A constant state of flux and tension
We religiously laud and preach our great beginnings as an immigrant country and how this great phenomenon has done us well. There is no doubt that immigrants can contribute to the growth of the country. There is also no doubt that a country that depends mainly on its own indigenous population could also reach the stars. And there is no doubt that both have their weaknesses and consequences to bear with. After 45 years of independence or nearly 200 years of very loose immigration policies, taking 1819 as the starting point, are we getting anywhere as a nation of people with our own identity and a people that would root for this land and call it home? Prior to 1965, there was no concerted or conscious effort to build a country by the govts of the day. We were more like a frontier town existing only to serve the needs of the power that be, and building a country was the last thing in their minds. 1965 was the real beginning to establish a country with its own people from a collection of immigrants. A society of immigrants is but a transient society. A country of immigrants is a nation in the making. Could we have done better and be nearer to that goal, that we are a nation? Officially the position is that we are still a work in progress. We even have doubts that we are a nation. Pathetic isn’t it? So much for all the nation building campaigns, effort and education. So much for a flag and a pledge and National Day Celebration. Today we are just about in the same square as we were in 1965. Many of the things that we have been made to believe in, our social habits and social norms, even identity, are disintegrating and need reeducation and reinforcement. We are diluted by the large presence of foreigners in our midst. And it is believe that this is good. A lot of oomphs! This immigrant mentality, is it for real, for perpetuity? Are we going to enshrine this formula of having foreigners in large numbers at all times, 30 years, 100 years or more? The first victim of such a strategy is nationhood. We will forever be trying to get there but never will. We will be a transient society, a transient people, a nation that never will be. Every generation will be new, vibrant, hungry and dynamic, but not knowing who their forbears were or what were their histories. There will be no ownership, people come and go, buy and sell everything for instant gratifications. Maybe one day they just hold a referendum and sell everything away. Without a national identity, without a people who believe in this place, with everyone thinking that immigrants are good, how can there be a soul, how can there be a nation of people? Maybe statehood or nationhood will become irrelevant in the future.