Sunday, March 4, 2007

S'pore needs immigrants to avert population decline

This article is adapted from The Straits Times, Saturday 3 March. This article is about the problem of Singapore's expected declining population and the ways that the government are trying to tackle it.

Due to the higher standard of living in Singapore, many singles or even couples are more involved in their career. This will cause them to marry even later and giving birth to lesser kids. In turn, the population will start to decrease by 2020, 13 years from now. Therefore, solutions are needed to tackle the population challenge fast. DPM Wong: 'Country faces demographic doom if door is shut to them (immigrants).' The image used here is the 'door'. This means that if Singapore does not allow more immigrants to enter Singapore as residents, we will suffer from an ageing population, followed by a declining population in years to come.

Many other countries are also facing this problem of an ageing and declining population. A good example is Japan. With lesser and lesser students attending Japanese universities in Japan, they are encouraging more foreigners to join the education system in Japan. These students are mainly from China. Without this decision, Japan would face the same population problems like Singapore. As for China, it may face serious problems as they are limiting the number of children being born in each family. Sooner or later, the younger generations of China will be experiencing an ageing population and when the older generations die off, the population would decline. It is really a difficult choice to make.

The leaders of Singapore believe strongly that immigrants coming into Singapore can help with the economy and social problems, however some people may not support this idea. Some of them would feel that these immigrants (mostly highly educated) may be competing with Singaporeans for job opportunities here. This may not look very advantageous. But it is added that the Government will help them retrain and get better jobs. This way, the needs of every one is met.

Letting immigrants enter the country freely is claimed to be the key strategy to tackle the problem of the declining population. Many people question the government about how many immigrants should Singapore let in, however to the government, the question more appropriate would be whether Singapore has what it takes to be able to attract immigrants - currently we are facing serious competition with bigger countries such as United States and Australia for the talents. With a flourishing economy for the past few years, the government refers to this advantage as a 'window of opportunity' to attract foreign talents. This article has also urged Singaporeans to be more accepting towards immigrants and help them merge as one into the Singaporean society.

Being just a teenager, I have not really thought much and is not concerned very much about the danger on the population that Singapore will be facing soon, and may feel that it is a small matter. However we will be the ones who will experience this problem.

501 words

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