Multicultural Society in Singapore
Located in Southeast Asia, Singapore becomes the destination of people from around the world to travel. This country offers great tourist sites and beautiful city views. Millions of visitors also come to this country to watch various events or festivals that are held regularly. They become another attraction of the country. However, not only tourists who are interested in visiting this small country, there are many people who come to Singapore to study or find works. This country offers a lot of things that people from abroad choose Singapore as their new residence.
Singapore is dominated by diverse ethnic, such as Chinese, Indians and Malays. In addition, there are many foreigners from Europe, such UK, Germany and Sweden, who work or study in this country. Since many companies in Singapore have a high demand of professional workers, the country is attracting more and more foreigners, especially from the U.S., Japan and Australia. In addition, many expatriates live in the cosmopolitan city of Singapore. No wonder when Singapore becomes the melting pot of people with diverse cultural backgrounds and nationalities. The diversity enriches the culture in this country as well.
Some people say that the cultural diversity can increase of the risk of conflict. However, this does not happen in Singapore. The government can successfully maintain the conducive atmosphere of the country. In fact, there is Community Engagement Programme that holds all the society together. This program is very effective to prevent social conflict and prepare the Singapore citizens to deal with a possible crisis. Therefore, although there are many different racial groups in Singapore, this country is more conducive compared to other Asian countries.
The Multicultural Life
Since there are many immigrants living in the country, it affects the social life in Singapore. Various cultures blend in everyday life of the pluralistic society. This multicultural condition influences all aspects of life in Singapore. One of the most noticeable things is the culinary. A traveler will find many types of food that can be found in all corners of the city. Various local dishes, like Nasi Lemak and Laksa, have attracted millions of tourists every year. The local dishes in Singapore are influenced by the diverse cultures of its residents. You can taste various kinds of dishes, including Indian and Chinese foods or halal food for Muslims. In addition, there are many street vendors as well as cafes or restaurants selling great food at affordable prices. No wonder there are so many people who make this country as the destination for their holidays.
Beside the great selection of foods, there are many events and festivals in Singapore which describes the cultural wealth in this country. One major event was the celebration of the Chinese New Year. The Chinese community holds a big event to celebrate this special occasion. Moreover, not only the Chinese, the other races communities also participate in the event. It is a form of tolerance and respect between communities. If you come to the festivals held in Singapore, you can also see the diversity that affects various aspects of life in this country. If you want to know more about the cultural events or festivals in Singapore, you can view this link.
The multicultural bond in the Singapore society makes the country unique. There are no racial conflicts in Singapore, making this country the subject of research. Many researchers made observations about the multicultural life in this Asian country. Apparently, the harmony between diverse races and cultures is one of the government’s success in implementing regulations or laws. In addition, the Singapore Government has a series of programmes involving various communities. The programs are meant to unify the diversity. The people from different backgrounds participate in various social programs and this creates tolerance between cultures. All races have the same rights as well.
Additionally, the facts that the region is home to people with different races and one of the important places of international trading in the 19th century make Singapore have a long history of multicultural life. The British colonial era promoted the multicultural society in the country as well. The conducive atmosphere in Singapore can be clearly seen when there are religious activities. There are many religions that exist in Singapore. All Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and others can live side by side peacefully. This kind of life is a positive example and many scholars make it as a topic for a case study.
Today, Singapore is dominated by several ethnic groups, mainly are:
- Chinese: 74.2%
- The Malays: 13.4%
- The Indians: 9.2%
- Eurasians, Peranakans and others: 3.2%.
In addition to affecting the social life of Singapore, its being multicultural is also reflected in the languages used in the country. The Singapore population commonly speaks English as their daily language. It is considered the best way to communicate since most people, especially foreigners, understand English well. Many Singaporeans also speak Singlish, a unique combination of English, Malay, Chinese and Indian. This informal language is also used for daily conversation of the multiethnic communities. In fact, it is easily understood by the society since the language consists of various terms derived from other languages.
The Singapore society also speaks various home languages. They use their mother tongues for daily conversation at home. Most Chinese population use Mandarin Chinese for their home language. Some of them speak of other kinds of Chinese languages, such as Cantonese or Hokkien. Tamil is spoken by most Indian people. For people from Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, they speak Malay at home. Malay is very similar to Bahasa Indonesia. Therefore, most Indonesians understand Malay very well. They also speak other dialects, such as Javanese and Bugis. Since the Malays are the indigenous community, the Malay language or Bahasa Melayu becomes the national language of Singapore. Although the communities have their own language, they also learn the terms or words of other languages for easy communication. Therefore, the diversity in the spoken languages creates cultural assimilation as well.
Being multicultural makes the education system implemented in Singapore unique. The students can learn their mother tongue in a class. Most schools have special classes to learn the language of Malay, Chinese and Tamil. This is so the children become more familiar with their native culture. However, the class is also dependent on the number of students with certain mother tongue, such as Tamil. That is why they can take advantage of Umar Pulavar Tamil Language Centre (UPTLC) to learn Tamil optimally. This is part of the educational curriculum in Singapore. The education system in this country is quite flexible in which the students can still learn their mother tongues. The Singapore Government is also implementing bilingualism policy. Being bilingual will provide many benefits, including the opportunity to develop careers.