As the social environment in Singapore becomes more culturally diverse, we also begin to see plenty of shake-ups. Most of which affects the harmony and peace that Singaporeans currently enjoy.
For the most part, Singaporeans are really peaceful people or perhaps, we just don’t like to invite trouble and hence prefer to err on the side of caution and rather than talk about it, we sweep it away under the rug and opt to let sensitive matters slide for another day. (Or because we are just worried that we might get charged under the Sedition Act)
Just last year, NTUC’s Amy Cheong caused a big hoo-haa when she insulted the Malay-Muslim community with her comments on a wedding at the void deck. We all know what happened to her. The rise of social media caught her by surprise and despite trying to make amends, she lost her job in less than 24 hours and was out of Singapore and back in Australia, embarassed (I suppose).
So, what happened this year?
A female Facebook user by the name of Devina Dediva, apparently working in a Philippine school in Singapore and of Indian heritage decided to come out of her shell to make her comments on Miss World 2013.
Source: Channel News Asia
And whilst I’m constantly researching on news of such acts being done by Singaporeans, it seems that the trend seems to blow the harmony of Singaporeans is coming from the foreigners living and working in Singapore.
This doesn’t mean that my Fellowship in the US is not important for the ‘Interfaith – Intercultural Understanding Training Programme’ that I’m developing here to be implemented in Singapore on my return. This means that it gets even more important for the Singaporean youths to be sufficiently educated with the necessary skills and knowledge to learn how to manage and ensure harmonious ties between the different faiths and cultures in Singapore can be strengthened.
We are such a small nation and we cannot afford such ‘distractions’ to divide us as a society.
Yes, a study was conducted previously on Racial and Religious relations found low scores on close interracial friendships (4.51/10) and interest in intercultural understanding and interaction (6.49/10). Read more here.
From this study, I deduce the following:
- Singaporeans are keen to try to have an intercultural understanding but lack opportunities to do so (Environmental factor)
- Singaporeans are keen to try to have an intercultural relationship but don’t know how to do so (Skill factor)
- Singaporeans prefer to a bit nice by saying they are interested in intercultural understanding but don’t make any effort to do so (Knowledge, Skill and Experience factor)
With 2 more months of my Fellowship in the US coming to an end, I can proudly announce the following:
- There will be opportunities for Singaporeans to have close interracial friendships and deepen intercultural understanding.
- There will be Knowledge and Skills within the framework of the training programme to equip Singaporeans to learn how to manage cultural differences in communication.
As my research team currently conducts its research, I seek support from Singaporeans who believe in the cause for Peace and Harmony through ‘Interfaith and Intercultural Understanding Training’ for your active participation.
Please do share this to all your friends as we look forward for something that will benefit our beloved Singapore.
And for those who do attend, I guarantee that the knowledge and skills you learn is transferable for work in multicultural environments.