What might contribute to the rise in Social Tensions in the face of ‘foreigners’

Temasek Review, in an article citing a Buddhist monk’s doubts ‘over the usefulness of inter-faith dialogue to prevent another Rony Tan fiasco’, ended off with,

“...With the combustible situation exacerbated by the relentless influx of foreigners in Singapore, the social tension in Singapore society is set to grow in the years ahead.”

I really don’t see what the ‘relentless influx of foreigners in Singapore’ has to do with the Rony affair. Or perhaps TR believes that most of these foreigners might be members of Rony’s denomination? Hmm, sometimes, given the xenophobia that is pervasive amongst oppositional elements, i’m inclined to think that ‘the relentless influx of foreigners in Singapore’ should have been stopped when the local Chinese population hit 36%. Then, perhaps, all cultures would have been afforded equal development to the point that their fusion could have produced a more sensible approach to the immigration issue than is now currently being taken by most singaporean bloggers and the ‘new media’ saturated in perspective, by a singular experience.

If tensions are set to rise, according to TR, and I’m not sure if they aren’t contributing to it being a self-fulfilling prophecy with their stance, then I have to wonder after the basis for the tensions. On the one hand, the ‘opposition’ is not wrong in stating that foreigners ought not to be coming in to take jobs that locals can do because they are ‘cheaper labour’. In this sense, and this sense only, am I on the side of the opposition. However, by giving them my support on the basis of this reason alone might serve to validate their other ‘add-ons’ such as an aversion to difference, association of foreigners with crime, deviance and bad behaviour, and using this opportunity to rally all singaporeans whilst completely oblivious to the fact that local ethnic minorities have been subjected to the selfsame conditions in the face of the local majority as the majority are now facing from the ‘relentless influx of foreigners’. If I still gave them my support, that would simply indicate the degree to which my democratic sense is led by self-absorption, and that would be quite the paradox.

It is on this existing basis of self-centred bigotry that I place a significant cause for TR’s prophesied ‘social tension in Singapore society is set to grow in the years ahead.‘ After all, it is only natural for a people who’ve had the advantaged end of the stick to take issue with a ‘relentless’ and ‘foreign’ threat to their accustomed comfort as the preferred sector of society.

I stated once that there must have been something really good about British society for the ‘relentless influx of foreigners’ to have many ‘white’ defenders, just as there must have been something really bad about Singaporean society for precious few to take issue with bloggers and the ‘new media’s’ fascist stance against difference. Even if it was a purely economically pragmatic stance, their stance will still be a self-absorbed one given that the vociferousness afforded this situation was not similarly paid to the interests of ethnic minorities. This ‘something really bad’ is quite easy to discern. Just look at the existing and decades-long apathy of the masses and the ‘opposition’ in the face of the marginalisation of ethnic minorities, and then you can tell why few, if any, take on an egalitarian approach toward the immigrants of today - other than a2ed, no other site in this country has been vociferous on this issue. They are well practiced in bigotry, and hence, they would naturally take issue with foreigners from much of the stance that they do.

I remarked to a Chinese mate and my confidante, V, (a chinese girl from singapore) not too long ago that the reason for Temasek Review’s popularity is that they are populist, fascist, and racist - as evidenced by their stance toward immigration, their oversights when it comes to the interests of ethnic minorities, amongst others. Just look at the number of hits and comments they get, compared to The Online Citizen which is not blatantly fascist and racist. If democracy ever comes to Singapore, you can be sure that it is going to be of the fascist variety where people are following hallowed leaders like mindless sheep and one culture is lauded over all others. All that is going to happen is that the advantaged are going to gather more advantages for themselves whilst the relatively disadvantaged will look forward to having more than they were previously accustomed to due to trickle-down effects. That is why the likes of Jacob69er, Seelan Palay, Carlos Abdullah, amongst others, are as consistent and similar in their oversights to that of all of the opposition, and are probably fighting for the reinstatement of their 2nd class status as the influx of foreigners pushes them down to a 3rd. Malcolm X might term them ‘house negroes’. I would be inclined to do the same as well.

When you put all of the above together, and if social tensions rise, we can be sure that it is more than pure economic pragmatism that is inspiring it. I don’t know what TR means exactly by ‘social tensions’. Perhaps they are leaving it as a blank cheque so that whatever happens, it can be blamed on the government as opposed to the existing bigotries and self-absorption of the nation as a whole. Then again, given their demonisation of foreigners, and the chorus of head-nods from ‘netizens’, we could plausibly assume that this is a veiled threat to foreigners themselves. If they are referring to tensions between new and old foreigners/Malays, you can rest assured that a2ed will be on the side of the new foreigners. You’ll have to get past me to get to them. For they are today as were your forefathers of yesteryear. And if i shirk my duty to stand by them, it would be akin to going against your forefathers. In that sense, my defence of the new foreigners is a defence of the forefathers of non-native singaporeans.

Perhaps the opposition ought to practice some magnanimity as did the Malays in the face of the relentless influx of your forefathers. If they had kicked up as much fuss as yourselves when the PRCs and Indian national population a hundred years ago hit 36% in total, you might not be here today. Sure some riots broke out then, but don’t think the situation is similar. The Malays were not holding the reins of government, and they were severely disadvantaged as they hailed from a more communal strain of humanity and weren’t versed in the ‘dog eat dog’ art of capitalism (thus they myth that ‘Malays are lazy’), whilst fully aware that Singapore was their ancestral home for thousands of years. But instead, they were excluded from top positions. What if all local singaporeans are from hereon excluded from top positions in favour of the new foreigners? From your current position, perhaps you could begin to understand the past, and realise the wrongs we have committed. We need a major perspectival shift, far more major than that afforded the Singapore Flyer on the advice of feng shui masters.

I think this whole situation calls for an overly-delayed critical introspection on the part of all Singaporeans, new or otherwise. Too much self-absorption, too many racists, too many fascists, and too few egalitarians. If we appreciate all of the above, we might achieve a cultural epiphany and that might swing the Singaporean experience back to the trajectory it was on in the 70s and start producing real Singaporeans, whom were very much an amalgam of the Malays, Indians and Chinese, in persona, if not in sight. Then, when we look at foreigners, we might deem it more appropriate to term them ‘new Singaporeans’, and thus, inciting our own reflexive empathetic appreciation of their condition, and from then, being more focused on the true causes of just about all social evils.



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