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Friday, April 29, 2011

#sgelections Against FT influx = Being a Supremacist?

It has been said in the recent run-up to the elections that "Singaporeans feel like foreigners in our own country," with 36% of the population being foreign talents, affectionately also known as foreign trash. Of course, no one calls them trash publicly, we aren't neo-Nazis, right? But in the tethering fabric of what is left of Singaporean solidarity, calling foreign talents, foreign trash, endears us to one another more. Because we really feel like they are marring our country with their smells.

We also hate that FTs are given more opportunities in schools over true-bred Singaporeans. We hate that their cultures stain ours and deconstruct it to the point we feel alienated. We hate that they are given the privilege of citizenship in a blink of an eye, when not too long ago, it was near-impossible to become a foreign 'talent'. Yes, to that last reference I am citing the case of my father's mission-in-vain to become a Singaporean PR, nay, even a work permit would have sufficed, after serving in the Singapore Police Force, marrying my Singaporean mother locally, and having me, in this country, during the 80s.

But are we being supremacists in wanting to rid ourselves of the negativity that FTs have brought onto our island country? In wanting to 'give Singaporeans priority' in education and employment? Isn't that being somewhat Neo-Nazi and Bumiputera?

We aren't suggesting ethnic cleansing of any sort that involves degrading into some form of genocide of all FTs in Singapore. (Actually, I believe there are some out there would want that, social genocide at the very least). We want after all simply a true democracy that is relevant to this time and age. It makes sense because we are a moderate country without extremists anymore. By the way, if you are wondering where the radical Communists have gone, I hear some of them are still up north near Thailand. Anyway, no, we aren't degenerating into wanting to flush out the impure citizens that have already infiltrated our trains and supermarkets.

But even without genocidal thoughts, it may be misconstrued that wanting fewer FTs in our own country counts as being supremacist, like the Nazis and Neo-Nazis. I think I speak for all those who are against the influx of FTs, that it is not their arrival per se that makes us feel a lack in Singaporean-ness. It is the process in which they are integrated and the pace at which we are opening our doors to them coming in. We aren't being supremacist, we just feel that we need a little justice.

Look at other cosmopolitan cities, like say, New York City. The city loves itself for being cosmopolitan to the point they can get any kind of cuisine in the city and meet people from different nationalities all the time. It actually makes their city feel special. It makes New Yorkers -  American - even, because they are the land of the free that opened its doors till today to all who want a better life.

So why don't we feel that way here in Singapore? Why do we feel an injustice with the current level of foreigner-to-local ratio?

I learned before in business school - human resource management - about procedural justice. Sometimes it is not the decision that is made that makes people feel unjustly treated, it is the way the decision was made. The process itself, not the end-result. Kind of how it is when you watch your team play your favourite sport - did they play well? If so, it was a good game to watch, even if your team lost in the end. NB. this rule does not apply to gamblers.

I am going to make a crude analogy to further explain our indignation against the current level of FTs living in Singapore, please skip this paragraph if you may get offended. If Singapore was a prostitute, we have opened our legs too wide, and too freely to FTs, inviting them to come and fuck us and get free memberships for life to do so. High class escorts serve one client a night, whereas comfort women during the Japanese Occupation were repeatedly abused to service the soldiers sexually with no breaks in between. Which kind of sexual servant are we, Singapore?

In order to become a cosmopolitan city that Singaporeans would be really proud and connected living in, we need to change the process and slow down the pace a little on inviting other nationalities to become part of us. How that should be done - you have heard and will hear more during the upcoming opposition party rallies in their promises.

We are not being supremacists. We just want our team to play well, and be a high-class social escort. We do feel Singaporean when we walk down, say, Katong, and find so many different cuisines available, from local to exotic. We do want to be the iconic Singapore Girl that smiles at tourists and newcomers to our island showing them how to get from point A to B. We just don't want to feel outnumbered and trumped unjustly. This feeling is not one of being supremacist. It is simply wanting to see justice in how well and how quickly FTs enter our land.