Cultural Diversity In Singapore

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Every day, I travel to school in a comfortable air-conditioned bus, passing by a church, mosque and Buddhist temple within metres of each other. Be it the magnificent statue of Saint Theresa, the mysterious prayer halls or the intricate carvings of dragons, each of these religious buildings is a sight to behold. Built side and side, they are a testament to Singapore’s cultural diversity. However, if I were born fifty years earlier, this scene would be entirely different. I would be on a stuffy, humid bus, perhaps in constant fear of social unrest and riots. In the 1960s, Singapore did not enjoy racial and religious harmony and there were riots sparked by tensions between Chinese and Malays. Following this tumultuous period, the…show more content…
Without understanding other cultures and social backgrounds, people can develop negative stereotypes about the “Other”, those who are different from us. Education is the best way of combating the divisions in our societies, which are tinder for future conflict. In my history syllabus, I have studied about Singapore’s history and learnt about the horrors of racial riots in the past. This emphasis on racial harmony has been important in ensuring that Singapore has no future instance of racially-motivated riots by instilling in citizens how fragile social stability is. In the wake of violence against immigrants due to xenophobia and racism across the world, education is all the more important in providing a platform for cross-cultural understanding. Furthermore, education is not limited to standardised curriculums. In Singapore, a tuition centre named School of Thought brought groups of teenagers to meet foreign construction workers and learn about their experiences. This learning journey enlightened the teenagers that the foreign workers were no different than them – they were simply human beings with fears and hope for the future, striving to make a living in an alien land. These education initiatives aid in alleviating tensions and clarifying misunderstandings about other cultures in the young and reduce the chances of religious and racial…show more content…
In war-stricken areas with social unrest, education helps families to escape the cycle of poverty as it is a vehicle for social mobility. Many who resort to extremism come from poverty, an issue which education combats. In one UNESCO study, researchers found that as the enrolment rate for secondary school increase, the risk of war is reduced. This is partially due to the economic benefits a proper education brings to an individual, giving them less reason to join extremist groups. There cannot be long-term, durable peace in a country without education programmes to offer new opportunities for citizens to rebuild their lives. Education can create pathways towards stability and build the foundations for peace by developed more civic-minded citizens as well. Some conflicts are civil wars started by unhappiness with the current government. When rebuilding a country, citizens must exercise their civil rights and participate actively in the political development of their societies. Another UNESCO study found that educated people are far more likely to exercise their civil rights. This is especially important as it ensures that more voices are heard during policy debates, thus paving the way for governance that reflects the needs of the people rather than a minority. Thus, education is a key ingredient in developing skilled workers and informed citizens who

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