Photo from CNA

Featured on state media Channel News Asia as a propaganda programme for foreigners, a new citizen from India told the state media that he is worried that his children are getting soft from the good life in Singapore.

Balakrishnan Gopa, a new citizen from India, who is now a managing director in Singapore said that life in Singapore is too good:

“My oldest daughter Priya, seven, is having too easy a life and is taking things for granted. When she comes out of the room, she’ll never switch off the fan or light. And when she turns on the tap, it will be full on. So, I tell her, ‘you are wasting the water’. When I was young, we used to walk far to get water.”

The Indian new citizen said that he used to walk long distances to find water everyday in the remote village where he grew up in.

In the propaganda programme, On The Red Dot, the new citizens from India, China and Philippines were featured telling stories of poverty in their hometown. The state media said that 50,000 foreigners are given permanent residency and citizenship in Singapore every year. This makes out to 500,000 in the 10 years since the immigration gateway was opened in 2006.

Producer for the propaganda programme, Susanna Kulatissa, said that she hope the difficulties of new immigrants will be highlighted in her production:

“Singaporeans do not usually get a glimpse into the world of new immigrants here, how they adapt to their new host country, and why they worry that their children may grow up too “soft” living in the city.”

New citizens are excused National Service in Singapore, prompting an exodus of local-born Singaporean males from the island and a sharp decline in birth rate. Foreigners and new immigrants have a better life than Singaporeans as the government neglects the poor and middle class with exorbitant cost of living and lack of social security. Most than 20% of the population takes home less than S$2,000 a month in household income, with abject poverty widespread in the streets of Singapore. Elderly poor collecting cardboards, begging or selling tissue paper is a common sight in Singapore.