Active citizenship among foreign born Singapore citizens

A growing number of PRs and foreign born Singapore citizens are also involved in grassroots activities. There are also some who involve themselves as voluntary police officers under the Volunteer Special Constabulary (VSC) scheme. Recent case studies are featured in the Straits Times this year following a recent concern by local people about a high proportion of foreigners in Singapore. Do we reject them just because they are not born in Singapore? The impression portrayed by the news articles show that there is a group of foreign born Singapore citizens or PRs that wants to contribute to our society. We should applaud for their effort in doing so. Even if there is concern that foreigners has pose a threat to us in terms of employment opportunities, to think of it from another perspective, would it be more constructive to equip ourselves with better skills and qualifications so that we will not be obsolete.

out of the bubble into the community ST 201210

Let’s read this except from this year’s National Day Rally speech:
Take sports talent as another example. We are grooming our own. Our young sportsmen have done very well in the YOG, the young Olympians, and in some sports we are near the top in the world rankings like sailing or bowling. This is Jasmine who is the women’s champion two years ago and last year was our Sportswoman of the Year. But in other sports, we still need to draw on new citizens, like table tennis. We are very proud of Isabelle who won a Silver medal in the YOG. But we have too few Isabelles and so we have topped up and our women’s team has done very well. They won the Silver at the Beijing Olympics. Here, you see them receiving their medals. In Moscow, at the World Team Table Tennis Championships, they beat China to win the Gold medal and here you see Feng Tianwei celebrating. Our team players may not have been born here. I do not think they speak good Singlish, but they have chosen this place to be their home. They are playing for Singapore, flying the flag for Singapore and when they win the band plays Majulah Singapura. So,we should cheer for them, just as we cheer for all of our national sportsmen. So that is the first reason for talking about, for needing this, talent is critical to us.
————-Excerpt from National Rally Speech 2010 by Mr Lee Hsien Loong
Prime Minister of Singapore

A Burmese advertisment pasted along a passageway in Woodlands

Bengali Supermarket signboard in Sembawang

If we locals continue to adopt the rejectionist mindset towards new citizens and permanent residents, Singapore might not be an attractive magnet to draw foreign talent. Singapore, being the little red dot in this region, needs manpower to effectively push our country’s development towards greater heights. Singapore started out as a migrant society. Our ancestors were migrants in the first place, we should be magnanimous enough to accept foreign talent who wants to contribute to our society and wanted to call Singapore home. So we should be prepared to see our ethnicity build up to stretch beyond the Chinese, Malay, Indian ,Others (CMIO) , where there might be a need to redefine who belongs to the Others category.
So, please do not be uneasy when you see signboards or flyers using languages that are alien to you or new ethnic enclaves being set up.

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