Let's redefine multiculturalism for a truly inclusive Singapore

We need to go beyond knowing other cultures, to developing intercultural competence - the ability to communicate across cultural divisions

We live in a country that is committed to celebrating our multiculturalism. It is my favourite part of being a Singaporean, and living here after years abroad - my group of besties are made up of Indian-Catholic, Indian-Hindu, Malay-Muslim (Sunni), Chinese-Christian and Indian-Muslim (Shi'ite). An executive search consultant remembers that I once said I would not be interested in career opportunities in Hong Kong, China or Taiwan because there are just too many people like me there!

At a 2017 symposium on conflict and peace-building, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam insisted that "we should never allow xenophobia and majoritarianism to override the protection and guarantee of equality to minorities".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2019, with the headline 'Let's redefine multiculturalism for a truly inclusive Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe