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Should We Be Sceptical of the PAP’s Exaggerated Claims That Singapore Is So Bereft of Talent We Need So Many Massively Overpaid FTs?

Recently my eye was drawn to an article on state media’s clickbait site AsiaOne about an expat’s $11,650 a month basic living expenses. It says she is an expat despite the article revealing that she has been living in Singapore for 10 years.After so long she and her partner should have been eligible for PR, and probably for citizenship provided they had no criminal record and had proven themselves to be loyal supporters and propagandists for the brilliance of the PAP Government, or at least with the good sense to keep their mouths shut and not express any anti-death penalty views or show support for other social causes. However, like a lot of expats in Singapore with male children she has probably been renewing her Employment Pass regularly rather than taking up PR so that she and her son can continue to enjoy all the socioeconomic benefits of living in Singapore, with low taxes and domestic slaves, sorry FDWs, at their beck and call without any of the unpleasant burdens placed on ordinary Singaporean men such as having to give up two years of potential earnings to serve the forced labour tax that is NS.

The expat household’s total income is undoubtedly substantially above $11650. The female expat states that this does not include her personal expenses on items like skincare nor the family’s shopping nor does it include costs of holidays or savings. Neither does it include income tax which would be around 10% of income at that level. I assume medical expenses and insurance would be covered by their employers as would probably be membership of a pension scheme. Together these expenses should add up to at least 17% of income so the same level as Employer CPF but Employer CPF is not payable on salaries above $6,000. Taking these extra expenses into account and making allowance for income tax then conservatively the expat household’s total income, including likely employer payments for health insurance and pension fund contributions, would mean that their total income could be conservatively 40% higher than their basic living expenses so around $16,300 per month. I have not made allowance for school fees for an international school which the expat does not mention but these would probably be paid by her employer and should be included in income. If we took these into account they would probably add on about $3-4,000 per month to the household’s total expenses.

Even without adding on school fees (it is not clear from the article whether tuition fees of $900 and extra activities’ fees of $800 are on top of or her son’s total education costs) household income of $16,300 per month would place them in the top 15% of resident employed households by income (excluding employer CPF contributions). If we add on another $1,000 to represent employer CPF contributions then they would still be in the top 20%. However if we assume that international school fees are paid by her employers then the household’s income would be around $20,000 per month which would place them in the top 10% of earners. And remember that the statistic for incomes of resident employed households is the Department of Statistics does not break out separate figures for the incomes of Singapore citizen households which would probably be lower, perhaps significantly, as residents would include PRs whose income is likely higher on average than Singaporeans. The household here may be PRs. While PRs are only about 20% of the citizen population it is likely that a significantly higher percentage work. I estimated the PR labour force participation rate at 80% in arriving at my conclusion that possibly as many as half of Singapore citizens have withdrawn from the labour force because of the difficulty in finding work that paid a living salary.

Even though this household’s income would probably place it in the top 10-20% of Singaporean (including PR) households by income they are probably below the median income for expat households since their rent of $4,000 per month for a two bedroom flat seems on the low side. According to AsiaOne she works in the dental industry and one has to wonder why we need expat dentists when Singapore is not short of qualified dentists and many more graduate every year. Perhaps she is only a hygienist and her partner is the main earner. Singaporeans should still ask themselves why even low ranking expats earn so much when all their fringe benefits are included and why it is still worthwhile to employ them when they are so much more expensive than locals. Also why should they receive so many benefits like low taxation when they do not have any of the burdens of Singaporeans, like NS and reservists? The persistence of such large differentials for so many years despite strong economic incentives to reduce them might be the result of a lingering colonial mentality which assumes that anyone of white skin, or indeed any foreigner, is better than a local and reinforced by a deliberate PAP policy of subsidising FTs. Keeping Singaporeans insecure and fearful of being displaced in their own country while promoting a large class of foreign sycophants has always been part of the PAP’s agenda for decades. Remember LKY’s words about Singaporeans needing a spur in their side from immigration to avoid them becoming complacent and lazy? Every time LHL and his MInisters start clamouring that Singapore needs to remain open to global talent if it is to survive, Singaporeans should demand a level playing field as a minimum.


  1. Kenneth,

    It’s not just Singapore. It’s all over the world. I saw a report where 6/10 working class people( cleaners, waiters, retail, etc) can’t live in London because they’ve been priced out. Immigration is an important factor.
    Canada wants to bring 500 000 new immigrants and everyone wonders where how the country will absorb them. I’m sure there are other examples but you get the idea.


  2. Pap would rather give money to foreigners, over paid them, than looking after her people, she would gamble our wealth away with bitcoin, zilingo and massive loss incurred as a result, her reasoning would be like any gambler who lost , it is for long term investment, we will get back our money next time. Most gambler who did not ger back their money, diappeared or commit harakiri


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