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Monday, July 30, 2007 . 10:53 PM

Embracing the Otherhood?

In Singapore, we are generally classified into a total of 3 sections. We have the Chinese, Malays and Indians. But there is also this growing minority, which we all label as others. When in actual fact, "others" refer to mainly the foreigners, the mainland Chinese, Bangaldeshis, Caucasians etc. In the past, we used to be indifferent in their presence, rarely do you see a Caucasian in the subway. But now, they are growing so rapidly that we simply cannot ignore their standing in Singapore.

While part of the government's plan to make up for an ageing and decreasing population would be to attract foreign talent to plant their roots here (and have been largely successful). This has also raised another question- With so many foreigners, coming in, will the locals ever have the chance to rise up and compete with the foreign talent. In the workforce, the foreigners always take the top, Singaporeans being at their beck and call. Say, the President of the Youth Challenge Society is a Korean. In schools, the scholars are dominating, regardless of international or ASEAN, rarely do you get to see our locals at the top. While saying nicely that we are making use of their talent, the locals are indeed hostile to the fact that they are no longer in-charge, we are now "colonised" by people who aren't natives.

Another problem would be their increasing numbers. Our present population stands at about 4.5 million, yet, the native population is only about 3.7 million. In other words, the "others" number about 0.8 million, far higher that the 0.2 million 10 years ago. Locals fear that their growth would mean that soon, the "others" may grow to a formidable proportion, even displacing their superior standing in society.

In my opinion, while such a thought may seem to be unfounded or even childish, it is still something which we, together with the government must address. Indeed we must ensure that the others assimilate with the main population as quickly as possible, it is a barrier which we must remove between us and the foreigners- basically, the main aim would be to make them stay, and induce loyalty, at least in their next generation. That would then, be the way which we are to accept them into our society