Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Digging up Facts of Singapore

One of the more annoying double standards that i have encountered in Asia is that of the Singaporean mindset towards migration. Now, i need to clearly articulate that i mean chinese Singaporean. You see, many chiense Singaporeans are rightly very critical of Australia's former 'white australia' migration policy. It was a racist piece of garbage that belongs on the scrap heap of history. By and large, Australia has moved on from the days of only allowing 'whites' who could speak english to their shores.

But fast forward to the 21st century and we have in Singapore a blatantly pro-chinese migration policy still in place. Indeed, it was set up in the led up to Hong Kong returning to Chinese rule.

Basically the policy is this:

Hong Kong citizens can migrate to Singapore. They are given assistance. No education requirements. At the time the then Prime-Minister of Singapore refereed to the need to keep Singapore predominately chinese to ensure it's economic success (read in between the lines what you will.

The proof of this policy is still out there at the following places here here and here

To be balanced although the migration policy has been publicly linked to keeping the proportion of Singapore's population that is Chinese above a certain percentage, nothing explicitaly states you MUST be chinese, it is very clear that the policy is aimed at recruiting Chinese hong-kong citizens and as this is the only ethnic group that is being targeted in such a way it then lends itself to the question: if the white Australia policy was so racist and so evil, how is this any different or better? The answer to that (IMHO) is none.

Sure, defenders of it will say that Singapore has a non-discriminatory migration policy. They will also say as long as you have the skills you can migrate to Singapore. True to an extent, but if a non-asian country were to introduce such a scheme to keep a certain ethnic mix stable, to proactively recruit a specific ethnic group (which is already the majority) it would rightly be labeled as discriminatory and racist. Why then do many chinese singaporeans feel the need to defend such a policy whilst rightly condemning former very similar schemese hatched by neighboring countries? The double standard is alive and well.

Death to racism.

Wherever it is found.


Muhamad Nur said...

Well, the world knows Singaporean Chinese are racist. Whats new to be discussed? Adopting this policy will only solve short term problems. But long term problems, such as why the Chinese continue to lag behind the Malays and Indians in natural births will never be solved. This is despite 600 000 foreign born Chinese migrating here in the last 20 years. In 30 years, when these Chinese has passed on and there is less Chinese migrating here due to China becoming an economic power herself, we will see a different approach to immigration. Singapore's demographics then will reflect the current birth rates where the minorities will make up about 35% of the populace.

AsianRacism said...

You are very correct in your observations. One part of economic management (by politicians) that is totally flawed is the concept that you NEED population growth to drive economic growth. This is a fallacy. There are a number of small european countries that have stable or shrinking populations yet their economies continue to grow. A large country that is seeing this happen is Russia, shrinking population, booming economy. What is wrong with 0% economic growth if the population is shrinking by 1% per year? if that was the case, people will still be getting richer.

Hence Singapores migration approach is not only racist, but flawed. It should be approaching a population-neutral approach and taking not skilled migrants, but rather refugees from the surrounding regions, INMHO

Anonymous said...

If there were no Chinese in Singapore there wouldn't be such a problem in the first place. Wait, who encouraged Chinese migration to Singapore? British colonialists?

Singaporeans have not broke out in civil war and all the communities there have progressed economically. And the vast majority of Asian countries aren't fighting each other like what happened in Europe for centuries until the end of WWII.

If you want to be more productive please spend some time highlighting the bad conditions foreign workers have to endure in Singapore. In terms of its citizens they are doing very well. When Britain was at a similar stage of development the Irish and East European migrants were still being discriminated.

I doubt you will publish my comment unless you have some good points for rebuttal. "Comment moderation has been enabled" HA! Talk about double standards. What happened to the ideal of free speech? And don't say this is your blog so you can do what you want because White countries have also criticised non-White countries which stifle free specch. You can always delete hate speech or posts containing nothing but expletives, can't you?

AsianRacism said...

No violence in Asia? what planet are you on? some words for you:

TIBET and China, is that not violence? How about Aceh province? How about CAMBODIA in recent times? or KASHMIR valley? or Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers?

Although Singapore has progressed economically (in some regards) not all have done as well as you like to make out. Dig a little deeper on this blog and find out some of the articles that examine Malay disadvantage and discrimination in Singapore.

Finally, as for your freedom of speech spiel, well congrats, you got your comment published. Now why doesn't your own country allow free speech? oh wait, that's right, it (the media) only exists to serve nation building and not to hold authority to account.


Alex Wong said...


I felt no need to deend this racial policy as it is discrimination. I will NOT support it either. Though a Singaporean Chinese myself.

However, you failed to mention that Europeans colonising their territories have performed rape, murder and forced religion conversation upon the natives.

Example, north america, africa and oceania.

Side tracking abit, talking about religon.

Among the trinity, Islam & Christinity are the worse (Judaism is fine cuz they do not bother ppl, talking about conversion issues ONLY, not wagaging war issues.) because they actively recruit new devotees. Either through intermarriage or preaching.

Personally, I have experience with christans who tried to actively convert me while I have already stated my intention. (Read: NOT interested)

I personally have no problems with those religons as long as they know when to quit when it comes to recruiting.

we could go ard finger pointing at each other all day. But in the end, all of us need to do, is look INTO the mirror.

I'm fine with you highlighting all the racial issues in Asia. But my question is what is your true motive besides advocating human and racial discrimination.

As finger pointing begets more finger pointing.

Because, as long as there's homo sapiens, there will be racism. (As mentioned in the earlier comment)
I can bet my life with you on that.

As homo sapiens are a competitive species.

We progress through competitiveness regardless through cultural or technological means.

On whole, we also like to have a sense of belonging as we are a social creature.

Hence, There's no real solution to such problems sad to say.

AsianRacism said...


Religious conversion is not confined to European colonisation. Right now in the 21st century peoples of religious minority status are being prosecuted and pressured to convert - sometimes even at the extreme of facing death.

Remember the Christian convert in Afghanistan? faced the death penalty. What about Tibet? reports from the ground suggest that if you are particularly devout or send your children to a monastery-run school, even if your child gets the grades, no university entrance - a deliberate ploy by the Han chinese to 'ween' tibetan's off their faith. What about the ughuir muslim minority? what about non-muslims in Malaysia? can they convert? what happens when they try? (documented on this blog, BTW).

So many people in Asia like to take all the worst aspects of colonialism and say that it only applies to the white former colonial powers. It doesn't. It's happening right now, in this part of the world (and elsewhere to be fair, but as my intro states, that is not the purpose of this blog) and it is generally ignored.

I disagree that there will always be racism. I also disagree that open criticism doesn't lead to progress. It was international 'finger pointing' that lead to the collapse of the government in south africa. At the same time, whilst 'pointing the finger' it gave voices inside countries who 'pointed the finger' an opportunity to demonstrate the commonalities between something that their own country had openly demonised and behaviours occurring inside their own country, hence 'finger-pointing' can, and often does, lead to introspection and self-improvement.

The problem is when silence descends and nothing is said, then people come to assume that the problems they see are OK.

If i have a 'true motive' it is that racism in Asia can be discussed in an open and frank manner without getting heated and defensive. If you look at some of Singapore's near neighbours, you see such contrasts. On one hand you have Malaysia - well documented the problems there, and also the problems generating a serious, stable and pragmatic dialogue internally about the problems. Then look at Indonesia, where press freedom is generally regarded as higher. Sure, some would argue that there are more militants but there is also genuine dialogue and discussion and compromise, hence the settlement in Arche province, hence the compromise on cultural dancing in the pornography legislation etc etc

What about New Zealand? they gave Australia many a firm critique on indigenous rights, and now that country is having open and honest dialogue about the problems face by their aboriginal peoples*

The progress made in Indonesia and Australia, that's a direct result of mature discussion, that's forward progress and a step in the right direction of promoting tolerance and understanding, with the ultimate goal being respect and acceptance.

To put it another way: of you tolerate someone, and understand what they do, is that OK? Is it not better to have a true respect and acceptance of who they are?

That's the goal, to contribute to moving from outright hostility and prejudice to tolerance and understanding to acceptance and respect.

* After alot of internal discussion with the other two contributors, it was agreed that a a whole section in the new updated blog will be devoted to Australia, as it is, at least by geography, part of Asia and serves to provide many examples - good and bad)

ed said...

Hear! Hear! Very good article. I applaud you for your insightful candour.


ed said...

"Why then do many chinese singaporeans feel the need to defend such a policy whilst rightly condemning former very similar schemese hatched by neighboring countries? The double standard is alive and well."

In order to understand this, one has to appreciate that those who succumb to top-down oppression and make a culture out of coping with it tend to have their appreciation of detail, difference and in-depth and critical thinking compromised significantly.

Hence, thereon, they are generally appealed to by the most salient, i.e. power, position, prominence, popularity, similarity, etc - as these are also the consequences or are required for the success of top-down oppression.

Such a people will tend to be focused on the most obvious, and in this context, their own interests and the significance of racial numbers. And, again as a consequence of popular political failure in the face of top-down oppression, they will become more opportunistic and self-absorbed in order to get around increasing top-down financial pressures. Hence, comes the phenomenon of, 'if it doesn't happen to us the majority, it doesn't happen at all'. This renders them reflexively blind to that which does not affect their own interests.

Every chinese i have spoken to the past couple of decades have either, like Alex Wong above, discounted the issue by saying others are worse; it happens everywhere - as an excuse to not bother about it; or deny it happens. They simply and reflexively discount novel or contradictory information at a generic level. That is why the chinese are not disinclined to complain about the racism they suffer in other countries whilst doing the same in singapore to others.

Chinese culture, a product of 2000 years of top-down oppression and popular failure to directly contend with it, hence produces minds that reflexively discounts difference and that which requires thought-out-of-the-box - as this is founded on those intellectual propensities that can have untoward consequences if applied in the political field. Thus, with the generic foundation of thoughtfulness successfully curtailed by political oppression, the arena is set for the emergence of gross apathy and bigotry - which is the hallmark of confucian civilisations.

However, this does not apply as much to Hong Kong and Taiwan which was afforded to move away from this mindset by, respectively, being reared under the democratic auspices of the British and being forced to redefine itself along western lines after the nationalists lost to the 'communists' in China.

ed said...

to Alex Wong,

The 'true motives' of AR is of no consequence. His points are to be evaluated in themselves for its reasonable, insightful and logical value. To speculate on 'true motives' is to sidestep the issue.

Secondly, with the mindset, 'as long as there is homo sapiens, there will be racism' is a typical chinese, 'it's like that one' mentality (translation - 'that's the way it is'.) Such an approach basically justifies discrimination and disables one from making any efforts to eradicate it. If the people of the past took your stance, the blacks will still be in chains, women will yet to be given the right to vote, and you'll be kow towing to some 'son of heaven' in china. Yours is a typical approach that i've always encountered amongst the chinese of singapore and which basically means that the Indians and Malays have to live on your burp after you're psychologically and opportunity-wise well-fed via discrimination (media misrepresentation/under-representation); mother-tongue policy that forbids non-chinese from learning mandarin as a 2nd language - whilst mandarin is a requirement for getting many jobs; 'appreciate chinese culture and speak mandarin campaigns'; 'keeping singapore chinese' policy; special education given to the chinese via the SAP school system; etc)

It's nothing short of hypocritical as the chinese in singapore generally do have a problem with the discrimination suffered by the chinese in malaysia.

Please understand that these views aren't really yours. They are a product of political oppression - that brings about learned helplessness and self-absorption - and a mindset that emerges from being trained to take things as they are socially whilst being 'pragmatic' only within the familial milieu. That is short-sighted pragmatism.

I wish you well.


Cathopologist said...

Join us at Facebook: Singapore's Minorities Against Racial Discrimination

I created this cause to raise more awareness of what goes on in Singapore - how our minorities are bullied and forced to adapt to the pro-Chinese government.

ISpeakLogic said...

Hey great Blog!! That's why The Malaya was seperated into Singapore and Malaysia!! Malaysia has seen it coming~ Anyway there's a reason between the baby-bonus policy in Singapore, it's because the Chinese usually give birth to 2 or less children therefore there'll be less Chinese in the future, that's what the government is afraid of.

The Malays and the Indians are having a hard time living here because of the baised system to emply workers.As you can see there are less Malay or Indian people who work on a high position!!

Even the Senior Minister Mentor said that "I think we were progressing very nicely until the surge of Islam came, and if you asked me for my observations, the other communities have easier integration — friends, intermarriages and so on, Indians with Chinese, Chinese with Indians — than Muslims.” “I would say today, we can integrate all religions and races except Islam. I think the Muslims socially do not cause any trouble, but they are distinct and separate,” he added.
Mr Lee went on to share on his experience of working with politicians of his generation, and how they were able to integrate well with each other, including sitting down to eat.
He also said, “But now, you go to schools with Malay and Chinese, there’s a halal and non-halal segment and so, too, the universities. And they tend to sit separately so as not to be contaminated. All that becomes a social divide" WTF??