My answers to a survey on Singapore’s foreign workforce

Q: What are your opinions on issues related to the foreign workforce?

I support having more foreign workforce to contribute to the economy and build infrastructure. It gives them opportunities to visit and stay in Singapore for a longer term if they want to. I hope working conditions and basic human rights will be further improved for the foreign workforce because they deserve fair treatment as much as anyone else, regardless of social status, income level or nationality. Meritocracy and capitalism cannot be used as justification for perpetuating inequality and discrimination. We must never lose our humanity because we ourselves were once immigrants based on our ancestral history.

Q: What is your opinion on local-foreigner relations?

Locals must learn to co-exist in harmony with foreigners and accept and embrace differences in cultures, mindsets, appearances and so on. Racism must be discussed openly, as uncomfortable as it may be. Contrary to unfounded fears, having open conversations won’t lead to greater divisions because it is through such conversations that we increase awareness of how we may have inherited racial prejudices and negative stereotypes from the media, peers and so on, and how we can be more mindful of our attitudes towards them, such as not using racial slurs or making racist jokes. We need to learn to cultivate self-respect in order to respect others who are different from us.

Q: What should policymakers consider for foreign workforce policies?

Continue to encourage foreign workers to come and work in Singapore. Increase the quota of foreign workers in companies and businesses. Make sure they are treated fairly and equally by their employers, regardless of which countries they come from. They are our valued guests Treat them as you would like to be treated when you are a guest working and living in a host country.

Q: What do you think of the policies on the foreign workforce?

Allow flat owners to sublet their rooms for a minimum period of 1 month instead of 6 months to ease the problem or difficulty of foreign workers finding suitable accommodations. To ease traffic congestion, make existing infrastructure safer and more conducive for walking and cycling. Set aside dedicated cycling lanes on roads wherever possible to encourage more locals and foreign workers alike to cycle. Cycling helps ease cost of transportation for the commuters, and is environmentally friendly too.

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