ADAM KHOO: THE EXPATS WILL RULE SINGAPORE

I have a prediction. My prediction is that in a couple of years, the expatriates (from China, India, US etc…) will rule Singapore. They will increasing take on more leadership roles of CEOs, directors, heads of organizations, award winners etc… If you observe closely, it is already happening now. This year’s top PSLE (Primary School Leaving Exam) student is a China National. Most of the deans list students and first class honours students in the local universities are foreigners and more and more CEOs, even that of government link corporations are expats. The top players in our National teams are expats.

As a Singaporean, I am not complaining. I think that in a meritocratic society like Singapore, it is only fair that the very best get rewarded, no matter their race, religion or nationality. Like Lee Kwan Yew said, I rather these talented and driven people be on our team contributing to our nation than against us from their home country. The question I have been asking is, ‘why are the expats beating the crap out of Singaporeans?’ What I noticed is that these expats have a very important quality that many Singaporeans (especially the new Y generation lack). It is a quality that our grandfathers and great-grandfathers (who came from distant lands) had that turned Singapore from a fishing village to the third richest country in the world (according to GDP per capita). Unfortunately, I fear this quality is soon disappearing from the new generation of Singaporeans. This youth development quality is the HUNGER FOR SUCCESS and the FIGHTING SPIRIT!!!

Expats who come here today have the same tremendous HUNGER for success that our grandfathers had. They are willing to sacrifice, work hard and pay the price to succeed. They also believe that no one owes them a living and they have to work hard for themselves. They also bring with them the humility and willingness to learn. Take the case of Qui Biqing, the girl from Qifa Primary school who topped the whole of Singapore in last year’s PSLE with a score of 290. When she came to Singapore 3 years ago from China, she could hardly speak a word of English and didn’t even understand what a thermometer was. Although she was 10 years old, MOE recommended she start at Primary 2 because of her lack of English proficiency. After appealing, she managed to start in Primary 3. While most Singaporeans have a head start of learning English at pre-school at the age of 3-4 years old, she only started at age 10. Despite this handicapped, she had the drive to read continuously and practice her speaking and writing skills, eventually scoring an A-star in English!

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This hunger and drive can also be seen in the workforce. I hate to say this but in a way, I sometimes think expats create more value than locals. Expats are willing to work long hours, go the extra mile, are fiercely loyal to you and don’t complain so much. They also come alot more qualified and do not ask the moon for the remuneration. Recently, I placed an ad for a marketing executive. Out of 100+ resumes, more than 60% came from expats. While locals fresh grads are asking for $2,500+ per month, I have expats with masters degrees from good universities willing to get less than $2,000! They know that if they can come in and learn and work hard, they will eventually climb up and earn alot more. They are willing to invest in themselves, pay the price for future rewards. Sometimes I wonder how some of the locals are going to compete with this. Of course, this is just a generalization. There ARE definitely some Singaporeans who create lots of value and show fighting spirit.

Unfortunately, I have found that more and more young Singaporeans lack this hunger for success. Instead, they like to complain, blame circumstances and wait for others to push them. Some hold on to the attitude that the world owes them a living. I shake my head when I see local kids nowadays complain that they don’t have the latest handphones, branded clothes and games. While I acknowledge that the kids of today are much smarter and well informed than I was at their age (my 4 year old daughter can use my Macbook computer and my iphone), I find that they lack the resilience and tenacity they need to survive in the new economy. Some kids nowadays tend to give up easily once they find that things get tough and demand instant gratification. When they have to work first to get rewards later, many tend to lack the patience to follow through.

So, how did this happen? Why is our nation of hardworking, hungry fighters slowly becoming a nation of complaining softies? I think the problem is that life in Singapore has been too good and comfortable. Kids today have never seen hunger, poverty, war and disasters. What makes it worse is that parents nowadays give kids everything they want and over protect them from hardship and failure. Parents often ask me why their kids lack the motivation to study and excel. My answer to them is because they already have everything! Giving someone everything they want is the best way to kill their motivation. What reason is there for them to fight to become the best when they are already given the best from their parents without having to earn it? It reminds me of the cartoon movie MADAGASCAR where Alex the Lion and his animal friends were born and raised in the Central Park Zoo. They were well taken care of and provided with processed food and an artificial jungle. When they escaped to Africa, they found that they could barely survive in the wild with the other animals because they had lots their instincts to fight and hunt for food. They could only dance and sing.

I see the same thing in the hundreds of youth activity, seminars, training programmes and youth programs I conduct. I see increasing more and more expats attending my Wealth Academy and Patterns of Excellence programme in Singapore. Not surprisingly, they are always the first to grab the microphone to answer and ask questions. While many of the locals come in late and sit at the back. The expats (especially those from India and China) always sit at the front, take notes ferociously and stay back way after the programme is over to ask questions. I feel ashamed sometimes when I ask for volunteers to ask questions, and the Singaporeans keep quiet, while the foreigners fight for the opportunity. For my “I Am Gifted, So Are You!’ programme for students, I have the privileged to travel and conduct it in seven countries (Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia etc…) and see all students from all over. Is there a big difference in their attitude and behaviour? You bet!

Again, I feel really sad that in Singapore, most students who come are usually forced by their parents to come and improve themselves, Some parents even bribe them with computer games and new handphones to attend. During the course, some adopt the ‘I know everything’ attitude and lack the interest to succeed until I kick their butts. It is so different when I go to Malaysia, Indonesia and once in India. The kids there ask their parents to send them to my programme. They clap and cheer enthusiastically when the teachers enter the room and participate so willingly when lessons are on. I still scratch my head and wonder what happened to my fellow Singaporeans to this day.

So mark my words, unless the new generation of Singaporeans wake up and get out of their happy over protected bubble and start fighting for their future, the expats (like our great grandfathers) will soon be the rulers of the country. At the rate at which talented and hungry expats are climbing up , our future prime minister may be an Indian or China PR or may even an Ang Moh!

Adam Khoo

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18 Comments

You sir, are a choice idiot.

You sir, are a choice idiot. Foreigners in sg are driven by greed, and c*nts like YOU value long hours over QUALITY. choke and die as*hole

Adam, expats, especially

Adam, expats, especially those from neighbouring countries can afford to accept a lower salary due to the exchange rates. Their long term plan is NOT to stay on in S'pore forever. They will eventually return to their home countries.

I don't agree that expats are more hardworking, particularly. It's the skin colour that got them the job. In fact, the Caucasians are more relaxed at work.

How can S'poreans afford a

How can S'poreans afford a low salary when public housing prices have risen exhorbitantly over the years, with new HDB flat prices pegged to the resale market, driven up by cash rich PRs who purchase them.

A typical household has the following basic monthly expenses:

1. Childcare and school fees
2. Milk powder (very expensive)
3. School bus fees (very expensive at $160 a month)
4. HDB housing loan that can stretch up to $2K a month
5. Exhorbitant public transport fares that rises annually
6. Property tax for owner owned HDB flat (huh!!!???)
7. And many more misc basic daily needs expenses

Please brush up on your

Please brush up on your language.

This is nationalistic and

This is nationalistic and borderline racist. Singapore's population is bolstered by people from other countries and thrives because of this. What would happen to the economy if every foreigner left tomorrow? I come from a nation that has a hugely mixed population and embraces that, without trying to point fingers and victimise the very people that help improve the economy of a nation, without judging them on the colour of their skin or ethnic background. If I was on the board of an international company I would want the best person to lead that company and the colour of their skin would not have anything to do with my choice on leader and the interests of the shareholders. Let's all learn to get along!

Adam, while i agree with some

Adam, while i agree with some points you make. I think the term 'expats' is vague. We call a $2000 salaried employee an expat as we do a $20,000 a month employee. You really think a Brit,American, Aussie will come to Singapore and earn less than a Singaporean - I don't think so. Neither will they outperform us in the classroom. Yes, maybe the Indians and Chinese have a better work ethic but must we really be the best at everything? This desire to be the best is what's encouraging teachers to pile more homework to students and for parents to fork out their hard-earned money to send their kids to programs like yours. Where do we draw the line?

I have to disagree. Most

I have to disagree. Most expats are paid at least 6k minimum, their lifestyle is more relaxed. It is majority of singaporeans who like to wayang everyone that they can work overtime and harder than anybody. Most European expats are out of the office by 6pm. I would say most Europeans expat prefer productivity over long hours of work which will degrade a person's work output.

If I made $2, 000 per month.

If I made $2, 000 per month. Do you think I can afford send my child to your courses? As a employer you really suck! Do you know the costs of living in Singapore ?

Seriously, I'm starting to

Seriously, I'm starting to doubt his credibility.

The minimum salary for an S

The minimum salary for an S pass is $2200. So how is it possible for them to accept a $2000 or less offer as it does not meet MOM criteria?

hey friends, lets give this

hey friends, lets give this number ? adam a chance to speak like everyone else. cant you see his observation mainly came from his classrooms? myopic i must say.
i guess all readers here are marking his words like he says.

we have the
first adam who is our forefather
second adam our savior
he is number what huh?

I have foreign friends (East

I have foreign friends (East Asian and Southeast Asian) who are working here on local terms. They face the same cost structure as us. They work hard, take time to brush up their English and the non-Chinese are learning the Chinese Language! We are in danger of losing out to people hungry for success. It is a timely reminder.

*If I made $2, 000 per month.

*If I made $2, 000 per month. Do you think I can afford send my child to your courses? As a employer you really suck! Do you know the costs of living in Singapore ?
- it is a prediction, you are not from a young generation who are mostly fresh grads, you even got child already. He is referring to young fresh grads who are looking for their first full time job not people in middle age with family.

*The minimum salary for an S pass is $2200. So how is it possible for them to accept a $2000 or less offer as it does not meet MOM criteria?
- the expats (who are HUNGER FOR SUCCESS and have FIGHTING SPIRIT!!!) are the one who willing to work even with lower salary, it is their selling point to get hired by the employer (even if the employer will give them min salary which meet MOM criteria, 2200 is still better than 2500+per month). An employer will definitely choose the expats rather than the local who asked for 2500+ per month since both of them are fresh grads. It is because of this the expats win over local.

U guys are really close minded, he (adam) is only telling his opinion and maybe his prediction can happen in the future if the future generations are like you guys.

u guys should really start to think how to win over the expats not bullshitting here

This is bullshit! We are not

This is bullshit! We are not comparing, we are voicing out.
Which idiot associate having a child to be middle age with family?

Sorry, I'm a poly grads just graduate a few years ago in yr 2011, who just found my first full time job of starting pay $1,950/mth after taking up numerous part-time job, with a kid of 2 years old. Am I in the better position to disagree what Mr Adam has said?

I disagree with Mr Adam that most Singaporean does not HUNGER for SUCCESS. Indeed, I may not have gone through any war or disaster, but I am a Singaporean and I do hunger for success, and I seriously believe majority of the Singaporean out there even those working in overseas are still working hard and struggling for success. I know that Singapore is a meritocratic society, and our system is that the very best get rewarded, no matter their race, religion or nationality. But not all of the Singaporean benefited from these system. The high income group will eventually able to study any high professional education, taken up highly paid position but how about the middle and lower income group?

Do you ever know how the "not so rich" paying off their uni fees? What I would like to say is that not most of us here are able to pay for the harsh uni fees and not everyone has the luxury to attend "Mr Adam" course and please don't use that as a statistic to mark every Singaporean down.
Mr Adam is only able to relate to this minority "rich" Singaporean and foreign expats which are able to pay to attend his course. I am not born in a rich family, but I'm striving hard to be success.

In Singapore, $2000/mth is roughly the benchmark of a poly grad, and with my current job, I am still struggling to save up for my uni education and concurrently to pay off my bills and necessity. For a normal Singaporean adults with a monthly gross salary of $2000 after deducting CPF, the salary to bring home is only $1600, which in the end need to pay all those necessary bills like transport fares, phone bills, study loans for poly/ uni studies, HDB loans, utilities bills example gas, electricity and water, not mentioning insurance and saving up for a child education and many more. As extract from Tan K S comment:

A typical household has the following basic monthly expenses:

1. Childcare and school fees
2. Milk powder (very expensive)
3. School bus fees (very expensive at $160 a month)
4. HDB housing loan that can stretch up to $2K a month
5. Exhorbitant public transport fares that rises annually
6. Property tax for owner owned HDB flat (huh!!!???)
7. And many more misc basic daily needs expenses

Do you really believe these family earning for $2000/mth, not hungering and struggling for success? With the high standard of living in Singapore, most of the Singapore is already feeling the pinch when the transport fare, COE and prices for HDB rises and more uni/poly spaces and job opportunities is being filled up by foreign expat but we are still fighting. Singaporean is already complaining. Most of the uni grads I known are working as a part-time sales promoter or even as a hawker in food center, working in long hours to even to survive the high living standard after being rejected numerous time in job interview. Can't you able to hear these voices of these Singaporean and that Singaporean is still fighting. When everything in Singapore rises except your salary, don't you feel the same too as a Singaporean? I believe most of us Singaporean will feel Mr Adam comment is very shallow.

*The minimum salary for an S

*The minimum salary for an S pass is $2200. So how is it possible for them to accept a $2000 or less offer as it does not meet MOM criteria?

Generally speaking, only an employer who bends the rules knows how the rules can be bent.
That's how it is possible.

Pls think before u say or

Pls think before u say or post this kind of comment

From the comments that I have

From the comments that I have read, some of us just want to continue comparing, complaining and just do not want to heed his words, some of which are true. He is coming from an educator's perspective and I think it should be taken seriously as far as the classroom perspective or the perspective of our education system is concerned. However, how this translates to the opportunity one gets in the workplace is subjective.

I have seen foreigners who have been given everything in life still making it as executives in Singapore.
I myself do not like seeing foreigners taking up good posts instead of the post being given to us eventhough there is an ample pool of Singaporeans who have applied for the jo

Hunger for success: Get the government to look

Why structure it this way

Why structure it this way since observations on our current generation are made. This aint gonna get you a home run, if you are intending to spur and inspire, perhaps.

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