In defence of my “pro-human” stance
May 22, 2013, 10:58 pm
Filed under: By Rachel Zeng, Singapore

Sometime in March this year, I posted something on my Facebook page after being labeled as “anti-Singaporean” by some friends in order to explain in greater detail, my “pro-human” stance. Somehow I was reminded of this little note last night after a conversation with local playwright Alfian Sa’at regarding a similar topic so I thought I should share the following on my blog as well.

“I think it all boils down to how we see people. To me, I see everyone I meet in the following order:

1. Human beings
2. Women, men, transgender or transexuals
3. Fields of expertise (occupations/ hobbies)
4. Cultural/ ethnic backgrounds
5. Atheists, agnostic or theists
6. Nationalities

Furthermore, I do not believe in the need for country borders, the need to segment human beings into their race, language, religions or gender as well as the need to hold preference for one group (mentioned above) over another when it comes to policies or general decisions. Therefore, I think the way I do, and am not in favour of the “Singapore for Singaporeans” slogan. 

HOWEVER, I do understand the sentiment. What I am not for, is the direct action on foreigners displayed by individuals as listed below:

1. Take photos of foreigners travelling on public transport, post them on FB, Twitter or their blogs and writing captions such as “Ah Tiong, get lost!” or “Invaders taking our space on the train”.

2. Saying things that hurt, in front of foreigners or who they perceive as foreigners, indirectly to them and directly hurting or causing embarrassment towards them them.

3. Generalising various nationalities by their “common trait”, which often comes from a lack of understanding that every individual is different and the so called “common trait” might not actually be a common trait at all. 

4. Saying that foreigners come here to steal our jobs and suppressing our salaries when in actual fact, a lot of them have no idea that they are doing so. They just want to make a living in a place where there are opportunities. (Don’t tell me Singaporeans do not do that too.)

It is ok to be divided over this issue, to be honest but we should also not begin to call each other names or snub each other or be distracted from the real issue(s). 

What is needed, in my humble opinion, is to talk about the establishment of a minimum wage pegged to our standard of living for all workers regardless of their nationalities. In addition, foreign workers receiving salaries below a certain amount must be provided with decent lodging (not 6 beds in a room). That can help to ensure that companies hire based on the abilities and skills, not nationalities or just to cut cost. (Note: Just my view, feel free to enlighten me with yours)

Yes many of you might think that I have a simplistic view of things but I am very open to hear yours. And do note, I have NEVER claimed that anyone of you are xenophobic just simply because you embrace the “Singapore for Singaporeans” slogan or endorse the “Singaporeans first” proposals advocated by the opposition parties/ influential bloggers/ various members of civil society. So please don’t get sensitive and scream at me about that again because that has never been my point.”

It will be great if readers of this blog are able to share their views as well regarding the immigration policies and the general attitudes towards new citizens and immigrants.



1 Comment so far
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‘Imagine’ by John Lennon is a song ape picks almost always during karaoke sessions.

If only humans can see beyond borders, nationality, skin colours, spiritual faiths…

After reading your explanation, ape understands why you’re against Singapore for Singaporeans.

However, ape do note that whatever Singaporeans enjoy here and now is built by their parents and their parents who wanted to give their children a better life. Foreigners who are here to make this place their home and eventually convert to citizens are fine. Foreigners who are here to seek opportunities to better theirs and their families in their country of origin (but intend to return) are also welcomed provided they earn their keep and don’t reap on the fruits born out of Singaporeans forefathers.

Ape tak boleh tahan foreigners who wanted similar rebates, subsidies etc and yet refused to take up citizenship. These are opportunists who are here for the good times and leave the moment signs of instability shows.

Ape is all for equal wages, equal employment terms. However, social benefits such as healthcare, workfare, HDB housing, school fees and any other government subsidies should be reserved or at least prioritise for Singaporeans.

Comment by ape@kinjioleaf

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