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9/07/2010

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.

8 comments:

Wally Buffet said...

In days long past, this country was populated by lowly immigrants and they and their descendents became the Singaputras on August 9th 1965.

From an island nation with scarce resources and almost penniless, we have come far and is now considered a "developed" country. Yes, we do need foreign workers but we certainly don't need freshly minted citizens who were what our forefather was.

We don't have to pander to the wishes and lobbying of businesses for more mules and donkeys. We need worthy immigrants to share in our hard earned wealth by contributing their real "expertise" that we lack.

We certainly don't need labourers, study mamas, food court helpers, factory operators, good time sing song girls, masseuse as PRs or even citizens.

Anonymous said...

Me feels that the attempt at nation building had gone awry and suspects the main cause was/is due to some human perversions of the minds and spirits.

Really really missed those good old days and the only alternative left for me is to hunt for it elsewhere.

patriot

Anonymous said...

Nation Building?

This country will be torn apart sooner or later by Natives against New Immigrants.

The Government cares not about nation building. It only pays lip service to that cause, and only cares about growth at all costs. Singaporeans dead or alive is secondary.

We are here talking to walls. Just make sure that you let them hear with your vote.

Matilah_Singapura said...

> This immigrant mentality, is it for real, for perpetuity? <

Of course it isn't forever. At a particular time, physical limits will be hit... it will be non economical to immigrate to Singapore.

However there'll always will be people going in and out of a territory. But mass immigration per se? No. It cannot go on forever.

So relax and enjoy your new friends. Get to know them. Make them feel welcome.

Anonymous said...

this is possibly one of your best if not the best of your pieces. hits the nail on the head. the other piece about the faux pas is also very good. they more than make up for that ghastly thing you wrote on the rally speech.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Thank you.

I try to be kind and nice and look at things in the proper perspective: )

Anonymous said...

Mr Chua is getting better by the days, bulls eye hit everytime.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

It is much much easier to write from the internet perspective, and more colourful. Miss Chua has a tougher and more unenviable task of writing the opposite views.

If I write the same vway as Miss Chua I will kena bokok everyday. Now I only kena from Matilah.