Conversing with our cosmopolitan past: Applying history to the present

BY GLENN K.H. ONG “Knowing where you are going,” declared Minister for Foreign Affairs S. Rajaratnam in the 1970s, “is more important than knowing where you came from” (Tarulevicz 2009, 415). So convinced was he by this maxim that he echoed this exact sentiment a decade later in an article for The Straits Times, where he extolled the merits of forward-thinking leadership which “sees history … Continue reading Conversing with our cosmopolitan past: Applying history to the present

How Immigrants Don’t Want Other Immigrants

We’ve been extraordinary in economic development. We can be as good at defeating xenophobia. BY ROYCE QUEK Rome wasn’t built in a day: and it also wasn’t built by the people and riches of its own lands. Instead, its armies conquered Greece, North Africa and Asia Minor through the manpower of not just Romans, but the many Roman allies: fellow Italian cities which had been subjugated by Rome and were forced to give soldiers to the Roman war machine. With this strategy of co-opting other cities into its growing dominion, Rome swept all before it. But the Italians weren’t happy …

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On the Ground, In our Minds

Relooking Cultural Integration and Cosmopolitanism in Singapore BY Z.H. From the rash of online sentiments directed against foreigners during the 2011 General Elections through the Anton Casey, Ello Ed Munsel Bello, and Sun Xu incidents, it might appear to some observers that xenophobia has finally taken root in Singaporean society. Is the apparent level of antipathy some citizens hold for immigrants truly fuelled by irrational … Continue reading On the Ground, In our Minds

To Live Together: Focus On Our Differences

BY TERENCE TAN Our children will have to deal with a more divided world. They’re going to grow up in a world where simmering racial tensions have boiled over into street violence, where a crowing xenophobe can become an elected President, and where religious fundamentalists are able to rouse thousands to perish in their name. To thrive in this world, they’ll have to navigate a … Continue reading To Live Together: Focus On Our Differences

Are Singaporeans Xenophobic?

BY ZACH ISAIAH CHIA It seems that globalisation has resulted the rise of nationalism and xenophobia. We see it in the rise of UKIP in UK, New Dawn in Greece, Donald Trump in the US and the Swedish Democrats in Sweden. A recent Op-Ed in the Singapore Policy Journal argued that the local-foreigner divided was threatening to tear Singapore asunder. In the article, writer Samuel … Continue reading Are Singaporeans Xenophobic?

Our Calloused Hearts: Xenophobia and Racial Disharmony in Singapore

BY SAMUEL MYAT SAN “Regardless of race, language or religion…” This phrase in Singapore’s National Pledge has been a cornerstone of the city-state’s approach to racial harmony. The principles behind this policy are already unraveling, with Singaporeans becoming increasingly intolerant of foreign races, languages and religions. This “citizen-foreigner divide” may undermine racial harmony in Singapore if left unchecked. The government’s own harsh treatment of refugees, … Continue reading Our Calloused Hearts: Xenophobia and Racial Disharmony in Singapore

A Case of Renewed Identity: The Fading Role of WWII in Singapore’s National Narrative

BY AMARIS LEE With Singapore in its 50th year of independence, the island’s past has been the focal point of much introspection this year. The National Day Parade dedicated an entire chapter to an artfully choreographed portrayal of the island-state’s history. The celebration and consideration of the country’s history is less inevitable than it may initially seem – until the late 1980s, Singapore looked firmly … Continue reading A Case of Renewed Identity: The Fading Role of WWII in Singapore’s National Narrative