Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Wednesday September 3rd 2014

Foreigner against 6.9 million population and coming for the protest event

Hi Gilbert,

First off, I want to thank you for organizing the protest next week.

While I am ambivalent about the subject of the protest itself, I intend to attend the rally, and wanted to write to you if I don’t get the chance to meet you in person.

My name is Geoffrey, I am a foreigner who has just started working in Singapore via employment pass.

I have only been in Singapore for four months, and already I have felt the undertones of rising discontent among Singaporeans concerning the government and the current social conditions.

While the current situation is understandably terrible, I feel this is also an exciting time for Singaporeans to make their voice heard as more and more people are willing to take the risk of standing up against oppression.

In my short stay here in Singapore, I have come to learn that I have taken for granted certain rights from my home country which I had always presumed were inalienable human rights, rights that do not apply here in Singapore today.

In particular, I was appalled by the lack of freedom of speech and heavy censorship in Singapore, especially when it comes to protesting or peaceful demonstrations, apparently illegal, and voicing political concerns.

It is my firm personal belief that no matter how radical or wild the idea, it is a basic human right to be able to freely speak his or her opinion concerning government policy or social conditions.

Otherwise, how can legitimate political or social improvements ever be made?

Hence, despite the fact that I am not a Singaporean, and that I am apparently a foreigner whom this protest is targeted against, I applaud your efforts and willingness to speak up in spite of what consequences may follow, and I am eager to attend the protest as well, so that I can further understand the social climate in the country I am currently living in.

With that said, I do fear that the protest will head into a xenophobic, prejudiced, or discriminatory direction against the foreigner population, which in an understandably charged and emotional atmosphere could get out of hand.

I am eager to hear what is your personal stance on foreigners in Singapore, both on the current population and the government’s projected trajectory, and what your aim/goal for the protest?

In my mind, the problem is not (or ought not to be) the pure population numbers of 6.9mm by 2030, nor the percentage makeup by foreigners, etc., but rather the current political system, which seems to flaunt public opinion and makes its decisions without input from the people.

Hence, I hope that the rally next weekend will not be misdirected against the foreigners themselves, but against the political system enabling it as a whole.

I like to think of it this way: the people living in Singapore are like tenants in a flat, and the political leaders like the owners or landlords.

Now suppose, without listening to any input from his tenants, the landlord hosts a big party and invites everyone from the other neighborhoods.

In my opinion, it is not necessarily the party-goers who are at fault, but the landlord. After all, they were politely invited and were not at all informed about the tenants’ situation prior to arrival.

Therefore, it seems quite silly to be angry at them! On the other hand, the owner should ask for the approval of the tenants before inviting the guests.

True, the landlord is the owner and he can do as he pleases. However, the tenants still pay the rent too and it is always quite rude not to ask your housemates before bringing guests over!

Along those same veins, I hope that the protest will be oriented not against the foreigners themselves, nor on the other extreme as an anti-government conspiracy, but as an honest outlet for the people of Singapore to vent their frustrations and speak up on a public forum, and most of all, for the people of Singapore to feel that they can express themselves and be heard, without fear of punishment, and to feel that they do play a role in shaping the direction and changes that this country will be making.

At the end of the day, I am still a foreigner here in Singapore, so I apologize if I am speaking out of turn or without fully understanding plight of the local Singaporeans. With that said though, I am excited for what will take place next week, and eager to learn from others’ perspectives there.

I hope that there will be a great turnout, and that there will be positive results to follow!

Regards,

Geoffrey Tsui

Editor’s Note: This commentary was taken off our Facebook event page for the protest on 16 Feb.

Reader Feedback

16 Responses to “Foreigner against 6.9 million population and coming for the protest event”

  1. Sg_daughter says:

    Geoffrey:

    Since the days of a British colony, the people of Singapore have lived in harmony with foreigners as superiors at work, colleagues and friends. Singapore children receive their education in multi-cultural, multi-ethnic classroom settings since kindergarten. Often described as docile, Singaporeans are among the last people on earth I know to be xenophobic. The fact that any foreigner on Singapore soil should label Singaporeans as such is already very telling of the real truth if one were to look a little deeper beneath the surface and a little further back in history.

    “Kiasi” means “preferring to stay out of trouble”. This is how Singaporeans have always been. They are the last people to start fires and cause trouble. It takes a lot of hurt and aggravation to cause them to react and voice their feelings. For this reason also, Singaporeans have at times been said to be “apathetic” which I beg to differ. “Oppressed into suffering in silence” would be more true and accurate.

    From your post, I can tell you are not among the foreigners who bully Singaporeans in the work place, plot to replace them with under- or un-qualified foreigners from their own foreign countries en-masse (some even with forged resumes), displacing Singaporeans from their livelihoods in their homeland. I need go no further into the damage of family and social structure Singaporeans have to endure in the aftermath. Why would anybody expect Singaporeans to just take this kind of abuse hands down?? As quiet and as peace-loving as Singaporeans are, they are not spineless.

    There is a lot of truth in how some foreigners walk into an executive position then leave “a trail of blood” bullying and firing Singaporeans for no justifiable cause. How can this be right? Why is the ruling government doing absolutely nothing to protect the interest and livelihood of their own people? Foreigners often overlook that the fat of the land they so conveniently sail in to enjoy is built by generations of Singaporeans making immense sacrifices while suffering in silence. They send their sons for National Service. They stopped at 2 and then at 1 under the population control policies of the PAP. They lived their whole lives in “toe the line” mode just to see themselves being sold out wholesale to foreigners, with zero consideration for their survival, by the very government they so obeyed for the last 50 years. Everyone should try to get a sense of that feeling. And for what? Just so the PAP can hang on to the ruling power of a majority government whose actions will be spared from question. Temasek Holdings is a whole other story.

    Who am I to write the above? I am a Singapore Daughter whose heart has been shredded to bits from the last few days of following all the many posts and comments on this Forum.

    Mr. Gilbert Goh I thank you for providing this platform for long-suffering Singaporeans to finally have a voice. Mr. Geoffrey Tsui I thank you for your very eloquent post and respect for the Singapore people. Please go to the Protest at Hong Lim Park in support and understanding of my people.

    • eugene nirvan anthony ("nirvan44" on "The Economist") of Applecross WA 6153 and is NOT a Singaporean is however a munafik/munafiq/منافق says:

      @Sg_daughter:

      By the way, if you are FEMALE, you may like to search for these terms:

      ” solely nationality male children plummeting birth rates no matter stinkapore “.

  2. singaporean says:

    So are Singaporeans racist and xenophobic? As a Singaporean, my answer is yes.

    Why should Singaporeans be excused from being labelled racist/xenophobic when we are guilty of imposing such labels on other nationals who are against having more foreigners in their own countries for the same reason.

  3. Sg_daughter says:

    Singaporean”

    Racism is defined as discrimination against another person purely for his/her race and NOTHING else. Singaporeans are protesting against the loss of jobs and livelihood due to the ruling government’s policy of foreigner influx without first establishing a structure to protect the interest and job security of their own citizens, not the foreigners for their race or creed.

    As it is, it has been proven that certain foreigners are competing against Singaporeans for jobs with fake qualifications. These are just the cases that have been discovered. Tip of the iceberg.

    Don’t get two completely separate matters confused.

  4. singaporean says:

    Sg_daughter,

    is xenophobia a better description than to describe how Singaporeans are feeling?

    using the loss of jobs seems a weak excuse to mask the growing xenophobia in Singapore right now.

    organiser Gilbert Goh himself, if the article I read was sourced accuraty, was himself a resident in Sydney once upon a time. If Aussies resented his presence, would they have been classified as racists?

  5. Sg_daughter says:

    singaporean,

    Racism, xenophobia, different terminology, same meaning. Xenophobia is defined as: “a dislike or fear of people from other countries or of that which is perceived to be foreign or strange.”

    Singaporeans have been dwelling among foreigners since the colonial days. We never had a fear or dislike of foreign expats, even as superiors at work. It is the “right now” in your own post that is key. We always had foreigners in Singapore, but what’s happening “right now” is far different than what it used to be.

  6. singaporean says:

    Sg_daughter,

    thank you for your apt explanation of the meaning of racism and xenophobia.

    As per your explanation — Xenophobia is defined as: “a dislike or fear of people from other countries or of that which is perceived to be foreign or strange.”

    Precisely, it’s the very fear of people from foreign lands that’s causing the growing resentment in Singapore right now.

  7. Sg_daughter says:

    singaporean,

    For every effect, there is a cause. The question is WHAT is the cause for Singaporeans to be reacting this way? Is it just because foreigners are from another country or is it because of WHAT the foreigners are doing in Singapore that is causing Singaporeans to react this way for the first time in the history of the country.

    I made a post under “Stop Foreigner Influx” where I touched on Aussie racism from the true life experiences of people I know. Feel free to check it out.

  8. singaporean says:

    Sg_daughter,

    If it is xenophobia, it is xenophobia. There is no need to give reasons like “for every effect, there is a cause.”

    There are also true life experiences of people who have experienced racism in Singapore.

    And I have also known of many life cases of Singaporeans who have abused the privileges that come with a Australian PR.

    Have a good day, Sg-daughter.

    end of thread

  9. singaporean says:

    Sg_daughter,

    I get it now.. racism does not exist in Singapore. Xenophobia does not exist in Singapore. It only exist in other countries.

    • hongkies three passports says:

      @singaporean:

      “Yes, here is my take as a Singapore [Permanent Resident (PR)] from a WESTERN country.

      If they made Singapore citizenship more attractive, i.e. allow dual citizenship [i.e. FLEXIBILITY OR ROOM FOR ABUSE], I would [gladly] take it up [I.E. EXPLOIT IT].

      If they force me to give up my existing citizenship, I would SIMPLY LEAVE [I.E. DISPOSE IT LIKE USED GARBAGE] and go off to one of the many other countries of the world that welcome English speaking highly paid professionals.

      Why wouldn’t I give up my existing citizenship? Well most importantly there are the emotional reasons of loyalty to my country and my ancestors who fought for it.

      AND THERE ARE OF COURSE THE PRAGMATIC REASONS. THE PIECE OF PAPER CALLED A WESTERN PASSPORT IS NOT JUST A TRAVEL DOCUMENT THAT OPENS DOORS AROUND THE WORLD BUT IS ALSO A MEDICAL INSURANCE POLICY, GIVING ME FREE HEALTH CARE IN MY HOMELAND IF I CHOOSE TO TAKE IT, A SOCIAL WELFARE CARD GIVING ME ACCESS TO VARIOUS SOCIAL WELFARE BENEFITS, A PENSION PLAN FOR WHEN I AM OLD, AND AN EDUCATION SUBSIDY FOR MY CHILDREN GIVING THEM THE RIGHT TO STUDY IN UNIVERSITIES BACK HOME (AND IN OUR FRIENDLY NEIGHBOUR) AT A HIGHLY SUBSIDISED RATE.

      If Singapore Inc. thinks that any rational human being [with all these PRIVILEGES that FEW people on the planet possess] would give all that up for a Singapore passport [i.e. be CONFINED or TRAPPED in one of TINIEST countries in the world [17th from the BOTTOM] that is STUCK in one of the most VOLATILE regions on the Earth that has to CATER and TART itself to the taste of ASININE and ARROGANT (mainly ANGLOPHONE) WESTERNERS like US, no matter how PRETTY and PEACEFUL it has to MAINTAIN itself], THEY NEED TO TWEAK THEIR GRIP ON REALITY VERY FAST.”

      [ expatsingapore . com / forum / index . php ? topic = 64363.15 ]

  10. Sg_daughter says:

    singaporean,

    My point is, the purpose of this site is not about hating or disliking anyone of other races or countries for no other reason other than creed or nationality…the true meaning of racism and xenophobia.

    The purpose of this site, all of Gilbert Goh’s articles and those who understand its meaning, is about what the PAP white paper will amount to for the future of Singapore and her people. That is NOT racism and xenophobia.

  11. Youtube user/jemdude22 a MALE singaporean who, like fellow MALE compatriot larry medina will be as subjected to as much conscription and lifelong reservist liability as MALE compatriot robert viswanathan chandran says:

    @Geoffrey Tsui:

    May I know which country/countries/territory/territories do YOU CLAIM to be from and which country/countries/territory/territories are YOU a CITIZEN or are CITIZENS of?

    From personal (discerning) experience, I know they may NOT be the same.

  12. Cool says:

    Singapore is a cosmopolitant city…period. I’m born and bred here and I believe the world is our village. We have the distinct advantage of using our home base to exploit the world and decide where we wish to operate from. I urge my fellow brothers and sisters to develop your skills and make yourself relevant here and everywhere. Enjoy the world and live life fully !

  13. Dennis says:

    Can anyone describe what a singaporean looks like? I am confused with this post seems most of you blame foreigners in making Singaporean’s life miserable. BUt when a Chinese/ malayasian comes along expressing his journey in making a life in Singapore, you somewhat connected with him. Your anger with FTs are baseless, I find you all to be hipocrits and blind. Blind to see that what makes SIngapore a great city it is today is the blending to many cultures.

  14. Uncle Lee says:

    Read this somewhere on internet which warn
    China Chinese to consider first b4 migrating to
    Singapore.

    A shepherd has a large flock if sheep grazing
    When he brought them into the barn, he was
    surprised that a number of wild sheep was in
    the flock. As the weather was very cold, he had
    to feed the sheep inside the barn. He gave
    the best fodder and food and treatment to
    the foreign sheep. For the local sheep he
    gave them junk and lousy food and treatment.

    Next morning the weather is good. So he let
    out the sheep to graze. To his surprise, all
    the foreign sheep ran away quickly. He was very
    angry and shoutef at the foreign sheep:”You
    ungrateful sheep, I treat you so well. Why are
    you running away?” One of the foreign
    sheep turned around and answered him:” We
    thank you for treating us so well. If we stay ,
    we will become like local sheep. Sooner
    or later you will treat us like shit.”

    This is what happening in Singapore now. No
    wonder PR don’t want to become citizen.

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