Developing good relations with multi ethnic neighbours alone will guarantee racial harmony in Singapore. Do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer.
I agree that developing good relations with multi-ethnic neighbours will guarantee racial harmony in Singapore. In Singapore’s public housing system, common living space is created through the ethnic integration policy that ensures that there is an even distribution of different ethnic groups in all housing estates. . Through HDB’s public housing, people from all backgrounds will get to interact with one another in their daily lives. When different ethnic communities live within close vicinity of each other, there is a greater opportunity to interact and understand each other’s beliefs and practices. This way, relationships among ethnic groups can be forged to overcome suspicions towards each other. With these relationships forged, there will be a lesser probability of ethnic tensions among groups, thus guaranteeing racial harmony in Singapore.
However, I disagree that developing good relations with multi ethnic neighbours alone will guarantee racial harmony in Singapore. This is because there are other approaches that serve to ensure that everyone in Singapore is taken care of, whether they belong in the majority or minority community. Safeguarding minority interests is an important measure to ensure racial harmony in Singapore. The policy of minority representation gives minority groups a say in governance. It is also a way to safeguard the interests of the minority groups. An example would be the Group Representation Constituency (GRC) system that ensures that at least 1 of the candidates in the team contesting in the General Election is from the minority racial communities. This ensures that the minority racial groups are represented in Parliament and the needs and concerns of the groups are highlighted to the government. When the interests of the minority groups are represented, they will not feel discriminated. Instead they will feel like they have a stake in the country and feel taken care of. This will ensure that there is no ethnic tension as the diversity and various needs are managed. Thus this approach will guarantee racial harmony.
Other possible examples:
Self-help groups: SINDA, MENDAKI, CDAC, Eurasian Association- help members of their community who are less fortunate. These self-help groups promote initiatives and conduct programmes to ensure that all members of the community will be able to compete with others on an equal footing to improve their socio-economic positions. When these are able to compete on fair grounds with the rest of the society, they will feel a part of that society and not discriminated against. This will ensure that there is no ethnic tension as everyone’s needs is taken care of thus guaranteeing racial harmony.
Presidential Council of Minority Rights (PMCR) is another way in which minority interests are safeguarded. This council ensures that no racial/ religious group is disadvantaged as a result of a law passed in parliament. This way, it is ensured that minority groups are not taken for granted when laws are passed. Minority groups will then feel that their opinions matter in the country and that they are treated fairly and well taken care of in Singapore. When the minority community feel this way, there will be a lower probability of ethnic tension happening, thus guaranteering racial harmony.
However, I disagree that developing good relations with multi ethnic neighbours alone will guarantee racial harmony in Singapore. This is because there are other approaches that serve to ensure racial harmony. An example would be the policy of multi-racialism that promotes equality among races, with no special rights granted to any particular racial or religious group. This policy will ensure that all groups are acknowledged to be a part of the Singaporean society and hence be given due respect and consideration in the conduct of policies and day-to-day activities. This will ensure that no community feels marginalized or ill-treated. When all communities believe that every individual regardless of race, language or religion can excel in Singapore’s meritocratic system, then there will be a lower possibility of ethnic tension breaking out. In this way, racial harmony is guaranteed.
The policy of bilingualism ensures that there is a sense of commonality amongst Singaporeans as members of the community try to retain aspects of their tradition. By making English the working language, Singaporeans are given the platform to interact with each other regardless of their ethnic backgrounds and mother tongue. Concurrently, the study of a person’s chosen Mother Tongue will allow the imparting of moral values and tradition that keep Singaporeans rooted to their respective cultures. This way, all Singaporeans feel like they have a place in Singaporean society. At the same time, they are able to communicate and understand each other because language does not become a barrier to forge relationships across races and religions. Having a common language also manages ethnic diversity because the common language promotes transparency amongst everyone and reduces the risk of misunderstanding and suspicion among each other. Thus racial harmony is guaranteed.
However, I disagree that developing good relations with multi ethnic neighbours alone will guarantee racial harmony in Singapore. This is because there are other approaches that serve to develop the common space that is important to ensuring racial interaction and harmony.One example of this would be though the educational institutions such as schools and tertiary institutions. These institutions are open to every Singaporean regardless of their ethnic or religious backgrounds. The interactions that these institutions offer the opportunity for relationships to be forged regardless of race, language or religion. This promotes good ties between races, thus guaranteeing racial harmony. On top of that CCAs help to promote closer bonds amongst youths outside the classroom. These relationships forged will transcend religious and racial differences, promoting a sense of togetherness and belonging amongst races, thus ensuring racial harmony.
Grassroots Organisations such as People’s Associations create common space through programmes and activities developed to cater to the needs and interests of Singaporeans. Some examples would be home visits and home stays amongst members of different ethnic groups to gain a better understanding of culture and practices of other groups. These initiatives promote understanding among different ethnic groups. In turn, the different groups get along better, reducing the probability of ethnic tensions. This way, racial harmony is guaranteed.
National Service allows those who go through it to bond with the other men undergoing training. It also fosters a sense of loyalty and patriotism to the country by inculcating the spirit that Singapore belongs to us and hence is for us to defend. Since NS is compulsory for all able-bodied men regardless of race, language or religion, NS then becomes another platform for relationships to be forged across groups. These relationships forged during NS will instill a better understanding of cultures, practices and beliefs of different ethnic groups as these men live together and interact with each other during in-camp training. With better understanding of other ethnic communities, there will be a lower chance for ethnic tensions to occur, thus guaranteeing racial harmony.
I believe safeguarding minority interest is the most important measure that can guarantee racial harmony in Singapore. This is because the interests of the minority will be closely linked to their basic needs and quality of life at the basic level. Hence, should their interests be ignored or compromise, they will feel ill treated and marginalized. When this happens, it becomes fertile ground for ethnic tensions to developed and any other measures used to promote harmony among ethnic groups may not work. The common space that is present among these ethnic groups may then serve to endanger lives rather than promote harmony, as it was initially set up to do. Building a national identity where people are able to identify with each other being Singaporeans will also then be fertile as the minority community who feel that they are marginalized or ill treated will resent the society anyway.
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Maria Hertogh Riots in 1950s
1940s: Dutch couple was imprisoned by Japanese.They placed their daughter under a Malay, Aminah.
Maria is then raised as a Muslim and married aMalay teacher at 13 y/o
hen parents are released, they demanded thereturn of Maria. Refusal by Aminah led to a court trial
wide media coverage
unhappiness amongMuslim community.
hen Maria was returned to her Dutch parents,many felt that the British legal system was biased against the Muslims, and that the welfare of Muslims were not looked into.
Anger towards Eurasian and Europeancommunities
Media coverage through English, Malay and Tamil newspapers were published. These included thecourt's decision to annul Maria's marriage and beingin a Christian Convent
24-hour curfew called in for 2 weeks. British and Malayan called in to maintain peace, alongsideSingapore troopsdifferences amongst religions are not handled appropriately, anger and grievances may build upamong the community, and acts of hostility may result.
Distrust amongst the peoplealso cause a less cohesivesociety, and the ease for external factors to affect thecountry.
Thus, along with themanagement of differencesamong different races, themanagement amongdifferent religions is crucial,and is the amongst the most important factorsdetermining the stability of acountry.Threats from external forces1.
Transnational terrorism: acts of violence which areglobal in terms of aims, organisation and impact.2.
Race and religion can be weapons to create ill feelingsamong different ethnic groups, threatening religious and racial harmony in the country.3.
Jemaah Islamiyah [JI] in 2001
34 members of JI arrested under Internal Security Act for involvement in terrorist-related activitiesbetween 2001 and 2002
Fund raised and bought bomb-making materials,targeting Singapore's MOE and US embassy.
In April 2005, another JI member, in charge of bomb and weapons making was arrested.
Political leaders and religious leaders called uponthe people to remain calm and committed to living ina harmonious society.
Muslim leaders condemned JI in unison, and emphasised that JI was not supported by the
This would affect Singapore's society as theremay be distrust among themultiple ethnic groups present.
For example, the JI arrestsmay have made the Chineseand Indians suspicious of the Malays and Muslims,staying away from them.
This would then causemisunderstandings and theunhappiness of Malays and Muslims. An uproar may result, and riots and protestsmay occur.
However, this is less crucial as compared to above twoas with social cohesionthrough the proper management of racial and