Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Singapore unique blend of Salad Bowl and Melting Pot culture

Singapore is a multi-racial nation that sings songs of harmony.

Back when it was just discovered by Sir Stamford Raffles, he converted the small fishing village into a popular trade settlement. The settlement was segregated into various racial zones and Singapore welcomed migrants whom chose to settle down here.

In the early 1800s, that was the scene in Singapore. Migrants integrating into their respective quadrant areas segregated by their origins and race. In each racial district, they preserved their heritage and culture that was brought over from their homeland. New settlers found it easy to live among the culture and lifestyle was familiar to them as they speak the same dialects and share the common heritage.

The existing settlers welcomed new migrants with open arms as if welcoming an old friend. And though racially segregated, the various races interacted harmoniously in the busy trade settlement. That was the perfect "Salad Bowl" concept of assimilation of migrants into their new home country.

However, today in Singapore, generations of the first migrants later, the concept seemed to have changed.

The various local races have somewhat dissociated from their migrant roots. Many would consider it offensive to be associated with their origin roots. New migrants to Singapore in the 21st century are no longer welcomed as old friends.

Though the country is still largely composed by the 4 major races, the Salad Bowl concept doesn't seem to be at work for the new migrants of the same races. The existing 3rd or 4th generation residents of Singapore no longer shares the same culture or lifestyle with new migrants of the same race.

I believe the current generation expects the migrants to behave "Singaporean" the moment they are accepted into Singapore. This means that if you are from China(example) migrating into Singapore, you are expected to behave like a "Singaporean Chinese" and not a "Chinese Singaporean".

Even though we thrived back in the old days with our "Salad Bowl" assimilation of migrants, we have evolved into a unique 4 races, which can hardly be classified as having the same culture and heritage as our roots of origin.

Thus, I must conclude that we are somewhat a "Melting Pot, Salad Bowl" nation where migrants have to melt and integrate into their respective quadrant, before they can be accepted as part of the 4 unique "Salad Bowl" major races.

Uniquely Singapore

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