Shouldn't you be asking LadyNamibia what possessed him/her to, out of the blue, launch into a bad-tempered rant about Hong Kong vs. Singapore, mostly badmouthing Singapore viciously for some reason I cannot imagine nor comprehend. Honestly, I was surprised. And when CNN Center, another fellow Singaporean, informed me in a PM to ignore him/her, it had been my very intention to do just that. (CNN Center: Thanks for your PM and support. Regarding your statement that 'as long as we know she's spouting nonsense, we've really nothing to worry about' though, I have to say it may not be wise to let one who, as you said, 'argues in such a puerile manner' off the hook and win with their bullying tactics.) I understand that you may be motivated to defend LadyNamibia and I don't know what your reasons are, but I hope you have the objectivity to note that it was of no real constructive purpose in this thread to bring up a Hong Kong vs. Singapore debate, especially one whose contents I, as a Singaporean, and CNN Center, as another, can vouch to be pure uncouth rubbish designed to insult Singaporeans.(Original post by Monteferro)
So it was this supposed "error" that began a bitter argument? Hong Kong is considered by many to be part of Southeast Asia as well as Northeast Asia. Technically it is legitimate because Hong Kong is at the same latitude as Northern Vietnam and North-central Myanmar. Also, many businesses (i.e. United Airlines) categorise it under the Southeast Asian region so LadyNamibia hasn't even made a mistake.
Nevertheless, it must be noted that it is suspiciously and immensely of interest for a supposedly well-travelled person to proclaim Hong Kong as part of a region hardly known to be part of Southeast Asia in Asia itself. Let the people of Asia speak for themselves. Besides, their voices were utterly drowned out by virtue of the culture of Orientalism in Western literature for centuries. Why don't we let the Asians themselves relate what they recognise in their own homelands? Perhaps you are ignorant about it, but in Asia, geographical distinctions of regions are clear and understood by even first-time travellers in Asia. And perhaps you are just simply unaware, but if you were to be so bold as to keep insisting on Hong Kong as part of Southeast Asia in front of an Asian, you would be a laughingstock. Surely even the most stubborn simpleton would have to concede that it is plain wrong when faced with irrefutable evidence of international recognition of its falsity. Indeed, it is laughable the great extent you took just to defend it, even claiming its natural geographical latitude to be of 'technical' relevance to artificially defined man-made borders and regions of countries. It's just like an arbitrary claim that, technically, it is legitimate to consider an apple to be a vegetable too like broccoli because, after all, both apples and broccoli are produced from the plant kingdom!
Officially and unofficially, Hong Kong is not part of Southeast Asia, regardless of whether or not people like you consider it to be. This can be analogised with certain groups of people, particularly in the UK, employing the term 'Asian' specifically to refer only Indian, Pakistanis, or people from South Asia, when internationally, it is overwhelmingly acknowledged that East Asians such as the Chinese, Koreans and Japanese are Asians as well (as it would be obvious to any individual) and should properly be called Asians. In today's modern world, no-one of considerable stakes in Asia would use an often offensive and vague term like 'oriental' which carries with it the baggage of century-old European ignorance, stereotypes and prejudices best elucidated by Edward Said's book Orientalism.
In addition, assuming your statements are true, just because "many" people and "many businesses" ("many" is a vague word for description I would strongly advise against using since it hides the real magnitude/size; incidentally also a favourite term on the disgusting Fox News channel to cover the fact that they have _no_reliable_statistics_or_evide nce to back them up) consider/categorise Hong Kong (part of the People's Republic of China which is part of East Asia) as part of the Southeast Asia family does not mean that it is true. This blatantly commits the argumentative fallacy of argumentum ad populum or otherwise called the appeal to popularity. In my opinion, such a tactic is bad taste and only exposes your fraudulence.
Having accessed United Airlines' website, I would not trust them to be reliable arbiters of basic common knowledge particularly after looking at this page: http://www.united.com/page/specialpa...2,1312,00.html
It even lists Hong Kong as a country when Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China is, as its name suggests, a city and a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China and as such, not a country. This discovery immediately discredits the United Airlines.
Also, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a political, economic, and cultural organisation of countries located in Southeast Asia. The People's Republic of China is not part of ASEAN (much less Hong Kong), and understandably so since I have never in my life read any books, broadsheet newspapers, came across websites or heard it mentioned on the mass media that The People's Republic of China is part of Southeast Asia. In fact, to be perfectly honest with you, this is by far the most absurd claim which should be rejected for someone like me, as a person who lives in an ASEAN country and takes an interest in ASEAN meetings and affairs.
The Wikipedia also provides useful clarification here :
I hope this clears up what should have been basic general knowledge known by everyone and should demand no clarifications for more astute and objective global citizens.Southeast Asia lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic and volcanic activity. Island arcs and archipelagoes lie southeast and also east of the Asian mainland. Southeast Asia is geographically divided into two regions, namely Indochina and the Malay Archipelago
Indochina or sometimes mainland Southeast Asia includes all of :
* Myanmar (formerly Burma)
* Thailand (formerly Siam)
* Formerly French Indochina comprised:
The Malay archipelago (Malay: Nusantara), variously Malay World, an ethno-cultural notion, or maritime Southeast Asia consists of:
* East Timor
Turn on thread page Beta
What’s it like growing up and living in Hong Kong? watch
- 30-07-2005 16:57
(Original post by vivado)
- 31-07-2005 12:05
Perhaps you are ignorant about it, but in Asia, geographical distinctions of regions are clear and understood by even first-time travellers in Asia. And perhaps you are just simply unaware, but if you were to be so bold as to keep insisting on Hong Kong as part of Southeast Asia in front of an Asian, you would be a laughingstock. Surely even the most stubborn simpleton would have to concede that it is plain wrong when faced with irrefutable evidence of international recognition of its falsity. Indeed, it is laughable the great extent you took just to defend it, even claiming its natural geographical latitude to be of 'technical' relevance to artificially defined man-made borders and regions of countries. It's just like an arbitrary claim that, technically, it is legitimate to consider an apple to be a vegetable too like broccoli because, after all, both apples and broccoli are produced from the plant kingdom!
Officially and unofficially, Hong Kong is not part of Southeast Asia, regardless of whether or not people like you consider it to be.
(Original post by vivado)
Shouldn't you be asking LadyNamibia what possessed him/her to, out of the blue, launch into a bad-tempered rant about Hong Kong vs. Singapore, mostly badmouthing Singapore viciously for some reason I cannot imagine nor comprehend. Honestly, I was surprised. And when CNN Center, another fellow Singaporean, informed me in a PM to ignore him/her, it had been my very intention to do just that. I understand that you may be motivated to defend LadyNamibia and I don't know what your reasons are, but I hope you have the objectivity to note that it was of no real constructive purpose in this thread to bring up a Hong Kong vs. Singapore debate, especially one whose contents I, as a Singaporean, and CNN Center, as another, can vouch to be pure uncouth rubbish designed to insult Singaporeans.
Prior to the long argument, LadyNamibia wrote:
(Original post by LadyNamibia)
my bad...the whole of asia then..
yeah...i think they do make assumptions about westerners coming to hk being rich. but aside from the passport, its also partially the culture here...there are lots of skin whitening products on the market..
my chinese friend's grandma told her to marry a westerner so that their eurasian kids would look better! while i definitely don't agree with that, it does show what kind of mindset some hk-ers have.
(Original post by vivado)
Hahaha. What a joke. Seriously, I question what you actually know about Asia, Hong Kong and Chinese culture.
See here:(Original post by LadyNamibia)
i take that as a personal insult. My father is from hong kong, i myself hold a singapore passport and lived there as a child...my grandma is a jew from israel. Out of all the countries you've mentioned, i've been to all but Bangladesh and the Maldives.
Having said that, how did LadyNamibia's Singapore-bashing come in? It came in where you said, "Singapore is clear about what sort of foreign talent we want. We want the best graduates from top universities like Harvard, Oxbridge and MIT, not the Oxbridge rejects who spend their lives messing and bumming around in meaningless activities. Hope this clears things up for all." To others who read the thread, that and the rest of the paragraph before it came across as pure snobbery - that is why someone responded with the words, "Because everyone wants to go to Oxbridge, right? Get off your high horse."
And so, because a) you rudely insulted LadyNamibia, and b) your words betrayed a sense of excessive superiority and pride (including national pride), LadyNamibia launched into an attack on you and Singapore. Yes your words are blunt, clear and to the point, but they reek of pretentiousness and arrogance.
- 31-07-2005 13:33
Is Hong Kong a country? Any answer to that question will be contentious, given that there is no one definition of what is a "country". In strict academic terms, Hong Kong is definitely not an independent state. It is definitely not a nation, even considering the debate as to what a nation is.
However, a review of books about international relations will have one discover that some classify places like Macau, Hong Kong and New Caledonia as countries, even though the legally belong to China and France respectively.
That is besides the point, however.
Monteferro, on the one hand, you would like vivado to "consider the fact that Hong Kong culture and Singaporean culture are very different"; on the other, you argue that "geographically and culturally, it (Hong Kong) is very close to Southeast Asia as well".
Besides making the obvious fallacy of self-contradiction, you made the more serious mistake of treating Southeast Asia as a homogenous bloc. That is, as any Southeast Asian - but not them alone - can vouch, far from the truth, even providing for the effects of globalisation.
You claimed that it is "not entirely wrong" to say that Hong Kong is a part of Southeast Asia, simply because culturally, Hong Kong is "close" to Southeast Asia. I hate to go to extremes but Australia is culturally similar to America. However, no one says that Australia is part of North America or that America is part of Australasia. You can go on and list a laundry list of differences between America and Australia, but I am sure you know better.
Additionally, cultures are not natural objects observed with impartiality. How similar two cultures are depends on who you ask.
That aside, however, using geographical latitudes as a technical argument to include Hong Kong in Southeast Asia cannot possibly hold water. Regions are, as vivado argued, arbitrarily demarcated. As far as your argument based on geography is not incorrect, Monteferro, it is at least as contentious as including Turkey in Europe. I would not invest too much weight in a geographical argument.
To end, hopefully not in an acrimonious manner, I want to say once again that Hong Kong is a great place.
- 31-07-2005 18:34
Thanks for your illuminating insight on this subject, CNN Center. I would like to add further comments and explanation to Monteferro's reply.
(Original post by Monteferro)
I would like to point out that I have travelled across Asia, and lived in both Singapore and Hong Kong, as LadyNamibia has done.
(Original post by Monteferro)
Perhaps I have not made my point clear enough - even though Hong Kong is undeniably part of Northeast Asia, geographically and culturally, it is very close to Southeast Asia as well. Thus the claim "Hong Kong is part of Southeast Asia" is not entirely wrong.
(Original post by Monteferro)
You pointed out that since Hong Kong is part of the PRC, it is not a part of Southeast Asia. I agree, but it is an area of confusion and whether you like it or not, there is no true international agreement on the issue.
I have yet to come across a credible international/regional organisation such as the World Bank and ASEAN or an encyclopedia in this post-colonial day and age which recognises Hong Kong as part of Southeast Asia and I stand by my previous argument. I challenge you to find one to prove me otherwise but I don't believe you can.
(Original post by Monteferro)
I agree that a Hong Kong vs. Singapore debate was unwarranted on the thread, but if you try to picture yourself in other people’s shoes (i.e. empathising), LadyNamibia’s reasons for bringing it up will become rather clear. It did not come out of the blue.
(Original post by Monteferro)
Prior to the long argument, LadyNamibia wrote:
And your prompt reply to this post which was mainly about attitudes in Hong Kong was this:
Your tone was harsh and offensive, and you did not take into account the fact that LadyNamibia is Asian and a Hong Kong resident. Hence, she took it as a personal insult.
You are right in saying that I can be blunt at times, although I reserve it for certain people only. After reading LadyNamibia's reply, my first reaction was amusement as I couldn't believe what I was reading. As I said, Asia is such a huge continent. So it's intriquing for LadyNamibia's claim of Hong Kong's nightlife being the best in Southeast Asia to be suddenly enlarged to the "whole of Asia". My guess was that she probably did not know which region Hong Kong belongs to. That's why she had to say the "whole of Asia". Naturally, what came out was 'hahaha' and 'what a joke'. Then I read:
"my chinese friend's grandma told her to marry a westerner so that their eurasian kids would look better! while i definitely don't agree with that, it does show what kind of mindset some hk-ers have."
Which I have to admit I found incredibly childish instantly. How can just _one_ person's testimony be any basis for a crude generalisation of the "mindset" of "some hk-ers"? Not least, speaking as someone who is Chinese and was brought up in pretty much the same typical culture of Chinese families regardless of which place - Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, etc. - they are in, watched Hong Kong films, listened to Mandarin pop music like Zhou Jie Lun, Andy Lau, Jacky Cheung on radio, I think most grandparents in Chinese families are very conservative and resistant to new ideas and have been known to be strongly against mixed marriages. (Believe it or not, the various groups of Chinese people have much in common regardless of which nationality they are. This is something that even I am constantly amazed when I meet Chinese people from elsewhere from time to time.) It is thus doubtful that such a mindset would be predominant amongst many Chinese grandparents and of course, I had to question her position to pass such an apparently unfounded remark. As I said earlier also, even if she is Asian and a Hong Kong resident, that doesn't mean she is necessarily an expert on Asia, Hong Kong and Chinese culture. Hence, put in her position, I wouldn't feel I have the moral authority to feel insulted if I didn't even know the difference between Hong Kong and Southeast Asia in the first instance.
I don't see how my factual statements on Singapore's policy of attracting foreign talent have anything to do with "national pride". Perhaps you can enlighten me on that. I would respect someone who could refute my statements instead of attacking my country irrationally. Much as you may like to assume otherwise, I wouldn't give a hoot if you did try to insult the country I happened to be borned in. In fact, I had no intention whatsoever of replying further to her defamatory comments about Singapore. My replies, as you might have gleaned, were purely motivated by your insistence that Hong Kong belongs to the Southeast Asia region.
In any case, it is interestingly kind of you to explain our past posts down to the tiniest detail. However, I am more interested in your own claim that Hong Kong is part of Southeast Asia and I hope you can justify it with better arguments (if any) than those you have given.
- 01-08-2005 14:53
If I had known that my contribution to what living in HK was like would cause so much bad blood, I would not have posted in the first place. Firstly, I apologize and agree that my Singapore-bashing was uncalled for and out of order. Had I known that an outsider (like cnn-center) was that appalled, I would have deleted those posts immediately. I also want to point out that I was not ENTIRELY critical of Singapore, and did mention that Singapore is cleaner and safer than HK.
"Singapore is clear about what sort of foreign talent we want. We want the best graduates from top universities like Harvard, Oxbridge and MIT, not the Oxbridge rejects who spend their lives messing and bumming around in meaningless activities. Hope this clears things up for all."
We are all people of Asia, and as cnn-center said, we are not a homogenous bloc. Christian87, the original starter of this thread asked what HK was like, and I told him what I thought personally. To Chistian87, please do NOT take my words as the gospel, but do consider it. He does not need to believe me, and can judge for himself what is the truth about living in HK if and when he comes here. He can choose to agree with Vivado, that I seemingly know nothing about HK culture, and that my opinions are childish, unfounded, and well…just a “joke”. He can choose to reject my comparisons with HK and Singapore too. That’s for him to decide.
Monteferro has not insisted that HK is a part of South East Asia. His very words were“You pointed out that since Hong Kong is part of the PRC, it is not a part of Southeast Asia. I agree, but it is an area of confusion and whether you like it or not, there is no true international agreement on the issue.”
It is true that many Chinese grandparents are conservative; hence I said “some hk-ers” instead of “many”. I never said that this mindset was predominant among grannies throughout Hong Kong, but it was a statement to prove that there are some hk-ers out there that seek to mix and mingle with Caucasians under the belief that it confers some kind of prestige. Such mindsets are not exclusive to HK, and the brilliant satirical film “I not stupid” highlights its place in Singaporean society too.
Nobody claimed to be an expert on Asian affairs and Chinese culture. Instead, I make sweeping generalizations, I’m childish, bad tempered, speak nonsense, and argue in a puerile manner with bullying tactics. I do not have the linguistic ability fit for Oxford, despite having secured a place there. So I don’t have the moral authority to feel insulted? With these personal attacks against me, you’ve initiated a logical fallacy yourself: argumentum ad hominem. Dear Vivado, have you ever watched Forrest Gump? The bit where Forrest says to Jenny, “I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is.” Such feelings: hurt, anger, love are innate and part of human nature. We as humans do not have the “right” or the “authority” to take offense. To feel insulted is instinctive, and we don’t have to pass a test of “morality” (which is often relative anyways) or intelligence to do so. We all are entitled to feel insulted, even if some of us don’t know the difference between HK and South East Asia in the first instance.
- 02-08-2005 09:17
I appeciate your more emotionally-balanced reply in your last post.
(Original post by LadyNamibia)
Had I known that an outsider (like cnn-center) was that appalled, I would have deleted those posts immediately.
(Original post by LadyNamibia)
By the way, I just wanted to tell u that i am reading law at oxford next year. I'm well aware that I could easily get a good job in singapore but what puts me off is that lots of singaporeans (like you) are so blindly patriotic about a country that has little to be proud of. This is the country that has the least sex in the world because they don't know how to loosen up, thus making labour costs very expensive. The country that misallocates its human resources, when a smart but physically weak boy has to forgo university years abroad for compulsory military service. No wonder you need to import graduates from other countrries. A country that regulates everything from how you flush your toilet to the gum you chew. The singapore buisness environment is less competitive than Hk's. The public transport systen is nowhere as good as hong kong.
I see, but really? Anyone with a bit of common sense and ability to experience feelings as part of human nature would have known that those scathing and false statements of yours are bound to offend people, particularly Singaporeans. Surely you don't need me to invite my Singaporean friends and family to corroborate for it.
- 02-08-2005 20:45
Originally Posted by LadyNamibia
By the way, I just wanted to tell u that i am reading law at oxford next year. I'm well aware that I could easily get a good job in singapore but what puts me off is that lots of singaporeans (like you) are so blindly patriotic about a country that has little to be proud of.I don't know what's the point you are trying to prove here.
The answer should be obvious: because not everyone can get into Oxbridge, but everyone with a pair of legs can visit a night club and make a fool of himself/herself.
I know for a fact that Oxbridge is not the be all and end all, whereas you made it seem as though becoming an "oxbridge reject" is derogatory. The "good job in Singapore" thing just serves to display how absurd it is Singapore really does pick its foreign talent soley on the basis of university reputations, as you suggested was the case. As for my job prospects in Singapore. Thanks for your concern, but I'm satisfied with my own brilliance and am confident in my own abilites despite their limitations. Nothing to worry about because
a) I have no intention of working in Singapore anyways.
At the risk of being labelled a Singsporean basher (again), I still have to say that while many Singaporean students are academically successful, many seem to have a rigid and inflexible thought process. ie) learning what they know based on hard work and memory instead of being genuinely gifted geniuses, as corroborated by your emphasis on their "freaky study habits". Hence, in the real working environment, competition isn;t really THAT cutthroat. Which is why, to my belief, it is beneficial for a Singaporean student to go to universities in the UK and the States to gain exposure to other learning habits, rather than stay at the NUS. Another thing about scholarships. Scholarships applicants are mostly driven by need instead of by merit. Therfore they can be distortive as not everyone qualified for the scholarship is going to apply for it. You, Vivado have neglected a whole pool of qualified students who can't be bothered/ are wealthy enough to ignore the scholarships. And they too can be really brilliant at everything they do.
- 06-08-2005 03:40
I grew up in Canada, but then we moved back to HK since I was 8.
Good things about Hong Kong:
- nice weather (besides heavy rains and typhoons - which could be quite interesting to watch if you're at home )
- lots of shops
- lots of restaurants (which means a lot of competition - so the quality of food is usually quite good)
- clean (used to be very dirty in the streets - but now there's a very heavy fine - HK$ 1500)
- beautiful night view
- public facilities usually good - e.g. sports centres, libraries, hospitals etc.
- competitve = good schools
- large areas of greenery
- Disneyland opening in HK THIS SEPTEMBER ... aren't you guys excited???
Bad things about HK:
- can't think of any really
- pollution? - less nowadays
- too much pressure and stress
- too crowded
- the income of ppl in HK are not balanced - e.g. many poor ppl and many rich people
Is it better than London? Not sure - it's two very different cities. I've been to London only once, last Summer Hols. London gave me a good impression - has a classical feel to it. And the people are nice there. But everything there is so damn expensive.
- 07-08-2005 16:19
I prefer to live in HK than in the UK - I have a better quality of life in Asia.
- 13-08-2005 03:34
It is extremely easy for you to say, "Oh, I made all these supposedly false statements about Singapore, and now, if they are wrong you should do all the homework for me", but one question remains- are you able to provide evidential material and support for your statements in the first place? If not, why not? Because it would arouse one's suspicion of the validity of your statements. If one wants to believe firmly in something, then there must be objective reasons leading to that and not because someone offended me and I have to cook up some nasty and insulting words back about her country.
When you say the Singapore business environment is less competitive than Hong Kong's, then there must be something (perhaps some study conducted by a credible organisation) which induces you to believe that and if it is online, you link to that to present your evidence. Well, I don't know about you, but for myself, it is certainly the minimum requirement to be rational about such beliefs, and not blindly take the testimony of one or two people and pretend it is representative for a significant bunch of them. Another thing that has to be said is that you can't always believe everything that people say, especially when it can only be backed up by one or two persons out of millions of Hong Kongers. That's why surveys are used, obviously. The World Economic Forum publishes such rankings about economic competitiveness every year, and its latest executive summary shows that Singapore (at 8th position) beats Hong Kong (at 19th position) in the Business Competitiveness Index (BCI). Singapore is ranked 6th in the Growth Competitive Index (GCI), 1st in the Macroeconomic Environment Index, 6th in the Public Institutions Index, and 12th in the Technology Index, while Hong Kong is ranked 24th in the Growth Competitive Index (GCI), 15th in the Macroeconomic Environment Index, 10th in the Public Institutions Index, and 37th in the Technology Index. Also, this has always been the case for several years; you can look at the GCI 2002 rank for example. Not surprising in the least if you know about all the economic planning, policies, analysis that took place since Singapore's independence 40 years ago to the recent various steps taken to maintain our economic competitiveness with the awareness of the new challenges we will face from the rise of China and India today. This is despite the many setbacks such as the Asian financial crisis, the SARS crisis, the tsunami effects, Bali bombing, etc. which hit us directly and indirectly, so I think we have done fairly well in the economic arena.
You say that I "played argumentum ad hominem". This is untrue. An argumentum ad hominem only occurs when a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument. I didn't reject your claims other the implication that Hong Kong belongs to the Southeast Asia region. Though I did question the credibility of your claims, this is dramatically different from saying "Oh you are wrong because you are ugly" or anything as irrelevant as that (and i.e. outrightly rejecting your claims). So this is not an argumentum ad hominem at all.
"I know for a fact that Oxbridge is not the be all and end all, whereas you made it seem as though becoming an "oxbridge reject" is derogatory."
This is untrue. You are breaking up my sentences into pieces and selectively pointing out only a part of what should be have been considered in its own context. What I explicitly referred to was "Oxbridge rejects who spend their lives messing and bumming around in meaningless activities" which is completely different from just "Oxbridge rejects" (some of whom are doing very well in other universities like Warwick, mind you). Oxbridge is not the be all and end all, of course, just like having attended a top public school doesn't mean you will be successful post-graduation. What makes you think it should even be an issue of contention? I, for one, have never taken it for granted that one's success (depending on your definition) in education necessarily translates in the workplace. Some people are very good at passing exams with flying colours, but they don't know how to work and get along with others in a team, or have very poor communication skills or other skills that vital in the working world. Some of these qualities, ironically, are stronger in people with high EQs.
"At the risk of being labelled a Singsporean basher (again), I still have to say that while many Singaporean students are academically successful, many seem to have a rigid and inflexible thought process. ie) learning what they know based on hard work and memory instead of being genuinely gifted geniuses, as corroborated by your emphasis on their "freaky study habits"."
Once again, you have put up a strawman fallacy. I would also appreciate it if you could quote my phrases accurately. I never said "freaky study habits" in my previous post. I also did not refer these habits purely to Singaporeans, so it's intriquing that you should, again and again, direct your criticisms at Singaporean students only. In fact, as I said (don't you think it's tiring having to repeat oneself? *sigh*), the foreign scholars' study habits are more freaky than the Singaporean students. As for fostering a rigid and inflexible thought process, I don't think so and I think you meet these kinds of students everywhere whether in the US, UK, Germany, China or Japan. Interestingly the American primary and secondary math curriculum was accused of encouraging pure memorisation of forumulae and in recent years, many schools and parents of home-schoolers in US have imported Singapore maths textbooks to teach their children by understanding the mathematical concepts using various tools. One interesting thing about Singapore is that we are constantly changing- and very rapidly. So your idea of Singapore ten years ago is very much likely to be inapplicable to what it is today. I would say we are generally stronger in the science, computing, engineering, and social science department. We neglected the performing and visual arts, literature and the humanities department in the past because economic survivability was at stake considering a country only 40 years of age at present but that is changing with a greater emphasis on these areas.
"Hence, in the real working environment, competition isn;t really THAT cutthroat. Which is why, to my belief, it is beneficial for a Singaporean student to go to universities in the UK and the States to gain exposure to other learning habits, rather than stay at the NUS. Another thing about scholarships. Scholarships applicants are mostly driven by need instead of by merit. Therfore they can be distortive as not everyone qualified for the scholarship is going to apply for it. You, Vivado have neglected a whole pool of qualified students who can't be bothered/ are wealthy enough to ignore the scholarships. And they too can be really brilliant at everything they do."
Well, I don't recall having said that non-scholars cannot be really brilliant at everything they do. Really. I don't what got into you, but certainly, I don't think non-scholars do not possess that capacity.
We are talking about Singapore, aren't we? In Singapore, scholarship applicants are not driven by need AT ALL and all scholarship applications are strictly assessed based on merit. Have you lived in Singapore long enough to know that we take meritocracy seriously? In fact, some of the scholarship holders come from extremely rich families with parents working in government as ministers, civil servants and so on. Since we are talking about Singapore, they are not as distortive as you imagine it to be. It's far more likely that people don't apply because they know they don't stand a chance. It would be useful to understand the usual criteria for scholarship applicants in Singapore because it is not purely based on academic achievements. In fact, it is very similar to Ivy league applications where you need not just academic achievements, but also extra-curricular activities, leadership, demonstrated passion for something and so on-- such things that, I would note, some students on TSR have complained and derided as meaningless (most likely because they were rejected from certain Ivies). So no, it's not true that in Singapore, scholarships applicants are mostly driven by need instead of merit. Scholarships, I would note, and as its name suggests, are different from financial assistance like bursaries which are based on need and I believe it's the same in the UK for the Gates Cambridge scholarship (nowhere does the webpage mention any criterion on financial need), etc. By and large, people are rational about their financial decisions, so I think even if they are rich, getting a scholarship can save a sum of money which they can spend on other goods and services. Also one cannot ignore the prestige of being a scholar which has nothing to do with financial standing.
- 13-08-2005 10:55
I LOVE HONG KONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i grew up there, but was recently, mercilessly torn away, kicking and screaming to reside in a pitiful english village where the average age is over 85, and hence the nightlife is zilch. unless you enjoy doing the funky chicken with a 90 year old perve. ...... TAKE ME HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!
- 13-08-2005 16:28
Actually Vivado, I would be happy to provide further supporting evidential material to my statements about Singapore. As I have put quite some effort into this, I hope sincerely that in return, you refute it. Feel free to invite your fellow Singaporeans in the other thread here to help you. If I am wrong, I want to know why.
1) Most Singaporeans blindly patriotic
This is something that is instilled into Singaporean kids from an early age. Many
schools make you stand and sing your national anthem in front of a flag ceremony every morning. Children are not given a choice as to whether they can opt out or not, to the point where students are even banned if they choose to fall out with the main line. At this age, Children are very susceptible to their learning environment, soaking up these morals of patriotism and unity of the nation without even noticing it.
A Singaporean cannot have dual citizenship, and is forced to choose. A Singaporean who forfeits his passport cannot own land in Singapore. Now is that giving a Singaporean the right to choose to love his country? I think not. This is brutal force. And while many educated and highly intelligent Singaporeans, such as you Vivado, may question this system. Many other Singaporeans are born and bred into an environment that actively encourages you to love your country, from the school assemblies, to the specially published social studies textbooks; to the lack of opposition in local media…This all creates an environment that does breed blind patriotism. Now, being patriotic is not necessarily a bad thing. BUT to be complacent and to not respond to criticism well, thus taking the current situation ceteris peribus in stride is destructive for any country.
2) labor costs very expensive
Just to be clear, salaries tend to be higher in HK, but we also score higher in terms of labor productivity - on the basis of gross domestic product per employed person, Hong Kong stands at US$50,000. This figure is substantially higher than that of regional competitors. And if we’re not cheap enough, foreign investors just need to hop across to the mainland where it certainly is. Meanwhile, Singapore has less than half of HK’s population making labor costs high. To worsen this situation, the low birth rates mean that there is no steady supply of labor to take over. Labor costs are not just expensive, but increasingly expensive.
3) Misallocates its human resources
Ahh the infamous national service. WHY??? Why is it compulsory? What a waste of the best years of a young man’s life? The age of opportunity: Late teens and early twenties. He could be studying abroad, traveling and gaining exposure to the world beyond Singapore, gaining valuable work experience. If the guy doesn’t want to be there, he won’t do a good job defending his country anyways. And if Singapore really did face such a large threat to its national security, then why don’t we make NS compulsory for females too?!? (like they do in Israel!) In my opinion, selecting male Singaporeans from the female bunch certainly is not meritocratic but discriminatory. As for evidence, Vivado, you just have to look around to find males who try to dodge the NS, or hate being in it.
4) Regulates everything
The 1992 ban on chewing gum imports.
The whole toilet hygiene thing. OMG! They even have instructions below, if that’s not regulation, what is it? http://www.nus.edu.sg/oed/onsite/issue2/singaporeOk.htm
Previous bans include bar-top dancing and bungee jumping.
The compulsory “Health clubs” in primary schools for obese kids, where they are made to undertake vigorous exercises. This can lead to embarrassment in the school playground, and even worse, trigger anorexia/bulimia in young students. So now, is it a crime to be fat in the island nation of Singapore?
The government has banned local TV shows from being broadcasted in Cantonese (unless on cable) as they prefer to promote Mandarin even when many Singaporean Chinese can speak some limited Cantonese. Sale of Malaysian newspapers banned, despite having a significant Malay community. Then, needless to say, there is the lack of political freedom and expression.
Currently, pornography, oral sex, anal sex, and homosexual behavior is illegal. But really, what I do in the confines of my bedroom is my own business as long as it is consensual. As mentioned by one expat below in another point big brother IS watching you.
5) Singapore business environment is less competitive
Vivado, you can give me a bunch of statistics but they really don’t mean much. According to these rankings, Singapore’s economic prosperity has a brighter outlook than HK. But that’s only because HK needs to revive its sources of economic vitality. The GCI places special emphasis on technology- for sustained long term economic growth. Admittedly, HK is not a technological leader in Asia. But let’s look at the facts that have been set down over the years. HK has around twice the population of Singapore; automatically there is a bigger market with greater demand for goods and services. Hence, we can afford to have economies of scale and we can also afford to have more competition. In contrast, Lee Kwan Yew encouraged Singaporean to leave the country simply because the local economy was not big enough. HK is also the gateway into the World’s largest manufacturing centre-China. There is huge untapped potential here. HK is the largest receiver of foreign direct investment in Asia after China. HK is also ranked, according to the UNCTAD as the best performing host economy for FDI in Asia. Foreign companies establish their regional headquarters in HK more than in any other Asian city. But as I said before, each to their own. Companies looking into ASEAN countries should go to Singapore, whereas those who want China should go to HK. Bottom line: HK is part of China, and China will not let it fail for an indefinite period of time, as they need to save “face” especially for Taiwan.
HK is also known for its enterprising, efficient workers. Lee Kuan Yew himself once said that “Hong Kong people are superior, adaptable, flexible, and capable of adjusting quickly to any condition in the world” (LOL shocking! ….Straits Times, Jan 13th 1990). These qualities have persisted.HK has strong competitive fundamentals; better than Singapore.. Moreover, even Pilipino domestic helpers prefer to work in HK as there is better pay and lower taxes.
Please refer to the following link as an addition to this point vivado:
Don’t take my word for it! Here is the opinion of some people from singaporeexpat.com and other expat-related sites. Statistics really do not count as much as those who have really experienced the two rivals.
I am a Singaporean working in HK right now, but I assure you that my views are more objective than biased.
Pace - HK has a much faster pace in terms of street buzz. People tend to walk faster, speaks fast - just so as they claim to be more efficient.. well, I dont necessarily think they are efficient, rather they are generally a more impatient bunch of people compared to Singaporeans. On the other hand, Singaporeans are a little slow in terms of comprehension, anticipating siutations, taking initiatives and thinking of ways to make things work.
Pay - It;s def much better here ( along with the cost of living as well), taxes are slightly lower and there are more job opportunities here than in Singapore.
Irrelevant, though just in case someone else is interested, the above person also said:
Life - If you are into nightlife and partying, HK is good. Some clubs dont close till 8 am in the morning! Lots of major events are held here whihc SIngapore just cant competet with - Rugby 7s, Fashion parties, rubbing shoulders with tycoons and models.... And if you are into sports, there are mountains to bike, trails to hike and open seas to go boating; BUT pollution is a big problem in the city. I know lots of people suffer from allergies due to pollution here. Singapore is a flat island, which in this way loses its asthetic charms to HK.. but is a much cleaner city to live in.
Language - English is more widely spoken in Singapore than in HK. If you intend on just hanging out with expats, then you would have no problems in HK, but if you want to penetrate into the local scene, it's more difficult compared to Singapore!
Food - More variaties in Singapore for sure! But if you love Chinese good, then HK is the place.
I agree fully. Here are some others:
Investment banks see HK as a gateway to North Asia, including Taiwan and South Korea, not just China. With a vibrant tech sector and increasingly sophisticated companies in these economies, there is a strong demand for investment banking services operating out of HK.
Both India and China are too far for companies based in Singapore to service them.
Singapore is seen only as a gateway to South-East Asia.
Compared to SG, HK people are more passionate in what they do and have better work attitudes.
The cultural scene in HK is also more vibrant. If I have to choose between HK and SG to spend my next 5 years, my choice is HK.
I rather talk to people who have failed before than those who never failed. Only people who don't try won't fail, like many S'poreans.
Yes, there are lots of failures in HK, and that's because people there dare to try. In the aftermath of the Asian Financial crisis, a lot of HK people jumped down after losing money in stocks and property. The property market was allowed to crash. No desperate govt. measures to shore up prices like here. The losers were flushed out of the market, market crashed, new blood entered, and now its boom-time again. So HK is up and down very fast, opportunities for the daring and fleet footed.
Posted by Froggee (120 days ago)
[ Quote ]
Ah ha. I got offered the same choice a few months ago and for me it was a no brainer. I hate Singapore. The place is boring, the weather is miserable all year round as opposed to just a few months of the year and whilst ostensibly you are in Asia you are surrounded by a bunch of Chinese people pretending to be white. Despite the fact that Singapore is about 70% Chinese, they have a "China town". As far as I can see the main purpose of China town is for Chinese people to sell you junk and for Indian people to sell you suits. Just like China except with Indians...
However - if you like an easy life then Singapore could be for you as everything works, they all speak English (albeit with an annoying accent) and things like visas and paperwork will get sorted quicker and with less stress. It's cheaper to live in too if that's a factor.
I personally prefer Hong Kong because it actually feels like you are living in Asia and the place just has more character. Fair enough you have to put up with taxi drivers who drive like maniacs and often take pride in winding you up; some pretty unpleasant pollution and (unless you have cash) some pretty shabby living conditions but as I sit here and look out my window at the harbor I wouldn't move to Singapore for the world.
The general conclusion from everyone I've spoken to is that Singapore is preferred by people with families and Hong Kong by singles
it depends on what is important to you. A lifestyle or a life.
In Spore you have a lifestyle : garden, condo, language ease etc. But beyond that, there is an overt lack of diversity of thoughts, freedom of speech, diversity of talents. On that last point, that is what makes HK tick. Everyday, there are 150 persons allowed into HK legally, from PRC. Not to mention the ILL. Immigrants brings talents, supply of labor force, possibilities. As in America, it's the immigrants that makes the place vital, creates possiblities, creates wealth. Most of the wealthiest Singaporeans chose to live in HK. Tax being one of them. Business savviness and sophistication, HK rocks.
HK's close proximity to and relationship with China means that it continue to reap the benefits in trading with the largest trading partner in the world. Singapore knows it has no bargaining power in this whatsoever.
However there are issues that Spore is good at which the govt in HK is envious of. The readiness of their people to accept the law, the order, the fines. Living in Spore is like living in a controlled experiment where everything is trackable, accoutable. Ask a Singaporean how much he/she pays in taxes. In Spore, everything is controlled, sterile of thoughts, of speech. Big brother watches. You criticizes the govt, your visa is not renewed.
For those xpats who wants a limited number of years of a nice lifestyle (why not?), they mostly pick Spore. For those who want to have an interesting place to bring up the family and probably stayput, it is not hard to imagine why they pick HK.
Posted by moonriver (118 days ago)
HK has double the population but produces many billionaires in Asia and proportionally, Singapore has far far fewer. Taxation. Ask a Singaporean busineesmen. See how he winches. That's why most of the wealthiest Sporeans are living in HK which helps to build up the economy here.
Posted by Ed (117 days ago)
[ Quote ]
For what its worth we have an office in HK and SG and there are positives with both cities. HK is definitely more of a 'can do' city with respect to doing business. Things happen quickly here. The other good thing about HK is convenience - everything is very close.
The positives of Singapore would be minimal culture shock for a westerner, you can have a much bigger better apt for about half the cost of HK, and a much less hectic environment.
Personally I prefer HK because I want 'INSTANT!' and I get frustrated if I dont get it. Singapore's a nice place but it reminds me a little too much of Canada
- 13-08-2005 16:29
6) Public transport systen is nowhere as good as hong kong
Car ownership in HK is really low at 20% of the population, which means that public transport account for up to 90% for motorized trips. We have private transit operators, hence they have the incentive to be as best they can to reap in the profits. There is also competition between different bus and ferry lines, so its all good. In Singapore, 39% of the population own cars. Now considering that HK has a higher purchasing power parity compared to Singapore, we should have more private cars! But we don’t because we have better public transport, and don’t see the need for it. Meanwhile, if you leave the city centre outside of Singapore, into places beyond the East Coast Parkway such as Bedok (where I vacationed with a friend). Bus stops and available taxis are relatively few and far between. But on this point, experience is really necessary. Vivado, have you actually lived or worked in HK? If you haven’t, then you really aren’t in the position to speak about this with authority.
7) Foreign newspapers and magazines are censored
The Economist punished for publishing an article on questioning Lee Hsien Long appointing his wife to direct a major financial group. The International Herald Tribune, The Asian Wall Street Journal, the Hong Kong based Far East Economic Review. All made to pay huge fines or have the distribution blocked over articles thought to be libelous by the Singapore government. Do you still need more evidence?
8) Singaporean students are academically successful, many seem to have a rigid and inflexible thought process
Yes, Singaporeans seem to get really high grades on subjects like math and science. But with such a rigid education system, the streaming, the PSLEs (come on! No kid at that age is ready for public exams that shape your life so much!), and beyond- there is little room for creative thinking. I’ve used Singaporean math textbooks too, and they are very good because they are advanced for kids that age. But it is the learning attitude that I was pointing towards. With so much academic pressure, and so little time-I can see why memorization instead of true understanding can be the easy way out. It seems as though Singaporean students (generally) are rare to speak up or ask a teacher questions in front of a whole class, compared to Western counterparts. Its part of the culture too, I’m guessing, where you are told to respect your teachers and hold them in high esteem, instead of questioning them.
8) Scholarships applicants are mostly driven by need instead of by merit.
You said “In Singapore, scholarship applicants are not driven by need AT ALL and all scholarship applications are strictly assessed based on merit. Have you lived in Singapore long enough to know that we take meritocracy seriously?” Really? I believe the first step to the Gates Cambidge Scholarship is to fill out a form. And that takes initiative first. People aren’t as selfish as you may perceive Vivado, I for one, decided not to apply because I wanted someone who got it to actually need it. People are rational about their financial decisions, but they’re not heartless. An admissions officer for LSE at the British Council told my parents that Singapore gives out so many awards and scholarships, that “we don’t know what to believe”.
I have lived long enough in Singapore long enough to know that the SG government wants to be considered meritocratic but really isn’t. In areas such as government, commerce, banking etc, most of the top people are Chinese. Indians and Malays hold relative few influential positions even when considering their smaller percentage population in Singapore. If meritocracy is so, then why has the SG government failed to enact well-developed anti-discrimination laws like the US or the EU?
I enjoy arguing with you Vivado because you just never give up. And believe me, neither do I. You rejected my claim about how foreigners are treated in HK because of an unrelated attack against my geographical knowledge. After all, that was what led you to bring up the Japanese s “sleazy” regard for Roponggi. You implicitly remarked that I am wrong about anything regarding Asia because my geography apparently sucks. That is argumentum ad hominem. Although this thread has digressed very much from HK, I would like to point out that you began to divert this attention by including into conversation Singapore and Japan, when they are clearly different. If you have not lived in HK, you really can’t use Singapore/Japan as substitutes for a similar experience. As for the Oxbridge thing, I’m not the only one who saw your comments as derogatory, when someone else replied “get off your high horse”.
- 14-08-2005 13:17
is anyone reading all these mile long posts?? you can all bellyache all day but you're not going to change ppl's POV's.... HK is better than Singapore, The End!
- Thread Starter
- 14-08-2005 15:45
This thread has become really interesting, and it has certainly substantiated my impression that both Singapore and Hong Kong must be having some of the best school systems in the world.
- 18-08-2005 17:54
people who are giving me negative rep anonymously for my posts on Singapore vs Hong Kong:
Stop being such wimps. Please kindly state what you think is wrong and why. I'm presuming we're all grown up here and can discuss differences of opinion.
- 18-08-2005 20:18
[FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=4][COLOR=Indigo]
I would LOVE to visit hong kong...
I would also like to learn the laguage...
I only know a little french and a little latin...
(Original post by Geordie_in_HK)
- 19-08-2005 11:37
is anyone reading all these mile long posts?? you can all bellyache all day but you're not going to change ppl's POV's.... HK is better than Singapore, The End!
- 20-08-2005 03:15
Geordie, while I disagree with you with regards to your claim of Hong Kong being better than Singapore (on the other hand, I do not think I am capable of exhausting all measures so I hesitate to say that Singapore is better than Hong Kong), I am inclined to agree that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to read these mile-long posts.
I don't know if the administrators are active but I really think we should take "Hong Kong versus Singapore" to another thread.
- 20-08-2005 18:58
Lol I know what you mean. But this argument could go on forever. It's like arguing whether Lamborghini or Ferrari is better - it just depends on where your heart lies. Both places rock and make the UK look rather pathetic in comparison.