The 'dual realities' of growing up with immigrant parents, as shared by a S'porean

Her father migrated to Singapore in 1979 and the family was later granted citizenship in 1994.

Fasiha Nazren | May 23, 2021, 05:32 PM

In recent weeks, there have been several reports of Indian individuals in Singapore who were attacked and accused of spreading the Covid-19 virus.

A Facebook post by Sujatha Selvakumar shared her own experience as the child of migrant parents.

Granted citizenship in 1994

Sujatha's father migrated to Singapore in 1979, and the family was later granted citizenship in 1994.

However, she had long considered Singapore her home, even before her family became naturalised citizens.

She recalled,

"I remember this day — because I thought it was so odd that my parents got me dressed and we went to a special place to recite the pledge and sing the Majulah Singapura, something I already did every day in school. The only national Anthem I know how to sing. I didn’t understand its significance till much later."

As someone who grew up as an immigrant child, Sujatha shared that the recent events will "no doubt" be disorienting to children of immigrant parents.

She also acknowledged that it was never easy to make sense of the dual realities that existed in her world — one with her immigrant family and the other with her school and the local community.

Called for "allyship" with immigrant children

Because of that, Sujatha called for Singaporeans to ally with immigrant children, especially during such times:

"More than ever, all the immigrant children and teenagers need your grace and allyship.

1. Check on your friends, students, neighbours.

2. Ask if their extended family is alright? Have they suffered loss?

3. Be curious about their migration journeys and the rich cultures they come from

4. Ask them if they need support

5. Allow yourself permission to not have all the answers. Your willingness to listen with an open heart (w/o judgment) is what matters."

Sujatha also took the chance to remind other immigrant children in Singapore that what the world says does not change what they know is already true.

She ended her Facebook post with a word of advice: "For every person making xenophobic comments — think again before you rob a child of their home, safety and security with your words."

You can read her post here:

Top image from Unsplashed.