Our government is trying to bring in at least 20,000 new citizens each year in the hope of arresting the low birth rate here.
Transitioning is carrying out a qualitative survey on the views of local Singaporeans affected by this move.
Transitioning (T): First of all, Diana, thanks for taking part in this online interview – can you state your age, marital status, educational qualifications and work experience?
Diana (D): >50 years old, married, Masters degrees, >20 years managerial and >10 years teaching experiences.
T: Do you agree with the government’s stand to bring in 20,000 new citizens each year to stem the current low birth rate here? Why so?
D: No as these new citizens may bring in their aged parents and they themselves would grow old as well. There is also no guarantee that the new citizens would stay permanently in Singapore since this country has always been seen as a transit stop by foreigners.
T: What do you think the government can do alternatively instead of bringing in fresh foreign citizens to beef up the population?
D: The government should and could acknowledge that past policies and societal demands from a top-down governance system have negatively impacted on our birth rate. Hence, the onus is that a proactive and effective government should identify, accept and work towards remedying the ills of such policies through creating a conducive and sustainable environment for families to thrive.
T: Many Singaporeans have cry foul with the ease foreigners has in attaining permanent resident status and then citizenship later on, what are some of the measures you hope to see so that the immigration process can be further tightened up?
D: The government should stringently evaluate their criteria for awarding permanent residency and citizenship to quality (by international standards not present standards we currently have). Foreigners who can sincerely demonstrate their intention to make Singapore their adopted home rather than to treat this country like a transient place are welcomed here.
T: Many netizens have also commented that bringing in large numbers of foreign citizens is one of the sinister plot of the government to convert them into loyal voters for the next general election in 2016, do you agree with this statement? Why so?
D: Yes because these grateful new citizens who may have been led to believe that they have been extremely well treated and rewarded by the government as compared to perhaps the harsh governance system of their birth country.
T: Our government has being asking Singaporeans to accept and help foreigners assimilate into our culture, do you think this is happening now? What are some of the things you hope to see plan out with regard to social integration programmes?
D: NO since successful integration is a two-way process and right now it appears as if the host country nationals (meaning native Singaporeans) are the ones having to integrate with the newcomers rather than the foreigners assimilating with the locals.
For the social integration programmes to work, there must be reciprocity on both sides with the natives benefitting rather than being shortchanged by such programmes.
T: On a personal level, how are you affected by the influx of foreigners into our midst and what is the maximum number of foreigners you want to see living in our country at any one time?
D: Very much affected by the influx which had contributed to a poor quality of living – overcrowding, appearance of new diseases, frequent breakdowns of public transport, lack of space and antisocial behaviour which is not the norm in Singapore but may be the norm in these foreigners’ home country.
T: Many people have commented that our government should do more to help our young couples give birth given the chronic work stress and high cost of living here, do you agree with this? Why so?
D: Yes I believe so since young couples are too stressed and limited by time to procreate. The escalating costs of living have also made couples even more reluctant to procreate for a stressful and materialistic society governed by treating its people like robots.
T: What are some of the other areas you want our government to look into in the area of birth issue?
D: Changes in our society and the government to be less materialistic and more humane.
More incentives for couples to procreate with family friendly policies.
A society that values and support family and children.
T: Lastly, do you believe that our country is in one of the worst post-war period now and that the next few years will be tough for Singaporeans given the intense competition for employment due to the huge foreign influx and fight for physical space?
D: Yes I believe so and as we fight for more space, jobs, houses and schools, our quality of life will deteriorate to an unhealthy and unacceptable level.
Thank you and end of interview.