|A Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh near the border of Myanmar. (Photo Auniket @ Demotix (10/15/2012)|
Government ministers have touched on values emerging as a major strand in the Our Singapore Conversation; what then is the value being espoused by the Singapore Government, when it implicitly advocates that the Rohingya should have been left at sea? How would we want ships to treat Singaporeans stranded at sea?
Singaporeans have clearly articulated a desire for Singapore to become a more humane and compassionate society. The way that we treat distressed people fleeing genocide seems a good place to start.
It was wrong to turn them away as they were in need of food and medical help. The right thing to do would be to afford them temporary shelter and to ensure their physical safety. The refugees can then be repatriated at a later time.
Singaporeans are a compassionate people and the Government representing us should not be cold and cruel, one that calculates everything in material terms.
For all the effort S’pore has made to gain first world status, this incident shames Singapore to the core. We have a heartless govt. Just 40 people and we can’t shelter them temporarily? Forget about the argument “more will come”. That argument means that you are willing to allow 40 to die because you are not confident you can take more.
…when you are fleeing genocide or war, you just run and go wherever you can get to, it’s not the same as economic migrants shopping around for a nice place to work. Even if it means simply allowing desperate refugees temporary shelter whilst waiting for transit to a third country willing to take refugees, that means simply offering them shelter for a few weeks or months – is that too much to ask?
Eng Patrick my heart will weep with joy seeing their happiness knowing somebody cares. i feel singapore can house them for a period of time while they seek a permanent home elsewhere. sad to see them turned away.
Cedric Koh They are a persecuted minority in their homeland.If we don’t help them, their entire race, their culture,their ways of life, will be extinct, and what we are doing equates to sending them to their own deaths.
D-jin Toh By not helping them we are not saying we are condoning anything. By not helping them, we are saying we will not help them, nothing more. There are millions of refugees worldwide, by not helping them, does that mean that for all these years we have condoned war, slavery, violence, genocide etc.?
One last thing, I am not against helping these people, but I am against letting them in. Give them some food and water, then sending them on their way to another country would be the better choice in my opinion.
Frankie Png There many countries which are huge with own resources cannot even accept them. We have no resources and land, how can we open our doors. Giving them food and medicines which is already a generosity for a small island with 8 million people. This is so hard to please, humanity or sustainability?
Perhaps the politicians are seeing something that I don’t see here but who we show compassion to seem grossly wrong. When Westerners who have been screwed out of their homes decide to turn on the bankers who screwed them, we rush to show compassion to the bankers. When people flee being imminent slaughter, we decide that they’re not worthy of our compassion. Not sure where the logic in that comes from.
@chotemiya3 If the reports of Singapore turning away the ship carrying Rohingya refugees are true, then i am truly ashamed to call myself a Singaporean.