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There are many things about the population debate that trouble me and deserve much deeper consideration as we think about the future we wish to build but one that keeps appearing in the dialogues of my peers that is particularly troubling is that of race.
This leads me to think that maybe we need to rewrite our National Pledge to focus on what we really stand for. We can remove the statement “regardless of race, language or religion” for even in its tone of denial, we are defining and subconsciously reinforcing things that divide us.
We can also remove the term “democratic” for it is a political term and subject to many interpretations and implementations. Our pledge should be rewritten to read:
"We, the citizens of Singapore, pledge ourselves as one united people to build a society based on justice and equality so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation".
Our island nation was founded by immigrants and although the majority was of Chinese, Malay and Indian descent, there has always been an “Others” category as citizens of many nations came here to forge a new life for themselves and their families. So in fact maybe that classification should also be removed from our identity cards for remember in the larger picture we are all of one race -- the Human Race.
So as we move forward and discuss how many people our small island can support or needs and what quality of life we want, we should focus not on our differences but what unites us and moves us forward from the common desires in our hearts.
Brad Bowyer, 46
The writer first came to Singapore in 1985 from the United Kingdom. He became a Permanent Resident in 2001 and a full-fledged Singapore citizen in 2011.
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