The Importance of Racial Harmony in Singapore

Topics: Race and Ethnicity, Singapore, Ethnic group Pages: 2 (792 words) Published: January 24, 2013
The Importance of Racial Harmony

Singapore is a bustling metropolis. It is also one of the world’s most prosperous countries with strong international trading links and a per capita GDP comparable to that of the leading nations of Western Europe. However, the nation has also suffered from a turbulent history. Hence, the government has taken several steps to safeguard the present social security and stability of the nation. One of the most essential steps it has taken in ensuring social order is racial and religious harmony. Reasons as to why this is such a crucial step include Singapore’s multi-ethnic society, its turbulent past and the numerous ways in which harmony is promoted throughout the nation. To understand why racial and religious harmony is so important, one must first be familiar with the fact that Singapore is a multi-cultural, multi-racial and multi-religious melting pot. Different ethnic groups coexist in the land, and with these come a slew of different cultures and religions. This multi-racial population make-up dates back to nearly two centuries ago, when Sir Stamford Raffles founded Singapore in 1819. Early immigrants of diverse backgrounds came from all over the world, mainly Malays, Arabs, Europeans, Indians and Chinese. They came in search of a better future, and most did not intend to settle down. However, many could not afford to go back to their homelands, instead settling down and becoming citizens of Singapore. As can be seen, the present-day composition of Chinese, Malays, Indians and Eurasians has been here since British colonial times. Also, our turbulent history is a clear testimony to the importance of racial and religious harmony. In the past, when there was not harmony, many racial riots broke out, claiming many lives and generally reducing the social security felt in Singapore at that time. One such example would be the Maria Hertogh riots which started on 11 December 1950 and lasted for two days, leaving 18 people killed and...
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