Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Integration Woes

You can take an immigrant out of his country, but can you take his country out of him?

Not by quite a long shot, it would seems

Just three more reasons below to remind the govt just why it has to really think through very carefully the implications and ramifications of its open door policy to the mass influx of immigrants:




Ethnic Integration Policy for housing still relevant: S Dhanabalan
Former Cabinet minister S Dhanabalan said Singapore’s Ethnic Integration Policy for housing is all the more relevant now given the country’s changing demographics, with more immigrants in the mix

Mr Dhanabalan, who was the National Development Minister when the Ethnic Integration Policy was introduced in 1989, was taking part in a radio forum on MediaCorp's 938Live.

Singapore's Ethnic Integration Policy was implemented to ensure a balanced mix of different ethnic groups. This is to prevent the formation of ethnic enclaves in public housing estates. 

The aim is to promote racial integration and foster harmonious living among ethnic communities.

read more


Foreigners should respect local norms and locals should appreciate foreigners' contributions, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean at the National Community Engagement Programme dialogue on Saturday

In this excerpt, he also speaks about rising religiosity and the need to focus on what Singaporeans have in common, rather than emphasise the differences. 

Fundamental to Singapore's history and national identity is that we are an open and inclusive society, and we must always remain so.

Multi-racialism pervades all aspects of Singaporean life. We celebrate diversity, and respect the culture and practices of others. We focus on our commonalities rather than accentuate the differences.In spite of the differences in language, religion and culture, Singaporeans have come together as one people

read more

Our impending integration challenges

One possible outcome is that PRs and new citizens who share the same country of origin may converge on certain residential areas to form exclusive communities and social networks. Anecdotal evidence suggests that this is already happening with Indian nationals.

New citizens who live in such exclusive communities may not necessarily share common experiences with ordinary Singaporeans and may have little incentive to integrate. Ties to their country of origin may continue to be strong.

The question then is, will there be measures, perhaps akin to the existing Housing and Development Board ethnic quota policy, to ensure that new Singaporeans do not converge according to their country of origin? This, and other questions, will require definite answers long before 2030.

read more


Singapore is the only place in the world where new immigrants are given citizenship first before they integrated into society. This is also why there are aplenty of integration woes from Singaporeans denial to accept Olympic-winning Chinaporean sports talents to a Chinaporean hanging China flag during Singapore National Day period. The ease of getting Singapore citizenship also contributed to the integration woes with Chinaporeans like Feng Tian Wei getting fast-tracked citizenship in less than 2 years.

There is also no English test, no stringent interviews, no merit-based system in the awardance of citizenship in Singapore. As the birth rate of Singaporean Chinese hit a new low at 1.09, even masseurs from China were given permanent residency in order to maintain the racist racial quota policy. While PAP stop short of selling citizenship, it will only be a matter of time before they sell the whole country out to ensure their political dominance for the next 60 years

In the midst of getting more pro-PAP votes, the PAP government allowed the influx of foreigners and gave away as many permanent residency and new citizenships as possible. Permanent residents' population have increased 10% in just 3 years from, 0.48 million in 2008 to 0.53 million in 2011 [Link]. New citizens intake have also increased to an average of 18,000 every year since 2006, a NUS sociologist said that these 90,000 new citizens taken in from 2006 were likely to have voted for the ruling PAP government in GE2011 saying "when they converted their citizenship, that's their vote already" [Link]

read more


Is that you? Are you brave enough to confront the problems in your country?

1. The weather
2. Censorship (and the treatment of Hokkien)
3. An unwillingness to show outsiders that they are unhappy with Singapore
4. Singapore chest beating
5. Insects / bugs / creepy-crawlies
6. Double-standards against foreigners (and racism)
7. Culturally rich but unimportant
8. Asian Family values?!?!?
9. Lack of political freedom
10. S377A of the Penal Code

read more

Look ahead to 10 million people by 2100?

Singapore should look beyond 2030 and plan for a more distant future - perhaps even one with 10 million people, former chief planner Liu Thai Ker said at a public forum on Saturday.

"The world doesn't end in 2030, and population growth doesn't end at 6.9 million," he said, referring to the planning parameter in the Government's White Paper on Population.

Singapore could do well to look ahead, perhaps to 2100 when it might have a population of 10 million, he suggested

Integration of immigrants: Easier when we have more in common

The new wave of Chinese immigrants, however, speak with a northern accent and possess a different vernacular and culinary culture, which make them distinct and more difficult for Singaporeans to accept.

Won't allowing in more immigrants from the southern provinces of China, with whom we share more common understanding, help them to assimilate with greater ease, while also facilitating greater acceptance?

Possibly, too, a similar situation applies to immigrants from the Indian sub-continent. 

read more

Chairman of Hua Yuan Association blames Singaporeans for tensions with new arrivals from China

The New York Times, 27 Jul 2012
Wang Quancheng, the chairman of the Hua Yuan Association, the largest organization representing mainlanders, said the government was not doing enough to help integrate new arrivals, but he also blamed Singaporeans for their intolerance and said many were simply jealous that so many Chinese immigrate here with money in their pockets. 

“Of course, the new arrivals are rich or else the government would have to feed them,” he said. “Some locals are very lazy and live off the government. When new immigrants come, they think it is competition, taking away their rice bowls.”

Yang Mu, a Beijing-born economist who moved here in 1992 and became a citizen three years later, acknowledges a host of superficial differences, saying he finds locals somewhat aloof, more likely to work late and less likely to spend the night commiserating over stiff drinks. Unlike Singaporeans, people from China, he said, would never split a dinner tab.

“I’ve voted in four elections now, and it is great to live in a country where you can trust people and trust the government,” said Mr. Yang, 66, who formed a local charity that teaches English to Chinese migrants. “I still don’t feel Singaporean,” he added. “The truth is, when I retire, I’ll probably move back to China.” Full story

PRC new citizen leader attacks Singaporeans for being ‘intolerant’ and ‘lazy’ - The Temasek Times

read more

Resolve unfairness felt by Singaporeans first before integrating foreigners

Although our government is right in calling upon Singaporeans to be more big-hearted and less narrow-minded in accepting foreigners, this sensible message is not going to go down well with Singaporeans unless the government accepts its fair share of blame for its terrible execution of the immigration policy.

My subsequent paragraphs will sound critical to the government but I am not criticizing for the sake of letting off steam. I sincerely feel Singaporeans' support for the government's sensible messages is vital to solve the foreigner problem. However, the government has to earn back our trust and the admission of their own mistakes is a first step to doing that.

The massive excessive influx of foreigners in a short time has created serious social divides within the Chinese and Indian segments of the population. The Malays feel alienated or even threatened as their numbers become fewer due to the influx. The Chinese segment is now divided between native Chinese Singaporeans and PRC foreigners/new citizens/PRs. The Indian segment is now divided between native Tamil Singaporeans and the non-Tamil non-native Indians. The problem may be worse for the Indians as some fair-skinned Indian foreigners may not have totally shed ancient notions of the Caste system and still carry a sense of superiority over our darker-skinned fellow Tamil Singaporeans. I am not an Indian. Can a fellow Indian Singaporean comment on my worry?

read more

Singaporeans and immigrants have to reach out to each other

Singaporeans and immigrants both have a part to play in helping the newcomers to settle down in our country.

That means employers, community and grassroots leaders, student leaders, and Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs) have to work together with the immigrants to build social ties and fit into the Singapore landscape.

That was what Ms Grace Fu said in Parliament yesterday, Channel NewsAsia reported.
The message is that it is not just the Government who has to do the job of integrating immigrants into society.

read more

Singapore sets up fund to promote social integration

Singapore set up on Wednesday a fund of 10 million Singapore dollars (about 7.1 million U.S. dollars) to create more opportunities for immigrants and locals to enhance understanding. Singapore's National Integration Council said that the community integration fund will provide co-funding of up to 80 percent for integration projects over the next three years.

Integration projects refer to projects that provide opportunities for newcomers and locals to interact and communicate with each other, and improve their understanding of each other's culture, values and norms.

The council said the fund will help to ease the constraints currently faced by organizations interested in organizing integration projects but lack the required resources to do so. The Fund is open for application to all Singapore-registered non-profit organizations, societies and private companies.

related: Singapore sets up National Integration Council

read more

Remembering why we celebrate National Day

Today, Singapore society is pulled apart by several polarizing forces - widening gap between rich and poor,  unbalanced distribution of political power brought about by years of semi-authoritarian rule, and a sudden large influx of foreigners have caused integration issues. Loyal Singaporeans feel a need to pull our society back together  to be "one people" with a common purpose.  This goes beyond the "inclusive society" envisioned by our leaders that merely tries not to leave anyone out.

We want our roots to grow deeper ...extend and inter-wine with that of our fellow Singaporeans...we want shared success. measured by how well we care for the weakest, poorest and sickest among us. We want a society where people will fight for others willing to defend their fellow Singaporeans not only in war but also help each other during  peacetime when they are economically exploited or unjustly treated or left behind by progress.

We have to create something worth defending and that something is not the skyscrapers that makes up our impressive  affluent skyline but something intangible that is planted in the heart of every Singaporean...that makes Singaporeans to do something for each other because they feel they are much more than individuals because they are part of something bigger and more important...part of something that will be handed to future generationss - our common identity, our values, our ideals, our Pledge...One people, One Nation, One Singapore.

read more

Managing immigration: What Singapore can learn from others

What is particularly important is that Singapore actively manages the type of immigrants it brings in.
A targeted policy to attract immigrants based on particular skill and resource needs, in areas where there is a shortage of locals, will have positive impact on growth; but these resource gaps must be carefully defined and continually updated as Singapore’s economy develops over time, global demands change and demographics alter.

The social and political impacts should also be managed. Suitable immigrants should be willing to sink roots and grow their families here. It will be important to create a national consensus around the need for integration and to encourage greater acceptance of immigrants.

While Singapore already works hard to ensure that ethnic diversity is valued and social cohesion encouraged, it should consider developing a multicultural social cohesion policy which is fully integrated with the city’s strategic planning processes. There would be well-defined objectives and initiatives, with periodic monitoring of their implementation.

read more

Eurasians lament disappearing identity

As if Singaporeans did not have enough social problems to grapple with, such as the influx of foreigners, overcrowding and the Population White Paper debate, the Eurasian community have discovered that they are facing somewhat of an identity crisis.

On Saturday (23 Feb), 50 to 60 Eurasians met for lunch at the Eurasian Community House where they discussed the role of the Eurasian community in present and future Singapore.

The pow-wow was organized by the Eurasian Association (EA) as part of the government’s National Conversation. Starting at 12.30 pm, it went on well into the afternoon, lasting more than three hours. Invited were Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and MP for West Coast GRC S. Iswaran, who represents the Eurasian community in Cabinet, and MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC Christopher de Souza.

read more

Is this allowed? Residents proudly display Philippines flag outside home

STOMPer This is Singapore came across a picture online of a Philippines national flag being displayed outside their house unit.

Said the STOMPer: "Under the National Emblems (Control of Display) Act (CHAPTER 196), displaying of any National Emblems in public is strictly prohibited. 

read more

China flag at Kopitiam outlet makes me feel like a foreigner in my own country

STOMPer Gregory was concerned to see this China flag hung at the Kopitiam outlet at Pasir Ris West Plaza.

STOMPer Rachel also made an enquiry and a Pasir Ris West Plaza Management Office spokesperson said (Apr 18):

"Kopitiam at Pasir Ris West Plaza was having a Live big-screen screening for the Chinese F1 2011 Grand Prix last weekend.

read more

Resident displays China flag to mark Chinese National Day

This picture of a Chinese flag apparently hung on a HDB block was spotted on a local forum by iceboyboy. The picture has been making its rounds on the internet today (Oct 1), which is China's National Day.

China celebrates the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China today. An elaborate ceremony was held at Tian'anmen Square in the heart of Beijing to commemorate 60 years of Communist Party rule.

Another STOMPer, Ah Tiong, who also spotted the flag on the forum, said: 

read more

Why China flag up in NTU? Don't they know that this is illegal?

We all know students like to put things up in their rooms. Some hang up their favourite Ayumi posters, while others hang up flags. In this case, this hostelite hung up this China flag outside this dorm. Jumali says:

"I was on the bus 179 when I saw this flag displayed outside Hall of Residence Two, Block One.

"I took a snap and did a search on it.

read more

Tourists at Downtown East spotted bearing giant Vietnamese flag

STOMPer Ian was amused by the sight of this tour group at Downtown East bearing a giant Vietnamese flag.

The STOMPer wrote: "Is the Communist Party 'invading' Downtown East? 

read more

S'pore's National Day is approaching -- so what's up with this Swiss flag?

National Day is around the corner, so the sight of this Swiss flag among Singapore flags at a block of flats was unusual

STOMPer Gary commented: "Swiss National Day?"

read more

British flag found displaying at Casa Jervois Condo

A TRE reader has just sent in this photo. It showed a British flag displaying at the Casa Jervois Condo at 99 Jervois Road.

The reader said, “I was shocked this morning to see among all the flags celebrating our National Day, this British flag hanging out at a condo at 99 Jervois Road.”

He added, “Is the owner of the apartment trying to be funny? If this person is not Singaporean, he or she should show more respect (to Singapore).” 

read more

Police investigate woman who put up China flag: What about this Spanish one?

STOMPer Kalze noticed this Spanish flag hanging from a balcony at a condominium along Bukit Timah Road.

The STOMPer wrote: "Is this illegal too?

read more

Wake up, people! It's Singapore's National Day, not Indonesia's

While Singaporeans were anticipating the nation's National Day, STOMPer Disgrace saw something that irked her -- a flag that looked more like the Indonesian flag than the Singapore flag.

The STOMPer, who took the photo on Aug 7, said: "My friends and I were slacking the other day and coincidentally saw this flag which was an eyesore -- was this the SG flag or the Indonesian flag?"

read more

Hey, it's S'pore's birthday. Why hang Indonesian flag?

STOMPer KAyPOhKiANuM1 saw this flag, which looked like the Indonesian flag, in the Choa Chu Kang area.

He said: "This was founded in the Choa Chu Kang area...it was quite funny.

"Come on, put your spirit on, as August 9 is Singapore's birthday, not Indonesia's 

read more

related: Immigrants and Integration Woes