Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Foreigners Must Integrate with Singaporeans or Brace Themselves for Resentment

Singapore is a tolerant, multiracial society, but in recent years there has been a shift towards more anti-foreigner sentiments.

As one who has worked all my life with foreign companies and who has many foreign friends, I wish to raise some points for all to consider:

First, foreigners are always welcome here if they can contribute to the economy and society.

As the saying goes, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Since they are visitors, they must make the effort to understand local customs and conduct themselves appropriately.

Humility and a genuine desire to learn can help a new foreigner make friends here more easily.

Second, Singaporeans are generally reserved, but they can be very warm when they have accepted foreigners as friends.

Still, it takes two hands to clap: Foreigners should not isolate themselves, but should seek to integrate themselves into society. This should not be difficult since Singapore is Westernised and most people here speak English.

Third, firms should not discriminate against Singaporean workers, who should get priority for progression if they deserve it.

In recent years, many Singaporeans have questioned if foreign workers here deserve the label “foreign talent”. This may be due to companies freely hiring foreigners to displace more expensive local workers. More should be done to protect Singaporean workers.

Fourth, while it is natural for foreigners to want to gather in familiar surroundings, creating enclaves will lead only to their community being alienated from the rest of the population.

There is little incentive for foreigners to integrate if they hang out only with their friends at work and at home.

Foreigners ought to be on their best behaviour, and Singaporeans ought to appreciate such efforts.

In this digital age, evidence of bad behaviour can disseminate quickly to the public, fuelling resentment (“Hospital nurse probed over online insults”; last Monday). Let there be more communication of good deeds, good behaviour and mutual respect of Singaporeans and foreigners alike.

Courtesy, shared respect, humility and tolerance will go a long way.

This letter was written by Raymond Koh.
Send us your letters at

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Copyright © 2023 Redwire Singapore