Fault lines between new citizens, native Singaporeans: whose fault?
In warning Singaporeans about social friction between new citizens and native Singaporeans, the quiet PM Lee has forgotten one thing: who is to blame for this unprecedented scenario?
The ruling party, the PAP, had been stingy in tax breaks in helping young parents cope with raising their families. In contrast, they had been generous paying themselves princely salaries, a phenomenon which could merit an entry in The Guinness Book of Records. The result of the government tight-fisted approach is the shortfall in the native population.
A over reliance on cheap imported labour has meant a massive influx of foreigners to our shores. Our total population now stands at 5.18 million.
With such a huge population, not only our infrastructure but our government ministries and agencies had been unable to cope. Employers concocted phantom workers. Vice operated with impunity in Geylang and even spread to the heartland. HDB rules on sub-letting were flouted. The trains and buses were packed to the rafters. Train breakdowns became regular headlines in the media.
Our seniors, who helped build up this nation, were marginalized and many are still forced to toil in menial jobs as cleaners in their supposedly golden years, a disgrace for a wealthy first world country and an indictment on the ruling party. Having traveled quite a bit, I’ve yet to come across any other country with an army of elderly cleaners.
New citizens enjoy the fruits of their (our elderly) labour. These new citizens bring with them their social norms which conflict with those of the locals. One nationality are the world champion in spitting, and many of us find this habit disgusting. New citizens are also reluctant to integrate.
The result of all this is resentment against new citizens. Conspiracy theories even suggest a sinister motive for this massive imports of foreigners and the haste in awarding them citizenship: to prop up the regime.
The current societal tension and its attendant problems could have been averted if the regime had been more generous in social spending.
Sadly for Singapore, the regime was only generous with itself.
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