Let’s face it, for some time already there’s been a rising wave of xenophobia creeping into Singaporean society. The fury sparked by the Filipino National Day celebrations outside Ngee Ann City just happens to be the latest in a series of unfortunate incidents, all of which have painted a very negative picture of Singaporeans on the international stage.
Let’s take a look at the most notable ones in recent times to start:
(a) the HDB curry incident, in which many Singaporeans called for the eviction of the China nationals involved for raising their concerns about the smell of curry.
(b) the Anton Casey incident, where many Singaporeans called for “Bo Gar See” to be sacked and exiled.
(c) and the unwitting Filipinos, whom many Singaporeans stormed internet in protest against their celebration of their faraway homeland. Some even called for them to be deported.
The common thread linking these incidents? The urge to remove foreigners from our soil, based on a spark, hardly even a flame. Now, what exactly is prompting this? Perhaps these three factors, all of which are born and bred by the ruling party.
Cost of living is rising, and many Singaporeans find it difficult to keep up. Already, locals are tightening their belts, to the point where they don’t to have children (probably one of the greatest joys in life). This scarcity breeds selfishness, even against fellow Singaporeans, much less foreigners. The government has caused this scarcity through unsound policies, which have brought on inflated housing prices, inflated car prices, inflated medical fees, and much more (certainly not an inflated argument -Ed). The worst part? The government doesn’t know how to fix these problems!
Elitism. Pure and simple. From young, the Singapore government carves our local population through the education system, under the guise of meritocracy. Our status in life appears to be sealed right from that time, and we build our own in-groups and networks based on that status. These groups tend to be sealed off from the rest, what more foreigners from whom we are distanced.
Not in a group, but true solidarity – isolation. Singaporeans don’t have a support network to fall back on should we fall on hard times. The bureaucratic process prevents many from seeking welfare grants (which leads the government to further believe that these grants aren’t important). The lack of pensions for the elderly means many continue to work at a time when they should be enjoying the fruits of their labour. This absence of compassion for Singaporeans is precisely what promotes anxiety, anger and inevitably a “me against the world” mindset.
The Singapore government has bred this rising discontent amongst Singaporeans through its half-baked policies over the years. And it is only making life worse with each step forward. Singaporeans must shoulder part of the blame for their actions. Or rather inaction in ensuring a sound government is in power to lead. The body follows the head.