Singapore

Can US learn from S'pore ? CNN journalist Fareed Zakaria thinks so

The United States has been seeing a lot of race-related violence recently.

Last week, Dylann Roof, 21, shot nine people dead at an African American church in South Carolina. 

In April, a black man, who was running away, was shot nine times by a policeman in South Carolina. The cop has since been charged for murder.

Mr Fareed Zakaria (below), a well-known American journalist, wrote a commentary on Washington Post about how America can learn from Singapore when it comes to racial integration.

Mr Zakaria, who was formerly the editor of Newsweek, is now the host of CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS.

In preparation for a speech he's giving at the National University of Singapore next week, Mr Zakaria also spoke to Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam about Singapore's biggest successes.

 

Many of the comments that Mr Tharman discussed were similar to the points he made at the St Gallen Symposium in Switzerland last month. 

These are some of the more salient points that Mr Zakaria brought up in his column:

1) "How did Singapore do it? By mandating ethnic diversity in all of its neighbourhoods."

Mr Zakaria acknowledges that Singapore's social policy to enforce ethnic quotas in HDB flats has contributed greatly to its social integration.

He also interviewed Mr Tharman, who said: "We respected people's differences yet melded a nation and made an advantage out of diversity."

2) In Mr Zakaria's interview with Mr Tharman, the Deputy Prime Minister readily admits that Singapore can be a "nanny state".

But he also said: "It turns out that when you ensure every neighbourhood is mixed, people do everyday things together, being comfortable with each other, and most importantly, their kids go to the same schools. When the kids grow up together, they begin to share a future together."

3) Could Singapore's HDB policies come to an end?

Mr Tharman told Mr Zakaria: "You cannot simply assume that the natural workings of the market or of society will produce social harmony or equal opportunity. They won't.

"Government - an elected government - has a role to play. And it's not about speeches and symbols. It's about specific mechanisms and programs to achieve the outcomes we all seek."

4) American can learn from Singapore

Mr Zakaria said: "Singapore is an example of a diverse society that has been able to live in harmony and that we could learn something from."

Of course, he also added that "Singapore could learn some lessons from Western democracies as well".

Source: Washington Post

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