The rest just don’t fancy the circumstances forced down their throats.
By Belmont Lay
There are many things that I don’t understand as a normal citizen.
For example, why is Singapore’s population composition the way it is today? How does the authorities even decide which country’s citizens are ripe for the picking?
I know I cannot call the ICA and demand an answer. Neither can I rely on The Straits Times to tell me anything timely.
I mean, on what basis are people granted Singaporean citizenship or permanent residency?
Their ability to speak Mandarin? They have opposable thumbs? Their reproductive organs are functioning?
I can bet you that 99.9 percent of us locals haven’t got a clue.
From a purely humanist perspective, I do know intellectually it is wrong to deny anyone the chance to cross borders to gain access to a better life.
Come on, our forefathers were immigrants. Our forefathers’ forefathers surely did do a bit of uprooting themselves.
And if we go back far enough along the tree of life, basically our ancestors at one point in time crawled out of the African plains.
If they didn’t, we’ll still be there, inside trees, nibbling on branches and termites with our bums exposed to the savannah elements.
Hence, foreigners can come to Singapore to strike out a better living. And they can do it for the betterment of our economy and themselves.
However, I just don’t want to look like an ass telling each and every Singaporean to give foreigners some love and kindness after locals left, right and centre have either just lost their jobs to them or became displaced in some way or another.
Because the reality is this: There exists numerous instances where foreigners have negatively impacted the lives of Singaporeans. Go talk to a retrenched PMET.
Look, the inherent fear of foreigners has been something that has been going on for the longest time in countries such as Australia. Some politicians there feed off the xenophobic mob to try to get elected into parliament.
Here in Singapore, things haven’t gone that way. Or at least, not yet. And that is kind of like the silver lining for now.
But it surely doesn’t help if we infuse the foreigner discussion with platitudes, such as: “We must make foreigners feel welcome” or “Without foreigners, Singapore will cease to function.”
The current leaders who are doing this, please stop.
These statements are grating, meaningless and annoying.
What Singaporeans simply want is:
a) to be kept abreast of our country’s direction and vision and
b) whether there is indeed a policy to skew the current population composition in a certain direction.
Let’s just put it in simpler terms: Why can’t the present government say for certain if there is a preference to boost our population with people from China?
If so, doesn’t this amount to some kind of positive discrimination at work here?
Or, can anyone with any knowledge of our immigration policy confirm if it is just me or is the upper class Chinese expatriate community really getting larger?
And who are the ones making those decisions behind our backs on our behalf?
If Singapore prides itself as being a city-state that cherishes diversity and globalisation and multiculturalism and all the things that make a First World Country, then why not be more transparent about things?
Where can I go to find an honest answer?
From my Punggol PAP MP Janil Puthucheary?
I guess I could, because Janil sure can tell me a lot about getting a citizenship here, you lucky ex-Malaysian, you.
You see, a lot of these details relating to Singapore’s treatment of foreigners are completely fuzzy. And honestly, with my level of intelligence and my honours degree from NUS, I should have been able to figure all this out given some time and vodka.
But alas, no.
Therefore, I can’t help but feel that whatever situation we’re in now is a result of having circumstances shoved down our throats.
And the the people with the real answers aren’t very forthcoming.
You can also just feel it in the air that if certain backroom policies and unofficial stance were made official in black-and-white, the fallout resulting from public rebuke will be biblical.
So here’s the point of today’s missive: A minority of Singaporeans are chronically allergic to foreigners. The vast majority, though, are trying to remain as indifferent as they can towards them. But with increasing difficulty.
We are, after all, already up to here with people on this island.
And I don’t remember ever voting for this.