How far do you agree that the main factor in creating social harmony in Singapore has been public housing policy? EYA. (O-Level, 2009) The public housing policy is one of the factors in creating social harmony in Singapore. However there are 2 other factors such as opportunities offered by educational institutions and events and programs organized by grassroots organisations that contribute to the social harmony in Singapore.
The public housing policy has helped Singapore in creating social harmony because in a multi-ethnic society like Singapore, if there is lack of understanding among the racial groups, it can lead to suspicion and unhappiness among the people, which may lead to outbreaks of violence among racial groups. If too many people of the same racial group live in the same housing estate, they might not accept someone of a different racial group living in their estate and cause conflict.
In 1989, when the ethnic integration policy was introduced and put a limit on the proportion of races in every neighborhood and block, it ensured that there was even distribution of different races in all the housing estates and minimized misunderstanding and conflict among the racial groups. Living together in the same neighborhood or block provides opportunities for people from different ethnic groups to interact thus increasing mutual respect and understanding between the races.
This brings racial harmony and thus, the public housing contributes in the maintenance of social harmony in Singapore. Another factor in creating social harmony in Singapore is opportunities offered by educational institutions. Educational institutions such as schools and tertiary institutions are open to every Singaporean, regardless of race or religion. Students from different races and backgrounds study together and this allows students to interact with each other and allows friendships between different races to develop and strengthen.
The implementation of Co-Curricular Activities (CCA) also promotes closer bonds among youths from different races and religions. The variety of activities provides opportunities for students from different races interact and work closely with each other. Students get to appreciate each other’s talents and respect each another as individuals. This helps build teamwork and collaboration among different ethnic groups. And also helps in fostering the understanding among students of different races and this promotes ethnic harmony and thus is an effective way in managing social harmony in Singapore.
Events and programs organized by grassroots organizations is also one way Singapore manages social harmony. Grassroots organisations such as People’s Association create common space through their wide range of programs and activities developed to cater to the needs and interest of every Singaporean. One example is a program for students known as a home visit or home stay with a host family from another ethnic group. This allows participants to gain a better understanding of the cultures and customs of other races.
Mutual respect and strong friendships among the different racial groups can also develop over time. Such programs and events provide a common space for people of different ethnic background to develop understanding and mutual respect which in turn reduces conflict among different ethnic groups, which thus helps manage social harmony in Singapore. I think that the public housing policy is the main factor in creating social harmony in Singapore. This is because the public housing policy affects people of all age groups, not just students.
It ensures that people from many different ethnic backgrounds live together in a neighborhood and this will promote harmony among the races. People will learn to accept each other’s differences and be more open to other races. And this impacts the whole family and not just the young or the old. Opportunities offered by educational institutions also helps in managing social harmony in Singapore, but it only impacts those who participate in it, and they are mainly students, while the housing policy impacts the whole family and teaches them to accept other races and religions.
The events and programs organized by the grassroots organisations also help in managing social harmony in Singapore, however it only affects and impacts those who choose to participate in it, and not everyone. Therefore, I feel that the housing policy in Singapore is the main factor in creating social harmony in Singapore as it affects the whole family regardless of age and allows everyone to understand about the different races and religions and living together in a neighborhood and block would allow more interaction between the races and reduce conflict and misunderstandings which in turn manages the social harmony in Singapore.