Integration efforts must start within community

People crossing the road at Yishun Bus Interchange on Feb 11, 2019.
People crossing the road at Yishun Bus Interchange on Feb 11, 2019.PHOTO: ST FILE

We are heartened by Mr Jeffrey Law Lee Beng's views in his letter (Step up integration of immigrants at the neighbourhood level, Aug 7).

Integration is a two-way process. It requires effort from both locals and new immigrants to get to know each other and better understand each other's cultures and customs.

As part of the People's Association Integration Council's community integration efforts, Integration and Naturalisation Champions (INCs), mainly made up of volunteers from residents' committees, neighbourhood committees and residents' networks, play an active role in helping new immigrants adjust to living in Singapore and promoting interaction between locals and new immigrants.

The INCs, together with the other community volunteers, regularly visit the homes of new immigrants in the neighbourhood and encourage them to take part in festive celebrations and other community events.

This helps new citizens better understand Singapore's multiracial society. At the same time, Singaporeans can learn more about the diverse backgrounds of new citizens.

We are also encouraged to see many new citizens doing their part for the community.

For example, the INCs' community service projects involve Singaporeans and new citizens, including members from the immigrant associations, working together to help the underprivileged.

Even as INCs find new ways to promote integration, we can play our part by extending our hand in friendship and understanding to new citizens among us.

Goh Peng Hong

Chairman

People's Association Integration Council

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2019, with the headline 'Integration efforts must start within community'. Print Edition | Subscribe