Tapping On The Diaspora

I mentioned that I met Professor Yu Wei Shin, nearly a month ago in my piece “I KNOW I AM ATTRACTIVE – I JUST DON’T KNOW WHO I AM ATTRACTIVE TO.” (15 July 2020), via my Linkedin feed. Professor Yu had mentioned that he had read my pieces on TRemeritus and that he was an ex-Singaporean. My brief acquaintance with Professor Yu got me thinking about who these ex-Singaporeans are and whether we as a nation could tap onto people like him. I’ve invited him to give us a glimpse into his life and his feelings towards Singapore. In the brief glimpses that I’ve had of the man, it is clear that Singapore is failing to make the full use of our diaspora. Here is a well-educated man, who is building a high-tech product in his later years (A point I stress as Singapore is a place that considers you ancient and useless after 45).
The Professor has given me a short blurb, which I hope you will enjoy.
Tang Li – Singapore 20 July 2020

According to reports in Singapore’s Parliament, there are around 1,000 Singaporeans give up their citizenship every year. Many of those who have given up their citizenship and moved elsewhere are well-educated and found success in their new homes. Many also yearn to return to Singapore to share their accumulated knowledge, skills and experience, to semi-retirement, which they would do so at no cost to the tax payer.

Unfortunately, our current immigration system does not recognize that there might be a diaspora out there who could do many things for Singapore. Once you leave and renounce your citizenship, you are deemed to be like every other foreigner and if you wish to return to Singapore to work, you need to apply for an Employment Pass. In my experience, this is a discriminatory process. Ex-citizens are regarded as “traitors” for having the audacity to give up their citizenship and the system seems to prefer those who never had ties to Singapore coming in. I take myself as an example, despite have two PhD’s and conducted ground breaking scientific trials, I was advised twice “Do not apply, and if you do, your application will be rejected.”

This is sad. I think of other countries that have prospered because they tapped on the skills, experiences and even capital of their diaspora. China, for example, tapped on the diaspora in its early stages of development. India has a system known as the “Persons of Indian Origin” (PIO) card, which makes it easier for anyone of Indian origin, regardless of passport to come and contribute something to India.

Why do most of us give up our citizenship? We do so for a variety of reasons and I believe that most, if not all, of us give up our citizenship as a last resort. However, our heart is still very much anchored in Singapore- a little red dot of their forefathers, and where they were born and spent many years growing up.

In my case, my father is Singaporean, though he returned to China to die. I was born and grew up in Malaysia, went to New Zealand to study, worked, then immigrated to Australia to work, before coming to NTU to teach in 1984. You could say Singapore got a good deal from me. None of my education was paid for by the Singapore tax payer and I came with a PhD and with 10 years heavy engineering industrial experience. Apart from my 19 years of lecturing, I was very active as town councilor (in charge of environment matters), presidents of learned societies and consultancy to SME’s, PSA, Philips, Seagate, Mobil Oil, Mindef, MFA, CleanSeas,

I only applied for Australian citizenship because of my mother’s dying wish and my wish is to return to SERVE SINGAPORE UNINTERRUPTED!

While I may have renounced my Singapore Citizenship, I’ve been able to contribute in the following ways:

1. At 56, I studied Master of Occupational Therapy at the University of Sydny and then PhD (Medicine) at University of New South Wales, graduating at 60 years, so that I can help solve some of the chronic disorders of the elderly in Singapore (– stroke, elderly falls, etc).

2. Even before I graduated, I returned and conducted a major clinical trial for hip fracture prevention together with Tan Tock Seng Hospital, for several hundred HDB residents, under a Government grant, using Prof Cameron’s hip protector invention (USyd). He is the internationally renowned “Father of Hip Protector”.

3. From 2012-2016, I returned as Visiting Consultant at Nanyang Polytechnic, and conducted 3 major clinical trials with TTSH using my invention: Robotic Lower Limb Rehab System, for sub-acute and chronic stroke patients, and elderly falls prevention — all very successful!

4. Now, together with my PhD university mate Dr Wong (www.apppliedrobotics.com.au), and Nanyang Polytechnic, I am inventing a revolutionary wheelchair system that even the Brits have no solution. It will solve many of the social economic problems in Singapore and beyond, ease the manpower shortages in nursing homes and hospitals and create many skilled jobs in Singapore!

5. Going forward, we plan to establish a virtual Disabled Mobility Technology Research Centre, combining the expertise of University of Wollongong in Australia and NYP.

Singapore spends millions on educating and nurturing “foreign talents” in its education system. We work hard to attract expatriates from the West and India. We should also not overlook people like me. We have the talent and the desire to serve. Why can’t you make it easier for us, people who have the established emotional connection to come back to contribute?

Incidentally, my father served in the British Navy to defend Singapore during the war and suffered PTSD, which lead to family violence and divorce! Also, two of my children were born in Singapore, and three of them attended primary and secondary schools in Singapore. It hurts to be told on twice, “do not apply, and if you do, your application will be rejected”???

Prof YU Wei Shin
PhD(Medicine)(UNSW), PhD(Mech ENgg)(Canterbury, (BE(Hons)
Sydney

 

Tang Li

*Although I’ve been based mainly in Singapore for nearly two decades, I’ve had the privilege of being able meet people who have crossed borders and cultures. I’ve befriended ministers and ambassadors and worked on projects involving a former head of state. Yet, at the same time, I’ve had the privilege of befriending migrant labourers and former convicts. All of them have a story to tell. All of them add to the fabric of life. I hope to express the stories that inspire us to create life as it should be.

 

 

yyy
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16 Responses to “Tapping On The Diaspora”

  • TUMASIK Patriot:

    A good PIECE Tangfastik…stick to THIS and not the SHIT!!!

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  • Real talent:

    We should recognize such talent like Prof Yu.
    Make it easier for them to come back and work with our institute or local companies to develop world class solutions for our ageing population.
    Such solution can also export to the world.
    A WIN WIN situation for Singapore.
    We need a Government Office that can handle such exception situation and assist people like Dr Yu with little red tape to contribute positively and create good jobs for Singapore.

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  • Harder Truths:

    I remember when Devan Nair was President. The pappies got him to go all over Asia looking for expat $G’s like Prof Yu. The ones who stupidly came back were discarded like trash by the pappy-FT group. They lost very rewarding first world positions because they thought $G needed them.

    Wrong. They were atabbed and screwed. First world talent csn never survive in $G. They are too independent and say what they think. They are a danger to the regime as well as the hordes of useless FT now littering the $G landscape. They will be POFMAed from beginning to end.

    Which $G citizen who has spent years establishing a real life would want to come back to Communist Island?

    American proverb : “Fool me once, shame on you – fool me twice, shame on me”.

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  • Robotic AI Sanitary Bed:

    Based on his innovative talents, Prof Yu should not be denied citizenship.

    Who knows he might be able to come up with a new invention
    - the revolutionary Robotic AI Sanitary Bed that could sense when a stroke patient needs to eat, drink, urinate and defecate and do the necessary with robotic hands to wipe clean and sanitise the patient, shower him, put on the pampers and clothes, dispense medicines, etc, all done in the sanitory bed, without the need of human hands though remotely monitored by the caregiver.

    This would surely alleviate the stress of caregiving. And the entire mankind could benefit from such inventive minds like Prof Yu.

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  • We need diploma from India:

    Singapore gov likes diploma from India.

    Phd from Australia is no big deal in Singapore where Stanford PhD drives taxi.

    The hard truth in Singapore.

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  • xoxo:

    For every Sg Talent our govt neglected,there are 100 Fake FTs dumped here?
    Quality,NOT QUANtity,stupid!!!

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  • uselesstankl:

    A lot of the British elite again found themselves on the wrong side of history. They sent supplies and arms to the confederacy, many wanting slavery to continue because of their own business interests. Their side was defeated.

    #####

    ARE YOU ONE OF THEM ???

    MASTER OF SLAVES ???

    TRAITOR ????

    PAP VOTER ???

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  • Tracey Ching:

    Something wrong with this article! Here is an old man 60+ want to migrate to Singapore? You are too old. You claimed to be an Aussie citizen, haven’t you heard of the age pension? Stupid article and or stupid men.

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  • NotMyProblem:

    Real talent:
    We should recognize such talent like Prof Yu.
    Make it easier for them to come back and work with our institute or local companies to develop world class solutions for our ageing population.
    Such solution can also export to the world.
    A WIN WIN situation for Singapore.
    We need a Government Office that can handle such exception situation and assist people like Dr Yu with little red tape to contribute positively and create good jobs for Singapore.

    Sometime we cannot blame the government for not recognising our local talents. Just look at what happened in Bukit Panjang. 53% of voters failed to put an internationally renowned infection expert in parliament to help in the fight of the current pandemic.

    Now we have a Covid-19 cluster in Bukit Panjang! Thank to the 53% voters of this SMC. They still think that this current task force could solve this Covid-19 by acting on hindsight looking for magic solution and wishing to rewind the clock!!

    Bukit Panjang residents, you deserve to have the cluster in your transport hub! The task force already switch off with a long runway.

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  • Prof Wei Shin YU:

    Thanks Tang Li, and you guys for positive comments.

    In case you are interested:
    1. Even though I studied and worked in NZ for 12 years total, and then worked in Aus for 6 years, I never applied for citizenship, because I was waiting to come to SG and serve. Since young, I see SG as the beacon for ethnic Chinese in SE Asia, conscious of the treatments in the neighboring countries (e.g. thumb prints by Philippines’ customs officers many years ago)!

    2. My bond with SG is very strong. Even though my father, ex-Singaporean,is not here anymore, I still have aunt and many married cousins in SG; apart from my spending almost 30 years here on-and-off.

    3. Why I had to give up SG citizenship?
    a) Because my mother wanted me to be able to return to Aus, and buried in the plot next to her, no matter what.
    b) The Aus re-entry permit only allows me to stay overseas for 3 years, and then must stay in Aus for 2 years before re-issue.
    So it is impractical for me to start anything serious in SG for 3 years, go away for 2 years before returning, etc.

    4. There are about 10m wheelchair users in the G20 countries. Hence the market for our Multifunction Robotic Wheelchair System (MRWS) is at least
    S$10kx10m= $100 trillion,or S$10kx1m= $10 trillion/year.

    5. Our “transformer” MRWS can elevate up/down and automatically convert from a std wheelchair to a flatbed and vice versa, for effortless patient bed transfer, and bathing in-situ. It can also reverse into a toilet and dock over the toilet seat, or use the toilet bowl below the wheelchair seat in-situ.

    6. In Western countries, about 12% nurses/year retire early due to work injuries lifting/transferring patients. This translates to hundreds of thousands of nurses/year which have to be replaced and trained every year!
    Lifting and transfers of patients also frequently causes fall and injuries of patients and nurses, resulting in numerous lawsuits and compensation.

    7. MRWS can also support the disabled to stand upright and walk, as exercise or rehab, or for gainful employment.

    8. As walking/rehab, hospital in-patients maybe discharged earlier to free up beds. And the 800-1200 discharged patients (at any one time) may recover earlier in their homes, to return to the workforce to support their families.

    9. There will be several versions: for cerebral palsy children, disabled youngsters, middle aged, the “normally aged” elderly and the bed-ridden.
    And specialization for stroke, spinal injured, heart problems, neuro-muscular disease, multiple sclerosis, etc.

    10. If nothing else, we believe it can significantly improve selfcare ability, mobility independence, self esteem & actualization, empowerment, psychological well-being, and Quality of Life — perfect for the 600k elderly to age-in-place without major/costly home modifications.

    11. For many families, it may also reduce their reliance on FDW, currently costing SG about 200kx$10k = $2 trillion/year …. and increasing!

    Yu Wei Shin

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  • brain drain:

    many good ‘brains’ have already left this stifling country due to too much control…or were forced out.
    our gov is afraid of people smarter and more capable than them..
    high profile individuals with conscience and integrity are watched with suspicion..or fixed to get them out of the picture if they ever dared to question the establishment.
    then now they welcome foreign trash and call them “talents”..
    what a huge injustice to loyal born n bred sgs…

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  • Quitter havin second thoughts?:

    Right on! Could be now the other side no more greener due to Covid and everybody wants to come back?

    Tracey Ching:
    Something wrong with this article! Here is an old man 60+ want to migrate to Singapore? You are too old. You claimed to be an Aussie citizen, haven’t you heard of the age pension? Stupid article and or stupid men.

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  • Rob during fire:

    Prof Wei Shin YU: 4. There are about 10m wheelchair users in the G20 countries. Hence the market for our Multifunction Robotic Wheelchair System (MRWS) is at least
    S$10kx10m= $100 trillion,or S$10kx1m= $10 trillion/year.

    So you expect those poor disabled to pay up $10,000 PER YEAR for your gadget?

    How many poor HDB people can afford your gadget? Singapore not very suitable for your product.

    “You could say Singapore got a good deal from me. None of my education was paid for by the Singapore tax payer and I came with a PhD and with 10 years heavy engineering industrial experience. ”

    Local Singaporeans do not like your arrogant attitude. You think you are a “good deal” for Singaporeans by coming here? Did you work for free? There are already too many arrogant foreigners here.

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  • Prof Wei Shin YU:

    Hi Guys,thank you for your comments.

    Pls kindly allow me to clarify the following:
    1. “Something wrong with this article! Here is an old man 60+ want to migrate to Singapore? You are too old. You claimed to be an Aussie citizen, haven’t you heard of the age pension?”
    - What make you say that I want to migrate to SG? Pls re-read the article!
    I came to SG in 1984, became citizen but had to give up,around 2011.
    - Yes, 60+++ is considered old in SG, but not in the Western world. I started my PhD(Medicine) at age 56, without first doing a Bachelor or a Masters in Medicine, and completed in the stipulated 4 years. My 4th child just turned 4 years old.
    - Yes, I am “old”, but not too old to embark on this project together with NYP and UOW that will benefit the disabled, ease the reliance on foreign workers in nursing homes and hospitals,and has received a substantial grant from the ToteBoard.
    - I don’t claim to be Aus citizen, I am – but unfortunately, I had to give up my SG citizenship!
    - Aus old age pension is paid even when the recipient lives overseas!

    2. “So you expect those poor disabled to pay up $10,000 PER YEAR for your gadget?”
    - Did I say “$10,000 PER YEAR”? Pls re-read the posting.

    “How many poor HDB people can afford your gadget? Singapore not very suitable for your product”.
    - As a past Town Councilor and having lived here since 1984,I don’t need to be reminded of the HDB residents’situation. This was the initial reason for starting this project!
    - The Turkish standup wheelchair costs S$30k,but cannot do many of the functions of our invention. However,several has been sold in SG.
    - One of my key objectives is to create the “disabled mobility technology industry” in SG, for export to the G20 countries and to create high skilled jobs for Singapore CITIZENS only!
    I could easily set up this industry in China, where I have been living for the past 3 years!

    “You could say Singapore got a good deal from me….”
    - Hello, these were not my exact words!
    - How did you derive “arrogance” from the above sentence???

    “You think you are a“good deal”for Singaporeans by coming here?”
    - Excuse me, if you re-read the postings, my father was a SG’an, defended SG during the war in the British navy, stationed in SG, and suffered PTSD/brain damage. But I could not claim SG citizenship because he left my mother and me in Malaysia to return to China to die. POSB and Woodbridge have his records.
    So, pls don’t see me as “just another gold digger FT” COMING HERE!

    Thank’s for reading. I hope more people will read and comment, and talk about our inventions in every coffee shop; esp. the opposition and the Gov:

    “This (mobility) ecosystem is what we are trying to grow; whether it is for manufacturing of electric vehicles, high-end equipment for precision manufacturing, for bio- and med-tech equipment… things which Singapore, with our trusted brand-name and skilled workforce, we are well equipped to play in.” — Mr Chee Hon Tat Parliament,5.11.2019.

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  • Prof Wei Shin YU:

    Dear Tracey, “Quitter havin(g) second thoughts?”, “Rob under fire” and all others who read this track before it disappears:

    You may want to consider starting a rental business using our inventions and other rehab eqt.
    - On any day, there are 800-1200 newly discharged patients from hospitals in SG, according to SG Nursing Foundation. These patients, esp. those with stroke or heart problems, find it very difficult to return to the Outpatient Dept for rehab, even once or twice a week.
    - As they only need our MRWS for up to a few weeks for speedy recovery to return to their jobs or social life, it is better that they rent, to do rehab in the convenience of their own homes,and for more than once or twice a week!
    - Currently, one co. is charging $540/month for a wheelchair that does not have many of the MRWS functions.
    At this price, the potential market is $540x(800–1200)=($432k–$648k)/month
    - With the generous Gov financial assistance and bank loans for startups, this is a win-win business, to partner us!
    - The business can also include other products and services that the patient needs to improve his QoL and speedy recovery, which we can provide.
    I understand the Gov has a life-time mean-tested grant ($20k) for each citizen/PR.
    - Each MRWS system has a 10-year warranty (for the mechanical parts),and we will provide all the maintenance/repair supports and training.
    - For anyone interested, it is better that you first do one of the many courses in aged care.
    - If there is need, I can easily start courses in home physio, etc.
    Home physio is not covered by SG Nursing Home Foundation during their home visits.

    Incidentally,
    1. Our consortium includes UoW, NYP,NUHS and a nursing home chain (which has to start their daily bathing as early as 3am, because of manpower shortages)
    2. Under the ToteBoard’s grant agreement, we will provide “many sets” at rock bottom prices.
    3. On Alibaba,many wheelchairs in China with limited functions sell for around US$10k. Our std version will have a much lower RRP.

    Yu WS [email protected]
    P/S:
    1. Before coming to SG as a “FT” (even though my father was a Singaporean, and suffered brain injury defending SG during the war),I was already in a very senior position in an international co. based in Sydney, with free travel every year, etc. But I refrained from taking Aus citizenship, took a salary cut and loss of seniority to come to work in SG.
    2. Never lecture me on the HDB condition:
    - I had lived in a 3-room apartment in Holland Village,
    - Assisted running a PAP’s Childcare Centre, and wrote many appeal letters for HDB residents in Kampong Glam!
    - Served as a Town Councilor,and Chairman of the Env & Maint Committee (and instrumental in banning chewing gum)!

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  • Win Win:

    “One of my key objectives is to create the “disabled mobility technology industry” in SG, for export to the G20 countries and to create high skilled jobs for Singapore CITIZENS only!”
    Good objectives…to be more useful,work with a Singapore Mfg to bring the costs down and make it more affordable and available to the Seniors who will need it.More will need it as the population age and live longer life.
    Look like a useful invention…

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