I wrote about foreigners in our midst some time ago. It appears to be haunting residents in Serangoon Gardens, especially those that are living in the semi-detached private houses. A petition has even been started to stop the government's plans to relocate some 1000 foreign workers to a dis-used school compound nearby. The stated concern is that these people will probably clog up their roads. Some even view it as a security concern, as if the government is moving a bunch of misfits and shady characters into their neighbourhood. I think these people have lost sense of reality and are showing their prejudicial and snobbish side all too obviously.
If these foreigners are not welcomed in their midst, do they then think that somebody else's neighbourhood is more suitable? Who do they think they are? The heavenly host up there whose peace cannot be disturbed no matter what? That the rest of Singapore, where the minions live, are more suitable for such (dare I say), 'low life'? Well, ok, many of these people do have million dollar properties they are sitting on. Are they worried that the value of their properties will drop a notch if 'low life foreign workers' move into their neighbourhood? Are they worried that these 'low life' will roam their neighbourhood to steal, rob and rape, or at least swagger around drunk and noisy in their neighbourhood?
Well, yes, they are foreigners and may have habits that we are not used to. They may congregate more and speak a decibel louder than us. But these do not make them criminal. Our fathers were once foreigners in this land, and they managed to rise up to own property and land, which they have passed down to us, their children. Truly we have forgotten our roots. So instead of petitioning against these people, they should try to make these people feel at home, or at least not treat them as 'low lives' and suspects. Many of them probably have families in faraway lands, families they are supporting and feeding by coming to this place to toil and sweat. If we treat others shabbily, they will always be shabby as far as we are concerned. If we treat them well, we may get rewarded. How do we know that amidst all the sea of brown, black and yellow, there is not an angel amongst them who might save and protect us someday?
We are talking of a gracious society. There is an opportunity to show our graces. We should practice charity, for surely it must begin at home. Otherwise, whatever civility we may have cultivated among ourselves is only skin deep, and that skin is particularly thin for people living in the private houses in Serangoon Gardens.