A SURVEY by the Institute of Policy Studies showed that seven in 10 local-born citizens felt that it was important that the son of a new immigrant complete National Service when it comes to “deciding if an immigrant will be accepted and viewed like other local-born Singaporean citizens”.
However, only 43 per cent of the foreign-born citizens felt likewise. (“To be part of us, your sons must serve NS”; May 22).
The survey also revealed many significant differences in opinion between the two groups on other topics asked, such as the importance of the ability to speak English, and getting on well with colleagues and neighbours, etc.
New citizens seemed to attach less importance to most of the topics raised.
Could there be a general indifference among the new citizens when responding to the topics asked? If the scores of the new citizens were much lower than those of local-born across the questions asked, the researchers would need to explain this.
Could this indifference be a telling sign that some of these new citizens just wanted us to accept them as who they are?
Should this indifference exist, then it is an issue of general attitude. We should examine and tackle this indifference attitude first, and avoid highlighting or overplaying any specific topic at this juncture, such as the NS issue.
We need to find out from immigrants on what could be done to make them integrate with us more quickly.
We also need to take a hard look at ourselves and ask what could be improved to make our society more attractive to them.
To achieve a long-lasting and meaningful integration, local-born Singaporeans should do their part to win the minds and hearts of new citizens and permanent residents, and not just depend on the Government to introduce new policies.
Letter from Ng Ya Ken