The National Pledge of Singapore starts with these words: “We, the citizens of Singapore, pledge ourselves as one united people, regardless of race, language or religion…”
It’s equivalent to acknowledging the fact that race, religion, and language are forces that may cause division among the citizens. Interestingly, Singapore’s cosmopolitan society nurtures many different racial identities under its social wings. We are 76.1 percent Chinese, 15 percent Malays, 7.4 percent Indians and 1.5 percent Eurasians and others. Although Chinese make up the majority in our case, the Singapore Constitution ensures that citizen will have an equal right under the law.
One of the expressions of this equality and acceptance is the ‘Racial Harmony Day’. It is celebrated in Singapore to create a sense of harmony and reduce the tensions between citizens and new immigrants as the cause of worry.
So, does embracing globalization and diversity mean losing our Singaporean identity? There have been many anti-foreigner sentiments in the past as locals perceived new immigrants to be the potential cause of various social problems. However, the internet and social media have played a key role in creating awareness about different cultures, developing mutual understanding, assimilating differences, and creating a sense of empathy among individuals living in different parts of the world.
Specifically, millennials’ attitudes towards other races and nationalities are reported to improve considerably. The National Youth Council found in a survey (of 3,531 young people) that the percentage of those who have a close friend of a “different race” increased from 53% in 2013 to 60% in 2017; while those having a close friend of a “different nationality” grew from 42% to 45%.
These changes are thanks to the proliferation of the internet and social media. They are also due to the way marketers have been using them to create overarching marketing and advertising messages to cater to a global audience. The internet and social media have truly become a force with marketers to create a global cultural homogeneity out cultural diversity. In other words, they are trying to neutralise the differences as much as they possibly can to create common strategies that work for everyone regardless of race, gender, and nationality.