A Singapore Indian has expressed his shock and dismay of being “swarmed” by overseas Indians within his own community!
In an interview with the state media, Mr K. Varatharaju, 43, a factory owner related his own experience when he sent his youngest daughter to Sarada Kindergarten in Bartley Road: He discovered that she was one of only two Singaporean Indians in the class of 15. (Source: Straits Times)
“When I go for a function and I see only expat Indians and no Singaporean Indians, I feel uncomfortable – like the future is being taken over by expats. What will happen in 15 or 20 years’ time, when my children start work?’ he asked.
In all likelihood, Mr Varatharju’s children will find themselves competing with foreigners from all nationalities (not only expat Indians) for a decent job if the ruling party’s liberal immigration policy continues unabated.
Foreigners now made up 36 per cent of Singapore’s 5-million odd population which means that one of out three people you see in the streets are non-Singaporeans.
About 8 per cent of Singapore’s populations are Indians, most of whom are ethnic Tamils whose descendants hailed from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
Singapore has a sizable number of expat Indians working in the IT and engineering sectors and they come predominantly from the northern Indian cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore.
Apparently, Mr Varatharju does not feel comfortable with the influx of overseas Indians in Singapore, just like how ethnic Chinese are aghast at the arrival of large numbers of Chinese from mainland China.
Though Singapore is a nation of immigrants, the four major races of Singapore have lived together peacefully for decades and have evolved an unique culture and identity which is separate from their ancestral homelands.
For example, an ethnic Singapore Chinese will probably prefer the Indian Roti Prata or the Malay Mee Rebus for breakfast than the Chinese “jiao3 zi3″, a staple diet in northern China.
Mr Varatharju may find it easier to strike a conversation in English with his Malay neighbors than an expat Indian from Mumbai with a different accent.
Despite rising unhappiness and disgruntlement on the ground at the relentless influx of foreigners, the ruling party is adamant that foreigners are “essential” for Singapore.
In the past, foreigners are employed only in sectors shunned by Singaporeans such as the construction industry.
Nowadays, foreigners can be found taking up semi-skilled jobs like network administrators which can otherwise by filled by a local.
Due to their lower wages, foreigners help to keep Singapore businesses competitive which contributes to Singapore’s GDP growth.
A substantial percentage of the ministers’ multi-million pay is pegged to Singapore’s GDP growth rates.
The ruling party has lately unveiled a $10-million dollar mega “Community Integration Fund” to make the newcomers feel “welcomed” in Singapore.
As the number of expat Indians continue to rise in Singapore, Mr Varatharju may find himself the one who needs to “integrate” into the Singapore Indian community instead of the other way round.