Living As Aliens
Recently there has been much debate about foreign workers in Singapore. Many Singaporeans are worried that foreign workers would take their jobs resulting in stiffer competition in the job market. They also complain about foreign workers having bad manners and behaviour. Their conclusion is to have more domestic helpers and professional workers but less unskilled labourers.
These perceptions disturbed me. Firstly, these foreign workers are taking up jobs that Singaporeans are not willing to do. Usually these jobs are strenuous and require the workers to be under the hot sun for long hours. These jobs are also considered ‘dirty’ or ‘low-class’ to Singaporeans. Without the foreign workers, Singaporeans would not take up these jobs anyway. But without these workers we would be in deep trouble. Not only would Singapore become a dirtier place, many companies would also have to shut down due to lack of unskilled workers. Our overall economy would be affected ultimately. I just do not understand why we think that these labourers are taking up our jobs when they are doing things we do not want to do.
With regards to manners and behaviour, it is not only their problem. In fact, I see many Singaporeans who have worse behaviour than them. We need to understand that they come from another culture and they are really very tired from their work that is usually 7 days a week, more than 12 hours a day. I think some of us have become less accommodating. Did Singapore not start from a nation of immigrants? But yet we are able to develop to what we are today and now we do not feel that we were former immigrants before. Does this not say something about how people can be transformed and inculturated if they were to stay here for a longer time? I feel that some foreign workers are even more ‘Singaporean’ than us today.
There is still a deeper issue for Christians. We have forgotten that we are aliens on earth. We have become so comfortable and have earned so much for ourselves that we think that this earth is our home. We have become so possessive of the things we earn that we are not willing to let go. We think that we deserve to have them because it is our right. But the Bible tells us that though we are in this world, we are not of this world. This world is only a temporary place. Nothing here belongs to us. We are just stewards. We only have privileges not rights. We are to live as aliens here. We are just passersby. Do not hold on to this world so tightly. As aliens on earth ourselves, we should learn to treat the aliens in this land rightfully. Many of them have the chance to know God because they came here to work. Let us humble ourselves to love and accept these foreign workers in this land. Remember that they too, are loved by God.