On Being a Singaporean PR…

I’m a Permanent Resident (PR) of Singapore, but feel like a second-class citizen. Of course, being PR grants me certain privileges, including shorter lines at immigration, enrolment into CPF, the government’s compulsory┬áretirement savings scheme, and eligibility for jobs that my foreign friends simply can’t touch.

But the political climate here is getting uglier every day. I can understand locals grumbling about crowded trains and buses, rising costs for housing, job competition, and not being able to send their children to the schools they want. Perhaps the PAP has brought in too many people, and at too fast a rate. Increasingly though, i see forum posts or blog comments claiming that “PRs should not be allowed to do xyz“, or that “the government gives undue advantages to PRs”.

Is this for real?

Already, there are many rights & obligation differences between a PR and a citizen besides the ability to vote and hold a Singaporean passport. PRs enjoy lower subsidies for medical treatments, can only buy government housing under special circumstances, and have to queue behind children who are citizens when balloting for primary schools. On the other hand, the rules governing mandatory NS duty for PRs are arguably more lenient. More disturbing is a new breed of self-anointed “True Blue” Singaporeans – supposedly those who were born and bred here, as opposed to naturalized citizens. {sigh}

Since i relocated with dear hubby (a Singaporean) so that we could start our lives here, i have to admit it’s saddening to see these events unfold. It makes me really miss Toronto, the home of my heart’s heart. I honestly hope that in time, i can grow to love this country too.