Sunday, November 15, 2009

Racial to Nationality Harmony

Perhaps it is time our national pledge be amended to read :

We, the global citizens of Singapore
pledge ourselves as one united people,
regardless of nationality, race, language or religion,
to build a democratic society,
based on justice and equality,
so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and
progress for our nation.

It takes us years to achieve racial harmony. But now it looks like we have to start the cycle all over again, only this time to strive for nationality harmony.

With the high influx of immigrants and foreign workers from various countries, it is not so much of race, but nationality that is becoming the 'dividing line'. At ground level, there is discontentment from both locals and PRs/new citizens due to perceived 'privilege' the other is getting. One thing leads to another - stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination... due to differences in nationality.

A typical example is Chinese nationality (especially pretty young female) is often associated with involvement in vice trade by local Chinese. So now we have people of the same race, language and often even same religion- stereotyping each other.

Stereotyping is common and exist even amongst our kids at primary school level. It often leads to prejudice against students from China.

It is frightening that children at such a young age start to discriminate against others. They are our future generation of Singaporeans. Will we still be a united people that we pledged to be in the coming years ?

This issue is compounded by the fact that Singaporeans will form only about 25% to 30% of the population in 30 years time! With such high percentage of the population who migrated here from various countries, even without discrimination rearing its ugly head, where will the emotional allegiance of these new citizens be? Their motherland or adopted country ?

Besides, there are many PRs not taking up citizenship. They just want to work in S'pore but spend their retirement years in they country of birth. Likely in event of unrest, these folks will fleet to their homeland.

Will we still stand as one united nation in times of trouble ? In time of peace, will there be national harmony amongst us ?

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