My FT neighbours

I came home last night after work at about 10.30pm. My mum took out from the fridge few pieces of the most beautiful cakes I ever saw. Those cakes must be very expensive.


My mum told me those little cakes were given by that Indian family staying on the same floor unit directly opposite the lift.

My block of flats has 13 floors with 5 units on each floor. There is only one lift lobby with two lifts. Four units are 5-room flats with only one 4-room flat on each level. My 4-room flat is on the right side of the lift as one comes out.

That Indian family with two young children live in the 5-room flat directly in front of the lift. The other corner flat on the left side of the lift is occupied by few Filipinos. Only myself and my immediate corner neighbour are the original first owners (bought direct from HDB). The other units have changed hands and sometimes even a couple of times.

That Indian family just shifted in about three months ago. They rent the whole flat from a ROC couple. The ROC couple shifted to the nearby Livia condominium. The ROC couple are Mandarin teachers who made their fortune teaching Chinese bought this resale flat more than 5 years ago. It’s a good investment for them. It’s extra rental income from their HDB resale flat when so many Singaporeans are queuing to buy HDB flats. Here, we have this ROC PRs having two flats – public and private. Yes, they are much smarter than us daft Singaporeans.

Most of the time when I happen to meet either the Filipinos or the Indians, they would just smile and nod their heads. Those Filipinos ever told me that they are working in the aerospace industry at Changi Industrial Park. Although I’ve never spoken to the Indian family, obviously they are not local Indians. Their spoken English and the way they behave do not appear to be locals. I’ll try to find out more about them.

When my mum told me that the Indian lady living in the unit in front of the lift landing gave her those cakes, I was quite surprised. My mum told me that it’s their 3 year old son’s birthday. She’d given cakes to every household on the same floor.

My mum told me that the corner Chinese family intended to buy some story books for the birthday boy. My mum suggested buying some toy cars. The cakes got some car design so that birthday boy obviously loves cars, my mum reasoned. My mum will get few toy cars tomorrow for that boy. It’s a tit for tat, reciprocal situation where as Asians, we return a gift or favor.

The cakes are so lovely that we didn’t feel like eating them. We will just keep them for another day in the fridge.

If all those FT immigrants behave like that Indian FT family where they take the trouble to break the ice and interact with locals; will there be any issue? This example clearly obliterates any anti-foreigner sentiment or “xenophobia” that the mass media portray us as such.

The Indian family quoted here is well behaved. They didn’t cause any nuisance. They shut their door once they return home. They smile and nod their heads when we meet each other at the void deck or lift lobby.

This is the kind of FTs we welcome. Not those idiots making all kinds of insults against local natives and instigating us on Facebook. Most of us are against FTs taking away jobs from locals with their dirt cheap wages. Jobs such as cashiers, sales retailing, hawkers, bus drivers, customer services etc which locals can do. If they are professionals with real “talent” like that Indian family, I believe most of us do not really mind.

In short, we welcome quality immigrants but not those “Foreign Trash” posting all kinds of idiotic insults or remarks against local natives.

I find the recent statements over the last weekend by our leaders on “open integration” with foreigners puzzling. It seems that we natives got to give face to those immigrants and tolerate their nonsense? If only those foreigners behave well in our country and make an effort to reach out and integrate like that Indian family quoted here; do you think there will be any issue?

Are they barking at the wrong tree? Let’s hope that our great leaders will bark at the correct tree! Pls don’t langgar the locals where you need us as much as we need you to create a better future for both of us.

Read related article here.

Updates …

This is the birthday present for the boy.


About Gintai_昇泰

I'm a Chinese Singaporean living in the Eastern part of Singapore. I tweet on current affairs & inspirational quotes. I blog on issues or events if they interest me. I write for pleasure. I also write mainly for my family and friends.
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21 Responses to My FT neighbours

  1. Kuaychap_kia says:

    Oh now you are criticising Taiwanese – ROC or Republic of China a.k.a. Taiwan?

    Honestly I was wondering if Australians are also blogging about Singaporean FT in their country.

    • There is a big difference between ROC and PRC! Singaporeans FT in Aussie is just a drop in an ocean, so there is nothing to shout about.
      I’m telling you a fact. It’s about my immediate neighbours living next to me where we meet and interact almost everyday. This is true first hand direct account. Our leaders we must “open” and give them face. Locals must welcome them even they abuse and spit at you. Langgar!

  2. Pingback: Daily SG: 17 July 2012 | The Singapore Daily

  3. WL says:

    Hey Gintai, I’m surprised your ex-neighbour can live in a condo and rent out their HDB flat. I thought the rule stipulates the other way round – must live in HDB, private condo as investment. Really Langgar!

    • I don’t really know about HDB rules cuz they keep changing rules like changing underwear! But I say here is the truth. I will provide details if challenged by the relevant authority.

  4. pumpkin says:

    I too have no problem with new Indian immigrants in my neighbourhood, They speak good English and well mannered.

  5. Truth says:

    Well the Indian immigrants are quite well behaved and do integrate. Sometimes a bit too much. They have taken over my RC and are trying for all the key positions. I guess they think it’s a good way to get into the PAP’s good books and perhaps get invited for tea. Mind you, some of them are much more qualified and talented than our part-time MPs. I do realise that they tend to look down on the locals Indians and like to classsify themselves as expats.

    • Yes. I notice that generally those Indian FTs or Expats are much more talented than others. For more than 300 years, they have been under British colonial rule. As such, they are different. It’s quite obvious.

  6. agongkia says:

    Please….Dun be a daft and try to distract attention or get your attention distracted by such claim of xenophobia or anti foreigner sentiment. How many locals really have problem with FT immigrants or neighbours?
    My neighbouring FT(S) even look forward to massage me when they see me returning home .

    That ROC couple have the courage to venture into another country and make a fortune because they are hard working .SINkies can only blame themselves for not daring to take risk or being born at the wrong place or wrong timing or under poor leadership.Your Garmen welcome FTs here,so you have to support your Garmen.

    Dun know what to buy as present or if too free,go and buy that family a majulah flag,get one for yourself and fly or display it high high,Your National Day is coming.^^

  7. jamymeelea says:

    thanks gintai for highlighting the ‘beyond norms’ but working in property management *ahems* i beg to differ about the indian FTs. my experience is that they prefer to mix with their own kind and bring thier caste politics over to singapore. my cleaner cried once because a lady (indian Ft) told her NOT to greet her good morning because she’s ‘just a cleaner’. i believe it takes one to know one so for me, best to dwell on the positives. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the boy and hope this is a good beginning to neighbourly relations regardless of nationality.

    • Yes, we all want to live in harmony. After all it’s only in Sg where so many races live together in harmony. Where else can you find? Thank you for wishing that little 3-year old boy Happy Birthday. Cheers.

  8. just a singaporean from perth says:

    It’s just too crowded, regardless of race, language or religion. We are an epidemic away from an expensive lesson.

  9. Remy says:

    Some ministers again wanting Singaporeans to make foreigners ( inc PR ) feel welcome. Accepting their behaviours. It’s very disappointing when ministers still hav’t realize that they are heading towards a wrong direction after the last GE. People voted for them n as a MP hope to c changes to the policies that people dislike but instead of the change in their attitude towards pro-foreigners, ministers still think what they have previously done is right n continue doing it. Is it right for citizen to support these ministers again knowing the n result will still be v.likely the same after the next GE?

  10. Truth says:

    I hope some of the new citizens will join the opposition party or even the ruling party and give a run for the existing MPs and Ministers a run for their money. That will be the day, when they realise that their jobs too are at stake that they will really understand how the people feel

  11. Anonymous says:

    I have mixed reactions towards your blog post. While I agree that immigrants have a part to play in integrating themselves into Singapore because everyone has a role to play in creating an integrated and cohesive society, the general tone and approach of your post seems to leave me with some distaste.

    Contrary to what you may suggest, the sentiment you expressed in your post here is xenophobic and anti-foreign. Let me start by challenging the “FT” versus “native” dichotomy you presented. To what end, and to what rationale purpose does that serve?

    Xenophobia is defined as an ‘unreasonable fear or dislike of foreigners or strangers’ ( Your “FT” and “native” dichotomy is unreasonable because the sole reason you dislike them is because they are foreign.

    You raised several examples in your post about the behavior of so-called “FT” which you frown upon.

    First, you suggested that the ROC couple with the HDB flat and the condominium were selfish and took advantage of the Singaporeans. In your own words, “so many Singaporeans are queuing to buy HDB flats. Here, we have this ROC PRs having two flats – public and private. Yes, they are much smarter than us daft Singaporeans.” The question I pose to you is this: there are many Singaporeans who do the same as a matter of investment prudence. Why does it matter that this couple is from the ROC, and why does it matter that they are not ‘native’ Singaporeans?

    Similarly, you talk about “FTs” who insult Singaporeans. The question is, why are you singling out “FTs” as a group, rather than castigate the actions of individuals who act in that manner? Going by your logic, we should therefore indulge in condemning groups based on race whenever a person of a certain race makes disparaging remarks against another. If it is the individual we ought to blame, then why are you making much out of the fact that he or she is a “FT”?

    Lastly, I am not even sure why you raised the issue of “FTs” and stealing jobs. Last I checked, “cashiers, sales retailing, hawkers, bus drivers, customer services etc” are certainly jobs that native Singaporeans are capable of doing but are unwilling to do so because it is not glamorous / does not pay well enough.

    The point here is this: in presenting the dichotomy, aren’t you presenting a ‘straw man’ to blame anything and everything under the sun on immigrants? How is this not xenophobic? And here’s more food for thought: And if you adopt this us versus them mentality, how would that help in integrate society? Wouldn’t it alienate non-native Singaporeans as well? As you said, Asian culture is one based on reciprocity –it goes both ways. The mentality you demonstrate here isn’t reflective of reciprocity, rather it is one of animosity, distrust and xenophobia.

    • Very interesting logical analysis. We will see what others have to say. Thks for your comments.

    • Anonymous says:

      Gintai, as a Singaporean, has displayed himself to be very supportive of the Immigrantion Policy. Inline with the Policy is to bring in foreign talents.
      There could be hundreds of millions of talents better than Singaporean, just like to know from Gintai and his likes, shall we welcome them?

      • If you look at the earlier comment, I was accused of FTs. I’m quite at a loss really. I wish that there is not too so much foreigners amongst us. Most of us feel that it shld be controlled. Only quality immigrants are welcomed. Not those foreign trash that give us social problems and create divisiveness amongst us.

        What do you think?

  12. singaporean student says:

    I have some reservations about your view that Singapore should only welcome ‘quality’ immigrants who are well educated.

    You have categorised foreigners in two ways.
    Firstly, by their manners. To quote your post, “Those idiots making all kinds of insults against local natives and instigating us on Facebook” as opposed to the pleasant sort such as your neighbours.
    Secondly, by their education level. The fact that your foreign neighbours work in the Aerospace Industry seems to have played a role in your acceptance of them. To quote your post again, “If they are professionals with real “talent” like that Indian family, I believe most of us do not really mind”.

    Your solution confuses both categories and assumes that all uneducated foreigners are socially undesirable. Many of the rude posts about Singaporeans on social media are posted by educated people. Recall the PRC scholar incident earlier on this year? Also, not all educated foreigners will be as open and friendly as your neighbours, as jamymeelea pointed out.

    I do not wish for social problems or a divided Singapore either. Practically speaking, however, the ‘quality’ and ‘low-quality’ distinction does not work.

    • Remy says:

      We need foreigners who are sincere in joining us in Singapore as a family. Someone that believe in the making of the next success story. Regardless of which category of professional, be it WP, SP, EP, Special EP, PR holder, if one is sincere to be part of us should make an effort to blend into Singapoean society but not the other way round.
      Unfortunately, in my opinion we have attracted loads of foreigners, including PRs that are here for the monetory benefit. They seen to be unwilling to sink their root here. Seems to b an ungrateful lot that is here to find their first piece of gold bar in the expense of the local population. I.e housing price. Giving us a piece of their mind just because our govt “see” them as gold will definately not work well with the local.
      We have tried this system for 10 years. In my opinion, social cost is running high hence incumbent party is loosing its power. Doesn’t that tell alot? We should put in more effort to encourage birth and retain local professional, shouldn’t we?

      • Well said. They shld conform and strengthen our national identity and core values not dilute or undermine them. Many treat this place purely as a gold mine. To reap max benefits and retire back home. Ive seen many esp in my workplace. They refuse to take up citizenship but make a living here esp those living across the causeway. This is a fact which many will not want to admit.

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