too much time with my dog – pls remember my husband paid alot of money for this animal. If your son likes dogs so much, go and buy him one yourself.”

    Upon hearing this my mother shook her head sighed and replied,

    “Why dont you love your dog in the way my son loves him, then perhaps he wouldn’t consider my house a home or him his master.”

    Moral of the story: you have to ask Milo.

  10. Hello Dr,

    The KTM just realized that he didn’t really understand how your proposition will help us. Say you have this ah pek from India or from China who wants to be a citizen. You want the fella to do NS? For what? He will be a very useful clerk hor? How does it benefit me, a Singaporean? Doesn’t seem to benefit me at all leh. Seems like an “equal misery” policy to me more than anything else.

    If we impose this requirement of NS for citizenship, it’s likely that no one will become citizens ‘cos it will be impossible to sell them the koyok that “if National Service is good, then it is good for all- old or new citizens alike”. Lucky for you that you are a doctor and not a saleman. 🙂

    Then again, the KTM is not a big fan of granting citizenship liberally anyway and so doesn’t have any major violent objections. It just seems like a pretty illogical and pointless thing to do. 🙂

  11. Atomic Monkey said

    KTM, you not understanding ah??? he want to keep his job, bc the ah pek from banglaland will probably be so decrepit and blind, he will end up shooting you in the backside during target practice, there by ensuring job security for our dr friend.

    Remember in the new economy everyone has a vested interest.

  12. Melissa said

    What’s wrong with that, then?

    As the new economy is really about vested interest, then Doc is only speaking for his industry segment … for job growth and employability.

    Why is it then, only corporations for their survival, can explore ways to keep themselves afloat and not Singapore entrepreneurs? Afterall, Dr is self-employed like most GP.

    If the proposal benefits doctors, then more foreign doctors will arrive at our shores. Who knows, all those John Hopkins types will rethink again.

    And if Doc flourishes with this proposal, he can expand his practice and start employing foreign talents and locals alike.

  13. Melissa said

    By the way, I hope PM is not thinking of inviting ‘decrepit and blind’ foreign talents en masse. What use are they for us? Like KTM said.

  14. I think PM needs another rally to clarify what he is inviting to our shores …

    Some equate them with india old ah peks, others think they are world renowned citizens that every global city is hankering after and therefore we must kowtow to them.


    Inspired, your mention of me made me feel a little more like being PM now. See my latest post for my reply to my reply …

  15. happyboy said

    I think the term foreign talent is very misleading. For one the term “talent” implies they come with certain skill sets, but in most cases these skills are no different or better than what we locals have to offer.

    On the other type of “talent”, I agree with the idea every country needs a class of super talented people.

    So there are two types of immigrants, one is the normal type like you and me. The other is the super brain type.

    Both are required, but I am not very sure myself. Perhaps someone can add on this.

  16. wbg said


    you have used a very simple analogy to fit a large complex problem. It is similar to closing one eye to see the larger picture. I think Singapore has got its hands tight in the struggle for survival.

    Using the term of loyalty already means to discriminate outsiders from one’s own by being loyal.

    The direction you are heading with your perceptions is not a wise one, I would prefer you to discuss head on what is about FTs that sets them apart from Singaporeans, rather than just join the crowd and flame open targets.

    Is it really about discrimination or is it about talents and character? Or maybe FTs are just more open, gracious and less sarcastic?

  17. Hi all,
    Aesop,who us after all just a slave told a simple tale-
    Goatherd treated new goats better than old goats (with ulterior motive of attracting them to stay). The new goats thought that if goatherd is so mean as to mistreat old goats in order to get new goats, was not interested. Period.
    Perception by some is that they are neglected/deemed expendable/not loved anymore.. I could go on but too mushy already…
    To me,Citizenship (not PR.. ) should be something to be treasured and not given out liberally just becos you want a few more % of this here and a few more % this there!
    Of course govt happy also that these new citizens are their natural supporters as the Chinese and Indians already think our founder is like demi-god.
    To ensure that these citizens are not fly by night types, surely some sure of commitment eg some form of community service-call it NS or BS ( or anything).. will give new and old opportunity to mingle/gel/whatever..
    As mentioned in original post, it can be pro-rata.. ah pek too old of course exempt la, unless they volunteer to be patient for CPR training ( joking). Young (new) citizens do more, older less.. too much to ask?
    If we can’t even get them to do a little time.. then you expect their children to do… dream on!
    You guys can call me names ( xenophobe etc)… ouch! maybe I should just let all be sc***d (abused) again and again …
    I do not blame the new citizens.. it is the system. If I were them, and it is so easy to get the pink IC, I would do the same. Easy to get US green card from S’pore than China.
    PR is not the issue. If there is no difference whether PR/citizen, of course I will remain PR.
    If I am the PR of any other nation, I would not begrudge the nation for treating the citizen as citizen and a PR as just another non-citizen, albeit a friend.
    Scholarships for non-citizens… wow that’s hard to defend right? I am not talking about scholarships for other nation’s up&coming leaders… with view of getting into their good books etc. That’s different. That’s foreign policy etc.
    OK, it these kids have been with us since sec school or even JC… maybe, they are almost one of us. But I hope they are not scouting them when they can’t tell Toa Payoh from Tampines. These scholarships are expensive.. do they have to get gaurantors for the $500K or so like our own kids? ( I know, cos I am a gaurantor for a friend’s kid).
    Friends, I have many non-Sg friends, they would understand that any nation would treat their own citizens a notch above others, wouldn’t they? (hmm.. is that why those friends giving me cold shoulder past days?)
    Let’s think about this! Don’t be lazy and let THEM think for us!

  18. wbg said

    Dr Huang,

    NS is so wonderful, we want to reserve it all for our loyal Singaporeans. Its the *bonus* for being born and bred in Singapore.

    I myself got to meet so many guys whom were such wonderful distractions. I still think about them on and off.

    You have forgotten that foreigners cannot serve NS because they would get to know our military secrets.

    Pes F(Foreign haha) Singaporeans who are excused from NS are still Singaporean citizens.

    So don’t mix the effects of globalisation with other petty stuff, like what this following link talks about. Its insanely funny.

  19. WBG,

    I think u should read KTM’s piece on citizenship and loyalty. Loyalty is passe. NS is just a citizen’s requirement lah … which I do agree to a certain extent.

    Anyway, I don’t think our men knew much military secrets afte NS. But, I do agree they learnt a whole new language … of ‘chow keng’ and ‘gen’.

  20. Dr.Huang said

    Hi Whispers ( sound so romantic),
    I am so confused ( don’t know where to post… the threads are everywhere),
    I agree that NS should not just be in green..
    My “Wild goats ..) post is everywhere now (sammyboy/stomp/hardware)- now they will surely start a dossier on shit-stirrer like me!
    What a way to gain fame ( or infamy)

  21. inspir3d said

    Speaking of stomp, i just visited the starblog, and i realised that Kway Teow Man and Xiaxue are no longer amongst the starbloggers! what happened?

  22. Dr H,


    Somehow, old fogey here also feel being dragged along with you!!!

    Yes, I understand your message. Hopefully others will and see things in a bigger pespective and do the country some good.

  23. Inspir3d,

    Can I joke? I think KTM and Xiaxue has to make way for foreign talents …

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