Don't mix politics and cultural links with China

As China becomes a major power in the world today, we must be ever mindful of the separation between our cultural and familial links, and Singapore's political relations with China (Singaporeans' affinity for China must not affect racial harmony, by Mr Roy Goh Hin Soon; Feb 20).

Our political loyalties must always lie with the countries we belong to. Peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region will partly depend on this distinction being made, not just by the ethnic Chinese living outside China, but by China too. This is to avoid polarisation along ethnic lines and the attendant racism it may fester.

Singapore culture today is not at an embryonic stage, unlike in the 1950s and 1960s, when Nanyang University students were caught up in the left-wing manifestation of Chinese nationalism, and when the political and cultural ideas linked to being Chinese were foggy.

Indeed, overseas Chinese can emulate the Anglo-Saxons and Irish who became nationals of other countries such as Canada, Australia, the United States and even South Africa - they share common cultural traits with their countries of origin, but remain politically distinct.

Wong Horng Ginn

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 24, 2018, with the headline 'Don't mix politics and cultural links with China'. Print Edition | Subscribe