“Please don’t construe that we are anti-xenophobic”
July 2, 2012
As a general rule I never ever deal with highly confused people who really have no idea how to even structure a simple Simon discussion – as I understand it online / offline was quorum to broach the subject of whether xenophobia is really a pressing problem in Singapore.
Unfortunately, it turned out to showcase the seven habits of highly ineffective bloggers – as these bloggers continued to confuse everyone.
My advice is just give them a wide berth and look on from a distance. Don’t get involve otherwise your brain may end up exploding like a hand grenade.
It’s hilarious when you have a group of people who started this whole discussion to add value to a topical subject. But instead all they seem to do is baffle and confuse everyone [including themselves]. Perhaps what is really missing in this exploratory discussion about whether xenophobia in Singapore is an emerging problem – is a sense of scale to frame this entire discussion – maybe if these bloggers started the discussion by first asking themselves the common sense position where else on this planet can one find a government that is so reckless and happy go lucky to ramp up the foreign population by 38% in less than ten years – then perhaps these gods of bloggers will be less inclined to label all Singaporeans as “xenophobic.”
Personally, I happen to believe Singaporeans have a right to voice their grievances providing they don’t go against the law. In my book xenophobia is both understandable and foreseeable in Singapore.
Whether it is desirable or not is something that I cannot comment on. As we have decided to boycott this discussion. Perhaps I will write about this subject another day.
On a personal note. I do not believe bloggers hold the key to smoothing out the bad blood between natives and foreigners. Neither does it pay for them to harbor delusions of granduer that they can some how be able to solve what appears to be a very complex and intractable problem – this is really a problem that the Singapore government knowingly created and they should really take the responsibility to sorting out the mess themselves - what does it even have to do with the blogging community is really beyond me. Only incredibly stupid or delusional bloggers will believe that they hold they key to resolving this divisive problem.
As always I give you the facts you decide.
I have a splitting headache. I need to take a really cold shower now.
“We have a standing rule with Alex Au and Andrew Loh et al. Whatever they do. We boycott. And whatever we do. They boycott. That I think is a very happy compromise. It was worked very well for the last five years. And I see no compelling reasons for us to change this position. Perhaps we will discuss changing it in the next 5 years. But for the time being, it is best to just observe events as they unfold. Understand this! We know what we can do and what can be reasonably accomplished. This is why many serious people like to do business with us. We do not take on the impossible. We set realistic goals. Is it true that xenophobia is most pronounced in the Singapore Internet. Yes. But please understand this is a real life problem that transcends the boundaries of just the internet. Just because xenophobia is most evident in the Internet does not necessarily mean it fuels xenophobia. It may just be symptomatic. Could it be the root of xenophobia is to be found the Govt obsession with chasing meaningless metrics like GDP instead of organically driven growth? Recently we all saw an auntie having a slug out with a young sweet thing on the MRT – the auntie called her a PRC. Used in this context, this is code for you cheap foreign husband thieving slut. Now this did not happen in the internet. It transpired in the real world. So this is really an issue that is much bigger than just hate speech that you will normally find in corner of blogosphere – it is conceivable, xenophobia has even permeated the groundwater of public consciousness to become a widely held attitude amongst most natives.
Was this foreseeable? Well let me put it this way – what did you really expect when a government proceeds in a cavalier fashion to ramp up it’s population by nearly half within such a short period of time? If you want to know how fast this all happened. Pls understand today we hold the world record for foreign labor transplant, just after Dubai. Go and check it up. Correct me if I wrong.
Mini Lee likes to cite the example that immigrant workers are a necessary part of modern life as even Germans these days have to open their doors to foreign workers. But what he doesn’t tell you is the German government will never fling their doors happy-go-lucky style in the way he did – for lack of a better word, it is precision immigration in Germany, they have the Leikutur – a moral philosophy that guides the whole idea of not only immigration. But also assimilation to ensure the cohesiveness of their society – their planners are ultra careful to maintain the demographic balance with the influx of new migrants – and that is the way immigration should be approached very much like precision farming – where the goal is not about growth at every turn and opportunity only to cause everyone to suffer from high blood pressure. But rather to grow incrementally and organically. But to accomplish this, the farmer needs to be always mindful of balance by not allowing foreign species of transplants to overreach like some evil weed and smolder the local ecology and mess it all up.
In our case immigration has proceeded so fast and with so criminally little planning – that today, when we talk about native and FTs – no one is even sure whether the sum of the things that unite us all are greater then the sum of their divisions – it is really a mess. And I don’t't think it realistic for any of us to harbor the belief. This problem can somehow be magically resolved if bloggers just talk about xenophobia and see how it can be solved. Don’t get me wrong. I am a big fan of talking. Only when we look at this emerging problem of xenophobia in the Singapore context. We should at least try to understand there are really very strong undercurrents that account for why the native Singaporean says, writes and thinks what he regularly does about foreigners in our midst. While I hold steadfast to the belief xenophobia is irrational and serves no constructive purpose. I believe the long term solution to xenophobia needs to be addressed on a policy level that only governments can initiate.
As many of the emerging changes that we see from transplant workers is felt most acutely by native workers. Let me plain and simple to illustrate what sort of divisions were are dealing with here – I want to show all of you how jugular they are to the whole idea of the Singaporean way of life. How is it possible to explain to a 40 something native worker that he will never get another pay increment again, as the firm can always hire a younger, cheaper and probably better qualified engineer from Mumbai? How do you think that native worker feels about foreigners in our midst? How do you explain to a mother of an autistic child who just wants to buy the cheapest car to take her kid to special needs classes, but cannot do so as the cost of car ownership is so high that only millionaire FT’s can afford a COE? So please let all be realistic. Xenophobia cannot be resolved by the blogging community any more than twiddling your big toe can magically wish away global warming – you see as bloggers I don’t think it is our right to preach to others and tell them how they should process information and how they should lead their lives – and even if that is possible. I do not believe xenophobia can be solved by the blogging community. As I mentioned this is a problem that goes beyond the geography of blogosphere and the internet, when you consider 38% of the population is from somewhere else other than Singapore – and so little was done to osmotically socially integrate them into the Singapore way of life – then you dont have to be a Mensa member to figure that this is a problem that only governments can and should fix and not the blogging community. Our job is to hold them down to make sure they get the job done. Not to do it for them.”