Building the World

Multicultural Cities – Singapore

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Sultan Mosque, photo by Judhi Prasetyo, Creative Commons

Located on a strait running between the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean, Singapore connects China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. The port holds the record for shipping tonnage among all global ports. A city of the world, Singapore has four official languages: English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil. As early as 1800s, houses of worship included the Sultan Mosque, Hindu Sri Mariamman Temple, Taoist Wak Hai Cheng Temple, and Buddhist Kuan Yin Temple. Can Singapore inspire more empathy and multiculturalism in our world?


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Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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  1. Angela Newton, Traditional BSN Nursing Program,
    VOICES OF THE FUTURE: Discussions and Implications
    Question #2: Multicultural Cities- Singapore
    Singapore, a tropical island city-state, is the most economically developed country in South-East Asia. After becoming a profitable trading station and attaining independence in 1965, Singapore’s economic contributions have been affected by historical events contributing to the world’s war on terror. The vision and strategies to cope with the consequences of violence among the human race has been dubbed a ‘New Asia-Singapore.’ Ooi (2004) recognize Singapore’s goal to represent the hub of tourism within the region, whereby the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) Destination Marketing Division states:
    “In short, ‘New Asia-Singapore’ expresses the essence of…a vibrant, multicultural, sophisticated city-state where tradition and modernity, East and West meet in harmony (pg. 247).”
    Can Singapore inspire more empathy and multiculturalism in our world? I believe the answer is yes. In a world of endless diversity and heartbreaking conflict, hope is a dove. Singapore is a world leader in maintaining racial harmony; the government is extremely sensitive to ethnic factors in every field of national life, whether in culture, politics, housing or education. Its present policy is to maintain the multi-cultural society, with each ethnic community preserving its distinct cultural identity (Lim, 1989). This is a true display of empathy, defined as
    “The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another…without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicate in an objectively explicit manner (”
    We as a society, can embrace the spirit of hope popping up all over the world and unify to create change for a safer world. Making the effort to understand one another’s position is on of the first steps of effective communication.
    If I could change the world, I would be an advocate to educate more people about ethical issues that the human race faces every day in their personal lives, jobs, and within the community. I would target young people enrolled in early education so that those whose parents have neglected to teach their children how to make decisions about what is right and wrong. I believe that if we, as a society, can teach kids about valuable moral issues such as honesty and respect for themselves and others, we can encourage our children to safely recognize and speak out against unethical behaviors. Rather than burying our concerns with blame and allowing disappointing parts of our history the chance to repeat themselves, we can start a discussion in the classroom, enhancing overflow into group settings. If we can gain enough support and momentum to get going, this initiative would allow the younger generations to take back the world as they use their power of their minds and words to hold adults accountable for their actions in an appropriate way. It is essential that we as a human race support each other to healthily express ourselves in a safe, non-maleficent manner.
    Lim, H.P. (1989). Singaporean multi-cultural society- Opening or obstacles for non-governmental civic activities. Retrieved 4/19/13 from
    Ooi, C.S. (2004). Destination Branding, 2nd edition; Creating the Unique Destination Proposition. Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann: Oxford, UK; pp. 242-314. Accessed 4/19/13.

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