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Elective Social Studies

Chapter 5 (Bonding Singapore)

Challenges faced by Multi – Ethnic Societies

Managing Members of a particular racial group may see actions taken by another racial to be
Perceptions damaging to them and this will lead to anger, suspicion, hatred and conflict.
of Different An example of this was the racial riots of 1964. In wanting to win the support and votes of
Racial the Malays in Singapore, UMNO leaders make use of the resettlement plans to make the
Groups Malays believe that they were being discriminated and chased out of their traditional homes
by the PAP which consisted of mainly Chinese. This resulted in a racial riot in 1964.
As a result of the racial riots, there were deaths and destruction to property, social
tension, fear and suspicion between the two racial groups.
The government had to take steps to explain the misconception and bring about
understanding between the two groups in order to restore harmony in society.
Managing This can be a threat to Singapore as they affect
Perceptions social cohesion in a multi-ethnic society and this could lead to conflict if these perceptions are
of Different not managed well.
Religious Members of a particular religious group may see
Groups the actions taken by another group to be disrespectful and insulting to their religion. When
this perception is not managed and is allowed to continue, unhappiness and anger may occur
leading to violence taken out against the group that is perceived to be insulting or
An example of this is the Maria Hertogh Riots in
1950. When the court did not give custody of Maria to her Muslim foster parent Aminah, the
Muslim community felt that the British legal system did not respect the beliefs of the Muslims
and this led to violence against the European community.
As a result of this violence, there was loss of
deaths and destruction to property, and an atmosphere of fear and tension among the
Muslim and European Community.

External When racial and religious issues are used as

Threats reasons for terrorist acts committed globally as well as to create ill-feelings among the
different ethnic groups, it can cause fear, tension and suspicion among the people. This could
lead to a breakdown of relations among the different ethnic groups in Singapore which might
lead to conflict in a multi-ethnic society.
This can be seen in the arrests of the JI
members in Singapore. These men were ordinary citizens of the country that embarked on
terrorist acts that can put Singapore in danger. As these men were from the Malay-Muslim
community, the arrests had brought about suspicion among the different ethnic groups in
Singapore towards the Malay-Muslim community.
In turn, the Malay – Muslim community felt that
they had been unfairly targeted and this had also led to unhappiness. This incident had
shaken the racial harmony in Singapore and if it had not been properly managed could result
in conflict between the different ethnic groups in the country.
Remember, it’s
understanding the
concept, not
memorizing the
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Elective Social Studies

Chapter 5 (Bonding Singapore)
Bonding Singapore

Developing Common Spaces: They are places where Singaporeans of all races come together.
These places provide opportunities for Singaporeans to interact with each other, allowing the
different races to know and understand more about each other better, creating a prosperous
and harmonious multi-racial society.
National All males must enter NS at 18 to help contribute to The different races get to
Service Singapore’s defence interact, communicate and
Males go through tough military training together strengthen the bond between
which help strengthen the bond between them them, thus
In addition, men cultivate a sense of belonging to the Each race will know more
country though conscription. about the other races, reducing
chances of conflict in future.
Opportunitie Schools in Singapore are open to every Singaporean, The daily interaction that
s offered by regardless of race or religion. In addition, CCAs and takes place between students
Education Racial Harmony Day is celebrated in schools every year allows friendships between the
Institutions allow more forms of interaction between the races. different races to be
The celebration of Racial Harmony Day highlights the cultivated / strengthened,
importance and commitment of Singaporeans towards creating a prosperous and
religious harmony. harmonious multi-racial society.
Activities conducted during CCAs promote skills like
teamwork, allowing students to know and understand
each other better.
Common Optional: In the past, many people from 1 race often Living together in the same
Living live together, reducing chances for social interaction, neighbourhood allows the
Spaces therefore the government decided to do something different races to interact
about it. together, creating a prosperous
Every HDB housing estate now has an ethnic quota toand harmonious multi-racial
ensure that there is a distribution of races in all housing society.
Rebuttal: It created some difficulties for people who
want to buy or sell flats, but the measures had to be put
in place to protect racial harmony.
National Identity: The representation of a country as a whole, containing its culture, traditions,
language, and politics. (
Multi - This policy of multi-racialism As everyone is treated fairly, there is no
Racialism ensures that every race is treated fairly conflict between each race or religion.
with no special rights given to any Everyone is seen as a valued member to
particular group. society, and no one is left out, thus a sense of
Everyone regardless of race or national identity is created between
religion is given equal opportunities to Singaporeans.
succeed. As no race is favoured or discriminated
Favouring or Discriminating a against another race, thus it allows Singapore to
particular race is prohibited by the manage ethnic diversity well due to the lack of
Constitution. riots.

Bilingualism It refers to the ability to use 2 As every group is expected to know English,
languages fluently, and able to no race has an advantage over another race.
translate from one to another. The use of English, a common language have
Students are expected to learn improved communication between races and
English as a primary language for thus reduced misunderstandings between the
communication between the different different races, building a sense of national
races and Chinese as a secondary identity among the different races.
language to pass information about the Therefore, Bilingualism has helped to build a
culture and traditions of each race into sense of belonging among Singaporeans and had
Singaporeans. played a part in managing ethnic diversity in
Common Common practices such as singing Therefore, common practices has helped
Practices the national anthem and taking the build a national sense of belonging and managed
pledge allow people to identify ethnic diversity in Singapore.
themselves as Singaporeans.
These practices can help foster
national identity. In addition,
inculcating loyalty and national pride
towards Singapore is one way to get
Singaporeans to see themselves as one
people, one nation, one Singapore

Safeguarding the Interests of the Minority Groups

Minority This policy gives minority groups a The participation of the minority groups in
Groups say in government. policy making ensures that their views is taken
This ensures that the concerns and into policy making, simultaneously ensuring that
needs of the minority groups are made no law passed by Parliament disadvantages a
known to the government so that the particular group and that is fair and equal to
government can make changes to solve every group.
their concerns. These measures therefore ensure that the
minority groups do not feel discriminated,
neglected or left out by the government
therefore help to safeguard the interests of the
minority groups.
Self – Help Like the CDAC and SINDA help the The different groups have worked together
Groups less-fortunate members in their on projects like joint tuition provided for all
community in terms of studies and job races which provide opportunities for youths to
training. interact and get along with each other. The
Give moral support to the respective social interaction between them allow everyone
races, help Singaporeans cope and to be understand each other better, leading to a
compete on equal footing, which prosperous and harmonious multi-racial society!
improve their social and economic
positions in their society.

Analysis of Measures to Manage Ethnic Diversity

Building / Fostering National Safeguarding the Interest of Developing Common Space
Identity Minority Groups
Building a national identity is Safeguarding the Interests of Minority Developing Common Space is important as it
the most important measure Groups is important as it helps to helps to create opportunities for social
that the Singapore government ensure that the voices of the minority cohesion amongst the different ethnic groups.
has taken to manage ethnic are heard at government level. This However, developing common space through
diversity as it allows people to helps to ensure that the minority educational institutions and NS only focuses
see themselves as one. This groups do not feel marginalised. A on students and NS men only while the other
helps to create a sense of sense of belonging is created as the methods of developing common space do not
belonging to the country, minority groups know that their opinion involve all Singaporeans as they are mostly by
knowing that everyone has a and rights matter in the country. choice. Developing Common Space is only
part to play in the country. A However, this measure only effective if all Singaporeans actively make
strong national identity is also concerns the minority groups. If use of the common space to interact with
needed to withstand the divisive national identity is built up and fostered other ethnic groups and promote bonding and
impact of globalization. and all Singaporeans are one, ethnic social cohesion.
diversity will not need to be