Ethnic Rhythms: Life in the Global City Book Launch 3 Sept 2015


Ethnic Rhythms: Life in the Global City

Published by Singapore Centre for Global Missions

We are pleased to announce that we will be launching our new publication
Ethnic Rhythms: Life in the Global City
on 3 September 2015

in celebration of SG50 and SCGM’s 35th Anniversary. 

This resource publication contains a timely update of the richness of the broadening ethno-cultural landscape of Singapore. We have invited writers from the academia, civil society and churches to contribute thought-provoking pieces from cultural, sociological, philosophical and missiological angles.



You can now place orders. 

The publication is available for free. 

For bulk orders or enquiries, 

kindly contact Ching / Shanti at 6339 8950 or email


Excerpts from the book:

On diversity…

Within a few decades, the forces of globalisation have generated new migrations of people into Singapore. This is facilitated by the space-time compression of an even more interconnected globe made possible by modern transportation and communications technology…. It is clear that a nation-city-state like Singapore is inextricably plugged into globalisation processes that can no longer be constructed solely on the basis of a nationality-bound demography. It must now selectively incorporate a wide range of non-citizens and residents of different skill levels, occupation, ethnicity, nationality and gender.

– Prof Brenda Yeoh and Theodora Lam, NUS

On the Singapore identity…

Not many Singaporeans can describe our national identity without mentioning ‘kiasuism’, popular dishes such as chicken rice and nasi lemak, the five ‘C’s, and national pastimes such as shopping and yes, “complaining”. Yet being Singaporean means much more than presenting these traits or having these preferences. That Singaporeans think about ethnicity in a largely uniform way suggests that something more than racial difference binds Singaporeans together. The Singaporean identity defined today may shift with the emergence of each generation but the desire to be a society that unifies through the acceptance of its diversity should be the thread that guides every step towards a national identity… And the influx of new cultures can greatly enhance the richness of what a Singaporean identity truly represents.

– Daniel Chua, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies

On xenophobia…

Singaporeans seem to have been inclined to blame foreigners for social issues more readily with their social media commentaries brimming with ugly invective. They also seem to react disproportionately, enlarging small fault lines to flashpoint. In addition, these vocal Singaporean critics perceive both new immigrants and temporary residents as lacking interest in contributing to Singapore…. There is a need for each of us as individuals to exercise empathy and compassion in the face of conflicts, so that Singapore can progress and remain harmonious even in a fast-changing and globalising world and local society.

– Dr William Wan, General Secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement

On kindness towards foreigners among us…

Did you know that God Almighty has a special place in His heart for foreign workers, just like the Lord Jesus Christ has for children, including of course the one million foreign workers working in Singapore? God requires us to be kind to sojourners – foreigners, foreign workers, guest-workers, or whatever we may call them. They are in material need because of circumstances beyond their control. The God who provides us our daily bread also provides them their daily bread. In fact, just as He used the Israelites of old to be a blessing to the sojourners, he is also blessing us in Singapore so that we can be a blessing to others. 

– Bishop Kuan Kim Seng

On the soul of the global city… 

To grow as a city with creativity and cultural influence, we would need a sense of spiritual transcendence. It is a call to grow our soul, to touch base with our humanity, to strive for self-affirmation through the courage to be what we can be. It will mean exploring the destiny of our city, probing deeper into our own shared consciousness, appreciating our cultural history and local places inscribed with memories and meanings.

– Lawrence Ko, National Director of SCGM

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"Reading and Reflection"
study guide
1. Out of the 10 inspiring stories of missionaries sent from Singapore, which story do you like best? Why?
2. Do you agree that God has given children a sense of curiosity and a mind full of imagination? At play, they explore the world they live in. The school, the church and the home can provide wonderful opportunities for children to learn about different people and cultures in the wonderful world God has created.
3. How many types of occupations can you list from the 10 missionary stories? Have you started to think about what you would like to do when you grow up?
4. Can you match the missionaries with their occupations? Whether you are a medical doctor or a dental nurse, a pastor or a teacher, a business leader or a community worker, you can serve God in missions using your special interest, talent and training.
5. It is never too early to wonder about life. Many of the missionaries asked questions even when they were young. Some of them experienced bullying, disappointments, unhappiness and even family problems when they were young. They learnt about the purpose of their lives when they started talking to parents, pastors and teachers in church. Do you talk to your parents and teachers about your hopes and fears?
6. Do you realize that God can use your childhood interests, experiences and education to be a blessing to the people around you? Whether it is learning about science, geography, or enjoying the fishing at the beach or making music, it takes hard work to become good at what you like to do. So work hard, play hard and enjoy your childhood.
Reading and Reflection Questions for Children