SINGAPORE — An overwhelming majority of Singapore residents expressed pride in the country's healthcare system and its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) study.
The study, which examined national pride and identity in Singapore, also showed that the respondents were least proud of its press freedom and treatment of migrant workers.
The findings, which were released on Thursday (23 September), polled some 2,000 Singapore residents from September to November last year who were asked, among others, to indicate their sense of pride across 24 indicators.
Over eight in 10 respondents, or 83.8 per cent, indicated that they were proud or very proud of Singapore's healthcare system – the highest level among the indicators. The majority of respondents also expressed pride in Singapore's level of cleanliness, the Singapore Armed Forces, religious diversity, the education system and 13 other indicators.
Singapore's COVID-19 pandemic management ranked sixth by mean score, with close to seven out of 10 indicating that they were proud or very proud of the city-state's coronavirus efforts.
The study, led by Dr Mathew Mathews, found that higher-educated and higher socioeconomic status (SES) respondents were more critical of Singapore’s response to the pandemic, with only 29.1 per cent of higher-educated and 25.7 per cent of higher SES respondents being very proud of Singapore’s handling of the pandemic.
Press freedom in Singapore ranked last by mean score, with some three in 10 saying that they were proud or very proud of it. The study inferred that better-educated respondents reported press freedom as something they were not proud of, "possibly given their awareness that Singapore occupies the 160th spot on the 2021 World Press Freedom Index".
Singapore's treatment of migrant workers was the second lowest by mean score, with a third indicating pride or strong pride. "That many Singaporeans do not feel proud of this aspect of our society should spur us to consider how we can collectively do better to support and preserve the dignity of those more vulnerable in society", said the study.
Only four in 10 respondents reported that they were proud or very proud of the arts and sporting achievements here.
The study also found that some 70 per cent of respondents indicated a preference for political plurality.
Five in 10 agreed to a moderate or great extent that immigrants took jobs away from people in Singapore, and that the government spent too much money assisting immigrants.
About three in 10 also indicated to a moderate and great extent that immigrants increased crime rates.
But a great majority acknowledged the economic and cultural benefits of immigration, said the study.
The study also revealed that respondents, when asked to evaluate values that they believed were important for newcomers to Singapore who wanted to successfully integrate, ranked highly newcomers who support community cohesion.
Values that emphasise individualism — such as self-fulfilment and freedom of speech — were perceived as least important.
"This reflected that the Singaporean national identity leans towards collectivism and prioritises social cohesion and stability over individual concerns. However, this survey alone cannot conclude whether collectivism is more aspirational than actually practised in everyday life here," the study said.
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