Friday, 12 April 2013

International Friendship Day 2013 - The World In Singapore

Hello Class,

Here are the discussion questions for today's CE lesson.

Integrating Foreigners in Singapore
Adapted from the Reach (Reaching Everyone for Active Citizenry@ Home) Website

Some contributors to the online forum on the REACH website expressed unhappiness over the rapid influx of foreigners into Singapore. Several felt that local citizens should be accorded more privileges than PRs, since Singaporeans were more likely to pledge allegiance to the country, unlike PRs who might leave the country once they had achieved their goals.

Contributors further lamented that Singaporeans were facing strong competition from foreigners for jobs, especially amidst the current downturn where job opportunities were already limited. In this respect, a few hoped that the Government would not only lower the foreign worker quota, but also impose more stringent standards when issuing employment passes and work permits to foreign workers.

Notwithstanding all these concerns, there were those who acknowledged that foreigners do contribute positively to our nation. They believe that the presence of foreigners was necessary to enhance the level of economic vibrancy in Singapore. Nonetheless, they note that the foreigners need to integrate into Singapore society, and to do so, the contributors felt that both Singaporeans and foreigners should make an equal effort. For example, they feel that foreigners should adapt to the local way of life and brush up on their command of the English language so as to facilitate communication between the locals and the foreigners.

Hot Bites
"While I agree that Singapore's declining birth rate is a valid concern as it will affect our economy and hence our very survival, I do not agree that looking up for so called 'foreign talent' to make up the short fall is a solution."
- Raymond Lo Wan Mou, via discussion forum

"Foreign talents are required if they can open more job openings for Singaporeans, but it seems that these foreign talents are robbing jobs away from Singapore talents..."
- Unemployed Singaporean, via discussion forum

"I can see why MM Lee would like Singapore to accept more foreign talent because it is important for Singapore to be economically vibrant."
- Xynic, via discussion

"I like to ask whether it is solely the citizens' responsibility to integrate foreign takes 2 hands to clap...When we present ourselves in other countries, one of the vital things to assimilate us with the locals is to speak their majority spoken language."
-       Pink IC no use, via discussion forum

Discussion Questions:
1.     To what extent do you agree that the relationship shared between foreigners and citizens is a symbiotic [1]one? [Concepts/ Ideas]

2.     In the article, the author highlights several traits to define the Singaporean Identity. To what extent do you agree with them? [Points of View]

3.     Based on the article, what are your thoughts about how we as Singaporeans should build our identity?

·      Use the post-activity reflection activity in the Generic Activity For Secondary Level to get students to reflect on their learning.

[1] In this case, Symbiosis is a cooperative relationship between two or more individuals.  

Post-Activity Reflection Template
Think Back:
-       What are some of your personal thoughts and feelings?
-       What were some points of discussion that you found interesting and/or meaningful? Why?

Learn From It:
-       What have you learnt from this activity?
-       What are the values you have learnt and why do you want to uphold these values?

Do It Better:
-       How do you think you can transfer your learning in your everyday life?
-       How would you think or act in the future as a result of this experience / sharing?


  1. zhi qi, wei kang and daniel4/12/2013 12:21 pm

    Yes, we mutually benefit one another as they financially.benefit us while we are able to provide job opportunities for them.

    Although Singapore has a short history, we should try to relook at the history and find more things to feel proud as a Singaporean.

  2. Shawn Lim, Elgin Low, Kang Yan4/12/2013 12:26 pm

    1. We do not agree that the relationship is symbiotic. This is so as the continued influx of foreigners, if not stabilized, will cause our country to be dependent upon foreign talent to govern our country.

  3. 3. We should cultivate a culture that comprises of the different cultures of the Chinese, Malays, Indians, Eurasians. This will be something unique for us Singaporeans. Maybe we can also develop Singlish as a language for our communication among Singaporeans?


  4. Elgin Patt, Pei Shan and Sher Li:

    We agree that Singaporeans and foreigners share a symbiotic relationship, because Singapore has a very small population which cannot cope with the large demand of manpower if only citizens are present. In turn, they earn more money to improve the standard of living for themselves and their families. There is also a need to ensure that the amount of resources in Singapore can support everyone in the country and to create a balance between the influx of foreigners and the number of opportunities available for Singaporeans. We need foreigners for a bigger market, so that investors would invest in Singapore and this would highly benefit our economy.

  5. Shawn Lim, Elgin Low, Kang Yan4/12/2013 12:32 pm

    3) It can be done by building facilities where Singaporeans and foreign workers can interact.

    1. Do you agree that there are such facilities currently available? There are also programs available for all citizens and foreigners (e.g. courses at Community Centres). What are possible reasons that foreigners do not participate in these courses?

  6. 1) I feel that the so called "symbiotic" relationship is more of 1 way, rather than 2 ways. The foreigners come to Singapore to work, and try to integrate into the society, whereas the Singaporean citizens ostracize the foreigners, and are unwilling to interact.
    2) Singapore identity: A lot of complaining, not admitting that they themselves are wrong, always feel that FTs are not good for them
    I feel that Complaining is inherent in the Singapore DNA, and that this is very apparent in most people nowadays. Additionally, most Singaporeans always feel that they are always right and everyone else is wrong. This is a very stubborn mindset that can be found in many Singaporeans. Lastly, Singaporeans do feel that FTs are taking their jobs, and they are very unhappy with them.
    3) I feel that Singaporeans should build up their identity positively, which can be done, if they complain less, and decide to look at the positive side of everything, instead of adhering to their "kiasu" mindset that they have to always be first in everything

    1. Would you say there are various jobs available for Singaporeans, but due to a image / labour intensive, etc... Singaporeans rely on foreigners?

      Thus, the Singaporean mindset is the problem...

      How can we change this mindset?

  7. 1. Yes. Since there are many foreigners in our country, we have to learn how to communicate and interact with them. Both the foreigners and the citizens will need to cooperate in order to maintain a peaceful relationship between both parties.

  8. ZongWei, JitSheng, Clarabelle4/12/2013 12:38 pm

    1. To what extent do you agree that the relationship shared between foreigners and citizens is a symbiotic one? [Concepts/ Ideas]

    I agree with this statement to a large extent, as they can provide manual labour services to us while we supplement them with much needed income. At at the same time, some of them bring in economic value for us, thus helping us economically. Thus, this relationship is symbiotic as both parties benefit greatly.

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