Contributions of the Immigrants in Singapore
What were the Contributions of the Immigrants? The immigrants made four important contributions to Singapore. Firstly, the Immigrants contributed in the building up of settlement. Secondly, it was the promoting of trade. Thirdly, they worked for the government. And finally, they served the community (Provided social services). The first contribution the immigrants made was building the settlement. The Chinese coolies and Indian labourers cleared the jungles making land available for expansion of towns and plantations. The coolies were employed in almost every sector of work including construction work, plantation work and in mines.
Indian convicts helped to build roads, bridges and buildings. Furthermore, the Europeans who came to Singapore planned the development of town. (Eg. George Coleman). Their above actions have contributed to the building up of the settlement. The second contribution the immigrants made was the promoting of trade. In the 19th Century, Singapore depended largely on entrepot trade for survival. The Malay traders who came to Singapore came brought a variety of Straits produce e. g. spices. In addition, the European traders who came brought in goods that were unique as they were made in European factors.
This increased the variety of goods that could be found in Singapore thus attracting more traders. The Europeans also set up big trading companies and agency houses that had links with Europe. As for the main straits Chinese who spoke Malay, English and local dialect, they acted as middlemen in the local trade, allowing trade to take place easily as people could understand each other. The Chinese coolies and Indian labourers also loaded and unloaded goods at the harbour. Lastly, the Indian chettiars provided businessmen with loans. Without them, businesses could not be start up.
Other than making the above contributions, the Immigrants also worked for the government. Some of the immigrants served as unpaid judges and justices of the peace. (Eg. Govindsamy Pillai & Syed Mohammed bin Ahmed Alsagoff). Some also worked as clerks and office attendants in the government. The British immigrants made laws eg. Legislative council and the immigrants also kept law and order in the island. E. g. Police and the Protectorate. The last contribution of the immigrants made was serving the community by providing social services.
In the area of health, Tan Tock Seng built a hospital that was opened to the poor and all races. Alsagoff also built the Alsagoff Arab School providing basic education to the young. Last but not least, the more successful immigrants contributed money to improve public facilities. E. g. Syed Ali bin Mohammad Aljunied helped constructed four community wells to provide better water supply for the poor. They also spent money in ensuring that the poor had proper burials. Their acts of philanthropy made life less miserable for those who received help.