CHALLENGES OF A MULTI-ETHNIC SOCIETYBONDING SINGAPORE
INTRODUCTION• You have learnt that multi-ethnic societies are quitelikely to break apart due to tensions between thesegroups.• Differences over how races should be treated.• Differences over the practice of religion and the identityassociated with it.• Singapore is an example of a multi-ethnic society…• How does Singapore manage these tensions between groups?
LESSON AGENDA• By the end of today’s lesson, you will learn to:• Identify the challenges facing multi-ethnic Singapore.• Evaluate how Singapore handles these challenges.
CHALLENGES OF A MULTI-ETHNICSOCIETY• Challenge 1: Managing different perceptions ofdifferent racial groups• British adopted “divide-and-rule” policy. Races were keptseparate - colonial government did not encourageinteraction other than in the economy.• This policy bred a lack of understanding between races.• After Singapore joined Malaysia racial tensions weresimmering. Malaysia = communal politics, Singapore=non-communal• Communications can cause outbreaks of violence• UMNO communal politics vs. PAP non-communal politicsresulting in the 1964 race riot.
CHALLENGES OF A MULTI-ETHNICSOCIETY• Challenge 1: Managing different perceptions ofdifferent racial groups (con’td)• Politics between the PAP and the Federal government in KL• Communal vs. non-communal approach• UMNO led an anti-PAP campaign• Portrayed PAP as anti- Malays• Carried untrue articles in the Utusan Melayu• Malays were angry with the PAP & suspicions of all Chinese.• 1964 race riots• 21 July 1964, prophet Muhammad’s birthday procession• Malays were angry with the Chinese• Loss of lives, damage to properties
CHALLENGES OF A MULTI-ETHNICSOCIETY• Challenge 2: Managing perceptions of differentreligious groups• Colonial policy on religion – adopted a hands offapproach. Not sensitive to what may cause tensions• 1950, Maria Hertogh riots• Custody struggle between the Dutch parents and the fosteredmother, Aminah.• British High Court awarded custody given to the Dutch parents• Malay community felt that the system was unfair to the Muslims.• Curfew placed for 24 hours• British and Malayan troops called in to manage the peace.
CHALLENGES OF A MULTI-ETHNICSOCIETY• Challenge 3: Threats from external forces• Transnational terrorism can divide the people; threatenracial and religious harmony•How? Because…it is easy for another group to be suspicious ofanother once terrorists are members of the same religion or race.If this suspicion is not dealt with…will lead to people thinking thatall members of the same race/religion also believe in terrorism.•34 JI (Jemaah Islamiyah) members arrests since 2001•Put Singaporeans on high alert against terrorism…more thanother societies…our nation can be very quickly torn apart due tothis kind of thinking.
CHALLENGES OF A MULTI-ETHNICSOCIETY• Challenge 3: Threats from external forces (con’td)• Why is Singapore a target?• Open, cosmopolitan society hosting many foreignestablishments – targets to terrorists. Friendly to the west• Response from Singapore• Anti-terrorism stance. As a nation we are against violence.• Improve security, alertness• Organizations voiced support to maintain ethnic harmony inSingapore• Muslim leaders condemned the JI group of activities.• Continue to ensure social cohesion.
LESSON RECALLLESSON RECALL• What are the three challenges facing Singapore asa multi-ethnic society in trying to preserve harmony?• What lessons can we learn from the racial riots of1964?
INTRODUCTIONINTRODUCTION• You have seen the challenges that Singapore facesas a multi-ethnic society.• How can we ensure that we continue to live in peace andharmony?
MANAGING ETHNIC DIVERSITYMANAGING ETHNIC DIVERSITY• Strategy 1: Building a national identityStrategy 1: Building a national identity• Multi racialism• Singapore government believes in the equality among all races• The events of our past and of other societies have shown us the negativeeffects of favoring of certain race or races.• Therefore this is prohibited by the Constitution• Everyone is valued for their contribution and efforts• This concept enables us to live harmoniously as it recognizes thecontributions of every person regardless of race or religion equally – thisfosters a closer bond among citizens to their nation.
MANAGING ETHNIC DIVERSITYMANAGING ETHNIC DIVERSITY• Strategy 1: Building a national Identity (Con’td)Strategy 1: Building a national Identity (Con’td)• Common practices• Citizens of a nation adopt certain practices which giveexpression to their common identity.• These practices help bond people belonging to the same groupor tribe together. Examples of these practices include:• Singing of the national anthem,• taking the pledge• The flag raising ceremony• These practices foster and Inculcate loyalty and national prideto our nation. These are especially important in multi-ethnicsocieties as people come from diverse cultural and ethnicbackgrounds.
MANAGING ETHNIC DIVERSITYMANAGING ETHNIC DIVERSITY• Strategy 1: Building a national IdentityStrategy 1: Building a national Identity• Bilingualism• Use of EL (English Language) as a linking language• Use of MTL (Mother Tongue) to impart values and culturaltraditions• Why? Because MTL is what children are most exposed to at homewhen they are growing up• …through this platform, values and culture can be passed downfrom generation to generation
MANAGING ETHNIC DIVERSITYMANAGING ETHNIC DIVERSITY• Strategy 2: Safeguarding interests of minority groupsStrategy 2: Safeguarding interests of minority groups• Minority representation• The case studies in Chapter 4 show what could happen whenminority rights is not respected by the State.• As such minorities cultures must be given a say in thegovernance of a nation – otherwise conflicts may occur.• PCMR (Presidential Council of Minority Right)• No racial or religious group is disadvantaged• GRC (Group Representation Constituency)• Ensures that minority race is represented in the parliament
MANAGING ETHNIC DIVERSITYMANAGING ETHNIC DIVERSITY• Strategy 2: Safeguarding interests of minority groupsStrategy 2: Safeguarding interests of minority groups• Self help groups• CDAC (Chinese Development Assistance Council)• SINDA (Singapore Indian Development Association)• Aid in studies of the less privilege• Gives moral support• Tuition classes participated by all races (interaction)• MENDAKI• Ensures all races can compete with equal footing – no race isdisadvantaged
MANAGING ETHNIC DIVERSITYMANAGING ETHNIC DIVERSITY• Strategy 3: Developing common spaceStrategy 3: Developing common space• Events organized by grassroots organization• PA (People’s Association) cater to the needs and interests ofevery Singaporean.• Home visits/ exchange programme build respect and friendship• HDB Flats have a “void deck” this space is purposely left vacant.• Community groups and residents can make use of it for their ownuse of for the use of the residents living there. E.g. Malay weddingsand Chinese funerals
MANAGING ETHNIC DIVERSITYMANAGING ETHNIC DIVERSITY• Strategy 3: Developing common spaceStrategy 3: Developing common space• Opportunities offered by educational institutions• Home visits/ exchange programme build respect and friendship• Enhanced interactions• CCAs• Closer bonds, teamwork, respect• Community Engagement Programme (CEP)• Allows youth of Singapore to be familiar with the problems of the lessfortunate in society – builds a sense of civic consciousness.
MANAGING ETHNIC DIVERSITYMANAGING ETHNIC DIVERSITY• Strategy 3: Developing common spaceStrategy 3: Developing common space• Common living space provided by public housing• 1989, Ethnic integration policy• ensure interaction among races• Flats are allocated based on racial quotas – prevents ethnicenclaves.
MANAGING ETHNIC DIVERSITYMANAGING ETHNIC DIVERSITY• Strategy 3: Developing common spaceStrategy 3: Developing common space• Activities by the IRCCs and HCs• Visits to places of worship• Appreciate and develop respect for each individuals religion.• Reduces prejudice brought about by ignorance• Talks and briefings on the precepts of religions• Creates awareness of these religions• All working for the good of the community• Respond to negative ideas• IRCCs help to manage tensions that sometimes comes about whensome people make use of religion and religious teachings for selfishreasons
MANAGING ETHNIC DIVERSITYMANAGING ETHNIC DIVERSITY• Strategy 3: Developing common space• National Service• Shared experience• Strengthen the bond among the men• Helps build also a common identity that is uniquely Singaporean• The NS experience cannot be easily duplicated and copied throughother programmes
IMPORTANCE OF MANAGINGIMPORTANCE OF MANAGINGETHNIC DIVERSITYETHNIC DIVERSITY• Ensure security and peace• People feel safe.• When people feel safe, they can turn their attention to buildingup Singapore’s economy.• By having security – builds confidence in Singapore, that futuregenerations can still find this country a viable place to live andwork.
IMPORTANCE OF MANAGINGIMPORTANCE OF MANAGINGETHNIC DIVERSITYETHNIC DIVERSITY• Ensure economic progress• Inviting to foreign investors – well protected• Trade agreement with the USA, 2003• Tourists feel safe and welcomed• Builds up Singapore as safe and secure tourist destination andan attractive place to visit.
LESSON RECAP• What are the key challenges facing Singapore as amulti-ethnic society• How does Singapore manage its ethnic diversity?