Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"Commemorative marker of Deng Xiaoping unveiled in Singapore"

SINGAPORE - In celebration of the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and China, a dedicated marker to commemorate late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping was unveiled here on Sunday. The marker, which sits beside the Singapore River, was unveiled by Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping, who is here on a three-day official visit. - China Daily

If it is symbolic to put a sculpture of another country's leader in celebrating Singapore's diplomatic relations with the former, then i suppose there should also be a similar sculture of perhaps Malaysian former Prime Minister 'Tunku Abdul Rahman Al-Haj', the former India Prime Minister 'Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi', the former British Prime Minister 'Margaret Thatcher' or other leaders whom Singapore has 'diplomatic relations' with over '20 years'. The absence of such treatment toward the rest of the countries' leaders, again reflected the extent to which Singapore is so eager to show her people and others the 'significance' of the nation's contribution and the important role played by the chinese. This is just another example or indicator among others which have been written in this site to support such view.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Response to ‘Tak Boleh Tahan on his/her comment on the article ‘ Certain ethnic groups marginalised by government policies, UN expert says’ in TOC

Certain ethnic groups marginalised by government policies, UN expert says

Tak Boleh Tahan:

“Some people keep saying they are marginalised because they are the minority. But the majority are the ones who are really marginalised. For instance, why are more and more food stuffs in Singapore halal? Halal food is for Muslims. Why should Muslims force halal food upon non-Muslims??? That is AGAINST our faiths and basic human rights! Will the Muslims not be angered if more and more food stuffs in Singapore become Christianised, Buddhistised, Hinduised, Jewishised, etc.?”

I agree that supermarkets, food outlets etc. should always ensure there is enough supply of halal food for Muslims, but can anyone still find non-halal foods in supermarkets these days? All the fresh produce, packaged foods and even drinks! are now halal. The only thing that is not halal is pork, and even that may disappear here one day because it is not halal.”

Oh dear, how can this be an argument? Before you start using such argument, find out about what ‘halal’ food means, else you are just making a mockery of yourself. How can non-muslims be ‘forced upon’ halal food? In fact, there are more non halal food options available in this country than halal food. Just visit any food outlet or hawker centre and prove otherwise. There are many things one can cite against the majority chinese. For example, how would non-chinese feel when some chinese burn incense paper thus polluting the air and affecting those living around? In fact, it is definitely a health hazard for those who are living within close proximity where the burning occurs, let alone having all those ashes flying around the public area and even into houses.

Tak Boleh Tahan:

“Some posters here claim that some people bring in discussion of Malaysia’s bumiputra policies because the latter refuse to face racist issues in Singapore. Where is the correlation? Aren’t those posters the ones who refuse to face the facts themselves? In fact, Singapore’s special treatment of any particular race is itself racist.”

‘Affirmative action’ is a policy which the state can adopt to help elevate the disadvantaged position of a particular race/ community hence providing a more level playing field for all within the society. Similarly, would you term policies which help the poor and needy ‘racist’? Both policies have the same objective in helping those who are disadvantaged within the society.

Tak Boleh Tahan:

“As for job criteria, if a job requires you to work with a lot of Malays in another country, you need to speak and write good Malay. If an employer states so in their job advertisement, it is not racist. But if a job requires you to work with a lot of Chinese or Indians in another country, and an employer states so in their job ad, it is suddenly racist. Isn’t such an attitude itself racist?”

Any multi-racial society/ country, be it Malaysia or Singapore which adopts (covertly or overtly) such practice would be deemed discriminatory. Besides, the working language and the first language taught in schools for all here is English. Therefore, there is no sound justification for such practice at all and should therefore be prohibited. Singaporeans of different races should at least learn to speak the common language (English) at the basic level. There should not be any preferential treatment for employment base on one’s ability to speak a particular language other than English and one’s ethnicity.

Tak Boleh Tahan:

“When all is said and done, it all boils down to one thing. If anyone is unhappy in Singapore because they feel they are marginalised, whether they are the majority or minority, they are free to leave. Migration is the in thing now if you have the means. One less person frees up more precious resources for the rest of us.”

As much as one has the right to leave a country, one also has the right to stay and fight for equal and fair treatment. Making such a statement above, are you suggesting that the marginalised should accept all forms of inequalities they suffer and keep mum about it or else leave the country? If the country’s first generation population took that approach during British occupation, Singapore could still be under the former’s rule. Yes, maybe then speaking English would be preferred; not mandarin. ; )

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Another example and illustration of fascist racism

Read similar article first written in

The above sign was found in Little India, next to Mustafa Centre. A similar sign was replaced with this particular sign quite recently. However, the content remains relatively unchanged. The main point and focus written on the sign is to tell people that it was the chinese who first settled in Syed Alwi Road (huh? what rubbish) and described their lives in this street.

Why would the street be named in Malay If the first settlers are the chinese (which the sign has claimed)? Did the chinese then speak and write Malay? Then the question is who taught them the language? Confucius? or Stamford Raffles? Also, what kind of message are they (i believe its the tourism board) trying to send to those who read the sign (which i believe, are the tourists)? Are they trying to change history and imply that though Little India is predominantly an Indian community estate, it was the chinese who were the first settlers and owns the shops and allow the Indians to later settle and run their business there now; therefore, showing how benevolent the chinese are despite one seeing more Indians in the estate, it’s still predominantly a chinese country? I really wonder its intention for putting up such utter misinformation.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Who are we actually letting go and why?

Referring to the article titled: ‘Time we learnt to let go?’ in ‘today’, a letter from Kwan Jin Yao, he wrote:

‘The advent of globalisation has brought about heightened communications and enhanced mobility, encouraging Singaporeans to venture into different parts of the world for work and study. It is not a coincidence that many of these individuals are the creme de la creme of the Singaporean population; students and professionals who excel in their respective fields and possess tremendous potential and abilities.

It is disheartening to hear that many of these citizens make the decision to remain abroad instead of returning - after all, Singapore is a place that has done much for them in their formative years. Mr Tan seems to attribute the trend of an increasing number of "absent citizens" to the fading sense of belonging - exacerbated by extended periods overseas - as well as the mantra that the grass is greener on the other side.’

Well, i wonder if the author realise that over the couple of decades, Singapore has turned into a nation which promotes and favours one culture over the rest. There are plenty of evidences which seem too hard to ignore. For instance, the promotion and campaign for speaking one particular language, the nation wide publicity of speaking that particular language is ‘cool’ slogan, hosting mega celebration of one particular culture in central location (eg. marina bay), special education programme which targets additional resources to students to master one particular language/culture so that once these students graduated, they would be able to have better understanding and fostering closer ties with people from the so called ‘mother land’ and the list goes on...

So before the author can start getting emotional against those citizens who have remained abroad, he needs to differentiate those who have despite benefitted from the advantageous position described above and still choose to remain abroad and those who have not. The author got to show good reason/s for the latter to return to the country even though they may be called a citizen. Till the nation starts showing genuine interest in promoting and practicing multiculturalism over what is currently being practiced, the outflow of people from the relatively disadvantaged culture (as described above) will continue. It would be the nation lost as it is the essence of multiculturalism that promotes among the people the ability to notice and appreciate differences and thus making sense of things from a multifaceted perspective which is required in a dynamic environment people are living in now and even more so in the ‘advent of globalisation’.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Substantial help for low-income, over a lifetime - Or is it?

Reading the article in 'today' titled :

'Substantial help for low-income, over a lifetime'
, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam argued against some of the MPs and NMP views:

"By allowing in more foreign workers, Singaporeans at the lower end of the income ladder saw their wages being depressed, they argued.

This argument was "wrong and misleading", Mr Shanmugaatnam said. In fact, between 2006 and 2008, the earnings of lower-income households grow by about 16 per cent in real terms - this "corresponded to the period when the foreign workforce was growing most rapidly", which had allowed businesses to seize opportunities, grow and create more jobs for Singaporeans.

During the second half of the decade also, Singapore would have missed the boat had it not allowed businesses to invest and expand in Singapore, including leading investors like Shell or Exxon-Mobil. "We would have ended up with a decade of very weak income growth. In particular, low growth would have hit our low-income families the hardest, as it did in the first part of the decade.

Firstly, an interesting point Mr Tharman brought up was the correlation he presented on the period of rapid influx of foreign workers and the increase in earnings of lower-income households by 16 percent in real terms, between 2006 & 2008. A question i would like to raise is, what is the profile of the said 'lower-income households'? Are they citizens (new/old), PRs or foreigners? Since he mentioned this period coincided with the influx of foreign workers, it could well be this group of workers/ households who have 'benefited' from the said increase in 'earnings'. Also, If the wages of the 'lower-income households were already way below the means to pay for the living expenses(i.e relative to the cost of living; housing, transport, food etc) in 2006, a 16% increase (if that is true) would still not be able to help in lifting them out of poverty.

Then, he made a causation on the need for more foreign workers for the businesses to grow and the ability to attract ‘leading investors like Shell or Exxon-Mobil to invest and expand in Singapore’. I do wonder how do other countries who do not employ such strategy to attract these ‘leading investors’ still able to make these ‘leading investors’ continue to invest and expand in their countries? Go to these companies sites and one can find a long list of countries these companies are operating and how many of these countries employ the said policy/ strategy?

Even if he can prove that the foreign worker policy can help the economy to grow, he still can’t show that those ‘lower income households’ or individuals are benefitting equally from it compared to the higher income groups. The income gap between the two groups might have widen even greater over this period of ‘growth’. Yes, growth might be good if it benefits all and not more for a selected group as we have witnessed so far.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

2 too many - appalling experience in Serangoon road

It really tells a lot to actually witness 2 similar incidents within a few minutes of the bullying behavior happening among the chinese shop owners in Serangoon road.

My friend and i have gone to Serangoon road a few days ago to get some groceries. whilst we were walking through some of the little lanes within little India, i was appalled to see first, a chinese shop keeper treating some of his customers (many are Indians) rudely. He would from time to time, stop his Indian customers from looking and touching his merchandises. Sometimes even chasing them away from standing in front of his shop. I was just wondering, how the hell would anyone buy if we are not given the opportunity to have a closer look at the product before any purchase?

Within minutes, in front of another shop, i was even more surprised to witness how a chinese middle age man cycled toward a group of Indian customers who were standing in front of a shop waiting to be served. It was obvious that the chinese man deliberately steered his bike directly toward the Indian customers and the horrifying part was the chinese man started verbally abusing the Indian customers; "Why are you standing here, get lost!" Soon after those Indian customers walked away quietly.

Such treatment obviously by the local (chinese) toward i believe foreign Indian workers is appalling and unacceptable. I am not sure if these shop owners realise that their existence and continuing their business in Little India actually rely a lot on the Indian foreign workers' patronage. Yet, it is absolutely uncalled for, for these chinese shop owners to behave and treat their customers in such a manner.

I mean, witnessing 2 such similar events within such a short time frame do make me believe that it has probably become a norm among these chinese shop owners to behave that way toward the foreign Indian workers. Foreign workers are humans too, why cant they be treated with similar respect and dignity like others?

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Is this a good start for 2010 (promoting multiculturalism)

I was quite surprised when i received this invitation card to view this year's countdown, to be held at Marina Bay. Firstly, it wasn't the usual way in which the organiser/s would choose to portray Singapore's ethnic representation in such major event. In fact, most of the time, what have been portrayed were chinese only or chinese as a more significant or prominant ethnic group appearing in these promotion materials for such major events; sometimes, such unintentional or otherwise 'practice' can be manifested in other forms like the inclusion of only English and Mandarin texts and the omission of Malay and Tamil texts.

Singapore takes pride to claim that it is a multi-racial and multi-cultural society, which treats every ethnic group equally and fairly without discrimination. Yet, so often there are many occasions and instances which it has shown otherwise. (why there's only 'speak the mandarin campaign' and not other language? Is there an equal or proportionate ethnic representation in the media or in other fields at all levels/positions? what's the fuss about getting all chinese to learn chinese language at their own pace and managable level? why showing only chinese text with english in some of the public signs eg. road signs?...etc)

If Singapore is serious about what she claims to be, a multi-racial and multi-cultural society then she has to take a more 'inclusive' approach in everything she does and to provide fair and equal opportunity for all the ethnic groups.

Well, hope 2010 would be a more enlightened year and more effort put in to show what true multiculurism is.

Enventually, perhaps Singapore would soon see a 'non-chinese' PM.

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