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posted by LaminatorX on Thursday February 27 2014, @03:30AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Xenophobia:-the-Universal-Language dept.

fx_68 writes:

"A sharp rise in the foreign population has ratcheted up racial tensions. Does Singapore have a problem with xenophobia? It seems that barely a month goes by these days without news reports highlighting friction between Singaporeans and foreign workers in the tiny multi-ethnic city-state."

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by AnythingGoes on Thursday February 27 2014, @03:37AM

    by AnythingGoes (3345) on Thursday February 27 2014, @03:37AM (#7748)

    Go to Hong Kong and ask about mainland China migration..

    Go to New Zealand and ask about Pacific Islander migration

    Go to UK and ask about Eastern European migration.

    Go to Japan and ask about other nationalities migration

    Go to San Francisco and ask about Google and Apple employees :)

    The natives in every country are always resentful of anyone who comes into their country and takes away jobs, housing and introduces change into their environment.

    • (Score: 1) by rmdingler on Thursday February 27 2014, @03:57AM

      by rmdingler (1038) on Thursday February 27 2014, @03:57AM (#7757)
      Sure.

      But realistically, the influx of population due to immigration has worked splendidly well for the Americans.

      Zero population growth in the Western nations exterminates economic expansion.

      • (Score: 1) by compro01 on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:04AM

        by compro01 (2515) on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:04AM (#7763)

        Sure, but the USA still had the Know Nothings and their unfortunately more successful modern decedents.

      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:30AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:30AM (#7780)

        Economies built and designed with the requirement of an ever-growing population are failed economies.

        • (Score: 2) by edIII on Thursday February 27 2014, @06:15AM

          by edIII (791) on Thursday February 27 2014, @06:15AM (#7818)

          Put more simply, any society that bases its foundation on unsustainable principles and methods will fail.

          --
          Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
          • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Thursday February 27 2014, @12:37PM

            by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Thursday February 27 2014, @12:37PM (#7914) Homepage
            And the root of the problem?
            "The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function."

            I think I should just make that line my .sig. I've posted it 3 times in the last week.
            --
            Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Appalbarry on Thursday February 27 2014, @03:58AM

      by Appalbarry (66) on Thursday February 27 2014, @03:58AM (#7758) Journal

      The natives in every country are always resentful of anyone who comes into their country and takes away jobs

      Well, except for sub-minimum wage janitorial, agricultural, and housekeeping jobs.

      Of course in Canada they have a booming expansion on that idea: bring in cheap Chinese miners instead of training and hiring "expensive" Canadian ones. Or, even better, bring in cheap Filipino workers to work the drive through windows at Tim Horton's coffee shops.

      Seven percent unemployment, and steadily falling average wages, and we're supposed to believe that there's no-one in the country who would do these jobs?

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by edIII on Thursday February 27 2014, @06:21AM

        by edIII (791) on Thursday February 27 2014, @06:21AM (#7822)

        They're right though. Nobody will do those jobs precisely because they don't pay living wages. They literally can't do the jobs because it's not a sustainable way of life.

        The immigrants *can* do it precisely because their way of life and standards of living are dramatically lower and similar to their countries of origin. Combine that with a culture that allows entire families jammed into small housing, or multi-family inside barely single-family, and cultures that are more "cooperative" and you have a recipe whereby they *can* make do with less. It's a skillset they possess in abundance, and I don't demean them in any way for it. Western civilization has seem to have lost the whole idea of community and family.

        The corporations argument is perfect and correct. They can get it done cheaper, and they are paying what the job is worth.

        Real tragedy is the long term effects on society by operating that way which will only create a race inevitably towards the bottom in which people are not getting paid anymore, unemployment actually increases, and those greedy people at the top making the decisions find their way of life finally impacted. Just far too late for them to change it back.

        They leave the country and escape to another with money.

        Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

        --
        Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by sigterm on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:00AM

      by sigterm (849) on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:00AM (#7760)

      I beg to differ. Try being a Filipino in the U.S. vs. being an American in the Philippines ("hey, Joe!"). Both the level of national pride and the extent to which national identity is tied to race or ethnicity varies a lot across the globe. Furthermore, nationalism or even racism does not necessarily lead to violence. Japan is an interesting example; their society is widely known for its xenophobia, but as far as I know, violence against immigrants is almost unheard of.

      As the article states (yes, I read it, but then I'm new here), Singapore has long been known as a society where race is a major issue. It also turns out that currently, an astounding 38% of the population are immigrants. I'd say that's a pretty unique combination, and one that is likely to cause conflicts.

      • (Score: 1) by rts008 on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:57AM

        by rts008 (3001) on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:57AM (#7792)

        Yeah, anytime you introduce that many immigrants in that short amount of time, there are going to be conflicts.
        Adding fuel to that fire was the plans to increase immigration even more, to the point of immigrants making up half of the total population.

        All of this going on in a confined area(a city-state) with a high population density: 7,540/km2 or 19,562/sq mi (3rd highest by nations)...sounds like a powder keg to me.

        Hopefully it will somehow be defused before it explodes...'Singapore Spring' sounds more like a tropical cocktail that should be served with one of those little paper umbrellas, than an uprising. ;-)

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by frojack on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:22AM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:22AM (#7774) Journal

      Very true.

      The only place I've been called Honkie was by an ethnic Eskimo in Pt Barrow Alaska.
      And no mater what your Hawaiian friends tell you Haole is a racial invective.
      And the term Gentrification is pure unadulterated Black Racism (also used by stupid whites thinking they are oh so liberated).

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by Angry Jesus on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:31AM

        by Angry Jesus (182) on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:31AM (#7781)

        And no mater what your Hawaiian friends tell you Haole is a racial invective.

        Born and raised haole here.

        Yes it can be a slur. But context is everything. "Fucking haole!" is an invective. But "haole" by itself is descriptive, not pejorative. Just like popolo, kepani, pake, kolea, etc are also descriptive but can be pejorative if used that way. Hawaii does not a single majority ethnic group therefore racism doesn't really work the same way there as most other places.

      • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Thursday February 27 2014, @02:46PM

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday February 27 2014, @02:46PM (#7968)

        And the term Gentrification is pure unadulterated Black Racism (also used by stupid whites thinking they are oh so liberated).

        I'm sorry, I don't see how "gentrification" is racist at all. It's a term that describes a process whereby a run-down urban (usually downtown) area (frequently called a "ghetto") is transformed when richer people start moving in and cleaning the place up, building nice buildings, and driving the prices for everything up. Pretty quickly, all the poor people who used to live there are forced out, because they can't afford the rapidly-rising rents.

        It's not racist, and it doesn't even have a bias as far as I can tell, it's just a term to describe a process or phenomenon. Gentrification does indeed suck for the original (poor) residents, but what can you do? Since they're usually renters, not owners, their rent is controlled by landlords, who will rent at the market price. When the place is more in-demand, the rents go up, so poor people are forced out, as richer people move in. You could halt the process by not letting the richer people move in, but then the place stays run-down and people complain how awful it is that all these poor people have to live in such a slum. Move in a bunch of rich people and the prices rise, and now people complain how it's awful the poor people can't afford it any more. Some places try to mitigate this with rent-control laws, but it's mainly a band-aid, leading to fancy and expensive high-rise condos next to run-down older buildings with rent-controlled apartments; the rich people live in the fancy building and the poor people in the run-down building. The run-down building's landlord eventually figures out how to sell his building off (because the land is so valuable now), the people are thrown out, it's demolished, and a new fancy building is built in its place, with high rents.

        We can bemoan the problems here all we want, but regardless of your feelings, the phenomenon is real, and it needs a term to label it, for efficiency's sake (the same reason we make up words to describe anything else, like "hurricane", 'continent", "subduction", etc). "Gentrification" is the term most people have adopted for it.

        • (Score: 2) by frojack on Thursday February 27 2014, @06:59PM

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 27 2014, @06:59PM (#8083) Journal

          That may be how you interpret it, but when an angry black man uses the term
          he does not mean what you think he means. He means "white gentrification" and he's being
          as polite as he can stomach when he leaves of the "white" part.

          http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2014 /02/27/spike-lee-gentrification-expletives/5859995 / [usatoday.com]
          http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Fear-white-i nflux-will-erase-West-Oakland-history-4874291.php [sfgate.com]

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
          • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Thursday February 27 2014, @09:09PM

            by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday February 27 2014, @09:09PM (#8119)

            Um, I think it's somewhat obvious, given the demographics in this country, that gentrification is frequently going to result in poor minorities getting pushed out and richer (usually) white people moving in.

            Spike Lee's rant basically echoes the complaints natives have when immigrants move in in large numbers. "They don't respect the culture" (which is true), they're changing things too much, etc. In the case of gentrification, it's even worse, because the "natives" end up getting pushed out because they can't afford the jacked-up rents that result from higher demand.

            Personally, I don't have an answer for it. This is what happens when a bunch of people move into a new area and start asserting themselves around the natives. The natives' culture is cast aside or ignored, things are changed, since the newcomers have voting rights, they change the local government and laws more to their liking, etc. The only way to stop it is to not allow new people to move into a certain area, or to place limits on how many new people can move in, or limits on what kind of people can move in. But when you do these things, you're usually labeled a "xenophobe", "racist", etc. So is Spike Lee a racist xenophobe? Or are his concerns for the preservation of the local (black) culture valid? Usually, this argument is about (mostly white) culture vs. immigrants (either Latin American, in the US, or Muslim, in Europe), and the natives are always called "xenophobic" and "racist". So are the black people complaining about gentrification also xenophobic racists?

    • (Score: 1) by morgauxo on Thursday February 27 2014, @03:22PM

      by morgauxo (2082) on Thursday February 27 2014, @03:22PM (#7996)

      Natives in SanFransisco? Which tribe? Or are they mexican?

  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @03:47AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @03:47AM (#7751)

    Pay no attention to the forum slide folks, we're just trying to clear any potentially objectionable stories off the front page. Thank you for your cooperation.

  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @03:53AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @03:53AM (#7755)

    Argentinian housing prices at 2-year low

    New Zealand income tax reform: is it affordable?

    Tea consumption rate increasing in several major markets

    Romanian-EU integration: lessons learned

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:04AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:04AM (#7762)

      Even with that, it's better than Slashdot.

    • (Score: 2) by regift_of_the_gods on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:07AM

      by regift_of_the_gods (138) on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:07AM (#7767)

      Tea consumption rate increasing in several major markets

      Uh oh. A likely sign of more overseas competition from low wage-earning software engineers.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @05:07AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @05:07AM (#7794)

        I'll take an unsigned spot of Tea++ over Cs any day.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by DeathMonkey on Thursday February 27 2014, @08:42PM

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Thursday February 27 2014, @08:42PM (#8113) Journal

      SN is a discussion site. Personally, I prefer a wide variety of topics to discuss.
       
      Nothing says you have to read/comment in every story. And if you don't like a particular topic filter it out (assuming that feature has been ported).
       
      Why do you care what other people are talking about?

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by GungnirSniper on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:25AM

    by GungnirSniper (1671) on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:25AM (#7778) Journal

    It seems like the problem isn't immigrants themselves, but the rate of immigration. Like most people, Singaporeans believe their country is special, and don't want to see radical change in their communities, as immigration and population growth is often planned for poorly if at all. So the finger gets pointed at immigrants, but those responsible are the planners and leaders who failed to maintain the quality of schools, transportation, and environment for business growth.

    • (Score: 1) by CynicGalahad on Thursday February 27 2014, @08:19AM

      by CynicGalahad (1275) on Thursday February 27 2014, @08:19AM (#7848)

      I am keen to agree with you.

      Been living around Europe, several countries now, and always felling some tension. Big metropolis, small towns, doesn't matter.
      Being an European and staying in Europe doesn't change the fact that natives will always look at you differently.

      Case of Singapore (almost moved there myself at some stage) the symptoms are compounded. Very small, constant need to expand due to immigration, external cultural pressures and a very high influx of immigrants just create a more extreme version of what I have experienced myself. To be honest I am not surprised to hear this.

      Racial tensions are everywhere and in every country. There is and will always be some racism, a nationalistic of cultural preservation that is deemed to be threatened by immigrants.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Thursday February 27 2014, @02:54PM

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday February 27 2014, @02:54PM (#7976)

        It's pretty simple really. People usually favor their own culture and way of life, for fairly obvious reasons. They like their lifestyle, and don't want it to change any more than it has to. Large-scale immigration threatens that, and for what? Why does any group of people NEED a lot of immigration? Sure, a little immigration is fine, it's nice to mix things up a little, meet new people, not get too stagnant, etc. But very large-scale immigration, with the newcomers quickly rivaling the existing people as a percentage of the overall population? What is the incentive? Generally, it's just money: business owners want to take advantage of cheap labor, and then they (through their stooges in government) try to convince everyone else they need to bring in all these new people for various feel-good reasons. But large-scale immigration has serious consequences for any culture, and will change it greatly. Why should the existing people welcome this? Maybe their like their culture, and maybe they don't particularly care for the culture of the newcomers. If the newcomers had such a great culture, why are they fleeing their homelands, which tend to have a lot of problems like violence? Why would the existing population want to bring in people and then have to deal with these problems? Moving a giant group of people having serious cultural problems from their homeland to a new place isn't going to magically make their problems disappear, and will also create new problems in integration.

        Immigration seems to be OK as long as it's done at a slow, controlled rate, so that the natives don't see their culture changing very quickly (and even without any immigrants, it would change on its own, don't forget). They might even welcome the newcomers, as long as it's not impacting them very much. Introduce very large number of them, and the changes become very apparent very quickly, and may not be very positive either (in the view of the natives), so of course there's a backlash.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:51AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:51AM (#7787)

    Apparently it's A-OK to have huge, and I mean huge, amounts of foreigners coming into whatever developed society it is in the world. These people bring their culture with them and immediately upon arriving begin transforming their new, nice home into whatever craphole they came from. Hey, I've seen it myself with Americans who go abroad. They bitch and moan they can't get a good cheeseburger and start changing the city to their liking. Visit Beijing sometime...you never have to eat the local food, ever, and people live there happily for decades without learning a word of Chinese.

    It was wrong for unchecked immigration to be allowed to destroy the Native Americans. So, suddenly it's good now? Two wrongs make a right? Economic growth...yeah...but when a society is already experiencing a long economic crisis and high unemployment, does importing huge numbers of low-skill foreigners really help anything? How about if Singapore takes a break from admitting people for a while, to let people already there adapt and socialize. What's the real story here? What are the motivations behind this?

    • (Score: 1) by isostatic on Thursday February 27 2014, @07:46AM

      by isostatic (365) on Thursday February 27 2014, @07:46AM (#7841) Journal

      It's very profitable to let thousands of low-paid Indians work in crappy jobs in Singapore, live in crappy tower blocks, and have no recourse against abuse as they can simply be shipped back to somewhere even worse.

  • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @05:39AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @05:39AM (#7806)

    A sharp rise in the ex-Slashdot population has ratcheted up geek tensions. Does Soylent News have a problem with xenophobia?

    • (Score: 1) by AnythingGoes on Thursday February 27 2014, @10:26PM

      by AnythingGoes (3345) on Thursday February 27 2014, @10:26PM (#8147)

      Does Soylent News have a problem with xenophobia?

      It will be when the low UIDs (old farts :) start complaining about "in the old days" and how all the high UIDs (young idiots/whippersnappers) are ruining the place for everyone :)

      Any bets on how many days/months/years before we start getting more of these complaints?

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by shah on Thursday February 27 2014, @07:49AM

    by shah (3215) on Thursday February 27 2014, @07:49AM (#7842)

    It is completely normal reaction and has been very important for humans for the past... as long as we have existed. Fuck this political correctness carp! I am so tired of this nonsense.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by mth on Thursday February 27 2014, @12:37PM

      by mth (2848) on Thursday February 27 2014, @12:37PM (#7915) Homepage

      Worrying about one foreigner living in your street is xenophobia; worrying that having a 38% foreign population might affect your culture is justified.

      From the article, it seems it is not just the number of foreigners that leads to tensions though. The low-paid immigrants are unfair competition on the job market, while the money that high-paid immigrants bring in is being invested outside Singapore. So the native population isn't benefiting much from having so many foreigners around.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Robotron on Thursday February 27 2014, @08:00AM

    by Robotron (3099) on Thursday February 27 2014, @08:00AM (#7846) Homepage

    To frame foreigners as a 'problem' is naive and neglects the nature of the country. Singapore is nowadays a sort of counterpart to the Arab Emirates in that its labour market and prosperity is unsustainable without the foreign diaspora working within its borders.

    The case of Mr. Casey is unique in that he personally made a bunch of bigoted, offensive remarks whilst on public transport for a day as his Porsche got repaired. Highlighting the case of a single banker asshole as symptomatic of a wider problem smacks of cherry picking. The claim of death threats originated from the man himself and were never substantiated. Few foreigners in Singapore behave so abysmally.

    The piece cites online forums and social media as a hive of nationalist and racist vitriol. Problem is is that this situation is the same anywhere. Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory [penny-arcade.com], anyone?

    I traveled there last month and find the notion of heavy conflict between natives and migrants overblown. There are sizable old Chinese and Indian districts. The notion of lower paid jobs employing foreigners has long held tacit acceptance. There's a legacy of education for well-off foreigners, foreign sailors are on shore leave on a continuous basis given the giant port etc.

    Public order is a priority but tends towards sensitive discretion. I happened to be present during a big religious festival within the Indian community. The police presence wasn't obvious and the entire thing proceeded in a orderly way with Serangoon Rd. reopened promptly afterwards. There was no tension or discontent. Despite the noise and crowds the festival was accepted and peaceful. No fighting, no racist protest or placards, no criminal damage.

    Many educated foreigners end up in stations that don't match their credentials (teachers working as maids, doctors retrained as nurses etc) yet pay remains higher than they'd command in their native countries working in their fields. Unemployment and poverty levels remain low, public transport is excellent compared to just about anywhere else in Asia, and regulation of labour efficient owing to well-funded public enforcement and the small size of the place.

    Singapore is not free of racism or discontent by any means, but there are nations far more embroiled in such pitfalls.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by aiwarrior on Thursday February 27 2014, @12:04PM

    by aiwarrior (1812) on Thursday February 27 2014, @12:04PM (#7899) Journal

    The only time i dont like immigration is when they abuse the tolerance to behave in ways which are not illegal but borderline anti social, like auto segregation and contempt for the tolerance that allows their way of living in the receiving country. Lots of the imigrants in France are in this category in my opinion. On other hand most countries have bigots and idiots who never got out of their familiar city or town,

    Sorry for any english mistakes but it is not my native language and auto correct is not working for some reason.

    • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Thursday February 27 2014, @03:04PM

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday February 27 2014, @03:04PM (#7982)

      On other hand most countries have bigots and idiots who never got out of their familiar city or town,

      Yeah, but that's their right. If Joe Sixpack lives in a trailer in semi-rural Alabama, and has very little money because he's not educated, not terribly bright (not everyone can be smart; 50% of the population has a 2-digit IQ remember), and works at the local feed-n-seed store, why is he obligated to go travel to other cities or countries and learn about other cultures? He can barely afford to keep his '79 pickup running; he certainly can't afford passport fees, airfare, Berlitz courses, etc. Why should he be obligated to learn about the culture of people migrating to his area, who he never invited? If someone is a newcomer somewhere, it's their responsibility to learn the local language and culture and learn to fit in and not irritate everyone there. If they don't want to or can't do that, then maybe they should stay where they are. Other countries do not have an obligation to take in people just because they're unhappy where they are.

      How would many other countries like it if ten million American rednecks moved in all of a sudden, then demanded cheap subsidized gasoline for their giant pickups, burger joints on every corner, open-carry gun laws, and for everyone to speak Southern English?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @01:17PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @01:17PM (#7929)

    natives getting pushed out of jobs gets you this.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Serial_Priest on Thursday February 27 2014, @05:29PM

    by Serial_Priest (2493) <accusingangelNO@SPAMautistici.org> on Thursday February 27 2014, @05:29PM (#8061)

    Might xenophobia actually be a healthy response? Human history and recent research suggest that cultural and ethnic diversity lead to social problems (cf. Putnam, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467- 9477.2007.00176.x/full [wiley.com] - or refer to the fates of most "cultural crossroads" like the Balkans or Afghanistan.)

    The self-critical tendency in the Western world has made many lose sight of human nature - that is, the natural rejection of emerging rival peoples/worldviews/cultures.

    Of course, in the short term, and on the smaller scale, there are benefits to suppressed xenophobia (science, trade, etc.) - but in the longer term, culture is like Jean Larteguy's conception of love: "it is a war in which each side attempts to destroy the dream of the other, and replace it with his own."

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @06:59PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @06:59PM (#8082)

    i think the english were fed-up with the natives so they left singapore ...