Don't ring-fence foreign workers

Central Singapore District Mayor Denise Phua, who is also an MP for Jalan Besar GRC, has apologised for her choice of words in referring to congregations of high density of foreign workers as "walking time-bombs" ("MP says sorry for remarks about foreign workers"; April 9).

However, her suggestion to ring-fence communal areas in Little India, so that residents get to use these facilities, implies the "need" to segregate foreign workers from the rest of the public.

We must understand and appreciate that the overwhelming majority of foreign workers seen congregating in Little India or at other places are hard-working, peace-loving and law-abiding ("Security measures are reviewed at hot spots"; April 7).

They have come here on great sacrifice and fortitude to help in our development efforts, giving us beautiful homes and roads.

To them, Little India is a comfort zone.

It is important that Singaporeans, especially government leaders, avoid stereotyping foreign workers who come to live and work in our midst.

Real interaction between residents and foreign workers cannot come about by chance.

It has to be carefully nurtured and cultivated by the state and its citizens working in concert, so that mutual understanding and trust can prevail.

V. Subramaniam (Dr)