 Singapore – who are we?
 What are the challenges of a multi-
ethnic society?
 How can ethnic diversity be
managed?
 Why is it important to manage
ethnic diversity?
Population Composition
(4.68 million)
Chinese – 75.6%
Malays – 13.6%
Indians – 8.7%
Eurasians & Others – 2.1%
Religious Groups
Buddhism/Taoism – 51%
Islam – 14.9%
Christianity – 14.7%
Hinduism – 4%
No Religion – 14.8%
Other Religions – 0.6%



Singapore was a British
colony in 1819
People from different
countries were attracted
to Singapore as it
offered them opportunities
& a better
life
In the end, they made
Singapore their home
Can cause CONFLICT between people of
different races and religions
1. Conflict happens when perceptions
(viewpoints/feelings) are not properly
managed which causes:
Misunderstanding between people of
different races & religions
2. Threats from external forces
1.
2.
3.
Managing perceptions of different
racial groups
Managing perceptions of different
religious groups
Threats from external forces

In the 1960s, different political approaches of the State
government in Singapore and Federal Malaysia caused a
strain in their relationship
 Federal government believed in communal politics
 Singapore government believed in non-communal politics
In 1964, PAP participated in the Federal Election of
Malaysia
 This made the Malays in the United Malays National
Organisation (UMNO) feel threatened

 What is communal politics?
A certain group of people are given special rights
and privileges in a country
 What is non-communal politics?
Everyone in the country is given equal rights and
privileges
What did UMNO do then?




anti-PAP campaign organised by UMNO
leaders
Highlighted the poverty of Malays in
Singapore
PAP’s resettlement and redevelopment
programme was portrayed as anti-Malay
Arouse feelings of dissatisfaction among
Singapore Malays towards the PAP
In July 1964, during the celebration of
Muhammad’s birthday, a clash between a
Chinese policeman and a group of Malay
participants, turned into full-blown race riots
over the next few days and months.
“When the Muslims were marching and
shouting “ God is Great”, some Chinese men
disturbed the procession by throwing water
and bottles at the group. This incurred the
Muslims’ wrath and some crude words were
exchanged between the two races.”
When a police officer requested for some
marchers to stick to a particular route, he was
attacked.
John Le Cain, Commissioner of Singapore’s
Police Force, described that incident:
“Instead of being obeyed, he was set upon by this
group. Thereafter, a series of disturbances
occurred as more groups became unruly and
attacked passers-by and innocent bystanders.”




Riot occurred between the Muslim & Christian
community in 1950
Over a domestic battle for custody of a young Dutch
girl
Legal system appeared to rule in favour of the
Eurasians - Muslims felt they were treated unfairly
Media reports escalated tensions felt between both
camps
The court’s decision to annul Maria’s marriage to a Malay
teacher and pictures of Maria in a Christian convent
published in the papers increase the unhappiness of the
Muslim community
 Muslim community felt that their welfare was not looked
into
 Results in riots
 Government placed a 24-hour curfew and called in the
British and Malayan troops to maintain peace




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q51daa9HZ-M
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWlnUBIvHH0&mode
=related&search


... "With the full force at my command, I
say that whatever is going on in the
streets is quite contrary to the teachings
of Islam."
... "Please, please for God's sake do not
repeat such things. Have confidence in
your leaders who are trying their level
best to create a better atmosphere."

Transnational terrorism – acts of violence which
are global in terms of aims, organisation and
impact

Test the social bonds of the people in Singapore
as race & religion may be used to create ill
feelings among different ethnic groups

Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) – a militant group active in several
SEA countries

Base: Indonesia; Malaysia; Philippines; Singapore

In December 2001, Singapore authorities
arrested 13 JI members, eight of whom had
trained in al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan, who
planned to bomb the U.S. and Israeli
Embassies, British and Australian diplomatic
buildings, and U.S. and Singapore defense
targets in Singapore.

Since 2001, 34 JI members were arrested under
the Internal Security Act for terrorist-related
activities (fund-raising & purchase of materials
for bomb-making)



A country with many foreign establishments like
US embassy
Firm anti-terrorism stance
Friendly to the West


These mixed reactions showed an urgent
need to ensure that social cohesion is not
affected by the JI arrests
Different racial and religious groups in
Singapore must still continue to live and
work harmoniously with one another.
Can ethnic diversity
be managed?



Building National Identity
Safeguarding Interests of Minority Groups
Developing Common Space

Multiracialism
 Equality among races
 Equal opportunities to succeed
 Ensured by the Constitution
 Creating a sense of belonging to the nation

Common Practices
 Singing national anthem, pledge taking
 Instilling loyalty and national pride

Bilingualism
 English as the language linking the ethnic
groups
 English as a non-native language – fair for all
races
 Improving communication among
Singaporeans
Some
questions you
want to ask
about building
national
identity.
How would you
do it?
SAFEGUARDING INTERESTS OF MINORITY
GROUPS

Minority Representation
 Presidential Council of Minority Rights
(PCMR) – ensures no racial or religious
group is disadvantaged by any law
passed in Parliament
 Group Representation Constituency
(GRC) – ensures the minority racial
groups are represented in Parliament,
so as to voice out the concerns and
needs of the minority groups
If I am
okay, why
should I
be
bothered
with
people
who are
not okay?
SAFEGUARDING INTERESTS OF
MINORITY GROUPS

Self-help groups
 Provide community members with aid in
studies and training for jobs, and moral
support
 To improve members’ social and
economic positions in society
 Joint projects, e.g. joint tuition
programme, to allow interaction among
different ethnic groups
 E.g. Chinese Development Assistance
Council (CDAC), Singapore Indian
Development Association (SINDA),
Mendaki, Eurasian Association
Have you
seen
them in
action?
Where?
DEVELOPING COMMON SPACE



Refers to the time and place that
people come together
Allows for interaction and deeper
understanding of the cultures of
different ethnic groups
Allows for friendships to be
cultivated and strengthened, and
closer bonds formed
DEVELOPING COMMON SPACE
 Events and programmes organised by
grassroots organisations
 People’s Association (PA)
 Home visit / home stay with a host family from
another ethnic group
 Opportunities offered by educational
institutions
 Daily interaction among students of different
races and religions
 During lessons, school activities, CCAs
DEVELOPING COMMON SPACE

Common living space provided by public housing
 Ethnic integration policy (1989) – quota set for the
proportion of races in every housing estate

Activities conducted by Inter-Racial Confidence Circles
(IRCCs) and Harmony Circles (HCs)
 Visits to places of worship, playing traditional games

Shared experience through National Service
 Undergoing military training together
Why is it important
to manage ethnic
diversity?
REASONS FOR THE IMPORTANCE
OF MANAGING ETHNIC DIVERSITY

Security and peace
 Safe to live, work and play in Singapore

Economic progress
 Foreign investors are attracted to invest and set
up companies in Singapore
 Boost to tourist industry
Descargar

BONDING