When I saw the news about the riot at Little India that happened on Sunday (8th Dec) night, I was totally shocked. Did this really happen in Singapore!? I couldn't believe my eyes - some police cars were overturned, some engulfed in flames; the streets went crazy.
There were even reports of police and civil defence officers being injured by the riot; and Prime Minister Lee made an urgent announcement on Facebook regarding this matter in the wee hours (3 am) of the night.
The riot was uncalled for. It had disrupted our country’s peace and stability that we have enjoyed for so many years. We used to tell our tourist friends that it was okay and safe to walk along the streets of Singapore due to the peace and security we have. But now, it may be difficult for us to say the same.
From the business point of view, if such kind of riot persists, it may cause potential repercussions to our business terrain in 3 ways.
1) Singapore's Reputation as a Safe Haven to do Business is affected
Peace has a direct impact on the well being of an economy. This incident will be made known to the world; other countries' view of our Singapore economy as one of the safest and easiest countries to do business, will begin to change.
Business corporations and MNCs may reconsider their decision to set up offices, which had the potential of creating more businesses and increasing employment in the country.
2) Singapore's Tourism Industry will also be affected
Our tourism industry is one of the most important sectors in Singapore. In 2012, Singapore had an estimated 14.4 million international visitors and garnered about 23 billion dollars in terms of tourism receipts.
This Little India incident may change tourists' perception of Singapore as a peaceful, safe and secure country, thereby affecting the performance of our tourism sector.
3) The Financial Industry May Ultimately Be Affected as Well
If the riots are not contained but persist in a ripple effect movement, our financial sector may face another possible setback. Investors and international banks may lose confidence in the country thus withdrawing their investment funds from the country.
The Value of Peace is Important for Everyone
As the saying goes,
"In order to gain peace in a country (economy), the society must be safe and secure. In order to gain peace in a society, there must be peace and harmony in a family. And in order to gain peace in a family, each person must cultivate the character within and to live with other people with mutual respect and understanding. "
Peace is something that one cannot take for granted. It is an important factor that moves the economy in a positive manner especially in the long run.
Whether you are Singaporean or a foreigner living in this country, let's live together in peace and harmony, paving the way for security, stability and prosperity for everyone.
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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Jacky Tan is a professional marketing writer, blogger, speaker, and the author of 'Social M - How Your Startup Can Take On the Big Boys'. Jacky leads the boutique marketing communications and branding agency, Jack and Chaz Pte Ltd. He specialises in the creation of successful branding, content marketing and pr strategies for companies of any size.