Singaporean Jobs Program Announces New Boston Office
* Ambassador makes speech at Charles Hotel
Yesterday Chan Heng Chee, ambassador of the Republic of Singapore, officially opened the Boston chapter of Contact Singapore, a program to provide job opportunities in the Asian nation.
"The whole object is to invite people who wish to visit or to work in Asia," Chan said. "People in Boston are globally oriented and do have specific interest in Singapore."
Contact Singapore offers job opportunities in Singapore for recent college graduates, young professionals and college students looking for summer internships. It also promotes international awareness of the country's economy.
"We just make it easier for students and companies to get together," said Chan, who was educated at the University of Singapore and Cornell University.
Several Singaporean students at Harvard commended the government for its initiative but expressed skepticism about the future of the project. While they commend the effort, none of those interviewed said they planned to take advantage of the program.
"I think it's a good project, but I'm not sure how effective it will be," said Daryl Sng'01.
Chan said that students are increasingly more interested in Asian markets, and since Singapore is the eighth largest export market of the United States, it functions as "the gateway to Southeast Asia," for the global market," she said.
Contact Singapore is a government initiative to further stimulate economic growth. The government put resources into the project, but private companies hire the workers.
"We tell ourselves that we have to be a global player," Chan said.
Companies in Singapore are searching for more employees with expertise in information technology, finance, media, telecommunications, health care and engineering, she said.
Many large American companies, such as the General Motors Corporation, IBM Corporation and Sara Lee Corporation, as well as many Singaporean companies, are interested in participating in this initiative, according to Chan.
Both Chan and Andrew Fung, the Center Director for Contact Singapore in Boston, said Singapore's solicitation of employees from outside does not reflect negatively on the country's internal job market.
Instead, they said it shows the eagerness of Singaporeans to welcome new talent into their country. Singapore has a large international population and its citizens profit from the international influence.
The center is primarily career-oriented, though it also works with student groups to organize cultural and social events.
Fung and others at the center plan to work closely with students at Harvard-especially those at the Kennedy School of Government-and other colleges in the Boston area.
"There is interest among students," Fung said.
The center plans to ask for student assistance with their programs.
The Singapore and Malaysia Student Association works closely with the Boston center, according to H.P. Davin Chor '99, the association's chair.
"They are a vital resource for us to keep in contact with home," he said. "They've been great in reaching out to students in universities."
The Singaporean students interviewed expressed a love for their country and a desire to return home after graduation. "We have the best food in the world," Sng said. "We have food of all styles."
Contact Singapore welcomes all students. In the next few months, the project will expand to Los Angeles.