Singapore — The vice activities conducted by some Vietnamese does not represent the Vietnamese population in Singapore, said a Vietnam embassy official.
Among the estimated 15,000 Vietnamese residing in Singapore, most are employed in the food and beverage industry or move to the country to study.
According to Le Cong Dung, the embassy’s deputy chief of mission, “Those (who work at KTVs) are a very small number… not all Vietnamese come to Singapore for KTV jobs.”
“It’s just bad luck that this Vietnamese woman was infected… and that it (created) a public image that the Vietnamese community is doing (KTV jobs),” Mr Dung noted.
He assured the public that the Vietnamese currently in Singapore are one of the “most easy-going people.”
“We are (mostly) working with hawkers… that’s one of the main fields that Vietnamese with work permits do here,” he told Channel News Asia.
Mr Dung’s statement came in response to the discrimination against the Vietnamese population in Singapore following the KTV Covid-19 cluster, detected when a Vietnamese short-term pass holder tested positive on Jul 11.
The woman had entered Singapore in Feb 2021 through her Singapore citizen boyfriend, who acted as her sponsor in her entry application through the “Boyfriend or Girlfriend of Singapore Citizen (SC) or Singapore Permanent Resident (PR).”
The category, which functions under Familial Ties Lane, is no longer available, clarified the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on Jul 16.
The category was introduced in Oct 2020 to allow Singaporeans in relationships with foreign partners to be reunited after being separated for long periods due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In view of the evolving border control measures and as part of ICA’s regular reviews on the requirements and application processes for travellers seeking entry into Singapore, the category was removed in Mar 2021.
On Wednesday (Jul 21), the Ministry of Health (MOH) reported eight new cases linked to the KTV cluster, bringing the total number of the second-largest active cluster to 215.
MOH’s director of medical services, Kenneth Mak, clarified on Jul 16 that the Vietnamese woman was the first woman linked to the cluster upon detection and did not mean she was the source of the infection.
Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce (VietCham) David Nguyen also highlighted that the Vietnamese population in Singapore had integrated themselves into the community for the long term.
“We see ourselves as Singaporeans, as long-term residents… we don’t associate ourselves with the people that come to Singapore in a short-term way.”
“And I think most of the people here, (including) Singaporeans … understand that those kinds of activities or short-term visitors that come to Singapore are mainly organised by Singaporeans themselves, (such as) the owner of bars, clubs,” he told CNA.
Member of Parliament (Punggol West) Sun Xueling took to Facebook on Jul 16 to highlight concerns for the Vietnamese community.
A resident had written to Ms Sun noting that Vietnamese women have become victims of verbal abuse, hate speech and “unnecessary anxiety” as a result of the KTV cluster’s index case.
Ms Sun urged the public to be more “discerning and compassionate so that we do not hurt those who are innocent.” /TISG
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