Monday, January 26, 2009

Indians in Singapore

From my cover story, Singapore Se, published in Khabar, Atlanta, USA:
Can you name a country which is the richest in its region, with Indians forming less than 10 percent of its population, and yet it has an Indian president, many Indian cabinet ministers and a thriving professional class of Indians with their own global glossies and radio stations?

It is not Dubai. It is Singapore.

That’s why it didn’t seem odd when I was recently chatting about Singapore’s Indian diaspora—new and old—with some American students in a cafĂ© on Orchard Road (Singapore’s famous strip of upscale malls). These students from a college in Indiana were in Singapore to conduct research on the Indian diaspora in the island state. Why did they choose Singapore for their study? Because it is the microcosm of the Indian diaspora in a globalized city state in all its hues and colors—old and new, rich and poor, from all regions of India, and representing more or less all cultures and religions of India.

Here is a succinct description of the Indian diaspora’s situation in Singapore. This is a diaspora whose story might not have been narrated to the world, but it is a story of grit and hard work and of final triumph that needs to be broadcast and celebrated.

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1 comment:

Suzan Abrams said...

Hi Zafar,
I think you'll also find the North Indian diaspora (and not the South at all) to be the richest in East Africa. They're very wealthy but not showy. And they presently head East Africa's economy in the areas of being businessmen,chain store owners, department store owners, provision shop owners, entrepreneurs, hoteliers, bankers, travel agency owners, safari park management and tour guide owners, restauranteurs, money changers, medical establishments, Christian missionaries, priests, teachers, etc. ...they're the
backbone to the economy in several urgent ways.
I noticed when I was in Dubai a few days ago that its new Terminal 3 was manned by almost all Filipinos - if I'm not mistaken...a massive difference to some years ago when Indians held the fort.
Also, drastic visa changes in the UAE recently (late last year) would have contributed to the dramatic shift in Indian culture in the UAE state.