Emigration and immigration have both been acute national concerns in Singapore's recent history. The findings of a 2016 survey by the Institute of Policy Studies, released over a week ago, show a maturing of sentiments at both ends of the spectrum of population movement. Fewer young Singaporeans want to leave because they believe that they can achieve their life goals here, while more young people also feel that the country has benefited from the presence of foreign talent. Both these findings speak of a mindset that is far removed from the time when fair-weather Singaporeans, who cut ties and left when the country ran into stormy weather, were called "quitters".
They were contrasted with "stayers", who remained committed to Singapore whether they lived here or maintained links even from abroad. That was in 2002. The debate over these ascriptions was, in more recent years, overtaken by acrimony over the presence of large numbers of foreigners here who were blamed for putting pressure on jobs, housing, education and transport. Those sentiments peaked politically within a decade of the quitters-stayers debate.