I am truly appalled to read the statements uttered by Ms Denise Phua (https://theindependent.sg.sg/foreign-workers-in-little-india-are-walking-time-bombs-pap-mp-denisephua/). Has absolutely nothing been learnt by her with regards to the Little Indian riots that happened not so long ago? Cordoning areas off is nothing but another half baked short termed solution that is going to backfire in the end.
The riot occurred as a result of a combination of non exclusive factors ranging from segregation, police procedural inefficiency, low pay and a lack of personal space for the foreign workers. To blame it on alcohol or large gatherings as Ms Phua has done is myopic and shocking in simplicity.
What exactly is Ms Phua suggesting that locals need to be “protected” from? Foreign workers are human beings just like you and I. The only difference between them and us is poverty brought about by their place of birth. Ms Phua’s statement reeks of ignorance and self entitlement. I am frankly shocked that she could air opinions like this without realising how racist these comments are.
Curbing the use of public spaces by foreign workers will only exacerbate the situation. In fact, it will indeed create the walking time bombs that she so fears. As it is, foreign workers already work very long hours at undesirable jobs for very low salaries. They share their tight living quarters with many others and are far away from their families. Would Ms Phua want to also deprive them of relaxing with their community and take away whatever little leisure space they have at their disposal?
Public spaces are what they are – public. To cordon off areas negates the very meaning of public and goes against the entire point of having public spaces in the first place. Unless Ms Phua is suggesting that foreign workers are not part of the public?
Foreign workers are not criminals. They are here to work and should be free to go wherever they like on their off days. Let’s also not forget that we need their labour!
By all means build more facilities for them but building more facilities for them does not mean that you limit their freedom of travel within the country. That is as preposterous as it is misguidedly elitist. Has Ms Phua in her snobbery, mistaken workers for criminals? Or can she not tell the difference?
The key to preventing another riot is more integration as opposed to more segregation as Ms Phua seems to imply. People don’t turn to rioting overnight. There must have been many underlying frustrations that led to an explosion of anger. It doesn’t take much common sense to figure out that segregation will lead to more resentment which can in turn bring on further feelings of frustration. I am shocked that Ms Phua cannot make that logical deduction?
What Ms Phua is suggesting is the creation of no go zones for our foreign workers. It is akin to saying that while these workers are welcomed to labour in our country, they are not welcomed to visit malls or shops in certain areas which are for locals only. Imagine if another government said that about Singaporeans in foreign countries!
Does Ms Phua not realise that apart from sounding completely idiotic, her views can also trigger a massive foreign affairs faux pas with the countries that these foreign workers are from? While economic necessities makes it essential for these foreign workers to work in Singapore, we mustn’t forget that Singapore is a small country whose continued economic success requires it to work peacefully with other countries. It is also important to stress that we need foreign labour to build and maintain our infrastructure which is a vital component to our economic success.
Is Ms Phua advocating some kind of misguided sense of entitlement? If so, she is a bad example and should be taken to task by the PAP. It baffles the mind that someone who has an affair has to resign while a bigoted MP who is in danger of creating a diplomatic fallout with our neighbouring countries is not taken to task?
Denise Phua should know that segregating foreign workers will create time-bombs