Monday, February 26, 2007

Alex Au(Yawning Bread) has lost the plot

Alex Au of Yawning Bread fame, has never made it a secret that he supports the Singapore government's "foreign talent" policies, but of late, he has turned downright into a cheerleader for more "foreign talent".

In his latest piece on Yawning Bread, 6.5 million will make a different Singapore, he is blatantly accusing Singaporeans of being "economically illiterate" for not embracing the "foreign talents" with open arms. You can see how lopsided his argument is, with his example of importing 2 million foreigners into an uninhabited island with no natural resources, and a thriving economy will exist just by having the foreigners there, and somehow, the same will apply to Singapore when we import over 2 million foreigners MORE to meet the 6.5 million target.

How lame is his example?

First of all, Singapore is not an uninhabited island. Can he be sure that the original inhabitants will be better off after the island population nearly doubles? Can he even be sure the proportion that benefits from the population not be meaninglessly small?

But Singapore is not Malaysia. We embrace globalisation and we do not protect our "Children of the Earth". Which begs the the next question: 2 million more foreigners do not congregate in an island with no natural resources automatically. There has to be some incentive to attract them here. There has to be more incentives to keep them here, because I dont think most people can get off just by rubbing shoulders with strangers in an incredibly crowded island. Who foots the bill to attract all these foreigners? Who pays the price to keep the foreigners here? For such massive number of immigrants to stay, it is inevitable that we put the foreigners on a pedestal, and relegate Singaporeans to a second class status.

As an avid traveller, I am keenly aware that some of the most wonderful tourist sights are often omitted by popular tour guidebooks, not out of ignorance, but because the writers feel they have a moral obligation not to destroy the pristine settings with endless hordes of package tourists who has no personal interest in the sights other than snapping photos to prove they were there. If Singapore cannot keep up the incentives to keep our millions of foreigners here, and after all the foreigners leave, what will Singapore be left with? Would the most talented and mobile Singaporeans who were forced out by the crowding want to return?

None of these are important to Alex Au, of course. He thinks all the problems with overcrowding will be solved by the government's excellent planning skills. Yes, the same government that threatened the people "Stop at two" in the 70s with punitive measures, now blame the people for three decades of low birthrate, using it as the convenient excuse for the indiscriminate import of foreigner, is going to plan all the problems away with their unrivalled foresight.

That, and avoiding "over-regulation" and conservative risk averse "habits of mind" is all we need. By that, I suppose he means legalising gay sex, and everybody will live in harmony ever after.

Yes, it is obvious Alex Au supports the import of foreigners because it will make the strengthen his gay rights movement. He sees Singaporean minds calcified with homophobia and is incapable of moving forward without a kick in the butt by foreigners. The tipping point was probably Workers' Party recent declaration of their reluctance to champion gay rights. He probably feels betrayed by the Worker's Party, after he framed and made famous the greatest victory of the Workers' Party in recent memory. Since opposition politics is not going to help his primary cause: gay rights, then I guess he is better off currying the favour of the ruling party. Come to think about it, the ruling party's strategy to fix the internet may not be that anonymous at all.

I used to be a big fan of Yawning Bread, and it had a great impact on me regarding gay rights. But the more I read, the more I see, Alex Au is just another foreigner worshiping, Singaporean loathing Singaporean. Take a look at "What a clean and cultured place we have" to see what he really thinks about Singapore and Singaporeans.


  1. Why are you surprised?
    His primary focus/groupthink upfront is for his viewpoint which revolves around his group which will expand in all directions see Andrew Sullivan's blog.
    Look at the comments on the charities issue.
    Secondly would be on his economic affairs as a self-employed businessman.
    He does mask it thru certain rheotorics but his primary objective remains. So long as local Singapore attitudes remain non-productive for his cause, so alternatives are sought.
    Welcome to polar Politics 101,where there will always be strange fellow travellers. if noticed, he always pounces on the words but not the actual actions.

  2. Hehe...u cant really blame alex... there are times when i also feel like asking people wake up their bleddy idea...

    but i have always felt he doesnt singapore bash as much as the powers that be and some jokers on the ST forum.

  3. I guess it is a matter of expectations. I see him as an important leader in the local blogosphere, so I naturally hope he will be kinder to fellow Singaporeans.