First of all, I would like to remind all that we are living in a globalised world. If the cost of programming work is too high, companies will simply outsource the work to other countries like India, Malaysia or even Vietnam these days. This will be a loss to Singapore.

Would you rather the work be done here in Singapore or other countries, even though in Singapore, they are done by foreign IT personnel, which include other nationals too like the Filipinos and Chinese?

You may ask, are there still advantages for Singapore to use lower cost foreign IT personnel to work here? Their presence here certainly helps other Singaporeans and businesses.

I can think of the following Singaporeans and businesses which can benefit from having foreign IT personnel working here:

1. House owners. Foreign workers coming here to work need a place to stay. A lot of Singaporeans are renting out their rooms and houses to them. The foreign workers help to earn rental income for Singaporeans. In turn, they help to pay for Singaporeans’ mortgages. What is wrong with that?

I’m not ashamed to say that I own a good condo unit in the East side of Singapore and I’m renting it to a nice Indian family who is working in the IT industry. Like any tenants, there are good and bad ones. As a landlord, you just need to know how to manage your tenants. I also have friends in Tampines renting out their HDB rooms to the Indian IT programmers, earning a good stream of rental income. Everyone is happy. What is wrong with that?

2. Foreign workers living in Singapore need to travel. They bring business to our transport companies like SMRT. Our SMRT in turn, employs mostly Singaporeans. In other words, foreign workers are helping to create more jobs for our transport industry. What’s wrong with that?

3. Foreign workers need to eat. In turn, they help our F&B industry to grow. Didn’t you read the news that F&B industry now wants to hire more Singaporeans? That means, more jobs created for Singaporeans in the F&B industry. What’s wrong with that?

4. Foreign workers also need to buy the usual living necessities like clothing, soap, shampoo, toilet papers, rice etc to live here. That means it’s a boon for our retail industry, helping to create more jobs in retail. Again, I would like to ask, what’s wrong with that?

I would like to advise all here not to be so small-minded and myopic. Think big and think strategically. Instead of complaining online, think about how to take advantage of the situation.

The unhappy people will waste their time online, griping away. The smart people will try to make the best out of the situation to make themselves happy.

Be smart.

M K Tan

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