Friday, August 25, 2006

We're not just passing through

WHEN one of my Indian friends, working across the Causeway for many years, decided to come here in search of a job, I remarked on how globalised he had become. He was an Indian living in Malaysia and was now crossing over to Singapore to work for an Australian firm!

The world is now the playground for a growing swathe of immigrant workers. Once, the Chinese and the Indians were inundating other countries, especially the affluent West; now, Americans and Europeans are travelling to the East to work in emerging economies like China and India. The East Asian tigers including Singapore have long been magnets for itinerant westerners.

But while the governments of these countries might welcome foreign workers, the local population may not be so enthusiastic, especially towards the Asian imports.

At Sunday's National Day Rally, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted that some Singaporeans felt bitter about having to compete with foreigners for jobs.

This feeling is common in many countries. When jobs get "Bangalored" (read: outsourced) from rich western countries, the average citizen feels threatened. But when interdependence among countries and people is the order of the day, countries need to be open to foreign talent — otherwise, it will simply fly to a more hospitable destination.

Read the rest of it here.


monideepa said...

It's interesting that Bangalore itself has become 'Bangalored'. Itinerant workers and a huge floating population from other parts of India and abroad heavily outnumber the original natives. Onward to a world without borders.

Zafar Anjum said...

Thanks Moni. That is an interesting observation, and most authentic in my eyes as it comes from a Bangalorean! Looks like Thomas Friedman will have to do a rethink when he revises his book, The World is Flat. Cheers!