Integration: Perspectives of A Naturalized Citizen

"Integration – Perspectives of A Naturalized Citizen" book launched by Minister for Trade and Industry Mr. S. Iswaran

Integration and Migration is a global phenomenon and exists in all the big countries of the world. Singapore is a country based on multiculturalism since its inception and therefore the focus on integration has always been in the forefront. A complete integration between the locals and immigrants will benefit the society at large.

Integration​­​-A Naturalized Citizen’s Perspective discloses the journey of Mr. Prakash Kumar Hetamsaria from immigrant to naturalized citizen of Singapore. Prakash embarked on his Singapore journey in 1995 and started his quest just as any other migrant coming with the intention of returning to his birthplace. The book outlines the challenges that Prakash had to face as a foreigner as well as what steps he took to overcome them for integrating in Singapore’s society. To attain a fulfilling life, integrating with the local setting and the local people is imperative and is well­-illustrated via Prakash’s life. From liking the country for its physical beauty to developing an emotional attachment towards it, the book provides an insight into the various dimensions of integration that a common man should undertake.

Singapore is a country whose pillars are based on four main ideologies: meritocracy, pragmatism, multiracialism, and Asian values. The first prerequisite of becoming a part of the host country is to be proactive, curious, and to know as much as you can. The initiative has to come from the immigrant and then reciprocation from a Singaporean is expected. The ups and downs of forming a community (Bijhar) a decade back with just 30 families with the drive of inspiring immigrants towards a close­knit and a cohesive Singapore has been vividly depicted.

The understanding of the GRO and the NC as a member to becoming the Chairman of the Ayer Rajah West Coast Park NC, Chairman of West Coast Park NC, Chairman of Blue Horizon MCST and West Coast INC Leader, has candidly been discussed by Prakash. A SG50 initiative, this book is about sharing his 20 years’ journey to help immigrants integrate into society, wholeheartedly intermingle with Singaporeans, and work towards a much more united Singapore.

The book also shares thoughts and vision to see integration at a much deeper level in Singapore. The following are the six areas that would help in improve integration of Singaporeans with immigrants.

1. Intercommunity integration should be encouraged

2. Integration training programs for community members

3. Orientation programs for immigrants at the initial stage

4. Better participation with more food options

5. Promoting learning of a third language

6. Inter­racial marriages

About the Author:

Shruti Sinha originally hails from Ranchi, capital city of the Indian state Jharkhand. She has a PhD in English Literature from Ranchi University. Ranking at the third position in her A level exams, she enrolled into Bachelors of Arts in English and was the gold medalist for the academic year 2001-2004. Her ranking at the university helped her bag the post graduate merit scholarship granted by the University Grants Commission (UGC) India by the then Human Resource Development minister Mr. Arjun Singh.  She earned her master’s degree in English Literature with specialization in Linguistics, ranking first among the 32 colleges that come under Ranchi University. Soon after her master’s She enrolled into PhD and successfully completed it in 4 years. Her strong academic background earned her a job as a lecturer in Nirmala College and she engrossed herself into teaching poetry and drama to the bachelor's and master's students.

Shruti shifted her base to Singapore in 2009 after getting married to Chakrapani Narayan a Singapore PR. It was merely a coincidence that she started experiencing the exact same life what she studied and researched about during her PhD dissertation. After spending the first few months during settling down in Singapore, she started teaching English as second language, at  a reputed Management School in Singapore, to students from non-English speaking countries across the world. Her workplace provided opportunities to interact with many of local colleagues and she started appreciating the difference between local culture and Indian culture.

Apart from her academic interest shruti spends time in helping immigrants of Bijhar to integrate with the local setting. She is also in the editorial board of Bijhar and contributes to the editorial sections of the magazine. During the last 12 months she has met many Singaporean from government organizations and gathered research data on last 50 years after Singapore’s independence. All this greatly helped her in capturing the facts about the local culture and society, which has made her first book written based on real experience of a migrant in becoming an integral part of Singapore by becoming a Singaporean.