Friction in the Singapore Society – on the Local-Foreign Divide

Excerpts :

  • After I wrote the first article – Stand Strong Against Xenophobia – many readers responded with thoughtful insights. Some readers pointed out that the groundswell of discontent was not against foreigners but against certain public policies. Readers also suggested that Singapore has always been receptive to foreigners, just not at this current phase where more foreigners are entering faster than assimilation can occur. Other readers emphasized that the angst should be directed at the policies, not the people.
  • This article collates a few responses from some treasured friends. They’re all Chinese nationals. Their responses are, in no way, representative of the foreign-local divide. They do highlight the complexities of the issues and deserve our understanding.
  • From ZZ
    I mean, I have encountered uncles who told me to go back to China and complained that we took up space but I totally understand. You know, when opinions get to the extreme, there will be problems. The other day, one friend shared this article from TR Emeritus (someone was burnt on a MRT train seat or something) and, after reading the comments, I was utterly surprised to find out how people could mindlessly put blame on foreigners (or PRC in particular) for some bad things which happened, without any evidence or whatsoever. Although the website is more for xenophobes, Chinese people who do not understand this situation will turn out against Singaporeans after reading those hurtful comments. I really feel sad about this.
  • Concluding perspectives
    The local-foreign issues are here to stay, given the recent print and tv coverage about Singapore’s aging population. In some informal discussions about the issue, I realise that there’s oversimplification – generalisations are tossed about carelessly while emotions tend to be intense and colour one’s perspectives.This is a bread-and-butter issue. It is also an issue on cultural communication gap, on differentiation based on physical characteristics, on public policies, on Singapore’s economic model and on social graciousness. For every phenomenon, there is a diversity of narratives. Each of us is informed by our individual experiences and it’ll be beneficial for us to discuss everything in the open, instead of passing snap judgments and living by them.

    I wrote about this issue – not as an attempt to be politically correct or as an intellectual GP exercise, as some readers claimed. I believe that KRC allows people to discuss issues without degrading into echo chambers that other online platforms are. While there may not be significant, immediate and measurable improvements, at least this discussion is a baby step towards social cohesion, towards understanding between different factions and, hopefully, increased graciousness.

Source : The Kent Ridge Common  ~Friction in the Singapore Society – on the Local-Foreign Divide

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