Recently, there has been much debate over the issue of new immigrants coming to Singapore. With the growing influx of foreigners coming to our country to work and live, many sectors of our society have voiced different concerns over this trend. Many ministers have spoken up on this issue too, including our Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong and the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Lim Hwee Hua.
While Minister Lim voiced the opinion that Singaporeans should prepare for, rather than resist, an increased willingness among people worldwide to travel and relocate, she also noted that the concerns that Singaporeans have over this issue is a healthy sign. This is because it shows that Singaporeans are concerned about how and where Singapore is heading as a nation.
So here, we face the juncture where globalization and nationalism meet. On the one hand, we have to accept the need for newcomers as population numbers do not look promising (falling birth rates), and with the reminder that Singapore itself had grown out of a society of immigrants from different countries who had contributed vibrancy to our country. Yet on the other hand, Singaporeans’ concerns over the effect of immigration on employment and the social fabric cannot be dismissed lightly as well, and assurances have been made to put the interests of Singaporeans ahead of non-citizens. This in turn sparked fears among foreigners that Singapore is rolling back the carpet on welcoming foreigners. And the debate continues…
They say that politics is the art of the possible, and in this, the government has attempted to bridge the gap by measures such as setting up the National Integration Council to spearhead initiatives that promote and foster social cohesion and integration. At the same time, a local Chinese newspaper, Lianhe Zaobao has published Crossroads to profile new immigrants and cover issues of interest to both new immigrants and Singaporeans.
How you can use this blog entry:
Paper 1 (Globalization and its effects on a country, foreign talent)
Paper 2 (AQ – Globalization, immigration)
Useful concepts and phrases:
Social fabric, integration, xenophobia, influx, rising trend