Three Stories on Foreigners

Story One

Some days ago, I was with my helper. We were buying some food for lunch and she was standing a distance away from me. Unintentionally, she blocked the access of someone. The middle aged lady quite rudely said “Hello, hello”, then gestured using her hand. I was agitated and I told her to be more polite. I can’t help but to feel that my helper is being treated as such because one can tell she is from a foreign land / domestic helper, and it wasn’t obvious that she was with me and seemed to be alone, hence setting herself up to be an easy target to bully. I later told my helper that Singapore is a safe country, but there are still unpleasant people around. She needs to learn how to assert herself in public.

Thoughts: We should treat everyone with respect regardless of where they are from. Foreigners should respect local law and culture, but we should not discriminate them just because they come from another country. Instead, we should treat them like good host while they be like good guest.

Story Two

(For this story, I made an assumption that my neighbour is a foreigner) My first interaction with this particular caucasian neighbour was when he came over at 8pm and told me to close my door when I am vacuuming as it was too noisy. I was cleaning my door frame, hence the door was opened. However, it is a widely known rule that in Singapore, the “quiet hours” is after 2230hrs. Out of politeness, I closed my door but later wrote note to explain that in local context, whatever happened was quite acceptable. It wasn’t a nasty note and the next time we saw each other, we greeted each other.

The second time the neighbour came over was when I had some visitors over the weekend. We had just finished our barbecue session and it was after 1030pm. They visited my apartment and we were talking at the door. He told my wife to lower the volume and we did.

The third time my neighbour came over, there was some drilling going on in the noon. This time round, it was her wife. She told me that I was too noisy and I told her I have a renovation permit. I suggested that I can close my door, out of goodwill. She remarked:”Yes, please close everything!” in a rather rude tone. I told her that she can exercise more discretion in the tone. That was when I decided not to give in to their request anymore, since they seem to be taking things for granted.

Shortly after, I saw some movers and it seemed that they are moving out. I am not sure if they moved because of us or other reasons.

Thoughts: Singapore is our homeland. For a foreigner, they can more easily move if they want to. For us, we are rooted here. Foreigners should be aware that they are guest and be respectful.

Story Three

My tenant, a white collar professional, left the country without informing us and breached her tenancy agreement. When we realised that she cannot be contacted, the apartment was already left empty. It disrupted our plans and our financial buffer, all while we were preparing for Kaelyn’s transplant. Despite reaching out and seeking to reach an amicable arrangements, she blocked us on social media and stopped replying her emails. There were also some items unaccounted for. We have reached out to local agencies and government representative for assistance. We have also filed a lawsuit against her. It is myopic for her to make such a decision as this could implicate her future job prospect. More importantly, this also reflects a predicament that other Singaporeans could face.

Thoughts: Singapore needs to remain open to be competitive and relevant to the world. However, being open comes with its own problems. We should plug in these gaps and ensure that Singaporeans are not held hostage in situations like this. Like the previous story, a foreigner can easily take flight but Singaporeans are rooted her.





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