Thursday, September 11, 2008

Letter on ST Forum

The Original Letter:

Home > ST Forum > Story
Sep 8, 2008
Where's the harm?
SOME residents of Serangoon Gardens are incensed or anxious about the idea of a large number of male foreign workers coming to live in their area.

They have concerns about increased traffic on their roads and uncouth behaviour by workers, with which anyone could sympathise - though the behaviour could be tackled with a little education and an assurance of good onsite provisions for the workers.

But what about the hints of danger and criminality posed by these workers? This seems to reflect preconceived ideas that are not based on reality. The number of foreign workers in Singapore has risen sharply over the past 10 years. At the same time, the prison population has fallen. Wouldn't the opposite have occurred if foreign workers represented a wave of criminality? Is there any evidence that they are more disposed towards criminal behaviour than Singaporeans?

Suggestions that elderly people and children left alone will have cause to live in fear are unwarranted. There is undeniable evidence that some workers are messy, but none of a predisposition to break into other people's homes, use violence towards them or sexually menace the more vulnerable.

John Gee 
President, Transient Workers Count Too

My Reponse: 

Home > ST Forum > Online Story
Don't leave security to chance
I REFER to Mr John Gee's letter on Monday, 'Where's the harm?'.

I believe some of his comments are off tangent with the issue at large. In his letter, he states that, while foreign workers have increased in the past 10 years, prison numbers have gone down. As a result, there is no cause for worry among Serangoon Gardens residents.

It is wrong of Mr Gee to make such a simplistic assumption. Many crimes which involve the vulnerable go unreported. In making his argument, he also assumes all our prisons are filled with foreign workers. Hence, should prison numbers go down, there will be less criminality posed by these workers.

While law enforcers do a very good job to ensure our streets are safe, we cannot base safety on such assumptions as those made by Mr Gee. Serangoon Gardens residents have valid reasons to be concerned about the security of their neighbourhood if a foreign worker dormitory is built. The media has reported countless nuisances and crimes committed by these workers. It is better to take preventive action and remain on the safe side rather than leave security to chance.

Sing Keng Loon

Sydney, Australia

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