Seah Chiang Nee has written an excellent piece for Malaysian newspaper, The Star.
In his column, he explores the interesting ambiguity about Singapore's population, and how Singapore citizens are not defined in official references and statistics, but are lumped together with Permanent Residents as "Singaporean residents".
According to 2007 census numbers, our population stands at 4.68 million. Foreigners number 1 million, and "Singaporean residents" number 3.68 million.
What is startling is that, if his estimates are correct, PR's make up 700,000 of the "Singaporean residents" numbers. This means that of the current population, only 63.67% are Singaporean citizens.
With the government's push to increase immigration numbers, I will not be surprised when Singaporean citizens make up less than half the population here, in the next few years.
But Singaporean citizens need not feel shortchanged. We all know it is important to have foreign talent, or we will not have jobs, as gahmen reminds us. Again and again and again.
We have a very Singapore-style level playing field.
Look at the foreign talent schemes where foreign students come into our schools on full scholarships with no strings attached. After they enjoy our local schools for free, they depart for a better future elsewhere, leaving us with the lingering scent of their scholarly contributions.
I am sure Singaporean citizens look at the soaring property prices and unprecedented inflation, and tell themselves, it's all for our country's good. Those are signs of growth!
Also non-citizens cannot vote. You, Singaporean born-and-bred, can sometimes vote during the elections, if there is no walkover in your estate. And you get the wonderful honour of spending two years in National Service, defending both citizens and the other half of the country that does not need to serve it.
See? Being a Singaporean citizen is so good, the gahmen had to hide our numbers in the job stats, and lump us with the PRs. Such a sweet deal should remain a secret, or else wait all the foreigners will trip over themselves to join our privileged ranks.
You can read his column in full, "Reclassifying Singapore’s population", over at his site.
IN THE face of a foreigner influx, a question that government officials are not rushing to answer is: “Who is a Singaporean?”
Strictly speaking, the Singaporean doesn’t exist in many official references, and has been displaced by ''the Singaporean resident.''
The Singapore resident has become a special category that officials generally use when talking about population and manpower.
Lumped together in this category are Singaporeans born and naturalised and foreigners who have been offered permanent residence (PR) before they apply for or are granted citizenship.
For some time now, the Statistics Department – in line with Manpower and other Ministries – has stopped classifying population the way other countries do, i.e. between citizens and foreigners.
Instead they are either “Singaporean residents” or “foreigners” (those on work passes as professionals, workers and students plus family members).
The word ‘Singaporean’ to refer to true-blue citizens is rarely, if at all, used – especially when talking about jobs.
So when the government announces that that the majority of new jobs had gone to locals, it is referring to Singaporean residents, which, of course, include foreign-born PRs.
Many people have been surprised to learn that there is no longer any separate listing for Singaporean citizens.