We were once strangers as well

Ex 22: 21 “You shall neither mistreat a stranger nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

In the aftermath of the May 1 protest in Singapore at Hong Lim Park against the increasing number of foreigners in Singapore, there is talk of restricting foreign intake and reserving jobs for Singaporeans. This is a fearful and emotional response to a changing world, yet understandable.

It is easy to blame others. Often we are at fault, for aren’t we taking away jobs from Singapore when we consume foreign made products (foodstuffs, phone, car, electrical goods, clothing, TV, refrigerator, handbags, cosmetics). The buses, trains, and construction companies that built our train stations are all foreign.

With manufacturing industry being taken away to lower cost countries, all that is left is to be in the trading business as a port city, a tourist place of hotels, shopping centers, exitement and fun, and a financial centre.

How we treat the foreigners is our pragmatic best for the sake of survival and exagerates the rich/poor gap.

  • We employ foreign construction / F&B/ services/ maid workers to do jobs with low pay and long working hours in order to keep costs low. Otherwise, a plate of fried kway teow would cost SGD 10 (eg Australia)instead of SGD 3.50. The train fare wouldn’t be 2.50 to Jurong East, but SGD 9 (eg Sydney metro) because of the high cost of building stations, trains, and regular maintenance.
  • We welcome the foreign mega rich, and made Singapore a financial hub, a place to be and to stay. The money they bring in, helps develop Singapore and brings in the tourists and more jobs. Imagine Singapore with only the museum to visit but no casinos, night safari, universal studios , no Orchard, clark quay, boat quay, Harbor front. We will end up like Malacca and Ipoh, backwater cities without local jobs and for day visits only.

The Jews also have an exclusive mentality and they didn’t mingle with other races especially when the foreigners were engaged in idol and occultic worship. That posed a threat to the Gospel which was to be made available to all.

Their fear was not unfounded because inter-marriage had introduced other gods to displace the One God is Israel, hence turning away the heart of the people from God.

We should be happy and be glad that people want to come to SIngapore, to a better place, for they consider Singapore blessed and a land of opportunity and freedom. They were no different than many of our forefathers who came to the Malayan Peninsula from the foreign shores. Surely, we were once strangers as well.

It is easy to complain and to murmour for even manna from heaven would not satisfy many after a while. We long for change, for something better, yet not realising what a great blessing that God has given Singapore.

People come from all over the world to SIngapore because they see the hand of God. Even our mega churches – CHC and NCC in particular are known througout the world with services being broadcasted to millions.

The focus on survival often stiffles enjoying life, and we forget our humanity and morality. We see in other countries religious strive, hence we retained 377a against gays as not to antagonise the people of faith. We can be cold and harsh when foreigners complained of their work conditions.

Yet, we can’t go back to the nostalgic past as demanded by some in the protest, for we are not alone but highly interconnected through trade, travel, media, and social networks. We live in a virtual and mobile world where countries compete for jobs and limited resources at an global level. Jobs don’t just grow in our vineyards at Orchard Road.

We should live with less fear as a nation, and what best to demonstrate an openess and a high sense of morality and righteousness is to decriminalise homosexuality, and permit gay marriage.

When we welcome gays, the least in the community, all the other barriers of religion, race, wealth will also be broken.

Gays are the ultimate strangers in the land where 95% are straight. Many Gay Singaporeans paid taxes and did national services, yet treated far worst than foreigners with the treat of a jail sentence, and no rights to their relationships.

The Antioch of the bible in the southern tip of Turkey was a multicultural port city. It was the entry point for the Gospel to go forth into Rome. Singapore is also a port city and a growing evangelical charismatic church.

We have such large mega churches and “Love Singapore”, not that we can defend “morality” against gays, but to preach the Gospel because the world is at our doorstep.

It’s time for Singapore to open their hearts and for Singaporean churches to open her doors. If we close our doors, people will go elsewhere and we will loose our calling and destiny.

Eph 2: 19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,

As Christians, we were once strangers as well to the hope and call of redemption in Abraham, but we were grafted in through Jesus Christ.

By God’s grace, we became no longer strangers but citizens of heaven by faith in Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour. We belong to an eternal Kingdom where Jesus is our King.

So therefore, let God’s grace, mercy and love reign in our lives that we can open the doors to all that may come, for who knows, it may be Christ knocking at our doors. But ironically, He comes in the sounds and voices of the Gay community knocking at our doors with a message of love and a pink dot.

For aren’t we all strangers on earth destined for heaven one day in Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour.