Public has role to play to boost social mixing

Every capitalist and developed economy is bound to have forms of social stratification, with the gravity of the situation varying from country to country. Singapore is no exception.

Singapore has recognised the significance of it and the Government is trying its best by formulating policies and measures to mitigate income inequality, enhance social mobility and ensure social integration (Ong Ye Kung flags stratification 'poison'; May 16).

One policy that has worked well is public housing. Preferably, more public housing should be built closer to private housing.

This would be a calibrated and long-term approach in promoting social mixing, interaction and bonding.

National service is another effective social mobilisation tool.

It provides a seamless opportunity for full-time national servicemen with different academic qualifications and from different family backgrounds to rub shoulders and understand one another while they train together to protect the country.

Our education system should also inculcate in our students the values of empathy, compassion and altruism, on top of the strong focus on academic excellence and achievement.

One effective way to do so is to get teachers, alumni, parents and students of elite schools to have regular activities to interact and bond with their non-elite counterparts.

Various communities in Singapore have collaborated and helped the disadvantaged.

For example, the Share programme and the Care and Share movement by the Community Chest have rallied people from all walks of life to help the disadvantaged.

We must bear in mind that regardless of how much effort we put in to narrow or bridge these social gaps, we cannot solely rely upon government policies to take the lead and make an impact.

The public has a role to play as well, in terms of attitudes and mindsets.

Teo Kueh Liang