Greater cultural integration needed

For Singapore to become a cultural melting pot, it must have many cultures, local and foreign, that are able to combine together to create a unique Singapore ("Let's be a cultural melting pot, not bowl of salad" by Mr Lee Teck Chuan; Jan 7).

However, we are far from being a melting pot and are leaning more towards a bowl of salad, because even though we have many foreign cultures, we tend to hang on to our own.

In fact, Singapore is more of a stewpot, where parts of each culture are mixed together but have not changed significantly.

Each foreign culture in Singapore tends to have a positive effect, but many Singaporeans tend to view the imported cultures as being less than ideal.

Another factor is the extent of influence. For example, instead of foreign workers having to learn English when they work here, the pressure instead should be on Singaporeans to learn their language in order to communicate with them.

We must see that cultural diffusion benefits our society. It is good to have outside influences that enable us to understand the cultural practices in other countries and it will also help us when we travel overseas.

While Singapore recognises and celebrates the different cultures here, there is still a lot of stereotyping among locals and foreigners alike and, if this continues, it would be sad to see how far we have fallen from becoming a multicultural nation.

We must not isolate ourselves from other cultures. We must change our mindset to be more accepting.

Francis Cheng

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