Integration of foreigners: Create avenues for bonding

SINGAPORE - It was heart-warming to read about the gesture by the Singapore Kindness Movement and Coca-Cola Singapore to use flying drones to deliver cans of Coca-Cola to construction workers at a worksite here ("Video campaign to thank foreign workers goes viral"; Tuesday).

What touched me even more was the handwritten notes from Singaporeans thanking the workers for their labour.

Such gestures not only show that Singaporeans are not lacking in kindness and graciousness, but also help to promote integration and cohesiveness between locals and foreigners.

Fault lines that have created the wave of anti-foreigner sentiment can be bridged by creating avenues for bonding between the two groups.

Such bonds can be forged only by changing the way we interact with the foreigners in our midst. Facilitating their integration requires positive thinking, combined with opportunities for bonding, to pave the way for greater solidarity, not only with foreigners but also other communities living in Singapore.

An example of such bonding opportunities was the celebration of the Indian New Year held earlier this month at Teck Ghee Community Club, which Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong held up as an example of how diverse groups in Singapore can come together as one family (" 'Indian festivities help bind S'pore together' "; May 4).

Creating positive, practical and workable opportunities for closer interaction between our diverse groups can help revive the "kampung spirit" that we yearn for.

This article was published on May 16 in The Straits Times.

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