Truly said, every coin has two sides. But when it comes to policies and politics, a random toss can be really catastrophic. The same can be said for globalisation. Of course, globalisation came with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand where it made the world a melting pot, then on the other it also became the reason for the cracks on that very pot – making it fragile and susceptible.
With the advent of globalisation, the concept of nation-state – or rather, shall I say nationalism – gradually started diminishing! The world-order started getting governed more by knowledge and communication technologies. Along with knowledge and technology, the ease of mobility acted as catalyst to make the world smaller, more congested and heterogeneous. So when migration and cross-culture relationships were augmenting each other, in some other part of the world national identities were getting lost. That said, nationalism has the ability to enhance solidarity, but if not channelized under controlled conditions, then it can backfire as hostility and increase xenophobia. December 18 was International Migrants Day, a day when the United Nation’s officially exhorted people and governments to end xenophobia and to support migrant communities. But that’s easier said than done.
Recently, a nation famous for its stringent civilian rules and regulations and subsequently also for its benchmark target of zero crime, saw globalisation and xenophobia at loggerheads in the most unexpected manner, especially given the social history of that nation. A few days ago, hundreds of foreign residents in Singapore resorted to violence, vandalism and even attacked the police in one of the worst riots in the last four decades of Singaporean history, after a bus (evidently accidentally) killed an Indian migrant worker near Little India, a region that typifies India and is populated significantly by Indian migrants. The riots occurred despite the fact that Singapore has one of the most stringent laws for rioters. Without an iota of doubt, accidents are uncommon in Singapore where laws are followed religiously, literally and verbatim. But then, this one incident acted as a trigger to the suppressed animosity that foreign workers were carrying in their minds and hearts since long, due to their perception of being xenophobically (if one could call it that) targeted since long by the Singaporean nationals. This riot seemed more of a frustration emitting exercise by local Asians residing in Little India who are still not treated as par with permanent residents of the island nation.
- 20 December 2013 |
- Arindam on Indian Economy