In an interview with AFP, Singapore’s only Olympic gold medalist Joseph Schooling announced that he is leaving Singapore to train in US. The 21-year-old said that he is going to complete his diploma in US and stay there for good.
Probably shattering the hearts of the ruling party PAP elites, the country’s only gold medalist said that Singapore’s environment is unsuitable and “super hard” to live and train.
“I’m going to finish my education up in UT (the University of Texas), get my diploma, and then we can talk about turning pro, that’s the plan.
I imagine it’ll be super hard for me to live in Singapore and train and perform… I just think in the US, I’m more suited, or I’m more used to the US training style now, the environment and everything.“
It is likely that Joseph Schooling will emigrate because of National Service as the Singapore government refuse to give him an exemption despite his honours.
The Olympic gold medalist is a part of a growing trend in brain drain in Singapore. Many talented Singaporeans have left the country because of the lack of employment opportunities and authoritarian laws. Young people who are able to go overseas jump at the opportunities and many has since emigrated and not returned.
The Singapore government do not see brain drain as a problem because they can readily import foreigners from third world countries like China, Philippines and India. When Joseph Schooling is gone, it is likely the Singapore government will ramp up on the foreign sports talent scheme to import more foreign athletes in a hope of winning another Olympic gold lottery.