Mr Tharman also urged Singaporeans to make a ‘special effort’ to integrate the new immigrants without elaborating on how to do so:
“Make a special effort to integrate them, and the new immigrants themselves also must make a special effort to understand our society, understand the fact that it is multicultural with major ethnic groups that are from very different parts of Asia.” – Mr Tharman
Making people feel welcome is a nice gesture. Definitely. However, the fact that a minister in our country has to tell us that we have to make “special efforts” to integrate them. It is like a teacher telling the children in a class that there are “special” students visiting and to make every effort to make them feel welcome.It just proves ones own judgement of the people. The teacher assumes that the students might be socially awkward due to their disabilities, it is like how Mr Tharman here assumes that Singaporeans will not be welcoming of foreigners, or, that foreigners have certain qualities that makes them social outcasts. It is not even about HOW to do so Per-se, It is about WHAT was just said, either he is talking down on Singaporeans, or the Indian migrants, or most likely both. I am not trying to open up a firing squad, but I do feel that some of the ministers place very little faith in our society, both the locals and the large immigrant population in-flux into Singapore.
Yes, we might have our problems, but everyone is still human, are we really that different? I don’t think so. Personally my views on foreigners even the china PRC’s whom sometimes have very odd manners, I feel are actually no different from us at the foundation (Why Singaporeans and PRC’s are no different) We should not have to make “Special Effort” specifically to welcome them. Everyone should fit into the system naturally. Every system strives to achieve homeostasis, and when something new is introduced, there would definitely be disturbances within the balance of the system. However, the entire system will balance itself out and compromise naturally, so trying to ask Singaporeans to make “special effort” is kind of meaningless and insulting. I mean well it is unavoidable to worry that there would be cases of disputes and unhappiness, but please, Mr Tharman, I am sure you know that from experience, You cannot make everyone happy.
How do we perhaps try to make them feel welcomed? Well, there are many ways, we do not have to necessarily go out of our way to make them feel like this is their home. Though, sometimes just a little kindness, compassion and grace, reminding both us and them that we are the same at the very core, even though we speak different tongues and have differing cultures, is a good way to integrate them into our society.