Hong Kong can learn from Singapore's search for talent
The Leung Chun-ying administration is undergoing a severe credibility crisis. Despite repeated assurances from Mr Leung, Hong Kong people suspect (and probably with good reasons) that his government will always put "one country" before "two systems". If I were Mr Leung, what would I do?
Hong Kong has positioned itself as Asia's world city. However, if there is one thing that the SAR has really changed, it is its international outlook. The business community has long complained about the falling English standard of our workforce. Its marginalisation is also happening in the government, as not all official documents are available in English. And it is not just the language. I used to work in the government before the handover. Then, the administration engaged a lot more international experts to conduct policy research.
Hong Kong is part of China, but it does not mean that it cannot at the same time be an international city.
If there is one thing that Hong Kong could really learn from Singapore, it is that the Lion City has been proactively and aggressively scouting for the best of international talent to contribute to its development and to place itself on the world map - whether they are employees of multinational corporations, entrepreneurs, academics or experts advising the government.
If I were Mr Leung, while advocating the integration of Hong Kong with the mainland, I would also work much harder than my predecessors in making Hong Kong a truly world-class international city. I would:
- Set up a task force to spearhead the development of Hong Kong as Asia's world city;
- Make the attraction of international talent a top priority of the government's manpower policy;
- Make sure the government would make reference to the best international practices in public policy formulation;
- Appoint leading experts, irrespective of their nationality and political orientation, to government advisory boards and committees;
- Give students more international exchange opportunities; and
- Develop Hong Kong as the event capital for international exchanges, competitions and awards.
Action speaks louder than words. If the C.Y. Leung administration can demonstrate to the people of Hong Kong that enhancing the city's international status is as important as its national agenda, this can go a long way in restoring our confidence in the government.
Rachel Chan, Causeway Bay