Home > Problems caused by PAP's policy > Xenophobia?: It is a reaction to the distortion of social fabric

Xenophobia?: It is a reaction to the distortion of social fabric

It is to my attention that my previous post may be referred to as xenophobic and inciting anti-foreigners sentiments. What I would like to say is, all these anti-foreigners sentiments is a reaction when one feels that the social fabric of the society was being distorted and threatened. It is a reaction to a lax open door policy that had created waves of changes in the country I love. Who dares to say that the social fabric of Singapore is not being distorted at this very moment? Even my colleagues from other countries who have only been in Singapore for 2-3 years could feel the rising presence of other nationalities.

But will my objection, as a reaction, to the open-door policy makes me anti-foreigners? Of course not! I have many friends and colleagues from various countries and I still love them dearly. The important point to note is to differentiate between a reaction to a policy and reaction to foreigners. People demonize the word ‘xenophobia’. It is a very dirty word in this globalized world. It implies narrow-mindedness and low tolerance. While I don’t think I am narrow-minded, I am not sure if I am so open and tolerant of an overwhelmingly increasing foreign population in my own country.

It is easy to be self righteous. Such as it is always politically correct to say one is blind to nationality. The litmus test would be if you are to save your own national man or the foreigner if you can only save one in a disaster. For those who are quick to answer that you don’t care about nationals, I leave it to you to decide if that is truly what you meant. I shall be truthful in my blog. That I will always be bias towards my own nationality. And I don’t see anything wrong with it.

In any case, I think Singaporeans are a very tolerant bunch of people. We have always welcome foreigners and it is only when we reached our limits, with an astonishing 1/3 of our current population being formed by foreigners do we feel the pinch and start to voice out our displeasure. Can anyone even name me any nation (in case anyone is tempted to name me cities) in this planet with more than 30% foreigners in the country? If anyone is to say that it is xenophobic to tolerate a foreign population of more than 35%, then yes, please call me a xenophobic.

Other nations are not so tolerant and forgiving. Take Finland for instance. According to an article on Straits Times dated 17th May 2011, ‘Whiter EU? Angry Birds soar as Nokia goes sour.’, immigrants making up 2.5% of the Finnish population is already giving rise to anti-foreigners sentiments. I quote:”The True Finns (a right wing movement) call them (immigrants) “parasites on taxpayers’ money.”. Of course, there are other factors such as downturn of the Finnish economy and rising unemployment rate that contributed to heightened xenophobia. This scenario is hardly rare as other EU countries such as France and Germany is struggling against a tide of immigrants from other poorer parts of the EU. With the formation of the EU, control of immigrants became impossible. Italy, while facing a problematic economy, faces a sea of illegal immigrants from Africa, made worse as these illegal immigrants needs to cross Italy in order to go to other parts of Europe.

We see that anti-foreigners sentiment is not new and will continue to permeate the society in this ever globalizing world. But the key word is: control. We need to control the inflow of foreigners in order to enhance the economy of the country and yet strike a balance to maintain the social fabric of the nation. The widespread complaints of FT not being real talents is also a call out to the Immigration Department to be more discerning in filtering out people who are truly capable. I am differentiating FT to be in white collar (PMET) jobs, and not foreign workers who work in jobs Singaporeans typically shun. While there are rare exceptions, like what I had mentioned in my previous post, my own bias experience with foreign school mates and colleagues does not convince me that these so called foreign talents are indeed talents.

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  1. boby
    June 20, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Uae,and in perticulerly dubai has foreigners more than 80% of population

    • June 20, 2011 at 2:04 pm

      Yes boby (I see from your IP that you are not a Singaporean, from Bangalore?), it is a fact that Dubai does have a huge foreign population as well. And who is to say that the locals do not face the same issues as Singaporeans in Singapore?
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/expatlife/7534343/Emiratis-get-tetchy-with-expats-in-the-UAE.html
      Does Singaporeans want to end up becoming a minority like the Emiratis? I don’t think so. If you think Singaporeans has not much political voice, the UAE has it worse, being a monarchy system. So indeed, the Emiratis had experienced a severe social disruption. And as a Singaporean, I don’t want to see little foreign countries popping up in my already small island. Of course, I understand foreigners who wants to be in Singapore would feel threatened by this wave of anti-foreigner sentiments. But put yourself in our shoes, would you want to see an ever increasing foreign population in your own country?

  2. Sgcynic
    June 20, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    To help one get a sense of proportion that 1/3 of or population is a foreigner: statistically, when you are in a conversation with 2 other people, 1 of them is your own national and the other one is a foreigner!

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