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Singaporeans shouldn’t blame new citizens or foreigners for our woes

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By: Ghui

Being a part of a national event such as the National Day Parade is undoubtedly a “Singaporean” experience. Singaporeans getting together to celebrate the independence of Singapore while waving flags and singing patriotic songs is definitely an encounter that unifies citizens which will foster at least some degree of national unity.

It is therefore somewhat surprising that some Singaporeans have raised eyebrows in relation to a new citizen getting tickets for NDP2016 (https://theindependent.sg.sg/netizens-express-surprise-that-super-new-citizen-got-tickets-to-ndp-until-they-found-out-she-was-grassroots). Given the many complaints that Singaporeans have made about new citizens not embracing Singaporean values or assimilating, isn’t it a good thing that a new citizen wants to partake in a parade celebrating Singapore?

It is also curious as to why Singaporeans are suspicious as to how Jacqueline Chin managed to get tickets to the parade. Could it not be simply down to good luck that she managed to win the ballot as opposed to some secret plot to prioritise new citizens over existing citizens? Could it be that her mother volunteering at grassroots events is just a coincidence with absolutely nothing to do with Ms Chin winning the ballot?

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Using William of Occam’s famous principle of Occam’s Razor, isn’t the least complicated explanation the most logical one? i.e. that Ms Chin won the ballot fair and square?

While Singaporeans could do with being less paranoid when it comes to foreigners and new citizens, perhaps the deeper issue is that Singaporeans somehow feel that the government does not look out for them? The inherent distrust of the government comes from the belief (whether rightly or wrongly) that the government is self serving. New citizens and foreigners then become the easy scapegoat for all or any of the nation’s ills. If the pie is small, why are we being made to share it with more people? This is after all a chief reason for why many citizens of the United Kingdom have misguidedly voted to leave the European Union, somehow equating immigration with depleting wealth for existing citizens.

I do not believe that the problems Singapore currently faces are the fault of immigration en masse. That is but a red herring. It is rather, a planning, oversight amongst other things, that our government did not adequately prepare the country and its resources for a population influx which is the subject of a whole new article altogether.

However, it is neither constructive nor fair to blame new citizens or foreigners for our woes. We can’t put our new citizens in a “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” situation. If they keep to themselves, we accuse them of refusing to assimilate. Now that one of them has truly embraced Singapore by taking the effort to ballot for tickets and winning them, we accuse her of getting the tickets through nefarious means.

I think we should congratulate Ms Chin for her citizenship and feel proud that she wants to be a part of our nation’s future.

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