Monday, November 16, 2009

Singapore Indian shocked that daughter is now a minority in Indian kindergarten

Source: Temasek Review 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.


Anonymous said...

I do agree with the sentiment of the writer.

I am a Singaporean by birth in my late 50s. I have spent short period of time in UK on numerous occasions.. sometimes as long as 3 months.

In the course of my overseas stay, I did come into contact with overseas Chinese from HK, China and Taiwan.. as well as fellow Singaporeans and Malaysians...

Some how, I found the company of our fellow Singapoeans and Malaysians regardless of their ethnic origins more comfortable and at home ....

ed said...

I don't see a problem with lots of Indian expats in singapore. Finding it a problem is not unlike Lee finding it a problem that the Chinese might not be a majority in singapore. One mindset giving birth to another amongst the minorities.

I wonder why the father of this child does not deem it a problem that there are more chinese singaporeans than indian singaporeans in singapore - and how this might have been brought about by favouritism by the government. Perhaps losing out to the chinese now leads him to hope that he can hold second place without competition?

Indians historically, have never really had a problem with different races. Perhaps this just goes to show how Confucian this 'indian' has become in his mentality, besides the aforementioned reason.

The 'indians' in singapore really ought to engage in a major rethink on what it means to be 'Indian'. If they did, then they might realise that whilst they might be a minority in singapore, they might not really be indian. Just compare yourself to the Indians from the subcontinent and you'll see a vast difference. Or if you don't want to do that, compare the 'Indians' now to the Indians of the 80s and you'll see quite a big difference.

The problem the 'Indians' are facing now is not competition in the face of foreigners, but having lost out in the face of 'the majority' in singapore, they are going to lose out a 2nd time round in the face of foreigners. That's double what the chinese are facing. But you won't be hearing Chee or other 'oppositional' persons talking about that.

You people ought to study how empathy and multiculturalism is pursued here in the UK. Things which you fellas don't bother causes a major uproar here. That is why Indians and other minorities hold a relatively respectable position here, and not in singapore.

ed said...

p.s. I believe the word is 'swamped' and not 'swarmed'.

There was a British racialist politician in the UK who spoke similarly in the 60s about foreigners such as the Indians and Pakistanis. His name was Enoch Powell. The National Front and the British National Party are inspired much by his stance, and like the PAP and much of the opposition, do not find it a problem that singapore have a 'racial balance' favouring the chinese. But the NF and BNP are commonly despised in this country and are even pelted with eggs. To detect a racist or fascist, what one does is to see what manifestations of fascism or racism are recognised and contended with when it occurs. If not, we can see that as a sign that we are as much a part of the problem whilst purporting to be a part of the solution.

In order to recognise fascism, you have to study how it manifests itself and is countered in other countries. Or else, you're not going to see it when it happens in your own country because being reared within any particular condition always makes one blind to certain things because we are brought up to recognise it as the norm.

If you did, you will realise that this Indian is quite a fascist who is simultaneously responding as a victim of it.

As an addendum to the previous comment, i would say that an Indian, unlike a Confucian, does not ignore contradictory arguments but takes it on head-on. 'Indians' in sg ought to ask themselves if they take on contradictory views or simply spout the opinions of lauded leaders like good Confucians.

Anonymous said...

In my limited interaction with expats Indian at my condo, they make it very clear that they are a rank/class higher than local Indians. How they derive at this conclusion, I am not clear but their complex does not just stop at their own race. They THINK they are way above the locals.

Anonymous said...

"In my limited interaction with expats Indian at my condo, they make it very clear that they are a rank/class higher than local Indians. How they derive at this conclusion, I am not clear but their complex does not just stop at their own race. They THINK they are way above the locals."

Great! Let's fight xenophobia with xenophobia!