~ Sassy1~

“Are you going to school?” I asked little Aliyah.

“No.” she shook her head and ran off to play.

It was the first day of the new school year. Aliyah is seven years old and she was supposed to embark on her new journey in life with the other little ones.

Unfortunately, that may not be possible, for now.

Aliyah is a Filipino. Both her parents are also Filipinos and all places for foreign students have been filled up in the schools that they had applied for.

This Filipino family is my neighbour. They rent the flat three doors away from mine.

With a tinge of sadness, Aliyah’s mummy who works in a fast food restaurant, said to me

“I pray hard that she can get a place here.
I don’t want to go home “.

Unable to explain, but I felt apologetic instantly. Looking at mother and child, flashes of adjectives that I have been hearing / reading about foreigners came to mind but no matter how hard I tried, I was not able to link any to the duo.

“Foreign trash”, “Cheap cina PRC”, “Husband snatchers”, “Low class”..and the list goes on.

Yes, above are some names that I have come across both offline and more frequently, online.

It is sad that decent people have been called names by some locals. What did these foreigners do to deserve such? Like us, all they want is just to earn a decent living and to make lives better for themselves and their children. They probably see Singapore as their ticket to have their wish come true.

A certain group of Singaporeans have been crying foul that foreigners have been taking away their jobs. And thus the “attack” on these foreigners. They call them names, complain that they are the reason why we are not able to get into the train, and that they make us feel like we are in a foreign land.  Sadly, even children are not spared.

It does not help that politicians choose to milk the situation and stoke the sentiments of the people. Ms Nicole Seah of NSP, during her GE11 campaign, said

Now, everytime I take the train, it feels like I’m in a different country. It is like taking a holiday, I don’t even need to bring my passport

That, to me, is too extreme a statement to make.

We behave as if each and every of our jobs is lost simply because of a foreigner. I believe there are many jobs that Singaporeans shun, and it is these foreign workers whom we so antagonize, that get those ‘unwanted’ jobs done.

Foreigners are here seeking opportunities that probably their own countries are not able to provide. In the event that they find it hard here too, they will have no choice but to return or go elsewhere. Why do we need to express hostility towards them is something I cannot comprehend.

Of course, there may be some bad apples amongst the thousands of foreigners working/studying here. Many have yet to understand and adapt to our local culture. But who is to say that we Singaporeans are perfect ourselves? Do we not rush for any “lelong” or push and shove just to grab that free sample?

About 150,000 Singaporeans are today studying or living overseas. How will we feel if our own flesh and blood are being labelled “Foreign Trash” in another country?

Do not get me wrong. I am a born and bred Singaporean. I love Singapore and I love my fellow Singaporeans. Our Government is currently at task in regulating the influx of foreign workers and I have trust that actions taken are for the betterment of Singapore.
Whatever is the case, it does not give us any right to “bully” another person just because we are holding the pink I.C while he/she is not. Let us not develop into a nation of xenophobes.

So, as we stood up for one another whenever any perceived racist remark is being made, let us also show the same empathy for our foreign friends.  After all, we are all the same.  We belong to the same human race living on planet earth.

Lastly, I sincerely hope that little Aliyah will get to go to a local school here. She is such an angel 🙂