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Why Singapore’s current policies may not be very effective at upholding our national identity

June 20, 2017

Globalization

Singaporeans are constantly exposed to western cultures, be it through books or television shows. Moreover, due to the fact that Singapore is a small nation, we are influenced by the influx of foreigners which dilutes our national identity. Currently, our sense of rootedness is in the decline. Though not all aspects of globalisation is harmful, individualism causes our society to lose our national identity.

 

Our 4 shared values

On 9 January 1989, President Wee proposed a set of 4 shared values: 1. Placing society above self 2. Upholding the family as the basic building block of society 3. Resolving major issues through consensus instead of contention 4. Stressing racial and religious tolerance and harmony.

 

Are they achievable?

How effective the 4 shared values in destroying the shackles of globalisation?

After much discussion, the committee has come to a general consensus that some of these values need to be built upon, in order to have a more profound impact on the public.

Dr Arthur Tan Geat Leng, a representative from Singapore’s Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO) Council, feels that the value “Placing society over self” is too vague and idealistic.

Dr Tan said: “Though this is a goal that we must aim to achieve, this policy is unable to spur on the citizens as it lacks spirituality. Without Singaporeans being actually concerned about the welfare of the nation, this goal is largely unachievable.”

 

Many delegates feel that “stressing religious tolerance and harmony” is also difficult to achieve in the long run, especially due to the fact that racism and hate speech are extremely prevalent in our current society.

“What we need are penalties that can be exacted on people of the society that try to tear apart our social fabric, be it by their words or actions,” says Mr Yeo Ning Hong, a minister of the Singaporean Cabinet.

However, other ministers such as Dr Ahmad Mattar, and Mr Suppiah Dhanabalan feels that punishments are impractical, and what should instead be done is to nurture compassion among the citizens through education.

 

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