Friday, 13 September 2013

Immigrants and Integration Woes

Study confirms discomfort between S'poreans and new immigrants

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A recent study shows that the tension between Singaporeans and FTs are REAL!

In the media interview, MP Zainudin said Singaporeans and new immigrants have a common destiny. 

He said, “The new arrivals and Singaporeans need to realise that we have a common destiny. That common destiny must be the reason why we need to work together and slowly we believe and build the trust.” 

“All of us must realise that this tension does exist and all of us must understand that we should not allow this to become a problem for us in the future, for the country to move to a better Singapore.”

Rude China man in MRT threatens to kill old uncle over train pole
Man asked not to lean on MRT pole threatens to kill uncle if hegoes to China



The survey revealed good racial harmony among Singaporeans but more tension between new immigrants and citizens.

Non-Chinese Singaporeans responded that they were comfortable with having Singaporean Chinese as their bosses and neighbours. 93.8% said they were ok with a Singaporean Chinese boss, and 95% were ok with them as neighbours.

However, the same group said that they were less comfortable with having new PRC immigrants as their neighbours and bosses with about 15% ~ 20% fewer respondents saying that they were comfortable with new PRC immigrants as their neighbours and bosses

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Muslims in Singapore need to accommodate too: Zulkifli

Muslims in Singapore need to make greater efforts to compromise and integrate themselves better when it comes to practicing their religious beliefs. They should not expect others to accommodate them all the time.

Former Nominated Member of Parliament Zulkifli Baharudin, who serves as Singapore's non-resident ambassador to Algeria and Uzbekistan, voiced this view in response to a question about discrimination against Muslims at the workplace from a participant at a forum on Wednesday morning.

He was one of four panellists invited there to speak on the findings of a recently-concluded study on race and religion in Singapore

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Former Nominated MP Zulkifli Baharudin shares his views on race and religion in Singapore. (Photo courtesy of IPS)

At a forum on Wednesday, former NMP Zulkifli Baharudin said that Muslims in Singapore should make more effort to compromise and integrate instead of expecting others to accormmodate their religious beliefs all the time.

Zulkifli Baharudin was 1 of 4 panel members at the forum discussing the findings of the IPS and study on race and religion on Singapore and was answering a question form the crowd.

The question was one that raised concerns about the lack of prayer space in polytechnics and the hospital policy which does not allow medical staff to wear tudungs due to infection control. He gave an example of Muslims who choose to go to other countries where the majority are non-Muslims. He emphasised that where it's possible to accommodate without compromising religious beliefs, Muslims should try to integrate, but he said that where there is a clear conflict, there are choices that Muslims must make.

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90% accept workmates of another race but...

More than 90 per cent of Singaporeans are comfortable with those of other races and religions in relationships in the public sphere, a survey on social harmony has found

Respondents were asked separately about their level of comfort with a colleague, boss, employee and next-door- neighbour, if that person was of a different racial or religious group. But the picture was different when it came to relationships with new citizens.

The proportions of the 4,000 respondents who indicated comfort with, say, a new citizen from China or India who was a colleague or next-door-neighbour were lesser. These ranged from 74 percent to 87.6 percent.

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4 in 10 Singaporeans prejudge others based on race: study

SINGAPORE - JANUARY 01: Singaporeans, tourists and expatriates crowd Orchard Road, the shopping mall-lined street in Singapore Saturday, January 1, 2005. (Photo by Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

At least four out of every 10 Singaporeans have the tendency to decide what a person's behaviour and views will be like based on their race, before they even interact with them.

This was one of a host of findings revealed at an Institute of Policy Studies and forum on indicators of racial and religious harmony on Wednesday morning. The results were gleaned from Singapore's very first study on the state of racial and religious relations among its people.

Beyond the 46 per cent of some 4,109 respondent Singaporeans who said they "agree" or "strongly agree" to the statement "When I know what a person's race is, I have a good idea of what some of their behaviour and views are like", a further 35.6 per cent of respondents said they "somewhat agreed" with the line

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1 in 2 Singapore residents do not have a close friend from another race: survey

One in two Singapore residents do not have close friends from another race. This finding, and others on race relations, were revealed by community organisation (OPSG) during a press conference on Wednesday

The five-month survey on the state of racial and religious harmony in Singapore started in late 2012. It was a joint effort between OPSG, which focuses on promoting racial harmony in Singapore, and the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS)

It had over 4,000 respondents, which included about 1,000 Malays and Indians, and 80 Eurasians

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FTs Home dinner invitation to Sinkies bombshell: It's just NTUC Fairprice Marketing!

An Italian dinner hosted yesterday by friends – researcher Alessia Colone (second from left); accountant Antonio Scaramuzzino (centre, in green); and entrepreneur Vincenzo De Laurentiis (right, in black) – that was part of the FairPrice Finest Festival saw just seven people sign up. -- ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM

When German couple Dana and Stefan invited strangers to their Singapore home for dinner last month, the response was overwhelming.

Their online "open invitation" for six guests at an authentic German meal went viral, with 400 sign-ups. Netizens lauded the gesture as being "sweet" and "heartwarming".

But all was not as it seemed

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Short-sighted to treat PRs as expendable commodities

It is short-sighted to treat permanent residents (PRs) as expendable commodities. 

Under past policies, many foreigners became PRs to meet short-term goals. This resulted in a large mixed bag that included people who did not even bother to come here and others who used the system to their own benefit. This left many Singaporeans with a bad feeling about PRs. 

The best of PRs are not “foreigners”. The resident PR is gainfully employed (often in jobs Singaporeans shun), pays the same taxes, contributes to the Central Provident Fund, and his children do national service.

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Our Race Scorecard

I like to think we score better than most cities but there is always room to make the gaps narrower. Also digging deeper especially into religion the numbers might not look so good. In particular I wished the numbers from new citizens were much better. Many of them I suspect are here more for economic reasons than anything else. Especially in India, you can get back your citizenship very easily. Promiscuous citizenship!

A new citizen who is an employer is more likely to hire their own race - not good.

When does a new Singaporean begins to fall out of the new citizen category? Five years, ten years? The overall numbers would look worse over time making for a less resilient society. New citizens also have dismal TFR like us, i.e, not helping to reproducing the numbers of those born here. A born to the place citizen is always special. I have seen people born and grew up in Dubai but are citizens elsewhere. It's sad.

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Racial relations Survey

Racial relations are taking the limelight again with the Survey by the Institute of Policy Studies. The survey revealed some expected results in a multi racial society that has been subject to some violent rape and assault recently. There is nothing new really and the findings could even be deduced with a little bit of thinking. The Survey only confirmed the situation with the numbers from the respondents.

What did the Survey expect to find out other than the obvious? What is behind the thinking of the people behind the Survey? There seems to be some preconceived ideas or expectations that are deemed to be good and not good. There are some presumptions of what a good multi racial society should be. And one of the good or right things is that all the different races would be hugging and kissing each other everyday.

And all of them will be socializing with each other, visiting each other and making friends if not sleeping together. The people are expected to reach out to understand other races and their sensitivities! Are these the expectations? If so, then they will be very disappointed. Is it the responsibility of individuals to make time to understand others when they hardly have time for themselves?

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Finally, the foreign scholar issue has hit the papers. I have struggled to comprehend this strange educational policy since I stepped into the National University of Singapore and realised that for my course’s cohort of around 60 pupils, 2 Singaporeans are on the NUS scholarship, 1 Malaysian is on the ASEAN scholarship and 17 Chinese Nationals are on the Undergraduate Scholarship for PRC students (website: National University of Singapore).

While foreigners enjoy the luxury of studying without worrying about monetary issues, my fellow Singaporeans step into society ridden with debt. Some of them work to finance their studies and others take bank loans which leave them with a debt of more than S$24,000 when they step out into society. They have to pay their tuition fees and accomodation, all out of their own pocket.

As Member of Parliament Baey Yam Keng stated, scholarships should be based on merit, not nationality. Is that to say that out of all the Singaporeans in my cohort, only 2 are as good as the 17 Chinese scholars? Are we not as bright as the foreign talent we import? Well, I can tell you confidently that many of my Singaporean peers are as good if not better than these foreign scholars. Speaking from experience with my course mates, they are just as bright and hardworking. Some too are able to achieve what the Ministry of Education calls upper class honours. It is thus surprising that these scholarships are handed out to foreigners while we leave our own young Singaporeans ridden with debt.

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