Integration, an exercise in futility
What or who are Sinkies supposed to integrate with, the foreign workers, maids, the EP talents, definitely not the real super foreign talents? The latter no need to integrate. Or are the Sinkies supposed to integrate only with the new citizens and PRs or with all of them?
Not only this is a problem, there are many conditions and developments that made integration just that unrealistic. Those who remembered, we used to have Integrated Schools in the 60s and 70s, to integrate our young as people of a nation. That was the right place to start with, the impressionable young. And from schools to working life, there will be plenty of time to get to know each other even as acquaintance. We have achieved some degree of social cohesion over the years, over many years, not days. And we have a people, though of various races, but already here for generations and quite adapted to the culture and social norms.
Life then was quite different too. There was no rat race and people generally have a lot of free time to socialize, to visit one another. Life style today is so hectic. The working adults would be working their guts out to make a living and to pay high mortgages. After work, they would be so exhausted that there would be no time for anything. They even have problems to spend quality time with their child or children. Still got time to integrate with foreigners? The rich have a lot of time, but with a lot of amusements to keep them busy and occupied. Integrating with the foreigners would be the last thing on their mind.
The young would be busy studying and trying to get good grades. Any time available would be spent integrating with their little machine, Iphone, Ipod, Ipad and computers. They don’t have time for anything else.
The only group left with all the time in the world to integrate with the foreigners would be the retirees, the uncles and aunties. Then again, would the young foreign workers and maids want to integrate with them? I know for sure, the maids and foreign workers would be busily integrating among themselves. The remainder of the foreign adults would be in Little India or Geylang trying to socialize and be happy.
Who else is there with all the time in the world to want to integrate? The middle executives, both locals and foreign would not have the time nor the interest to want to socialize. What ever little precious time left would be for sleeping and catching up with their little hobbies or preoccupations.
By the way, you don’t say integrate and lo behold, the people are dancing and hugging each other all over. Integration is a long term process that would not happen overnight like instant trees. The foreign workers and maids, even the middle executives are transient workers and residents and many would not be here for long. And who is going to pay for the time and effort to integrate? Time is money and integration also cost money.
Integration seems like a magic word to some, like go forth and multiply.