A front page article in the ST today has a heading ‘Singapore residents’ employment rate up’. The article went on to provide figures on the employment rate of residents in various age group and how many oldies and housewives are returning to the job market. I combed through the article and found two words missing, as if it was a deliberate effort not to have them mentioned. Not a word was mentioned of Singaporeans and citizens. What does this mean or what implications are there when it is all about residents and not citizens or Singaporeans? After all the hue and cry over PRs being treated like citizens or getting better privileges than citizens, many new policies were churned out to differentiate the differences between being citizens and non citizens. The citizens were angry that they were taken for granted, like step children and being ill treated. Some of the measures have placated the emotional strain and the lesser economic and social opportunities caused by the presence of residents or primarily PRs.
From the content of the article written and the primacy of the term residents, what is the message? Is this a country where residents and citizens are indistinguishable, to be treated in the same light again? Why is there no mention of the word citizens in the whole article? Is there something about citizens that is unmentionable or unpleasant to be mentioned? Or is it that the people must not know the difference between citizens and residents, that statistics may tell the truth of a picture that the citizens may not be happy about?
The refrain from providing statistics about the welfare and well being of citizens, and the lumping of everything under the cover of ‘residents’ is screaming out loud a message louder than intended. By not saying it has the reverse effect of saying too much. There must be a difference between citizens and residents and in favour of citizens, not the other way. Check out the statistics dished out and figure out why citizens or Singaporeans were never identified separately. A country is primarily for its citizens and not residents only.