“Peace in Republic is result of the ‘deliberate choice’ made by the country’s forefathers.” This is quoted from yesterday’s Today paper in an article by Amanda Lee. I think most Singaporeans would agree with this statement wholeheartedly. It is a historical fact. Our forefathers were brought here by the colonial masters to serve the interests of Empire for cheap and compliant labour. And when we were given independence, this mix bag of people was there and our forefathers had to make the best out of it. They had to live with whatever that was here. They did not create the problem of a population of so many races. They had no choice.
Chee Hean made a speech saying that the fate of racial harmony lies with the Singaporeans. How many of you agree with him? Our forefathers did their best and we were hammered, coerced and coaxed into becoming a people called Singaporeans. They succeeded to bring a people different in race, religion and history together to live as one people. That was their achievements.
Today, the people did have a choice, oops, not really, when the govt imported more than two million foreigners from all over the world and shafted them down the throat of the people. The govt had a choice, the people did not. The govt consciously and deliberately chose to do this, to bring another mix bag of people of different races, religions and historical background into a Singapore that had four major ethnic groups of people living peacefully together in harmony. The govt decided this for the people.
Now Chee Hean is saying that racial harmony is now the responsibility of Singaporeans to make it work again? Why is this not the responsibility of those people who decided to bring these foreigners here against the wishes of the Singaporeans, without the consent of the Singaporeans? How many of you agree with what Chee Hean said, that it is now the Singaporeans’ responsibility?
Peace and racial harmony were a deliberate choice of our forefathers. Is the influx of more than two million foreigners in so short a span of time a deliberate choice of the Singaporeans of today? If it is, then it must be the responsibility of the Singaporeans to make it work. If not, then who should be responsible to make it work? Who should be held responsible if it did not work and the problems became national problems?
Chee Hean lauded the peace and harmony we have so far and attributed this to ‘Each community did not insist on the primacy of its race, language or practices. Instead, each of our communities is prepared to practice its own culture and religion in the context of making adaptations to accommodate others where necessary.’ Can this be taken for granted, that it would always be like that? There are already signs of intolerance by the new immigrants and new citizens that they would like to be different and demanding more recognition of who they are and what they are.
By the way, why is it not the responsibility of the new immigrants to make racial harmony works? Why are foreigners easily let off when they bashed up Singaporeans for the smallest excuse?
The hungry Singaporeans of yesteryears were hungry enough to want to get on with their lives, to be left in peace, just to work for a better life. The new Singaporeans are not hungry, not that easy to please, very demanding and would not be easily persuaded to accommodate, integrate and accept the way of lives of other ethnic and religious groups. We are not dealing with the same inputs, the same environment and the same realities. Do not take our good fortune of racial harmony for granted and think everything will be the same, so easily done, so simple. Just because someone said integrate and the new and old citizens will integrate. Just throw a free makan and all is well, we will have a happy integrated society with racial harmony. So simple!