Our forefathers came mainly from the Malay Peninsula, the Indonesian isles, China, the Indian sub-continent and Sri Lanka. Although Singaporeans are of different backgrounds, we are able to build a harmonious society because we value the importance of accepting and understanding one another. This harmony has not come about naturally and everyone in Singapore must recognise their role in actively reaching out to each other to preserve our social cohesion and harmony.
Against this backdrop, the National Integration Council (NIC) was set-up in April 2009 to drive integration efforts in a comprehensive, sustainable and ground-up manner through the partnership of the public, people and private (3P) sectors. In promoting integration, the NIC seeks to:
- Increase awareness of the importance of integration for our continued success as a society and nation
- Help newcomers adapt to the Singaporean way of life, including helping them better understand local cultures and social norms
- Grow common spaces and provide platforms for Singaporeans and new immigrants to interact
Facilitate the formation of friendships and shared experiences among Singaporeans and non-locals, so as to foster mutual understanding and acceptance through their interactions
- Foster and deepen emotional attachment and a sense of belonging to Singapore among new immigrants
Singapore’s approach to integration does not demand that new immigrants abandon their own beliefs and culture. Rather, we expect them to share commonalities, values and experiences with fellow Singaporeans so that we can all work together to achieve our aspirations and build the best home for ourselves and our children.
Our Guiding Principles
The NIC engages in strategic partnerships and collaborations with partners from the public, people and private sectors to develop ground-up initiatives and are guided by the following principles when seeking to foster integration:
- Integration is a two way process
Successful integration first requires the building of inter-personal relationships between locals and new immigrants. Both sides therefore have a role to play in reaching out to one another.
- Everyone has a role to play
All individuals, across different spheres and levels of society, can help to deepen social integration in Singapore in the course of their daily lives, so that integration can be effective and sustained over the long term. No effort is too small or inadequate.
- Integration takes time
Immigrants have spent their formative years in another country and may bring with them their own social habits, languages, beliefs and values. They will thus need time to learn about, and adapt to, our local norms as well as customs. Integration is a continual process that will bear fruit over time, if we show determination, patience and perseverance.