PA integration council proposes ‘buddy system’ for native Singaporeans and new immigrants
Posted by temasektimes on September 2, 2012
With social tension fast rising between native Singaporeans and immigrants, the People’s Association (PA) Integration Council held its first work-plan session yesterday to brain-storm plans to ‘integrate’ the two disparate groups together by hook or by crook.
Due to the government’s ultra-liberal immigration policies, too many immigrants were accepted into Singapore within too short a period of time, making it almost impossible to assimilate them into society.
As there are now a sizable number of them in Singapore, they tend to stick to their own cliques instead of mingling around with Singaporeans.
Some of the suggestions raised at the meeting includes having a “buddy system” for neighbours comprising new immigrants and local Singaporeans like in the SAF.
“Humans, by nature, actually want to clique together according to their similarities. So you’ll find sometimes the Chinese may clique together, the Indians may clique together because it gives them comfort and security. To break that clique, you have to make them comfortable.”said Associate Professor Fatimah Lateef, advisor, People’s Association Integration Council.
Other ideas include highlighting good examples of new immigrants and locals in the media, recruiting new citizens as volunteers, and having heritage activities.
Foreigners now make up 40 percent of Singapore’s population. Of the remaining 60 percent which are ‘citizens’, an increasing number are born overseas.
Official statistics have conveniently omitted the percentage of local-born Singaporeans while lumping Singaporeans and PRs together into the same category of ‘residents’.