OPINION | Good news in Singapore! What PAP could do to foster unity, and other stories in review… – Singapore News

Amid the doom and gloom, complaints, and grumbles, this week could be a week for us to take a break from bad news to remember the good stuff and be grateful. With this in mind, I am starting this week’s round-up with positive news!

Many Singaporeans who have been worried about the rising prices of essential items will be delighted to know that there is a hawker stall that continues to sell drinks for 30 cents. Sun Kee Drinks located at Kovan 209 Market and Food Centre, is operated by Goh Kai Suah and Chua Choon Huay, a husband and wife team. The stall began as a pushcart business, which Goh’s father started in the 1950s.

Despite the drastically changing economy, Sun Kee Drinks has kept its prices constant for almost 40 years! Not only is the pricing attractive, but this stall is also an indelible part of the hawker history in Singapore. As times change and the old generation of hawkers retire, this husband-and-wife team gives us cause to be nostalgic about our hawking traditions and culture. Despite the onslaught of change and soaring prices, there are still good things to celebrate and be grateful for.

Secondly, Singapore has ranked fourth among 60 cities for having the best public transport system. According to the 2022 edition of the Urban Mobility Readiness Index created by the Oliver Wyman Forum and the University of California, Berkeley, which included a Public Transit sub‑index, which ranks how well cities manage their public transit systems and how many commuters use them, our island nation comes right behind Hong Kong SAR, Zurich, and Stockholm, who are first to third, in that order.

For any city to function effectively, its public transportation system is key. Despite hiccups and issues, Singapore does, by and large, have a fantastic public transportation network, and for this to be internationally recognised is a testament to the city that we have collectively built.

As our fellow Muslim citizens begin fasting during Ramadan, Workers’ Party (WP) member of parliament for Aljunied GRC, Faisal Manap and a group of well-wishers recently spread joy as they distributed porridge to the residents, as well as packages of household items. Given that Singapore is a multi-racial and multi-religious state, it is imperative to honour every creed and faith as we remember that we are all Singaporeans.

As Singapore continues to evolve and grow, it is important to remain curious about our fellow inhabitants of the land without judgement.

Members from the opposition political party, the Red Dot United (RDU), recently reached out to residents in the Clementi Avenue 2 area, which comes under the Jurong GRC. During their walk around the neighbourhood, they were aware of a strong Burmese population in the area and wondered whether the culture would one day be part of our Singapore identity.

RDU posted on their Facebook page that there is a Burmese stall in one of the coffee shops, and they saw a Burmese minimart, as well as several units rented to Burmese individuals.

Recently, the wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (PM Lee), Madam Ho Ching, took to social media to criticise the behaviour of a woman who expressed her frustration at a supermarket worker for being unable to speak English in a lengthy social media post.

Madam Ho lambasted the TikTok influencer Datin Amy Tashiana for confronting an employee at the FairPrice outlet at City Square Mall for butchering her fish order due to an alleged inability to understand English.

While Amy could arguably have been more patient, her frustrations are understandable. After all, this is not the first time that similar sentiments have been expressed by fellow non-Chinese Singaporeans.

Perhaps, those who hold governing power or influence (soft or otherwise) could hold greater space to listen to the people’s grievances and understand the full picture of frustrated non-Chinese-speaking Singaporeans and Chinese-speaking immigrants to avoid fueling the fires of misunderstanding that create the “us versus them” mentality which benefits no one in the long run.

Perhaps, a good way to mitigate this is to bring in an English test for all immigrants. At the end of the day, as a multilingual country, we need to find ways to create unity, and a common language is a good and effective way to foster togetherness. After all, isn’t communication key? So, instead of dismissing the WP’s suggestion for this outright, perhaps the PAP can consider it?


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