A national identity does not come easy – can we trust a government that refuses to have a candid discourse?

At the recent Singapore Perspectives 2020 forum, I have asked Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat a question on PAP’s immigration policy.

I felt compelled to ask Minister Heng this question because he seems to imply that opposition parties are a “divisive force” which seeks to fracture trust in the government, and create social cohesion when we raise issues about PAP’s immigration policies.

Let me first start off by stressing the importance of a National Identity.

During our founding years, there was a rapid rise of nationalism in China and Malaya – what happened in these two places have a tremendous impact on Singapore, even after we declared independence. It took us more than 30 years to integrate our people of different races and cultures to build our Singaporean Core and Identity.

But this divisive force comes when the PAP government is giving an average of 20,000 of new citizenships each year to people from neighbouring countries -Philippines, China etc.

With the rise of China, the geopolitics is becoming more complex and complicated and smaller states are forced to take sides; territorial claims over the South China Sea being one example. If one day, Singapore is forced to make difficult decisions on increasingly complex geopolitics challenges, will these ‘new citizens’ pledge allegiance to their home countries instead of Singapore?

There is something we call “中国情义结” which means, strong emotional ties to their homeland of birthplace, China. We can give anyone our citizenship but allegiances clearly do not change overnight. If it took us 30 years to forge a Singaporean identity, how long will it take for these new citizens to fully integrate?

This is real danger, clear and present danger if our immigration policy continues along these lines – we cannot simply pretend these divisive forces don’t exist because it is just human nature. We are after all, a very small and young nation compared to our some of our neighbours, with a long history of cultural identity or Nationhood.

Since 2007, we have given out new citizenships – my estimate is that these ‘new’ citizens now make’ up about 7% of our total population. The total number of ‘new’ citizens right from 1990s should be more than 15% to 20%.  This is not a small number by any measure – will they exert their influence on our political directions, which could possibly be against our core National interests?

 

Goh Meng Seng

 

 

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17 Responses to “A national identity does not come easy – can we trust a government that refuses to have a candid discourse?”

  • Homeless Cat:

    An excellent question. Yes, they can. And they will.

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  • Bapak:

    The most important question is “Can we trust ourgovernment?”

    My answer is a big NO!

    See, PAP of today is like a piece of beautiful chocolate good to see no good to eat.

    They are also like the recent pirates attack on Satursday. Coast Guard Craft come pirates escape on their (mind you) SAMPANS. It seems like their sampans are faster than our craft.

    How much is one Coast Guard Craft cost?
    How much is a sampan cost?

    If after spending so much money on this “advanced” craft still can’t chase down sampan, you thing you can trust our PAP government? The answer is a big NO.

    I rest my case. Please POFMA me.

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  • Bapak:

    Mr. Goh, if that one day comes let me tell you many dogs will run-road the rest you die your business. Now is easy for them to TKSS.

    Lets see where they go,…
    Clown – South Korea (he is a citizen there),
    Woody – USA (many forests there),
    Yacob – USA (sons already there),
    Madam Butterfly – Penang,
    Milo – India (country of origin),
    Kee Chui – no where can go cause no working experience cannot get interview some more, lanlan stay behind backside open flower.

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  • Financially Speaking:

    Financially Speaking, the better the economic opportunities presents itself, the politically more cohesive a society becomes. So the geopolitical threats can be easily nullified.

    America could attract millions of immigrants in the past yet assimilate them into their society simply due to the vast economic opportunities that the country could afford them.

    Talk about divisive forces & social disharmony must be viewed under both sides. Why?

    If your economic management is lousy, then divisive forces and agitation will be rife.

    You can’t eat your cake and keep it. If you can’t work your economy to an optimum level yet keep allowing foreigners to come in. The sad truth is that the Status Quo is to allow continual collecting of high salaries without working hard for it. Financially Speaking, that is the truth!

    Goh Meng Seng: With the rise of China, the geopolitics is becoming more complex and complicated and smaller states are forced to take sides; territorial claims over the South China Sea being one example. If one day, Singapore is forced to make difficult decisions on increasingly complex geopolitics challenges, will these ‘new citizens’ pledge allegiance to their home countries instead of Singapore?

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  • opposition dude:

    Well then, if these new citizens decide to take the sides of their orignal countries of origin then the only option left is to strip them of citizenship and deport them.

    After all, if you have strong feelings for your motherland then you shouldn’t have given up your citizenship in the first place. Since you feel so strongly about your country of birth and not Singapore then it makes no sense for you to continue being a citizen.

    Your roots aren’t here since you were never brought up here anyway.

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  • Sinkies are called natives:

    Second life Heng is getting more abusive. He calls Sinkies “natives”. You know what happens to “natives”? Look at American natives or Australian natives.

    Sinkies, you want to be “natives”?

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  • Sojoürner of Truth:

    What Goh Meng Seng has pointed out about identity and immigration is nothing new. Study history and you will see the Irish faced discrimination, Chinese, then the influx of Italians and Jews at the beginning of the 20th century. Quotas in the 30s and 40s helped to keep out the Jews trying to escape from the Nazi grip.

    Most, not all, came over replacing Americans workers- hence the Nativist Movement and the HSK’s so-called Singaporean ‘nativity tendencies’. These ugly elements in society have existed for a long time. Perhaps the most salient point in this piece is how identity reductionism plays into the hands of extreme right/left wings. Bigots turn multidimensional human beings into one-dimensional creature.

    The real divide isn’t ethnic, geographic or cultures; it’s between those who are capable of rational thought and those who reject it. Each of us may be a conglomerate of identities, a mansion with many rooms, but the trouble is that slightly two-thirds of the mansions in Singapore contain a safe room where residents are free to practice willful ignorance but try as I might I can’t summon any warm sympathetic feelings for people who willfully voted against their interests.

    It’s easy to reject single-identity thinking for a group that doesn’t think.

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  • Marimuthu Rengansamy:

    Bapak:
    The most important question is “Can we trust ourgovernment?”

    My answer is a big NO!

    See, PAP of today is like a piece of beautiful chocolate good to see no good to eat.

    They are also like the recent pirates attack on Satursday. Coast Guard Craft come pirates escape on their (mind you) SAMPANS. It seems like their sampans are faster than our craft.

    How much is one Coast Guard Craft cost?
    How much is a sampan cost?

    If after spending so much money on this “advanced” craft still can’t chase down sampan, you thing you can trust our PAP government? The answer is a big NO.

    I rest my case. Please POFMA me.

    Batak is very interesting!

    The Sampan escaped the pursue of Singapore’s Marine Police’s crafts was the result of many factors at play.

    But the only thing Bapak could think of is “size”.

    By his logic, would not canoe be a better choice for pirate attacks prevention?

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  • 70% sheep says, NO Problem:

    Bapak:
    Mr. Goh, if that one day comes let me tell you many dogs will run-road the rest you die your business. Now is easy for them to TKSS.

    Lets see where they go,…
    Clown – South Korea (he is a citizen there),
    Woody – USA (many forests there),
    Yacob – USA (sons already there),
    Madam Butterfly – Penang,
    Milo – India (country of origin),
    Kee Chui – no where can go cause no working experience cannot get interview some more, lanlan stay behind backside open flower.

    so well said, bro. especially bugs bunny kee chiu chan chun sing who has zero experience yet tell businessmen how to make S$m.

    joe tiu is not mentioned. we agree. too low level to even worth a mention. more over, the pap Cb is a liar. because as far as we know, and we have been ffffing since a long time ago, we need much space to ffff.

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  • Ah so! O Mr. Bean....:

    A system is corrupt when it is strictly profit-driven, not driven to serve the best interests of its people.Pick a leader who will not only bail out banks and airlines, but also families from losing their homes — or jobs due to their companies moving to other countries. Pick a leader who will fund schools, not limit spending on education and allow libraries to close. Pick a leader who chooses diplomacy over war. An honest broker in foreign relations. A leader with integrity, one who says what they mean, keeps their word and does not lie to their people. Pick a leader who is strong and confident, yet humble. Intelligent, but not sly. A leader who encourages diversity, not racism. One who understands the needs of the farmer, the teacher, the doctor, and the environmentalist — not only the banker, the oil tycoon, the weapons developer, or the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyist.

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  • Very simple:

    Solutions ?

    Basically a few tricks. Others can help to add.

    做漢奸 ?

    做 actor ? We are all actors in an act. 人生如戲, 戲如人生. Everybody acts, whether act blur or act cool or act with the crowd.

    見人說人話, 見鬼說鬼話.

    ……….

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  • just compare animal kingdom:

    //What Goh Meng Seng has pointed out about identity and immigration is nothing new.//

    just compare animal kingdom with human nature ? it is quite similar ? it will take a long time to build a common identity and it has to be maintained by a constant & stable staple of hygiene – e.g food, water and roof ?? and this combo of hygiene might be put under competition threat by the 6.9m or 10m open-leg policy by the white monkey and gang ?

    most animals in the wild (those not trained by humans) also display their own natural tendency on identity (exclusion of the OTHER KIND, whatever that is, when it comes to the crunch (survival) ?) – different species, troops and families of the same animal or insect ?? even those wild animals trained by humans, one needs to put food on their table or these wild animals may well turn against the former for dinner ?

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  • Bobo:

    By hook or by crook, PAP must win more than 2/3 so that books are remained closed for internal use only. With the rapid increase of new citizens being allowed to vote in GE, all the ministries are safeguarded. New citizens are here to enjoy good life with their families. They do not bother whether our policies will affect their lives in future. If this country is doomed, they would just quit.

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  • AristoCATs w "big" Ideas . . .:

    Bapak:
    Mr. Goh, if that one day comes let me tell you many dogs will run-road the rest you die your business. Now is easy for them to TKSS.

    Lets see where they go,… . . .

    Kee Chui – no where can go cause no working experience cannot get interview some more, lanlan stay behind backside open flower.

    -
    Wow, Bapak is really good.
    -
    Wait a minute, a guy is still on the floor in stitches. . .
    -
    The short general is one
    “Tuff guy” carrying a small stick !

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  • REGIME CHANGE is the solution:

    PAP likely does not care about their loyalty. Only thing important is that they vote for PAP. That is why Singaporeans should vote for regime change.

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  • Money Money Money:

    Pigs national identity is $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

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  • Truth:

    Bapak, that’s very interesting. How abt our dear mr strokeman..where will go? he got any sons somewhere? Who is mdm butterfly?

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