Author | M. MartinezSingapore is succeeding in preventing ethnic segregation despite ethnic groups from various origins coexisting in its reduced territory: Chinese (74%-77%), Malays, who are the indigenous people of Singapore (14%) and Hindu Indians from the Indian migration of 1819 (8-9%); as well as three languages (Mandarin, Tamil and Malay) together with English and the culture inherited from having been a British colony twice (1826-1942 and 1945-1963).When in 1963 Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak joined to form the Federation of Malaysia, ethnic tensions erupted. Soon after, it attained its definitive independence, but the internal battles for power in a country which, to make matters worse, was even occupied by Japan and became embroiled in two wars (the insurgency and a world war) threatened to plant a time bomb. Fortunately, the young country managed to defuse it in time.
What is ethnic integration and what does it consist of?The ethnic integration process consists of a system that enables various ethnic groups to coexist in peace and generate interdependent relationships and, if possible, close relationships, between one another. Of course, there is not just a single mechanism for achieving this and each country chooses a system.
- In the assimilation model (Germany, France), foreigners integrate within the predominant (legal) culture.
- In the melting pot model (the Spain of the three cultures in Al Andalus or the Latin American model), there is a tacit tolerance, although not a formal mixture of ethnic groups.
- The cultural pluralism model (United Kingdom) is based on ethnic recognition by law.
- Finally, in multiculturalism, countries legislate taking into account the existence of strong ethnic and cultural differences (Australia).