Photo of Grace Fu from Straits Times

In a state media interview with Straits Times, Culture Minister Grace Fu said that some Singaporeans are unhappy with foreigners when they do not follow social norms, but Singaporeans themselves also do not follow these social norms too. Calling for Singaporeans to be better-behaved, Minister Grace Fu said:

“Some Singaporeans are unhappy with foreigners, as they feel that they do not follow social norms, such as how to behave on the train, at hawker centres and even not to hang clothes on playground equipment. (But) some of these social norms are also not well established among Singaporeans. If we can have better social norms, I think you can take away some of the friction on the ground in day-to-day interaction.”

When questioned about rising inequality and class divides, Minister Grace Fu said that she is giving children from lower income “more exposures” so they could “work hard for a brighter future”:

“The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth is doing to bridge class divisions. It has been giving youth, especially those from lower-income families, more exposure to the arts, sports and youth leadership development activities. This helps them to discover their strengths, build their sense of self-worth and give them a shot at creating a brighter future. When the parents are living from day to day… there’s no talk about what can you be. So how do you start them (the children) saying actually I can be somebody, I can have the skills, I can have the ability if I work hard. It’s really talking about your aspirations, your worth, the fact that you can make an impact in small ways.”

The PAP Minister said that one example of addressing inequality is to keep the poor “meaningfully occupied”:

“Take the example of SportCares, which uses sports to empower the disadvantaged. The Saturday Night Lights initiative started in 2013, with young people from needy families given free coaching in soccer on Saturday nights to keep them meaningfully occupied.”