Foreigners, locals not that different

Say what you like about United States President-elect Donald Trump, but he was very successful at evoking passions on hot-button issues, especially that of immigration.

While many American liberals decried his statements on immigration as "racist", there were those who argued that Mr Trump had touched on the topic in a way that affected them personally, rather than what the "elite" thought.

I don't agree with the position Mr Trump took, but I found many friends, including those from ethnic minorities, agreeing with him.

I find talk about deporting illegal immigrants or immigrants stealing jobs to be distasteful.

As a 40-year-old degree holder in a blue-collar job, you could argue that I belong to the demographic most susceptible to the "anti-foreigner" message.

You could say I should be seething in resentment against people who "stole" the professional middle-class life I was supposed to have.

Yet, I don't feel resentment against people from elsewhere.

Working with Filipino waiters and Indian cooks in a restaurant over the past four years has helped me understand that despite our differences, we are actually very similar in our wants.

They have one simple goal, to earn a living and be able to feed their families.

Contrary to what the "anti-immigrant" brigade might say, they are not here to steal our livelihoods.

I've asked many of my Singaporean friends to join me at the restaurant and work part time. Invariably, the answer is "no", and the usual complaint is that they will be underpaid for the hours they would have to work.

Tang Li