Singapore—Lawyer and opposition leader Lim Tean said in a Facebook post on Monday (Mar 29) that he will no longer be using the phrase “foreign talent” for workers from overseas who are employed in Singapore.
He suggested instead that these individuals be referred to as “foreigners working in Singapore” instead, and that when talking about talent, “local talent” should be given emphasis.
Mr Lim, who is the head of the opposition People’s Voice party, is calling on others to follow his example and do the same.
It seems that he believes the term “foreign talent” originated from the ruling People’s Action Party and carries implications detrimental to the national workforce.
“For too Long, Singaporeans have been hoodwinked by the PAP and their MSM mouthpiece into thinking that there is something special about the migrant workforce, which is missing from the Singaporean worker. That is absolutely not the case!” he wrote.
To strengthen his case, he added that many of the workers from overseas in Singapore are from countries whose colleges and universities are ranked lower than Singapore’s higher learning institutions.
“If NUS and NTU, which rank in the TOP 15 in the World, are not producing graduates which are considered local talents, then there must be something wrong with the ranking system!”
He argued that if people want to change “the dreadful labour situation” for the coming generations as well as for PMETs (professionals, managers, executives, and technicians), then it begins with the language and narrative.
“Let’s not be fooled any longer by the language which the PAP and the MSM have visited on us all these years,” he added.
He urged the public to “banish the ill-founded phrase ‘Foreign Talent’” from their speech and writing, and use the term “foreigners working in Singapore”, aS well as “only talk about LOCAL TALENT.”
Mr Lim has long voiced support for the local workforce, to the point of starting a petition calling for CECA to be abolished and for the Government to return the “S$2,400-jobs” to Singaporeans first.
CECA is the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) signed by Singapore and India in 2005 to strengthen bilateral trade which allowed more Indian nationals to come to work in Singapore.
TISG reported in August last year that Mr Lim described CECA as a “one-way street”. Many consider it a significant component in the increasing number of foreign PMETs in Singapore.
The following month, he wrote a Facebook post urging the public to “immediately stop describing foreigners who come to work in our country as foreign ‘talents,‘” noting the term should be rarely used.
“Historians will only rarely bestow the word ‘great’ on someone who has been a transformational figure and changed the world,” Mr Lim added. He gave a few examples of “Greats” such as Napoleon, Peter the Great or Winston Churchill.
“For the same reason, we should immediately stop describing foreigners who come to work in our country as foreign ‘talents,’” Mr Lim continued. He noted how this was a term used by elites and mainstream media as a “clever ploy and euphemism to mask the horrendous number of foreigners” in Singapore allowed to earn a living.
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