SINGAPORE'S support for the arts - amounting to S$1 billion (HK$4.86 billion) over the next five to 10 years - is not merely for art's sake, according to Information and the Arts Minister George Yeo. It is to help create a brain influx. ''We want to make Singapore a centre for the arts, partly for its own sake and partly because we need the arts to help make us a centre for brain services,'' he said. ''We want talent from all over the world to meet here, to work here and to live here.'' He said they must enjoy being in Singapore and the Government could ''not work the magic without the arts''. Mr Yeo was speaking at the opening of the biggest international art fair to be staged in Singapore, Tresors 1993, at which more than 100 dealers and galleries from 22 countries are exhibiting US$300 million (HK$2.32 billion) worth of paintings, sculptures, antique furniture, carpets, tapestries and jewellery. The exhibits range from Ming Dynasty bronzes to works by such artists as Picasso, Chagall and Henry Moore. The fair was organised with the help of Singapore's Trade Development Board and Economic Development Board as part of its drive to make the island republic a ''Global City for the Arts'', as a glossy publication spelling out the incentives puts it. Mr Yeo said Singapore was adjusting its tax rules to make Singapore as attractive a centre as any in the world to buy and sell art. He said rules for granting residence to people required to support the art and antique industries, including artists, art authenticators, valuers, restorers, and collectors, were ''quite liberal''. But he hinted at a limit to the liberalism of the region when it came to foreign entertainers. He said that ''despite a whiff of scandal'', Michael Jackson's recent tour had been hugely successful and other stars would follow in its wake. But it was significant that South Korea had decided not to allow Jackson in. ''If Madonna decides to come, some Asian cities will either bar her performance or censor her show severely,'' he said. Many dealers say Singaporeans are less interested in art than other Asians and the Business Times asked was ''anyone going to buy anything'' at Tresors 1993. Gail Brenner, director of Didier Imbert Fine Art, one of France's leading galleries, said there was definitely a market in Singapore but it might take some years before Singaporeans started collecting Western art in the same way that people did in the West. Like other dealers, she did not see Singapore replacing Hong Kong as the foremost art centre of the region.