Educating foreigners and new citizens on Singapore’s culture

Educating foreigners and new citizens on Singapore’s culture

September 16, 2019 1 By Ronny Jaskolski


We do some of it, we do not do enough, I think we should do more. But you cannot do the same for everybody because there are different sorts of people. Construction workers come here, we have 330,000. They stay a few years, they move on, they are not intended to become Singaporeans. They just need to know how to behave in Singapore. Do not get drunk in the streets, do not riot. [Laughter] Prof Koh: Do not spit, do not litter. PM Lee: Many things that are what the norms are in Singapore. Those who are becoming permanent residents, those who are becoming Singapore citizens, well that is different, you have to adapt, you have to learn what the norms are behaving as Singaporeans. And we need to make the effort to teach them. I think we do some and there is a Citizenship Journey which they have to go through in order to get the citizenship, and they have to visit places and spend time with the grassroots, activities and so on, which is helpful, but I think it has to be a continuing effort. I would also say that the education effort has to be on both sides, because for a foreigner to come to a foreign land to work or to live, is daunting. Imagine yourselves or your children, many would have had this experience, going overseas. The anxiety with which people treated and the number of parents who have… bring their children overseas when they are studying, help to settle them in, find the neighbourhood, coffeeshop, or whatever it is. It takes courage to do that, it is not easy to fit in. And we need to know how to be able to interface with them, and to adapt to them. And there will be frictions. When you have the frictions, how do I manage that. So on both sides there is gradually greater understanding. I think that is necessary.